Whenever I return from a ‘business’ trip – after all, working as a travel writer for tripatlas.com/new is hard work – I’m always asked: “would you go back?” My answer to this question is usually the gauge of whether the destination was worth the trip.
For Miami, it’s a definitive, excited and elated “Yes!”
A weekend jaunt to Miami doesn’t get any better than the one I had: trying out some of the best restaurants and spas that Miami has to offer. It doesn’t get any more delicious, tastier or sensually stimulating than Miami. I was spoiled to no end and loved every second of it.
Get spoiled in Miami by tripatlas.com/new! Win a Culinary + Spa Trip to Miami from tripatlas.com/new for July or August 2009 by entering our Express Yourself in Miami Contest.
Discover the Best of Miami Spice & Miami Restaurants
The best time to visit to take in Miami’s food scene at its best is in August during Miami Spice. I quickly discovered that Miami Spice is wildly popular among locals and travellers and that there’s no shortage of people willing to offer their recommendations and favourite restaurants to dine in Miami.
During Miami Spice, top restaurants offer prix fixe menus for $25-50/person without wine – amazing prices for some of these normally high-end fine dining establishments. Here are some of tripatlas.com/new’s Top Picks for your Miami Spice getaway!
Azul (500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami) at Miami’s only 5-star hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, is recognized by Gourmet Magazine and Bon Appétit as one of Miami’s best. Chef Clay Conley creates Mediterranean and Asian-inspired dishes that never fail to impress like the Japanese hamachi tiradito, seared jumbo sea scallops and spring pea risotto. Finish off with the goat cheese wontons for dessert, a pleasant surprise. Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt earns her reputation by pairing Conley’s dishes harmoniously with her wine selections – and by picking a Prum spatlese and Pommard pinot noir, she captured my heart. Go to www.mandarinoriental.com for more.
Fontana & Palme D’Or (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables) need no introduction in Miami. As two of Miami’s finest dining establishments, both are located at the Biltmore Hotel, the choice getaway for the world’s most prestigious politicians, royalty and celebs. The Palme D’Or is notaly known as Miami’s finest French fine dining experience with Chef Ruiz who offers dishes like a caramelized halibut filet with salted butter and vegetable ragout. For something more casual yet just as exquisite, Fontana Restaurant offers rustic Italian-inspired cuisine set on Miami’s most romantic terrace in the Biltmore Hotel’s outdoor fountain courtyard. Be sure to try the Sunday Champagne Brunch for an experience like no other. Go to www.biltmorehotel.com for more.
Barolo Ristorante (444 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) is a great spot for anyone spending the day in Southbeach, looking to whet their appetite with some creative Italian cuisine. Start with the open-face lamb ravioli or the giant beef carpaccio salad or the but be sure to get the ricotta-filled tortellini with smoked pancetta, raisins and julienne asparagus in a white sauce. Fun, playful and a great place to see and be seen. Go to www.barolomiami.com for more.
OLA (1745 James Ave., Miami Beach) in Miami Beach offers cuisine “of Latin America” by Chef Douglas Rodriguez. His vision for creative new Latin Cuisine brings seven mojito options to the menu and nine ceviches like the hamachi Nikkel ceviche that will excite the palette and please the eyes. Fun dishes like the “Millionaire Tacos” made with king crab, the mahi encrusted with green plantains and sugar cane tuna with crispy pork are just a taste of the innovative, awakening and wonderful food coming out of OLA. Go to www.olamiami.com for more.
Badrutt’s Place (1250 South Miami Ave., Miami) offers the sophistication of European lounges in the heart of the Brickell, just steps away from Mary Brickell village. Endless options of mojitos, cocktails, fine wine, cognac and champagne fill the menu and are perfect for those looking for a fun and fashionable evening on the town for dinner, drinks and dancing. Chef Richard Vaughan brings a southern-flair to dishes from all over the world. For something new and unique, try the Pazza (a pan-fried pasta crust, topped like a pizza) or the specials for the day. Desserts are worth the splurge! Go to www.badrutts-place.com for more.
Other Miami Spice Recommendations:
- China Grill (404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach)
- DeVito South Beach (150 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach)
- Emeril’s, Miami Beach (1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach)
- Smith & Wollensky (1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach)
- Tantra Restaurant & Lounge (1445 Pennsylvania Ave, Miami)
- North One 10 (11052 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami)
Don’t forget to enter tripatlas.com/new’s Express Yourself in Miami Contest to WIN a trip for 2 to Miami in July or August!