5 Latin Restaurants to Check Out During Miami Spice 2014

Read more

It’s no secret that Miami really likes things flashy, glitzy and always over the top. Mediocrity does not stand a chance, so when the time for restaurant weeks in NYC and L.A. started rolling around, Miami naturally stepped it up a notch. Miami Spice was South Florida’s culinary answer, and it’s not only ONE week of discounted dishes at the best restaurants in the city, but TWO months.

From August 1 through September 30, nearly 200 restaurants in Miami and Miami Beach have joined forces to offer special menus, ranging from $23 for 3 course lunches and $39 for 3 course dinners.

But for a city with a cuisine so strongly embedded with Latin influences and flavors, we’ve seen surprisingly few Latin cuisine recommendations make it onto Where to Eat lists.  Which is why we picked some of the restaurants we feel are serving the best takes on Latin cuisine (or offering the best deals) — take a look and buen provecho!

For the Fancy Factor

1701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Normally, this is a spot for people who have money to burn (think: $15 for ONE empanada…) Housed in the SLS Miami Beach hotel, this restaurant by culinary star José Andrés serves a modern reimagining of Spanish cuisine. Who’s Andrés? He made Time’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world for running his culinary empire combined with altruistic efforts; he feeds the homeless as well as rich people in D.C., Vegas, and the 90210. If you want to feel like a Real Housewife of Miami for a day — or better yet, Mama Elsa — Miami Spice is your chance to do it.

For the Drink Specials

1414 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131

By now, this Argentine eatery is an old standby, known for its empanadas (tender chicken or spinach and cheese), simple grilled meats (luscious grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce), and the Ensalada Novecento (grilled skirt steak, french fries, and baby mixed greens). You may have already tried the menu, but during this year’s Miami Spice they’ll be offering some pretty good drink specials: Happy Hour 2×1 drinks from 4pm -7pm (and starting at noon on Fridays!), as well as Wine Tuesdays, which offer 50% select bottles.

For the Buzz

850 Commerce St., Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Miami outpost of Mexico City hotspot Porfirio just opened last month, and has gotten lots of hype for its high-end take on Mexican cuisine (and its extensive menu of mezcal cocktails). The digs aren’t too bad either — the dining room looks like a cathedral, with its lofted ceilings and outdoor terrace. Miami Spice will be a chance for them to show what they can do as the new kids on the block.

For the Seafood

3067 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove, FL 33133

There’s a reason this place took home Miami New Times’ “Best Ceviche of 2013” distinction. The Coconut Grove restaurant offers a Pan-Latin menu, but the main reason to come is for their Peruvian-inspired seafood dishes — including an array of ceviches served in large ceramic spoons.

Because We Couldn’t Leave Cuban Food Off This List

101 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL 33139

Brought to you from the “Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine” Douglas Rodriguez, this oceanfront contemporary Cuban establishment has a menu packed with upscale comfort food options (croquetas, medianoche sandwiches, bacalao fritters, etc.).