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BY Michael Light / On August 21, 2023

 
Now that we have devoured the Michelin Starred and Michelin Bib Gourmet restaurants who are participating in Miami Spice 2023, we are moving on to another delectable category. The Michelin-Recommended restaurants.

There are twenty of these restaurants in the Greater Miami area this year, so we chose our top favorites to begin the feature. These restaurants are not only delicious and offer impeccable service with well-thought out menus, but they also are sort of staples in our community.

Next week, we will delve into some of the newcomers who have both made the Michelin-Recommended list and are participating in Miami Spice 2023.

But what does it mean to be Michelin Recommended? – Many may ask. According to the Michelin Guide, to be Michelin Recommended is this:

“A restaurant in the Recommended selection is ths sign of a chef using quality ingredients that are well-cooked; simply a good meal. It means that the inspectors have found the food to be above average, but not quite at star or Bib level,” said Michael Ellis, who is the International Director of the Michelin Guide Books.

So, by visiting any of these locations, you are pretty much guaranteed an amazing meal. Here we go!

By clicking on the name of any of these restaurants, you will be directed to their Miami Spice page, which details their prix-fixe menu with options, prices, days available as well as their website and a link to their OpenTable account in order to make reservations.

Joe's Stone Crab Miami Beach For Miami Spice
Image credit: Joe’s Stone Crab

Joe’s Stone Crab – 11 Washington Avenue (South of Fifth)

To start off the list, we have to respect Joe’s Stone Crab. It is an iconic Miami Beach staple. It was established in 1913, before Miami Beach even had paved roads. Located on the corner of South Pointe Drive and Washington Avenue, what started as a small, beachy eatery now takes up much of the block.

The menu features the requisite fresh stone crabs, but also amazing steaks that are Florida-sourced as well as more affordable options. If you’re in a hurry, you can also stop off at Joe’s Takeaway next door.

Joes Stone Crab has also been a staple on the Miami Spice list since its inception.

For Miami Spice 2023, they have a $35 lunch menu Friday through Sunday as well as both price tiers ($45 and $60) for dinner every Wednesday through Sunday evenings.

Since their menu is so vast, I’ll touch on some of my personal favorites. For starters, you could upgrade any meal with a $20 Joe’s Mule, their take on a Moscow Mule cocktail that is served in a commemorative Joe’s Stone Crab copper mug.

On the starters, I tend to choose the copped salad. It has so many ingredients and a rich depth in flavor with an array of textures. Plus it is not overly heavy, so you can be prepared for something rich and/or heavy for your main course.

For the main course, you have to remember that the fried chicken was endorsed by the “Queen of Southern Cooking” herself, Paula Deen. It is to die for. There are also stone crabs for a slight upgrade and you obviously can’t go wrong with that. In the fish selections, the Jumbo Crab Cakes are always delicious and the 8oz Miso Cod has a very rich taste.

The desserts are classics for Joe’s. The key lime pie tends to be the most popular, as it matches well with Florida things like stone crab, but the apple pie is a southern classic and is layered with warm spiced apples that match well with the fried chicken.

Los Fuegos At Faeana Hotel Miami Beach For Miami Spice
Image Credit: Los Fuegos

Los Fuegos at Faena Miami Beach – 3201 Collins Avenue

Next we’ll head up to 32nd and Collins in the Faena District to visit Los Fuegos where Chef Francis Mallman is passionate about South American live-fire cooking. Set to the backdrop of the lush Faena Hotel or poolside, you’ll enjoy a meal that the Michelin inspectors described as “Theatrical”.

From Monday through Friday, they are offering a $35 lunch menu and Sunday through Thursday there is a $60 dinner menu at Los Fuegos.

The appetizers are served in a way that everyone at the table could order one, then share so that everyone tries a bit. The braised lamb empanadas have a deep flavor, wild salmon tartare is served with potato skins, roasted garlic and anchovy oil and, yes. This man even wood-fired romaine lettuce for a very interesting thing to try and write home about!

On the lunch menu, the Organic Airline Chicken Breast is refreshing with a lemon butter caper sauce, or the Wood Fired Wild Salmon. For dinner, it is difficult to go to an Argentine restaurant and not have a steak, so the Milanesa Napoltana would be hard to pass over but the Mediterranean Branzino also looks to have a deep flavor with a refreshing lemon butter caper sauce. If you are vegetarian, the Spinach, Ricotta and Mascarpone Crepe is definitely worthwhile.

The desserts are a selection of thoughtfully paired sorbets or ice cream. The Chocolate Crumble incorporates pineapple, which is something I’ve never thought to do but would be interested to try. The Pie De Limon and Strawberry Passion Fruit Gratin are both exotically paired and feel refreshing.

Mignonette Downtown Miami For Miami Spice
Image Credit: Mignonette Downtown Miami

Mignonette Seafood and Oyster Bar – 210 NE 18th Street Downtown Miami

In Downtown Miami, Mignonette has been a staple for many years now. It is located in a 1930’s gas station that is now a chic eatery where you can pull up in a dinner jacket or flip flops and fit in just fine. It is very popular with the locals from all the surrounding neighborhoods.

Their Miami Spice 2023 menu is a $60 dinner any night of the week and is as simple as their dress code. You can choose from any one of their appetizers, entrees and desserts from the menu. There are a few exceptions such as seafood towers, caviar and whole fish, but it is very straight forward.

I love raw oysters, so that is my obvious go-to on their appetizer menu but there are other options such as Casino Clams that are served in bacon broth, Charred Octopus and Lobster Deviled Eggs that are all winners. The list of options is really more extensive at Mignonette than at most any restaurant we’ve seen so far.

