Miami Spice 2015: The Six Best Vegetarian Deals

Increasing numbers of people (including chefs) are becoming vegetarian and vegan. Whether for health or ethical reasons, the decision to choose a meat-free diet is easier than ever with so many stores offering exotic fresh produce and meatless alternatives. 

Unfortunately, though almost every restaurant in Miami will accommodate vegetarians, many places serve just a dish of steamed vegetables or a bowl of pasta in marinara sauce. There are, however, a growing number of eateries that make interesting and delicious meatless dishes. 

Six restaurants have created vegetarian-friendly Miami Spice menus that are satisfying and intriguing, both for lunch ($23) and dinner ($39). There are many more Miami Spice participants that will gladly accommodate vegetarians and vegans — especially if you make a request with your reservation. When in doubt, visit the Miami Spice website or call your favorite restaurant.

6. Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room 
This opulent restaurant at the Conrad Miami is a consistent Miami Spice value. Vegetarians can dine on a choice of Waldorf salad with green apple, celery root, blue cheese, candied pecan nuts, chilled celery root, and apple sour, or baby romaine with Parmesan panna cotta, truffle aged Parmesan, béchamel, and Parmesan crisp. The vegetarian entrée is a flavorful spring succotash made with sautéed exotic mushrooms, white beans, and black beans, accompanied by corn and fava bean hummus. For dessert, there's exotic fruit salad with passionfruit sorbet; lemon pie crostata with raspberry coulis; and chocolate coulant cake with salted caramel ice cream. Atrio is also happy to accommodate vegans for Miami Spice.

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

5. Hakkasan
Hakkasan has a dedicated vegetarian Spice menu for both weekend brunch and dinner, making it easy for non-meat eaters to feel spoiled. For brunch, all the dim sum dumplings will feature different vegetables, followed by stir-fried vegetarian chicken; sauteed pak choi, a tofu clay pot, and noodles. For dessert, there's coconut panna cotta or Mandarin mousse. For dinner, vegetarians receive a green salad with crispy taro root and plum dressing for starters, then feast family-style on stir-fried vegetarian chicken with spicy sauce; tofu clay pot in black bean sauce; vegetables in sweet Szechuan sauce; stir-fried Shanghai pak choi with shiitake mushroom; and wild mushroom hand-pulled noodles. For dessert, there's Mandarin mousse or coconut panna cotta. 

The only downside to Hakkasan's vegetarian Miami Spice is that all parties are requested to order the same non-meat feast, since it's served family style. The upside is that your meat-eating friends will be happy and sated with the menu.

Miami Spice dinner is offered Sunday through Thursday; brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday.

Icebox Cafe
Icebox Cafe has a plethora of veg-friendly items for Miami Spice. For starters, choose between kale quinoa fritters with tahini yogurt sauce or avocado seed salad with quinoa, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, arugula, and Grana Padano, served with lemon basil vinaigrette. The vegetarian entrée is tricolor quattro formaggio ravioli with cherry heirloom tomato, asparagus tips, rainbow chard, and grilled artichokes in a port wine sauce. For dessert, have at one of Oprah's favorite cakes.

Miami Spice is offered for dinner seven days a week.

3. Mignonette
Though you won't find it on the Miami Spice menu when you sit down, Mignonette's veggie plate is offered as a vegetarian alternative. "It's kind of a secret menu offering," co-owner Danny Serfer says. What's not so secret is that Serfer's veggie plates are so delicious that your pescatarian and carnivore friends might get jealous. Vegetarians will start with a Boston lettuce salad with buttermilk dressing, pickled shallots, radish, and croutons, before their veggie plate, filled with all manner of delights like cauliflower, sauteed chard, polenta, and French fried potato chips. For dessert, there's butterscotch and Heath Bar bread pudding with spicy whipped cream or the pie of the day.

Miami Spice is offered for dinner seven days a week.

2. Red the Steakhouse
A steakhouse serving a good vegetarian menu? You betcha! Chef Peter Vauthy has no beef with vegetarians, and to prove it, he always offers a good meal for them. Red the Steakhouse's Miami Spice menu changes weekly, but there are always veg-friendly options like a classic caesar with romaine hearts, sourdough croutons, and shaved Parmesan; tomato mozzarella salad with vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, balsamic, and extra-virgin olive oil for starters. This week's meatless entree is spinach and ricotta gnocchi; and there's always a good choice of desserts. 

Miami Spice is offered for dinner seven days a week.

1. Tongue & Cheek 
Though chef/owner Jamie DeRosa is known for frequently changing up his Spice menu, serving everything from Julia Child's favorite dishes to previews from the menu of his soon-to-open Izzy's, there are always vegetarian options for dinner and weekend brunch. For instance, this week's dinner menu includes an appetizer choice of broccoli-and-leek vichyssoise or roasted beet salad with red oak lettuce, dill vinaigrette, and pumpernickel croutons, followed by a vegan homestyle chickpea stew with grilled pita, coriander, and curried tomato. Dessert selections are cookies and milk, a key lime tart, and a Crackerjack milkshake.

Miami Spice is offered for dinner seven days a week and brunch Saturday and Sunday.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss