Miami Spice Newcomers to Try Post Hurricane Irma

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

In the wake of Irma, where ruble dresses the streets and electricity serves as currency, Miami is gallantly finding its way back to normalcy; and we have never been hungrier.

As hurricane snacks dwindle and stale, locals are in search of a stiff drink, good meal and strong AC. Thankfully, Miami Spice offers just that.

Miami Spice is the coveted sampler platter of South Florida’s restaurant year. Every August and September, hundreds of top-ranked eateries slash their prices and foodies flock to their tables like it’s Black Friday. Prix-fixe menus crafted by world-recognized chefs— in other words, a tableau of signature dishes that will cure your Irma blues.

Being the new kid on the block is never easy, and for these Miami Spice newcomers Irma has definitely served as the proverbial bully, cutting their premiere short. Not to fret, Miami Spice has been extended till the end of October, plenty of time to welcome these newbies to your Miami Spice round-up.

Please note that some menu offerings may have changed subject to the storm.

Tacology

This place offers much more than just tacos. Chef Santiago Gomez offers a mercado or “station” dining style, which employs preciseness and expertise for every dish. To start choose the octopus ceviche, topped with pico de gallo or the mini guacamole for the less adventurous. For your entree, I highly recommend the lobster tacos, butter poached and topped with black beans and rich chipotle sauce. The special rib eye tacos are also notable. They are crested with spicy chorizo, crispy chicharron and salsa. The fattiness of the chorizo and crunch of the chicharron are a delightful union for the senses. Wrap-up your evening with the creamy, cinnamon-rich arroz con leche, this rice pudding is the perfect remedy to soothe all that self-inflicted pain from Tacology’s many hot sauces.

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Phuc Yea

This place offers a unique marriage of Vietnamese and Cajun spices; gristle-rich flavors juxtaposed to Vietnamese crispness. Although Phuc Yea is a newcomer to Miami Spice, owners Cesar Zapata and Aniece Meinhold are veteran Spice purveyors with their former eatery The Federal. Phuc Yea’s premiere offering includes a thorough collection of appetizers like country-fried oysters, jelly fish crudo and crispy imperial roll. The menu continues to impress with Cola confit duck, lemongrass chicken, peppercorn churrasco and vegetable curry. The fun continues with your choice of fried rice, chilled spicy beef noodles or mangoes and cukes. Phuc Yea’s hearty selections will leave you, well… saying Phuc Yea!

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Photo Courtesy Of Elena Vivas

Pinch Kitchen

El Portal’s hidden gem. The off-beat kitchen that houses a clean menu of locally sourced produce and sustainable proteins kicks off the season with an underground, off-spice menu. Pinch’s prix-fixe menu includes their “K-town Guac”, a creamy guacamole blended with kimchi and topped with bulgogi. Options for entrees include their signature Fideua, an aromatic pasta permeated with cockles and fish, a hearty and rustic dish perfect for sharing. Although the scallops are not included in their prix-fixe offering they are worth sharing; tender morsels blanketed with fragrant beef sauce beneath cauliflower puree. Chefs John Gallo and Rene Reyes’ food truly displays the farm-rich, free-spirit that Pinch embodies, and best of all, their natural wines won’t give you a hangover. Cheers to that!

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELENA VIVAS

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELENA VIVAS

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELENA VIVAS

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELENA VIVAS

Gili’s Beach Club

Lastly, this restaurant is for the hands-on diner who doesn’t mind doing some of the work. The restaurant offers a lava stone experience where entrees are delivered on hot stones allowing patrons to cook their dishes to their likeness. Offerings include skirt steak, organic chicken and jumbo shrimp, accompanied by paella style rice, steak fries or chorizo potato salad, along with an assortment of sauces. Conclude your unique evening with house-made key lime pie or a sinful snickers cake. This beachside eatery is the perfect escape post Irma.

Thank you to all the local restaurants offering post-Irma deals and refuge for Miamians. We will rebuild one bite at a time!

Zuuk Mediterranean Brings Bold Flavorful Bowls Paired with Addicting Made-in-House Dips to Brickell

Zuuk Mediterranean Brings Bold Flavorful Bowls Paired with Addicting Made-in-House Dips to Brickell

Miami is the ultimate melting pot, where different types of people and cultures blend together as one.

This is why oversees concepts often make their debut in the U.S. by expanding first in this especially culturally diverse city.

But local restaurateurs are also gaining traction in the market with concepts that appeal to adventurous foodies looking for ethnic tastes.