On the dinner menu, the Crispy Skin Snapper is amazing as are the Diver Scallops. I’ve found that many restaurants don’t do scallops any justice but this is not the case at Mignonette.

For dessert, there are four options. The key lime pie is topped with berries and whipped cream, an obvious staple for Florida. They also have a fudgy chocolate cake served with a glass of cold milk, a rich carrot cake smothered in caramel pomegranate molasses or heath bar butterscotch bread pudding that interestingly comes with cayenne whipped cream. Any of these would be something to try and enjoy.

Hakkasan Miami Beach For Miami Spice
Image Credit: Hakkasan Miami Beach

Hakkasan – 4441 Collins Avenue Miami Beach

Existing on the Michelin lists since 2003 and located within the famed Fontainebleau Hotel at 4441 Collins Avenue, Hakkasan features Chef Loo’s inspired and innovative Cantonese selections. Visiting the Fontainebleau for any reason is another activity that all Miamians do at some point during their tenure in the 305, and Hakkasan is a great reason to do so.

For Miami Spice 2023, Chef Kenny Loo (his real name is Chef Jian Heng Loo, but everyone calls him Kenny so we will here as well) is offering Sunday brunch for $35 or a $60 dinner service Sunday through Thursday. This is a very popular brunch spot, by the way for tourists and locals alike.

Dim sum baskets are offered on the appetizer menu, and I don’t know many people who dislike dim sum but even those people would likely enjoy these. They have a complex flavor that is very savory and delicious. On the dinner menu he also offers Jasmine Tea Beef Short Ribs, which are amazing as well and stays straight on the theme of innovative Cantonese classics.

Of the main courses, you choose one protein and one side or vegetable. Sticking to theme, I really enjoy the Sweet and Sour Prawn with a side of Baby Pak Choi or the Peking Duck. Other stars of the show are the Crispy Orange Chicken and the Charcoal Grilled Honey Chilean Sea Bass.

Getting to dessert you have Mandarin and Vanilla, which is an interesting and refreshing gelato that has lemongrass and vanilla with orange segments. Alternatively there is the Yuzu Smore, an interesting  raspberry marshmallow, yuzu ice cream, raspberry gel, cashew crumble and hot milk chocolate sauce.

Le Zoo Bal Harbour Shops For Miami Spice
Image Credit: Le Zoo Bal Harbour Shops

Le Zoo Restaurant – 9700 Collins Avenue Bal Harbour Shops

After a long afternoon of shopping at Bal Harbour Shops at 9700 Collins Avenue, you can stop by space #135 at the main entrance and enjoy a beautiful French Brasserie overseen by Chef Stephen Starr. This is Le Zoo Restaurant. The menu is reminiscent of the cafes in Paris and the shores of St. Tropez, nestled under the trees and in an alfresco atmosphere. It is a great place to meet the girls to catch up, or to impress a date.

There are both lunch and dinner options, for $30 and $60 respectively.

The Cucumber Soup is a refreshing choice as an appetizer either for lunch or dinner. Alternatively at lunch, you are offered Salmon Tartare and at dinner, Steak Tartare. They also have Escargot or Pate de Campagna which are both very rich.

For lunch, you could choose between the white wine Moules Frites, St. Tropez-styled Grilled Salmon or a Steak Tartare. At dinner, the Trout Amadene would be my choice, followed by the Coq Au Vin, which is red wine braised chicken. There is also Pates a L’Encre de Calmar, which is squid ink pasta with fresh crab and calamari.

On the dessert menu, there is a classic Creme Brulee, ice cream or Pot du Creme au Chocolate (chocolate mousse).

MILA Restaurant South Beach For Miami Spice
Image Credit: MILA Restaurant South Beach

MILA Restaurant – 1636 Meridian Rooftop South Beach

The only rooftop option on our list is MILA Restaurant on South Beach. Still a relative newcomer to Miami Beach, the combination of MILA’s flamboyant venue, propensity of attracting celebrities (JBalvin, Jared Leto, Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly to name a few), and their inspired Japanese/Mediterranean fusion fare has jetted it to the top of the Miami Beach food chain.

It is important to note that MILA does not accept walk-ins. You must call them at 786-706-0744 to reserve your spot.

Now, on with what they have for their $60 Miami Spice 2023 dinner. I have mentioned before that I am a slave to a Mediterranean Greek Salad, so I will make a beeline to their Mila Greek Salad for my starter. Other offerings that also look appetizing are the Hirame Crudo, which would be amazing and refreshing on a rooftop while you feel the Miami Beach air, or the Fried Eggplant and Zucchini Chips that come with a very interesting tzatziki shiso.

The entrees start with a vegetarian option, the Mushroom Hotpot with sticky rice. They also have Mediterrasian Whole Roasted Young Chicken, which seems interesting. My choice would likely be the Seared Salmon or Lobster Dynamite glazed in sake soy. They also have a beef tenderloin option.

To wrap it up, there are three options that are difficult to choose from, so I recommend all three to share. The Molten Chocolate Lava Cake is always a good choice, Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut Sorbet is refreshing and cool, but they have another offering. It is called a Coconut Sphere with mango-vanilla, passion fruit coulis and purple shiso. I do not know what it is, but it seems very delightful so I would order it just to be adventurous.

Miami Spice is one of the most anticipated Miami promotions of the year each year. It is something the locals look forward to and the restaurants depend upon in order to keep their staff happy and busy and the Miami economy turning during low season. We hope that you will make it out to try at least one of these options this year.

Featured Image Credit: Faena Hotel Miami Beach
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