Miami Spice 2015: Ten Best New Restaurants

Quality Meats offers quality meats for Miami Spice.
Quality Meats offers quality meats for Miami Spice.
Photo by Bill Wisser

Miami Spice returns August 1 to brighten our summer once again. For two months, nearly 200 of Miami's best restaurants offer three-course meals at deeply discounted prices — $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner. For diners, it's a great way to get acquainted with restaurants. 

This year, more than 50 new restaurants have joined the Miami Spice ranks, including some of the most exciting places to open in Miami this past year. We've perused menus and come up with a list of the top ten new restaurants you must try during Spice. They were chosen for their generous menus, participation in the program on weekends, and sheer deliciousness.

Oysters for Spice.
Oysters for Spice.
Photo by Bill Wisser

10. Midtown Oyster Bar
For seafood lovers, discovering Midtown Oyster Bar's Miami Spice menu is like finding the proverbial pearl in an oyster. Visiting the aptly named seafood house, located in midtown, is like taking a trip to New England without that pesky 2,000-mile drive up I-95. Miami Spice is available for lunch and dinner and features a treasure trove of under-the-sea delights. The lunch and dinner menus are the same for Spice. Start with New England clam chowder, a croquette-and-fritter sampler, or three Island Creek oysters. Move on to your choice of crisp-skinned snapper, curry 'n' shrimp, or surf 'n' turf — grilled skirt steak and head-on shrimp. For dessert, there's key lime pie or sorbet.

Miami Spice is offered for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Thursday.

Upscale tuna melt for lunch at the Vagabond.
Upscale tuna melt for lunch at the Vagabond.
Photo by Laine Doss

9. Vagabond Restaurant and Bar
MiMo's trendiest dining spot, the Vagabond Restaurant, oozes sophistication in a retro-1960s way. Chef Alex Chang makes dishes that are as beautiful to behold as they are to eat. The Vagabond offers both lunch and dinner for Miami Spice. Lunch offerings include little gem lettuce, cured salmon smorrebrod, and grain salad with yogurt dressing for starters, and a choice of Genova tuna melt, Vagabond cheeseburger, or pork tonkatsu sandwich for an entrée. For dessert, there's a chocolate tart with sorghum, sea salt, and orange. Dinner choices include salt-roasted beets, stracciatella, and endive-and-palm-heart salad for appetizers and ricotta gnocchi, grilled skirt steak, and roasted market fish for entrées. For dessert, choose between a chocolate tart or key lime and sorrel curd. 

Miami Spice is offered Tuesday through Friday for lunch and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday for dinner.

Bagatelle's dishes are only part of the experience.
Bagatelle's dishes are only part of the experience.
Photo by Carla Torres

8. Bagatelle
Bagatelle is an experience, to be sure. This French import is not exactly the place for reserved conversation, but if you want a show with your dinner, this is the place to go. DJs spin, Supergirl delivers champagne, and the bartenders serve cocktails in glasses that change color. But behind the party atmosphere, chef Matthew Godard, formerly of DB Bistro Moderne, makes beautiful food. Bagatelle's Miami Spice menu has much to offer. For starters, there are five appetizers, including daily market oysters served with a champagne mignonette sauce. Entrées include moules frites, kataifi-crusted Arctic char, and a poulet grand mere. For dessert, try the tropical vacherin with mango mousse, coconut rhum cake, and mint gelée. Best of all: Miami Spice is offered Friday and Saturday evenings, when Bagatelle's action reaches a happy crescendo.

Miami Spice is offered for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Kale salad
Kale salad
Photo by Alejandra Cangas

7. Market at Edition
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Market is a rethinking of a classic European market by a master chef. A giant space is filled with counters, each brimming with various temptations. There's a patisserie, a boulangerie, a salumeria, and plenty of wine. The restaurant offers delicious chef-driven food in a casual setting. Market's Miami Spice lunch offerings are simple yet satisfying. Choose from a charcuterie board of imported meats and cheeses or a kale salad for starters; then enjoy either a cheeseburger or spinach-and-three-cheese pizza as an entrée. Carrot cake and salted caramel sundae are your dessert options. For dinner, a larger charcuterie-and-cheese board is available, or try the Florida red snapper ceviche or chilled artichoke. Dinner entrées include a mushroom, garlic, and organic farm egg pizza; rigatoni and meatball; or Florida snapper with bok choy. For dessert, choose from a chocolate marshmallow cake with malted ganache, carrot cake, or salted caramel sundae.

Miami Spice is offered for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Beachcraft
Beachcraft
Photo by Laine Doss

6. Beachcraft
Tom Colicchio's Beachcraft recently opened, and if you haven't been there, Miami Spice is a good time to try this James Beard Award winner's foray into the Miami market. Although a Spice menu is not yet available, executive chef Michael Fiorello's commitment to working with locally caught fish, antibiotic-free meats, and colorful, fresh produce ensures a well-thought-out and finely executed meal in a gorgeous Palm Springs-meets-South Beach setting.

Exact days when Miami Spice is offered have not yet been announced.