The team that brought My Ceviche, a south American fusion seafood-focused fast casual concept with six stores in the Miami area, decided to introduce a new fast casual to the Miami market.

Enter Zuuk Mediterranean.

The first store in Brickell opened in April and serves Mediterranean-inspired items. This style of food appeals to today’s diners (millennials, in particular) because it offers an array of flavorful healthy choices.

Like My Ceviche, Zuuk has create-your-own bowls and pita wraps, along with other nutritious offerings like fresh-pressed juices and Boylan Bottled soda. The restaurant also prides itself on not using a fryer to prepare any of the food offerings.

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Learn How to Make Nikki Beach's Most Popular Cocktail for #NationalRumDay

In honor of National Rum Day, the luxury beach club Nikki Beach is offering their most popular cocktail for half off.

Nikki Beach Daybeds

Yes. You guessed it.

It’s the mojito. The cocktail will be available all-day for just $7.

Nikki Beach Mojito

But what’s a mojito without a lively atmosphere?

This popular Miami Beach destination combines the elements of music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art into one. With its Southern French style, iconic white day beds, and lively DJs and dancers, Nikki Beach is sure to surpass expectations.

In case you’re not in Miami, but would still like to enjoy a Nikki-Beach style mojito, here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • Mint
  • Sugar
  • Lime
  • Rum
  • Club Soda

Instructions:

  • Muddle the mint, sugar and lime together
  • Rum and ice are then added and shaken
  • Top your drink with club soda and fresh mint leaves

Cheers!

#HappyNationalRumDay

Stadiums Are Amping-Up their #FoodGame

Stadiums Are Amping-Up their #FoodGame

In some ways, once football season begins, the stadium becomes the second home of a dedicated football fan. Traditionally, it’s a place where family and friends gather together to cheer on their favorite team to victory, but some would argue that good food and beverage make up a big component of a positive game-day experience as it is watching the home team win.

As consumers become increasingly immersed into food culture they are demanding better quality food and diverse choices throughout the restaurant industry— football concession stands are no different and feel the same pressures from fans.

At the Hard Rock Stadium, choices beyond hot dogs, burgers, and fries are available in multiple floor levels with local restaurants and recognized chefs flocking over to Miami Gardens to showcase their selections.

However, because Miami is so diverse, it only makes sense that transplant concepts, like Fuku— a fast-casual concept featuring spicy fried chicken from New York’s popular Momofuku Group — would also be featured at the stadium.


Fuku at Hard Rock Stadium is celebrity chef David Chang’s first venture into South Florida, but it’s the third time he opens one of his fast casual concepts inside an establishment that features sporting events (Fuku can also be found inside Citi Field stadium and Madison Square Gardens arena in New York).

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Dade Night Dining: The Most Romantic Restaurants to Visit in Miami

Dade Night Dining: The Most Romantic Restaurants to Visit in Miami

Summer date nights shouldn’t conform to the four corners of a $39 prix fixe menu; especially when Miami has a plethora of restaurants that serve affordable food– with a complementary side of romance. 

Isn’t there nothing more disappointing than taking your date to a “froufrou” steakhouse only to discover you’ll have to choose between chicken or fish. Save the embarrassment and your Amex by trying one of these eateries that are sure to set the mood. 

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Miami Spice is Back and Here Are the Restaurants on the Foodable Top 25 List That Are Participating

It’s summertime and the livin' is easy in South Florida, except for the fact that it’s blazingly hot and humid. Fortunately, August isn’t only one of the hottest months of the year in terms of the weather. It also happens to be one of the hottest months for the restaurant scene.

Why is that? It’s because Miami Spice begins August 1st!

This is a two month-long restaurant promotion, where the best restaurants in the city offer three-course meals at significantly reduced prices. Lunch or brunch is about $23 and dinner is $39.

It’s definitely a great time to try those pricier restaurants that you have never been to and have been dying to try.

Not to mention, restaurants in downtown Miami’s city aren’t the only ones participating. Many restaurants in different Dade county cities, including north Miami, Aventura, Doral, Coral Gables, and much more are serving Miami Spice menus.

Not sure which restaurants to visit? Well, we are here to help! 

Foodable’s Miami Top 25 Restaurants ranking, pulled from Foodable Labs social data, highlights the local gems that local foodies can’t get enough of. Through Social Restaurant Visits, we are able to track which restaurants are getting the most social traction and foot traffic. 

For example, Yardbird saw the highest daily average of SRVs at 25.6 and had 793.6 SRVs total for the month of July. We will be measuring how the SRVs fluctuate during the Miami Spice months. 

