For many, Miami Spice is an exciting way to savor some of the best local flavors for a price that won’t break the bank. But must we deal with dumbed-down menus and avalanches of tourists just for a discounted dinner? Specials are a real win-win for restaurants looking to give business a boost and foodies looking for big-flavored fare and a small bill — so take advantage of them. Here are some can't-miss deals.
5. Gigi's Buns
At Gigi, you can eat on the cheap without sacrificing flavor, quality, or even creativity. Items off the inspired menu start at just $3, but the biggest bang for your buck are the signature Gigi buns. These “buns” are nothing like the traditional rounds of bread that come to mind. They’re airy, steamed bao bread topped with layers of flavor and texture, like succulent pork with tomato
4. Via Verdi's 50 Percent Off Monday
Restaurant specials don’t have to come with confusing restrictions or limited hours. At Via Verdi, this weekly deal is sure to cure even the nastiest case of the Mondays. The offer is simple: half off the all-day menu (excluding the Assaggi tasting menu). That means from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every first day of the week, guests can indulge in Via Verdi's authentic yet innovative plates, such as the pork loin scaloppine with prosciutto and sage and the braised beef ravioli with Parmesan (regularly $22 and $16). Via Verdi's cuisine combines the taste of old Italy with current creativity to deliver big flavors, even on small plates. Plus, the dishes taste even better at a fraction of the cost. Savoring a half-priced plate of succulent grilled sea bass on a beautiful patio will make you feel like it's still the weekend.
3. Tongue & Cheek's Family Meal
After a long day at the office, there's nothing better than hightailing it straight home — until now. Daily from 4 p.m. to close, Tongue & Cheek offers a "family meal" for only 10 bucks. Traditionally, this phrase refers to the restaurant staff meal at the end of the night, but at this local favorite, it's taken on a whole new meaning. The three-course dinners, served on red plastic trays, are reminiscent of the good old days of school lunches — without the mystery meat. The chef chooses the selections daily; past plates include classics like chicken 'n' waffles and grilled cheese with tomato soup. It's cafeteria-style meets sophistication for a price that's cheaper than takeout.
2. Perricone’s Marketplace & Café $10 Pasta Night
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Nestled in lush greenery in the heart of Brickell, Perricone's is the ideal intersection of sophisticated atmosphere and down-home authentic Italian cuisine. And if you steer clear of the $3 truffles sold in the marketplace, it's also a great value. The glow of string lights draped in trees and live guitar strumming provide a beautiful backdrop for a hearty Italian meal. Most pasta dishes cost $17.95, a small price to pay for perfectly cooked noodles in lick-the-plate sauces. But the deal gets even more delicious on Thursdays, when Perricone’s offers pasta dishes for just $10. Whether you’re craving a classic like Grandma Jennie’s meat lasagna or a dish with a modern twist, like the whole-wheat penne with fresh salmon, Perricone’s gives deal-seeking diners a satisfying meal that doesn’t feel like a knockoff.
1. Adrienne Arsht Center Farmers' Market Monday Dinners
The Arsht Center is known as a cultural hub that hosts renowned performances, but it has a delectable little secret. Every Monday afternoon, some of the freshest produce, meats, cheeses, and other items are available for purchase from independent farmers and artisans on the center's steps. The edible options are enchanting, but head behind the market to the long outdoor table, and you'll hit the jackpot. There, Miami foodies gather to enjoy a weekly farmers' market dinner. New Times named this dinner “Best Farm-to-Table” not just for its unique showcasing of local produce in delicious dishes, but also for its value. For $25 or $35 with unlimited wine, guests can enjoy a homegrown menu while getting up close and personal with the farmers who helped create it. The selections change weekly, and the meal always comes with a complimentary cocktail. What could be better than farm-fresh flavors and free booze?