Bernstein's decadent bread pudding
Bernstein's decadent bread pudding
Photo by Laine Doss

5. Cena by Michy
Michelle Bernstein has transformed her eponymous MiMo restaurant into Cena by Michy. The place has gotten a makeover in the best sense of the word, and the elegant minimalist decor is the perfect setting to let this James Beard Award-winning chef's food shine. Chef de cuisine Mike Mayta executes a menu filled with bright, colorful dishes using locally sourced ingredients, and the Miami Spice menu reads like a best-of list. Appetizers include summertime hits such as melon gazpacho with minty goat cheese; fried clams with lemony aioli; and fluke crudo with pineapple and salsa verde. Entrées include a succulent rotisserie chicken with wild mushroom bread pudding; churrasco steak with foie gras cherry sauce and smashed fried potatoes; and a sweet corn gnudi that will make vegetarians feel wanted. Even dessert is filled with the flavors of summer, including a fennel panna cotta with rhubarb compote, a peach-cherry cobbler with ginger-vanilla ice cream, and Michy's bread pudding à la mode.

Miami Spice is offered for dinner Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Izzy's opening for Miami Spice
Izzy's opening for Miami Spice
Photo courtesy Jamie DeRosa

4. Izzy's Fish & Oyster
Jamie DeRosa's tribute to New England seafood shacks, Izzy's Fish & Oyster, will open at the beginning of Miami Spice. Chef de cuisine William Crandall has promised a rotating Spice menu that changes weekly so that by the end of September, you will be able to have eaten through the entire Izzy's menu simply by ordering from the Spice menus. Izzy's will also offer Spice menus for both lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Look for all-time favorites like New England clam chowder and Black Angus steak tartare for appetizers; IPA battered fish 'n' chips and pan-roasted blue cod for entrées; and classic whoopies and Boston cream pie for dessert.

Miami Spice is offered for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Chef Michelle Bernstein
Chef Michelle Bernstein
Photo courtesy of Seagrape

3. Seagrape
Chef Michelle Bernstein gets another mention for her Spice choices at Seagrape at the Thompson Miami Beach Hotel. The restaurant offers both lunch and dinner menus daily, except Saturday evenings. For lunch, choose corn bisque, hearts of palm salad, baby wedge salad, or grilled octopus. Entrées include an eight-ounce hanger steak, grilled swordfish, moules frites, and ricotta agnolotti. For dessert, there's ice cream or a brûlée key lime tart. Bernstein ramps it up for dinner with appetizer choices of English pea soup, poached egg, and applewood-smoked salad and house-made country pork terrine. Entrées are grilled skirt steak, ricotta agnolotti, and gremolata-crusted grilled flat-iron steak, and squid ink pasta with chargrilled calamari and trout roe. For dessert, there's ice cream and a refreshing lemon pudding cake.

Miami Spice is offered daily for lunch and Sunday through Friday for dinner.

Corsair features Spice seven days a week.
Corsair features Spice seven days a week.
Photo by Bill Wisser

2. Corsair by Scott Conant
In a stunning setting at the Turnberry Isle Resort, celebrity chef Scott Conant's Corsair offers a seasonal and rustic menu rooted in the farmhouse cooking of America and the Mediterranean. The restaurant is generous with its Miami Spice program, offering a special menu for lunch and dinner seven days a week, which is almost unheard of. Menu offerings are also generous. For lunch, choose gazpacho with pickled radish and ciabatta croutons, heirloom tomatoes and burrata, eggplant parmigiano, or frito misto of calamari and seasonal vegetables. Lunch entrées are raviolini ricotta, roasted porchetta, snapper provençal, and free-range chicken breast. Desserts include milk chocolate budino, honey/pine-nut semifreddo, and pineapple upside-down cake. For dinner, heartier appetizers include polenta with sausage and porcini mushroom ragu and a beef carpachio with pickled mushrooms and shaved parmigiano. Of the entrées — which include Scottish salmon, grilled skirt steak, and roasted diver scallops — the squid ink farfalle with baby clams, mussels, calamari, and scallions is the standout. End the meal with a choice of milk chocolate budino, honey/pine-nut semifreddo, or brown-sugar cake. 

Miami Spice is offered for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Quality meats offers a hearty Spice experience.
Quality meats offers a hearty Spice experience.
Photo by Bill Wisser

1. Quality Meats
This New York City transplant is one of the few steak houses participating in Spice that actually offers steak. In fact, meat is showcased front and center on Quality Meat's generous prix fixe dinner menu, which is offered daily. Appetizers include dry-aged meatballs, house-cured slab bacon with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly, seared sea scallops, and hamachi crudo. If you're saving your appetite for the main event, a kale and manchego salad and a green goddess chopped salad are also offered as starters. For the entree, there's everything-crusted branzino, pan-roasted local snapper, roasted chicken, and honey-glazed baby-back ribs, but go for the steak. Grilled bavette steak, a cut of meat found prized for its flavor in France, and a center-cut filet mignon are offered. For dessert, there's the restaurant's house-made ice cream — really all you need to end a meal like this. 

Miami Spice is offered for dinner seven days a week.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Cena by Michy - Closed

6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, Florida 33138

305-759-2001

www.cenabymichy.com

miles
Bagatelle Miami

220 21st St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-704-3900

bagatellemiami.com

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Midtown Oyster Bar

3301 NE First Ave.
Miami, FL 33137

786-220-2070

midtownoysterbar.com

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Vagabond Restaurant & Bar - Closed
miles
Market at Edition
miles
Beachcraft

2395 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, Florida 33139

305-604-6700

www.craftrestaurantsinc.com/beachcraft

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Seagrape

4041 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140

786-605-4043

seagrapemiamibeach.com

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Corsair by Scott Conant

19999 W. Country Club Dr.
Aventura, FL 33180

786-279-6800

corsairmiami.com

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Quality Meats

1501 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-340-3333

qualitymeatsmiami.com


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