Miami Spice, the culinary tour de force that runs from August 1-September 30, is essentially a Restaurant Week that lasts for two whole months. Participating eateries agree to showcase their fare for the enticing set prices of $23 (lunch) and $39 (dinner). With a burgeoning restaurant scene catering to the tastes of Downtown Miami’s growing population, Miami Spice couldn’t be better timed. Getting to know the food and drink landscape of Brickell is an adventure for out-of-town visitors and new luxury condominium residents alike; these recommendations, all of which serve up tastes from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, provide just a sample of what’s on offer:
15th & Vine | 485 Brickell Avenue
The views from 15th & Vine—which is perched 15 stories above Downtown Miami—are well-matched by the food served at this luxury hotel restaurant. Sometimes a spectacular setting leads an eatery to rest on its laurels a bit, but happily this is not the case here. The views are great, and so is the food. The American fare is characterized by fusions of an array of Asian, Latin American, and even Italian flavors. The menu is seasonal, the ingredients are fresh, and the atmosphere at 15th & Vine is nothing short of enchanting.
Novecento Brickell | 1414 Brickell Avenue
With locations in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and New York City—along with our very own Brickell location—Novecento has proven itself across multiple cities and continents. The fare served at this Argentinean restaurant expands beyond the traditional steak-intensive offerings to include several lighter entrees such as sesame-crusted pan-seared tuna and Italian dishes such as crab ravioli in a creamy saffron sauce. All the dishes at Novecento are artistically plated and consistently well-prepared, offering comfort food with a dash of style.
El Cielo | 31 SE 5th Street
A meal at El Cielo is an experience unto itself. The Latin American restaurant is light years from traditional in terms of presentation and technique, but many of the flavors exhibited here stem from the Colombian roots of Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos. Influenced by science and a practitioner of molecular gastronomy, Barrientos prepares his food in innovative ways so El Cielo patrons experience the cuisine through all the senses. Each dish is a work of art, so much so that a momentary (but easily overcome) hesitation to disrupt a dish’s beauty is a common experience.
Menus are broken down into small selections, with each meal involving a number of different courses designed to dovetail seamlessly with one another. If you’re in the mood for something different, intriguing, and delicious, don’t miss El Cielo.
Coya Miami | 999 Brickell Avenue
Brickell Flatiron developer Ugo Colombo recently chose a few of his all-time favorite downtown Miami eateries for the Brickell Neighborhood Restaurant Guide. Among his top picks is Coya, a vibrant new Peruvian restaurant that’s already proven itself with two wildly successful locations in London and Dubai. As the third outpost, Coya Miami continues along the lines of its predecessors while opting for a decidedly traditional Latin American aesthetic to set the tone—its warm atmosphere provides the ideal frame for the fare it serves. Although the interior is gorgeous, the food at Coya is still the star, as dishes are meticulously and passionately prepared with vibrant flavors a-plenty. The Mediterranean sea bass and Peruvian potatoes come highly recommended, and the bespoke cocktails are one-of-a-kind and expertly made. Top to bottom, Coya hits the mark.
Zuma Miami | 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Offering a full menu of sushi, tempura, noodles, and salads, Zuma Miami was inspired by the casual eateries called “izakayas” in Japan, where food is served as small plates and shared. Bold and original flavors abound, and dishes are authentic, but not traditional. The black cod and spicy beef tenderloin get especially high marks. One of seven Zuma locations worldwide, Zuma Miami was designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu, founder of Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, who is known for using natural materials in futuristic ways. A large main dining area is complemented by a sushi counter, robata grill, private dining room, and a sake bar and lounge, and the riverside terrace is a lovely setting in which to share a savory sushi platter – described by some as “edible art” – on a temperate evening.
Cantina La Veinte | 495 Brickell Avenue
Cantina La Veinte in Miami is the first US outpost of a Mexico City-based restaurant group. Chef Santiago Gomez prepares fresh, creative takes on traditional Mexican fare. Nestled inside the Icon Brickell Tower, La Veinte’s interior is inviting and glamorous: a large black onyx bar anchors the space, an outdoor patio is delightful in nice weather, and the décor is inspired by the craftsmanship and aesthetics of Mexico. While Mexican Art Deco architecture is a key influence, bright colors and bold shapes mirror the piquant flavors of the inventive cuisine served here. The bar stocks an extensive selection of mescal and tequila, and the kitchen specializes in dishes that represent every state in Mexico, from handmade tortillas to tuna ceviche, a variety of stuffed chiles, seafood dishes like seared scallops, and savory combinations such as poblano rice with sautéed mushrooms and truffle oil.