Maybe you’ve mapped out your plan of attack for Miami Spice. Maybe you haven’t. And if that’s the case, maybe it’s because deciphering the extensive list of restaurants and menus to check out in and around town is daunting for even the most tireless restaurant warrior. Sure, you’ve got your “best of” and “not-so-best-of” lists floating around the city. But what’s the right pick for a power lunch with the boss or wooing that charmer from the coffee house? Here’s a couple of suggestions to guide you down the proper prep line.
1. Best Spot For a First Date
The Luxury Dining Option: Baoli Miami
Where: 1906 Collins Ave.
What: The secluded and romantically intimate garden toward the back of Baoli sets the right mood. The low lying branches hung with charming lanterns and twinkling lights compliment the succulent platters of truffle risotto and Australian lamb.
The Fine Dining Option: Bloom
Where: 2751 North Miami Ave.
What: With outdoor seating underneath a large oak tree and trellised greenery, this newcomer on the scene specializes in hand-crafted cocktails and tapas style Latin street food. Perfect for sharing with comely stranger.
[Photo Courtesy of Urban Daddy]
2. A Meal With a View
The Luxury Dining Option: The Rusty Pelican
Where: 3201 Rickenbacker Cswy.
What: Accompanying your sea bass and local heirloom tomatoes: an unobstructed view of the sun sinking on the calm waters of Biscayne Bay.
The Fine Dining Option: Panorama Restaurant & Sky Lounge
Where: 2889 McFarlane Rd.
What: Perched atop the Sonesta in Coconut Grove, the birds eye view from Panorama overlooks the Grove and the bevy of sailboats dotting the bay’s landscape. The ideal spot for unwinding with some braised pork and Peruvian dishes like lomo con tacu tacu.
3. Where to Take the Boss For Dinner
The Luxury Dining Option: Bourbon Steak
Where: 19999 West Country Club Dr.
What: James Beard-winner Michael Mina gives the “power” meal classics his deft touch using Imperial Farms wagyu eye of rib eye and Kurobuta pork short ribs in a Spice menu that's as generous as it is impressive.
The Fine Dining Option: Edge Steak & Bar
Where: 1435 Brickell Ave.
What: Set in the swanky environs of Brickell’s Four Seasons, this simple, yet elegant steakhouse consistently turns out top-notch cuts of beef and well-made starters like corvina tartar and gazpacho. A can’t miss option for impressing the head honchos without breaking the budget.
4. A Night Out With a Lively Group
The Luxury Dining Option: Asia de Cuba
Where: 1100 West Ave.
What: With the only Spice menu on the roster that caters to groups of six, the luxe pool party vibe of the Mondrian seeps into its in-house resto. Diners are invited to share dishes like honey-rum glazed pork belly, confit of duck legs and pan seared ahi tuna.
The Fine Dining Option: Mercadito
Where: 2004 Biscayne Blvd.
What: This Midtown Mexican favorite caters to a raucous crowd thanks to an extensive list of shared platters like guac, ceviche, tacos, Mexican corn, dessert and a Spice rarity, your choice of cocktail from the menu.
5. Where to Impress the Out-of-Town Gourmand
The Luxury Dining Option: Scarpetta
Where: 4441 Collins Ave.
What: Tucked into the Fontainebleau, Scarpetta’s signature spaghetti entree and truffled polenta matches the impressive wow factor of the iconic hotel that houses it. The ideal spot to bring any visiting palate.
The Fine Dining Option: Pubbelly
Where: 1418 20 St.
What: A pork-happy gastropub on the Beach with an immensely generous tapas menu for sharing with an equally pork-loving friend visiting for the week.