With its palm-tree-lined streets and beautiful neighborhoods, Miami is a romantic's paradise. Even the restaurants are beautiful. They boast courtyards filled with fragrant blossoms or panoramic views of oceans and sunsets.
Being romantic, however, doesn't have to break the bank — at least not during Miami Spice. Through September 30, many lovely places are serving three-course meals for $39 (lunch is $23). Here, we've come up with the five best spots perfect for a first date or a 50th-anniversary dinner. Best of all: These restaurants all offer Miami Spice for Friday and Saturday date nights.
The French Riviera comes to SoBe.
Photo courtesy of Villa Azur
5. Villa Azur
If your lover has always dreamed of a romantic getaway to the French Riviera, Villa Azur is the next best thing. Billowing white drapes lead the way to a lovely sitting room where you can sip a champagne cocktail before heading to the lush patio for dinner. Truly romantic Miami Spice offerings include salmon tartare with james lettuce and apple, lemon dressing, and wasabi caviar; a lamb shank confit cooked for 12 hours in olive oil, garlic, and thyme; and pan-seared tuna rossini. Add foie gras for an extra $10 if you want to impress even further.
Miami Spice dinner is served Friday through Wednesday.
Twinkling lanterns and rattan chairs allow you to live out your Bogie and Bacall fantasies.
Photo by Bill Wisser
4. Restaurant Michael Schwartz
Located in an art deco gem, the Raleigh Hotel, Restaurant Michael Schwartz's setting is straight out of a movie set. Ward teak furnishings and rattan peacock chairs are scattered around a giant old tree with lanterns hanging from its branches. In the distance, the pool where famed swim star Esther Williams filmed many movies glitters in shades of turquoise, with the sounds of the surf beyond. The food is as beautiful as the setting, with Miami Spice offerings such as chicken liver mousse and marinated summer squash for appetizers and pan-roasted local fish for an entrée. For dessert, try the milk chocolate cremoso tangerine parfait.
Miami Spice is offered for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner seven days a week.
Dine waterfront at Red Fish Grill.
Photo courtesy Red Fish Grill
3. Red Fish Grill
Tucked away at the far end of Coral Gables' Matheson Hammock Park, Red Fish Grill is set in an old stone house overlooking Biscayne Bay. Go early to take a sunset stroll along the sand before sitting under swaying palms on the terrace while dining on Portuguese octopus ceviche and pan-seared snapper. Of course, there's key lime pie for dessert.
Miami Spice is offered for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Redlander is the scene for casual romance.
Photo courtesy Dewey LoSasso
2. Redlander Restaurant
Before dining at Redlander Restaurant, enjoy a tasting of sparkling fruit wines at Schnebly Redland's Winery, located on the same property. If that doesn't set the tone for a romantic evening, stroll the verdant grounds and canoodle by the waterfall while crickets gently chirp in the evening air. Then, sit down to chef Dewey LoSasso's menu, which changes weekly, based on what his trips to local farms and nearby Keys day boats yield. Recent menu items include stuffed calabaza blossom with shrimp, manchego, and avocado, and an herb-seared snapper fillet.
Miami Spice is offered for lunch Wednesday through Sunday and for dinner Friday and Saturday.
Fontana's stunning courtyard.
Photo courtesy of the Biltmore Hotel
1. The Biltmore's Palme D'or and Fontana Restaurants
Coral Gables' grand dame, the stately and historic Biltmore Hotel, sets the scene for an elegant date night in two gorgeous settings.
Dine alfresco in Fontana's courtyard, with a bubbling fountain as a focal point, surrounded by lush greenery. Start with hand-cut steak tartare with cornichona, anchovies, and a quail egg, or porcini and truffle burratina for dinner. Entrées include braised short ribs in gremolata sauce on a bed of truffle polenta, pan-seared Mediterranean sea bream fillets with lobster bisque, or roasted-pumpkin-stuffed tortelloni. For dessert, enjoy a warm apple tart with vanilla ice cream or orange-blossom-infused crème brûlée.
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Fontana offers Miami Spice for lunch Monday through Saturday and dinner nightly.
The Biltmore's award-winning Palme D'or sets the scene for first dates and big occasions too. Miami Spice dinner offerings include house-made squid ink capellini with sautéed calamari, grilled octopus, ricotta tarte, or tuna tartare for starters. Entrées include seared duck breast; wild Alaskan king salmon; scallops with corn degustation, beets, and vanilla sauce; or a prime beef tenderloin with braised Kobe beef cheeks ($20 additional). A selection of fine cheese from the cart, rum baba, or chocolate and Grand Mariner éclair ends this decadent dinner.
Palme D'or at the Biltmore offers Miami Spice for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.