Miami Spice serves up high-end meals at bargained prices

Hallee Meltzer // Assistant Photo Editor

Miami is a food lover’s paradise, but sampling high-end cuisine can put a strain on the college foodie’s wallet. Until the end of September, though, you can fill your belly without starving your bank account, thanks to Miami Spice.

Miami Spice is an annual promotion sponsored by the Greater Miami Conventions & Visitors Bureau, which also offers special monthly deals on attractions including two for one admissions in October, shopping savings in March and sports discounts in April, among others.

Over 100 restaurants from all around the region offer $23 lunch and $39 dinner prix fixe menus to promote Miami’s culinary culture. These multi-course meals often feature exclusive dishes conceived just for the event, and are almost always without fail a better bargain than visiting at any other time of year.

With so many participating establishments, the range of cuisines is nearly limitless. Some good options close to campus are Bulla Gastrobar, which specializes in Spanish tapas, Ortanique, a Caribbean bistro whose menu changes daily and Swine, a meat-lover’s paradise, all on Miracle Mile.

Sushi aficionados are well-acquainted with the hefty price-tag of their preferred dish, but Miami Spice provides them with a more affordable meal. Sawa and Crave in Merrick Park, as well as SUSHISAMBA on Miracle Mile, are all participating and offering both traditional and fusion spins on the classic Japanese roll.

Miami Spice is also a great opportunity to impress a date without breaking the bank. Both Red Fish Grill on Biscayne Bay and The Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne are known for their romantic atmospheres and breathtaking views.

Vegetarians take heed: you’ll need to dig to find options that cater to your needs. However, there are quality options out there, including db Bistro Moderne, a NYC import that offers a sweet and sour eggplant main, and Icebox Café in Miami Beach, which serves a vegetable ravioli. Both feature exceptional dessert choices as a sweet ending to the meal.

Miami is home to a surprising number of restaurants that have been featured on national television, and Miami Spice provides an opportunity to experience these famous spots. Morimoto of “Iron Chef” fame is participating (with incidentally one of the best bargains available), as well as The Federal, which has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Tongue & Cheek, a competitor on Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant,” also offers a special menu, including one of the few weekend brunch options available.

It’s impossible to get more than a small taste of all Miami Spice has to offer in two short months. Even for seasoned locals, there’s plenty to savor and enjoy.