Time is of the essence. Today is the last day of Miami Spice for 2014. The Miami Dining Examiner is issuing a report card for the second semester (September). She don’t know much about history, but she do know her food. Or, as in art, at least she knows what she likes.
La Mar The Miami Dining Examiner loved everything about this ocean-inspired oasis at the Mandarin Oriental. The service was fantastic, the atmosphere lovely and the food delicious. Especially recommended dishes: cebiche chifa, veal heart anticucho (sounds weird but was good) and the fideo macho- fresh fish of the day over squid ink pasta. The desserts were also beautiful and exquisite. Wine pairing for $10 was available for Miami Spice and valet parking free with validation, giving diners no excuse to venture to this Brazilian themed hot spot.
La Mar A+
500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131
Ana Capri While this Coral Gables Italian restaurant has a nice atmosphere and good service, the selling point for Miami Spice is the large variety of options and the huge, doggy-bag worthy portions. Try the pear and cheese stuffed pasta in gorgonzola sauce and the mammoth butter poached lobster with lemon risotto. The lava cake with ice cream was also a winner. A great deal for Miami Spice.
Ana Capri A
2530 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33134
While the Miami Dining Examiner enjoyed her meal at Caffe Vialetto, parking (across the street from Gables High) is either on the street or valet. Also, the food seems a little heavy and there was an off-putting aroma of a scented candle burning. Try the pear ravioli for an appetizer, the fish with risotto for entrée and the nutella panna cotta for dessert. Then, go home and take a nap.
Caffe Vialetto B
4019 Le Jeune Road, Coral Gables, FL 33134
The Miami Dining Examiner had heard good things about this Greek hot spot where fish is flown in daily; she was not disappointed. The fish was fresh, the interior elegant and beautiful people abounded. Miami Spice is a good time to try this very expensive Miami Beach restaurant, although the wine prices were still quite steep. Recommended dishes: cod fritters or octopus salad for appetizers, lamb chops or grilled fish for the entrée. While a doubter, the Miami Dining Examiner was a convert after one bite of the greek yogurt with honey and walnuts.
730 1st Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Long on the list of must-trys for the Miami Dining Examiner, this Bal Harbor sushi restaurant was filled with ladies who lunch. Sitting outside on a not-quite-clean navy bench near the parking lot, wasn’t quite the blissful experience one had hoped for, although the model strolling around with changing outfits was entertaining. Less entertaining were the aviator-clad teenage girls constantly taking selfies. At any rate, service was good; sake helped matters. Recommended dishes: spicy tuna crispy rice or crudo for appetizers and pulled pork tacos, wrapped in jicama slices for entrée. The rainbow roll sushi was cut a bit too thickly to easily eat and desserts were nothing to write home about.
9700 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33154
For those still jonesing for their Miami Spice fix, here’s an unexpected treat. Three restaurants in the Fontainebleau- Scarpetta, Hakkasan and Gotham Steak, are continuing Miami Spice for the month of October. As part of the Bleau goes Pink event, the restaurants will offer the prix fix menu from Sunday through Thursday in the month of October and donate a portion to the Susan G. Komen foundation.