Miami Spice, the Magic City’s annual two-month celebration of dining discounts, begins August 1. Which means, we’re just a couple weeks away from $22 three-course lunches and $35 three-course dinners at over 100 restaurants throughout Miami & Miami Beach.A record 119 restaurants are participating this year, 31 of them for the first time, including Gibraltar, Mercadito, Mr. Chow, Pelican Café, Philppe Chow, Sugarcane and Zuma. That’s a whole lot of excuses to have dessert. Read on for event tips & insider info…
- Watch Your Wallet. Tax, tip and beverages are not included, making it alarmingly easy to rack up a sizable tab.
- Start Big. In other Spice news, the city is celebrating the 2010 season of Miami Spice with its first ever kickoff event. Slated for Saturday, July 31 from 7-10pm, the event promises to be a three-hour fest smorgasbord of food & drink – sign us up. Tickets run $75-$100 at ilovemiamispice.com.
- Plan Ahead. The best way to ensure a great Spice experience is to plan ahead. Visit Miami.com/restaurants frequently for top picks on the best value, taste & experience then visit ilovemiamispice.com to see what best fits for you and your group. Menus aren’t posted yet, but the participating restaurants have been announced. Make sure to check particulars – check the particulars some restaurants offer just lunch or dinner, and some exclude weekend night.
- Menu Shop. Check menus on the website (not all are available) before reserving some deals are significantly better than others.
- Be bold. If you’re not offered a Spice menu once seated, ask for it.
Here are some of the offerings that caught our eye:
- Gables French find Charlotte Bistro is offering lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and putting diners in charge. Each course has four options, from light (sea bass ceviche, fresh salmon fillet and honey soy eggplant) to rich (crab risotto and truffle oil emulsion, rack of lamb).
- DeVito South Beach entices diners Sunday through Thursday with a new chef and three choices for each course including Nonna’s meatball (primi), skirt steak (secondi) and flourless chocolate cake for dessert.
- Highbrow Chinese outpost Hakkasan is doing dinner, too, but its dim sum lunch wins our heart. Bring a friend (the meal requires at least two) and choose one dish (or more for larger parties) from each of six menu categories: steamed; grilled and deep-fried; barbecue; stir-fry and vegetable; congee, noodle and rice and dessert.
- Meat lovers and the foodies who love them can choose from more than a dozen steak houses, from Morton’s and Shula’s to Red and Fogo de Chao.
- Chef Clay Conley puts the focus on seafood Monday through Friday at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental with menu highlights including crispy Ipswich clams, salmon tataki and grilled golden trout.