Several others Miami Top 25 restaurants that continue to land on our list are participating in Miami Spice! Check out the map below to see the many restaurants that have made it on our coveted Top 25 ranking.

We also decided to revisit the restaurants that we have delicious footage from and to take a look at some of the best restaurants heating things up and getting (Miami) spicy during August and September.

La Mar by Gaston Acurio 

This waterfront restaurant known for its Peruvian fare with Andean and Asian flavors landed at No. 1 on our last Miami Top 25 Restaurant ranking. Located at the chic Mandarin Oriental in Brickell, the restaurant will be serving a Miami Spice lunch menu from Monday to Saturday and a Miami Spice dinner menu from Monday to Thursday.

Some of the lunch menu items include the Tiradito Bachiche, an appetizer featuring scallops in 22-month aged parmesan cheese with leche de tigre, basil oil, garlic chips and fake fish skin and the Cachetes de Ternera, an entrée with veal cheeks, aji panca, chicha morada sauce, lima beans, mushrooms, and roasted cippolini onions. The dessert is the Paleta de Lucuma, which is ice cream made with “Peruvian’s favorite fruit.”

As for the dinner menu, it has the same items as the lunch items mentioned, but diners also have two options not on the lunch time menu.

There’s the Paiche Charapa an appetizer with amazon anticuchera, banana tacacho (traditional banana garnish from the Peruvian amazon), smoked bacon, sachaculantro chutney and the Picante de Mariscos entrée, which is a sea food stew with creamy spicy aji amarillo, golden potatoes, botija olives, and quail egg. The dinner Miami Spice menu also has a different dessert option, the La Pina, which is coconut ice cream with dulce de leche foam, ginger jelly and orange sauce.

27 Restaurant & Bar

If you are looking to indulge in some elevated American fare, the No. 2 Top 25 Miami eatery, 27 Restaurant & Bar is also participating in the Miami Spice program.

Located at the hip Freehand, this eatery is only serving a Miami Spice dinner menu that is available from Monday to Thursday and also on Sunday.

The current posted Miami Spice menu gives you a choice of one of the three appetizer options, one of the three entrée options, and one of the three dessert options.

To give you a taste of the menu, you can pick the Lamb Ribs appetizer, which is a Denver Co Lamb, with pomegranate molasses, and pickled cauliflower. For an entrée, you can get the Daily Catch of the day with coconut-curry broth, ancient grains, and avocado. Then to finish the meal off, there is a delicious warm brownie as a dessert option.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Arguably one of the best Miami restaurants in town, this Top 25 Miami Restaurant list veteran, is another American eatery serving a Miami Spice Menu through September 30.

Chef, owner and James Beard Award winner Michael Schwartz has created a menu made up of locally sourced comfort food and unforgettable desserts. The menu also changes daily and the restaurant hasn’t announced its Miami Spice menu, probably because it will likely change several times.

So if you are looking to be surprised and to get some drool-worthy food porn pics, Michael’s Genuine is the place. Also, there is an impressive Happy Hour menu available from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Bar with bar snacks, oysters, cocktails and wine.

The Forge

Another Top 25 Miami Restaurant veteran, The Forge is a swanky restaurant serving upscale New American farm-to-table fare. Its executive chef Julia Doyne has created a 65-item menu and some of the items have made its way on the Miami Spice menu.

The Forge has only a Miami Spice dinner menu, but it’s available every day of the week. Some of the options include the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, an appetizer with goat cheese and green asparagus. Diners can also pick from entrees like the Canadian Salmon with lemon potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, topped with a smoked paprika vinaigrette, or the Petite Filet Mignon with bbq rub, collard greens, smashed red bliss potatoes, and smoky jus, or the King Crab Risotto with summer corn and black garlic.

For chocolate lovers, there’s a Grasshopper Chocolate Lava Cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream and cocoa nib soil.

Check out some of the other restaurants participating in Miami Spice below!

Want more? Since we have the inside scoop in the Miami food scene, we will be releasing more data following the Miami Spice program. Stay tuned for details about which Miami Spice restaurants got the most social traction during August and September. 

Make the Most of Your Sunday Funday with Mina’s Mediterraneo's Brunch

Make the Most of Your Sunday Funday with Mina’s Mediterraneo's Brunch

Brunch has become weekend sacrament and the hallmark of our Sunday Fundays.

However, determining where to “brunch” is often passionately debated within our group chats and text message exchanges. One must not only please the palate with unique vittles, but also maintain an endless stream of mimosas.

