Was that our stomachs rumbling or a distant thunderstorm? Either way, we have to bring to your attention that Miami Spice is back for the months of August and September this year, and we can’t be more excited! This year’s lineup features usual suspects like Blue Collar, Bazaar and Milos, plus some new names added to the list to make it even more interesting. And now that the initial hubbub has calmed down, we’ve had the chance to check out some of Miami’s top eateries to see what their menu selections are all about. Here are the ones that really stood out for us this year:

Strawberry Moon

The brainchild of David Grutman and Pharrell, the trendy, Mediterranean-fueled rooftop eatery at The Goodtime Hotel is a great option for those of you that want a taste of the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. Fawn over the tropical, retro vibes of the space as you dig into some of the regular menu’s stand-out dishes at Strawberry Moon.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Hummus, Grilled Eggplant, Panna Cotta.
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Courtesy: Strawberry Moon

Chotto Matte

One of our absolute beloved culinary fusions is that between Japanese and Peruvian flavors, a common bond but one that very few get right. Chotto Matte, nestled off of a busy side street along Lincoln Road, has become somewhat of a local favorite. An illustrious interior with a vibrant flare is a great launchpad for a flavorful meal, no matter what you choose.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Salmon Tataki, Asado de Tira, Chocolate Brownie.
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Courtesy: Chotto Matte

Osteria Morini

One of the newest spots on this list, Osteria Morini Miami Beach gives off a neighborhood restaurant feel at a high-level execution. Inspired by the soulful cuisine and convivial spirit of Northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region with authentic and high-quality pastas, prime grilled meats and seafood in a warm and inviting atmosphere, with plenty of al fresco dining along Collins Canal.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Every night.
Our Suggested Pairing: Tuna Tartare, Gnocchetti, Panna Cotta.
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Courtesy: Osteria Morini

Buya Izakaya + Yakitori

Sure, Miami Spice is a great time to take advantage of being able to afford some of the city’s most luxurious dines, but it’s also the perfect chance to discover some of its best kept secrets. Case in point: Buya Izakaya. This hidden Wynwood gem was easily one of our favorite places we tasted and we were pleasantly surprised to see just how varied their menu was. Each Miami Spice dine is served as a full tasting menu with a drink pairing which, in Miami, is practically unheard of for $42.
Miami Spice: Lunch – Tues – Sat / Dinner – Tues – Thurs & Sun.
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Courtesy: BUYA

Komodo

A Miami Spice classic like Komodo always comes back with an impressive selection of items for their special menu, year after year. The bustling dining room comes alive with diners both from the Brickell area and beyond. The Pan-Asian eatery is a Spice go-to, offering stand-out dishes from dim sum and rolls, to fried chicken and wagyu beef.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Truffle Mushroom Dim Sum, Korean Fried Chicken, Five Spice Chocolate Lava Cake.
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Courtesy: Komodo Miami

Red Rooster

The food scene was abuzz when award-winning celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson announced his opening of Red Rooster in Historic Overtown. And while the open had to adapt due to the pandemic, local foodies have rejoiced as they opened their charming and rustic dining spaces to adoring crowds. The beautiful restaurant offers delicious Southern staples with dashes of worldly fusion.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Chicken Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Yard Bird, Viking of the Keys.
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Planta Queen

Before you roll your eyes at the plant-based stamp that identifies this Coconut Grove concept, we highly suggest you close your eyes and imagine the possibility of flavors that natural ingredients and fresh vegetables can inhabit. We guarantee you that your guess won’t be anywhere near as delicious as the offerings at Planta Queen. We were genuinely impressed by their variety of selections, and each dish was comforting, complex, and entirely eye-opening.
Miami Spice: Lunch & Dinner – Every Day.
Our Suggested Pairing: Sweet Corn Dumpling, Hakka Noodles, Brownie.
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Courtesy: PLANTA

Stiltsville Fish Bar

Just like its namesake, Stiltsville is eclectic and full of light. Everyone here whether guest or staff is happy, as if collectively enjoying the simple (and finer) things in life. Like most fish bars, this Sunset Harbor spot offers a mouth-watering collection of freshly caught sea creatures, all on display for your picking pleasure. During Miami Spice, their menu is packed with some of their most popular dishes, so you’ll definitely be getting a good idea of what you’ll come back for.
Miami Spice: Lunch – Mon – Fri / Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Smoked Fish Dip, Shrimp n Grits, Coconut Key Lime Pie.
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Credit: FujiFilmGirl

Cafe Prima Pasta

We honestly feel that few things are as comforting as a bowl of homemade pasta, and few places capture that satisfaction as well as Cafe Prima Pasta. This mid-Beach joint is dimly-lit and freshly covered with white linens, and you can almost hear a distant accordion playing romantic ballads in the background. This is a place for a feast.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Every Day.
Our Suggested Pairing: Mini Fiocchi Rapera, Veal Parmigiana, Tiramisu.
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Courtesy: Cafe Prima Pasta

Pao at Faena

When a restaurant has a master chef attached to its name, our first reaction is to picture chandeliers, linens, and ingredients too obscure to pronounce. When stepping into Pao by Paul Qui, the opposite occurs. Letting your eyes adjust after witnessing the burst of ornate velvet and gold in Faena Hotel‘s decadent lobby, Pao’s jungle-infused dining room feels like a tropical escape. Let the Filipino dishes speak for themselves as you discover a new frontier of flavor.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Tues – Sat.
Our Suggested Pairing: Fried Chicken, Short Rib Rice, Oat Milk Illanka Ice Cream.
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Courtesy: Faena Hotel

Palat

Each neighborhood has its own constellation of go-to stars, and Palat is one of Buena Vista’s brightest. You might pass it frequently to and from the Design District or Midtown along NE 2nd Ave, but next time you do, we suggest a pit stop even if just for their cacio e pepe. The space is rustic in a trendy way, with shimmering lights and funky landscaping, and the dining room is the perfect amount of intimate you want to set the stage for a meal you won’t soon forget.
Miami Spice: Lunch – Tues – Sat / Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Meatballs, Pappardelle Ossobuco, Tiramisu. (can you tell this writer has a soft spot for a certain coffee-flavored dessert?)
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Courtesy: Palat

Fiola

On the other side of the Italian cuisine spectrum is this high-end dining experience based in South Miami. Fiola has had a slew of talented chefs lending their expertise when it comes to elevating classics with new world twists. The ornate dining room opens up to a modern take on the traditional white linen restaurant, with hip cocktails and eclectic flavor pairings worth the trip.
Miami Spice: Lunch – Tues – Fri / Dinner – Sun – Thurs.
Our Suggested Pairing: Foie Gras Crema Catalana, Yellowtail Snapper alla Vernaccia, Fiola Cannoli.
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Courtesy: Fiola

Le Jardinier

Nestled under the culinary royalty of L’Atelier Joel Robuchon, Le Jardinier comes to us from the mind of Michelin-starred Chef Alain Verzeroli. The bright and airy dining space calls to mind exactly what its French name would suggest: a garden. While we must admit that their Spice menu might be more limited than most of the names on this list, we assure you that every bite will be like diving into the unknown–even if it’s something you only do once.
Miami Spice: Dinner – Tues – Sat.
Our Suggested Pairing: Sweet Corn Velouté, Roasted Heritage Chicken Breast, White Chocolate Cheesecake.
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Courtesy: Miami Design District

Cover photo credit: FujiFilmGirl.