Once again for the months of August and September, Miami Spice heats up Florida’s biggest restaurant city. This year there are more than 170 restaurants participating in the program, which kicked off last week.
Miami Spice started as a way to bring in local customers to Miami restaurants after 9/11, which was one of the worst years for restaurants around the country. It was modeled after New York’s Restaurant Week, which started in 1992 to encourage people attending the Democratic National Convention to visit some of New York’s best restaurants.
Cutting fresh oregano at Milo’s. (Photo: Sharon Kenny/Special to The News-Press )
The original restaurants that participated agreed to offer a three-course prix fixe lunch for $19.92. The program was such a success that the following year the price went to $19.93 and that pricing structure continued for a number of years.
Eventually the program in New York expanded to lunch and dinner and one week stretched into four weeks. This year New York Restaurant Week is from July 21 to Aug. 15.
In the 2014 Miami Spice program participating restaurants offer a three-course lunch for $23 and dinner for $39. The restaurants have to have a good rating (according to the Zagat restaurant guide), and must be a good value for the price point. As a result, some of the very best (and most expensive restaurants) in Miami participate in Miami Spice.
Grilled shrimp at Milo’s. (Photo: Sharon Kenny/Special to The News-Press )
For food lovers this is a chance to try some of the newest and best Miami restaurants at a much more reasonable price, such as Michael Mina 74 at the Fountainebleau Hotel, or Milos, a fabulous Greek restaurant in the South Beach area, or the new Cipriani Restaurant in downtown Miami, opened last year by the Cipriani family of Harry’s Bar fame in Venice, Italy.
Each restaurant and its Miami Spice menu is posted at ilovemiamispice.com and you can reserve a table online there as well.