For those who seek diversity with their side of bacon, Mina’s Mediterraneo is the brunch you’ve been hunting for.

This eclectic eatery located in Miami’s upper eastside serves a medley of Mediterranean cuisine with novel combinations of Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Italian, French and Turkish flavors.

The hearty dishes are representative of the owner’s heritage, which channel her grandmother’s recipes. The dining room’s open-format is reminiscent of a family room,  with that nostalgic comfort akin to your mother’s kitchen table.

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The Most Loved Pizza Brand MOD Pizza Expands to Florida

The Most Loved Pizza Brand MOD Pizza Expands to Florida

 The fast casual pizza market in Florida is about to get more competitive because MOD Pizza is planning on opening four locations in 2017. Even before the first stores are opened, the brand is planning to expand in the state with more stores in 2018.

BBX Capital announced this week that the first location will be in Parkland and it is expected to open in late September at 7171 N. State Road 7.

To celebrate, the store will be donating 100% of all pizza sales on its opening day to a local non-profit.

"MOD Pizza is the original superfast pizza experience and has already established itself as a leader across the country. MOD Pizza also has a presence in the U.K.,” said Jarett Levan, president of BBX Capital in a press release. “We look forward to opening our first MOD store in Parkland and introducing the local market and the state of Florida to this great fast-casual pizza experience." 

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Miami’s First Beach Chair Food Delivery Is Here: Q&A With EazyO App Founder Brett Benza

Miami’s First Beach Chair Food Delivery Is Here: Q&A With EazyO App Founder Brett Benza

The new EazyO app is changing the way people enjoy beach days in Miami. The city’s first beach chair food delivery service is now offering customers the opportunity to order lunch, beverages and cocktails conveniently from their cellphones for delivery directly to their beach/pool chair or towel.

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Ella’s Oyster Bar: The New Pearl of Little Havana

Ella’s Oyster Bar: The New Pearl of Little Havana

Calle Ocho is a must-see in Miami, known for its cultural flavor and it’s rich in Latin American heritage. The clanking of tiles and bongos can be heard from Domino Park, all the while nearby tourists can be found with hand-muddled mojitos in their grip. The unique neighborhood is the home to an array of family-owned food markets, local artwork and the best Cuban bread under the sun.

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Izzy's Fish and Oyster Dives into Fort Myers

Izzy’s Fish and Oyster, a Miami Beach staple, is packing up its clams and digging into the west coast.  

Named after Chef and Partner Jamie DeRosa’s daughter, Izzy’s is a little piece of New England right here in the sunshine state. The menu features New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls and handmade Whoopie pies– all of which transport you to the Cape and remind you of when times were more simple. The opening of Izzy’s second location was celebrated with fanfare, but as DeRosa says opening isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

Using his experience from his past restaurant openings, DeRosa has been able to successfully navigate the waters of opening a new location. “Having the concept similar here to Miami is important, but we also have embraced the local market here with the farms and the seafood and the local Gulf shrimp that we’re bringing in and the local Gulf crab meat,” said Chef DeRosa. Knowing the difference between the Miami market and Ft. Meyers market played a big role in how they opened. For example in Miami, restaurants often keep things under wraps until the great unveiling but in Fort Myers the Izzy’s team invited neighbors and friends into see and be a part of the process.

interior of the new Izzy's Fish and Oyster
opening day food prep
opening day smiles

On opening day, it was clear to anyone watching the team work how much love went into settling into the new Ft. Meyer’s restaurant.

DeRosa's advice for anyone trying to open their own space? “Make sure you have the right space, the right location, the right team and you know, financially you’ve got to be very well prepared for delays, for construction, for permitting, and for carrying costs. But most importantly you just have to make sure you love what you do.”

Learn more about both Izzy’s Miami and Izzy’s Fort Myers and all the delicious bites they’re serving up!

BRAVA By Brad Kilgore Is Proving Art and Cuisine Go Hand In Hand

BRAVA By Brad Kilgore Is Proving Art and Cuisine Go Hand In Hand

If you’ve been paying any attention to Miami as of late, then you’ve probably noticed that the city was once known predominately for its beautiful beaches and electric nightclub scene, is quickly solidifying its reputation as a vibrant cultural mecca.   

Fortunately for restaurateurs, with great art, theater and cinema, also comes the demand exceptional cuisine. That’s why it comes as no surprise that when Brad Kilgore, Food & Wine Magazine’s 2016 Best New Chef in America, was offered the role of culinary director for a fine dining restaurant located at the center of Miami’s arts district, at the peak of his career, he jumped at the opportunity.

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