Filet mignon with creamy béarnaise sauce, seared red snapper with a leek ragout, lavender crème brûlée and chocolate soufflé grace the tables of the most sophisticated restaurants in Miami.
For the average college student, the thought of a gourmet dinner is like experiencing a decadent food pornography that only happens a couple of times a year. Now, students have the opportunity to experience their own food orgasm from August to September, as the city of Miami is celebrating Miami Spice.
Miami Spice is the annual event that celebrates restaurants and their distinct flavors.
The appetizing event is organized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and the restaurants are grouped into four districts. The program offers three-course, fixed-price meals at some of Miami’s best restaurants in South Beach, Midtown, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.
This year is the event’s 10th anniversary and will be more exciting than ever with 142 restaurants participating, according to Jennifer Diaz, associate vice president of media relations and promotions for the bureau.
“Miami Spice is an excellent opportunity to venture out and explore a new culinary experience with minimal risk because of the discounted rate,” Diaz said. “The program makes a foodie out of anyone.”
Senior Sabrina Ginete went to El Gran Inka in Brickell last week with friends for dinner. She said the menu was amazing.
“It’s nice for an average college student, who’s a little broke, to experience fine dining,” Ginette said.
The Miami Spice menu is only $22 for lunch and $35 for dinner, perfect for students with tight budgets. A word of caution – not all restaurants participate for both meals or include weekends. Explore the extensive website of restaurants and menus to find what your taste buds are craving before you go.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to try different restaurants,” senior Asha Agrawal said. “Since they have the restaurant list, I’m more likely to try a restaurant I wouldn’t have known about.”
With over 100 restaurants participating this year, from steak houses to sushi restaurants to tapas bars, The Miami Hurricane found some sure bets for a great meal.
The Royal at the Raleigh Hotel- The Royal serves up American fare with elegant presentation. Miami Spice diners can sample duck breast with morels while overlooking the Raleigh’s baroque pool. The Royal is participating weekdays for lunch. The special dinner menu is available Sunday through Thursday.
1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-612-1163
Mercadito Midtown- Mercadito’s Miami Spice menu is perfect for groups. Diners choose different tacos, ceviches, guacamole and desserts for the table while those over 21 sip an included cocktail. The lunch and dinner menus are the same, so go midday for ultimate savings. The Miami Spice menu is available weekdays for lunch and every day for dinner.
3252 NE 1st Ave., Midtown. 786-369-0430
Red Koi Thai and Sushi Lounge- Red Koi is located on Miracle Mile and is known for its Asian fusion and specialty sushi rolls. Miami Spice diners can choose from lemongrass chicken and short ribs of the Havana roll for their main course. The menu is available for lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday.
317 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-446-2690
Shula’s 347 Grill- This restaurant is perfect for freshman since it’s walking distance from campus. A 12-ounce flatiron steak with chimichurri is on the menu along with grilled salmon and tenderloin tips; dessert includes cheesecake or key lime pie. The Miami Spice menu is available for both lunch and dinner weekdays.
6901 Red Road, Coral Gables. 305-665-9661