Summer in Miami means lighter clothing and even lighter food. Miami chefs are swapping heavy vittles for herbaceous mezze platters brimming with spicy spreads and cauliflower tabbouleh. Patrons can expect the coming months to be chock full of savory deals, from Miami Spice previews to complimentary happy-hour bites. So grab a tropical drink and pair it with one of these top five summer menus that bring all the heat without the sunburn.
1. Alter. In celebration of Alter's third anniversary, chef Brad Kilgore is reviving the classics with a summer throwback menu. The retrospective offering will incorporate praised items no longer on the menu. The restaurant's soft egg ($20 à la carte, $10 additional to substitute a tasting menu item for this dish), a light sea scallop espuma dressed with truffle pearls and Siberian caviar and blanketed with a crisp layer of Gruyère cheese. Or opt for another Alter favorite like the blue crab stuffed shumai with cilantro relish and green curry for $18. 223 NW 23rd St., Miami ; 305-573-5996; altermiami.com.
2. Boulud Sud Miami. During July, diners can enjoy a sneak peek of the restaurant's Miami Spice menu ($39). Items in the three-course meal will rotate and include dishes such as chilled melon soup served with herb sorbet and harissa spiced lamb paired with couscous and tzatziki. Other summer favorites are à la carte mezze platters rich with spicy spreads and herb falafel ($16), as well as cauliflower tabbouleh with za'atar, mint, and fig ($8). 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami; 305-421-8800; bouludsud.com.
3. Forte Dei Marmi. The eatery, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino, recently launched a truffle-centric menu offering more than ten dishes containing the luxurious ingredient. Items include grilled Mediterranean sea bass with shaved truffle, lemon zest, and puréed potatoes ($38) and a 36-hour suckling pig crowned with summer truffle slices ($42). 150 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-276-3095; fdmmiami.com.
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4. Katsuya at the SLS. A specialty $55 tasting menu available throughout July starts with a choice of ceviches. Continue the culinary journey with a compilation of robata items and sushi before finishing with dessert. Locals can also enjoy midweek whiskey flights and half-priced sakes on Sundays. 1700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; sbe.com.
5. Upland. The South Beach eatery boasting California-inspired dishes commemorates the season with a weekly pizza party. Nosh on complimentary pizza and drink $9 passionfruit Aperol spritzes every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. during happy hour. In addition to those specials, Upland's summer gnudi includes ricotta morsels topped with herbaceous cream, shaved Parmesan, and micro greens for $21. When the temperature soars, cool down with an English pea salad paired with spring greens and whipped Romano cheese ($16). 49 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; uplandmiami.com.