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Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad from Executive Chef Virgile Brandel of Atrio
serves two


1/2 c salt
1 lemon
1 whole peeled onion
1 lb whole live lobster

2 peeled ripe mangos
1/4 c lime juice
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 vanilla bean

1/2 c Brassica mixed greens
1 tsp crushed candied pecans
1 large avocado, diced
1 grapefruit, cut into segments
2 Tbsp balsamic syrup
micro-greens for garnish


For the lobster: In a large pot over high heat, add about a gallon of water, salt, lemon, and onion and bring to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Place the lobster in boiling water for 6 minutes. After lobster is cooked, remove it and plunge it into bowl of ice water until chilled. Split lobster lengthwise with a knife. Carefully remove meat from the tail and claw.

For the dressing: With a mandoline, thinly slice half a mango into about 10 slices. Set aside for plating. Slice the remaining mango and place in a blender with the lime juice and sugar to create a dressing. Add extra virgin olive oil to thin. Split the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife and add the scraped vanilla bean seeds to the sauce. Blend until smooth.

To serve: In a bowl, toss mixed greens, lobster meat, candied pecans, some of the dressing, avocado, and grapefruit segments. Artistically shingle the 10 mango slices onto the serving plate. Assemble combined ingredients over mango slices. Drizzle remaining dressing and balsamic syrup on plate. Garnish with micro-greens.


One of the things we love most about Miami Spice is that it doesn’t just last for one month, it lasts for two whole months. This means that there’s still plenty of time to visit all your favorite restaurants—and some brand-new ones—and enjoy unmatched three-course Miami Spice menus at discounted prices (dinner: $39; lunch: $23).

As we try to hit up as many Spice menus as we can, here are five more of our favorites we don’t want you to miss:

1. BLT Steak & The Betsy {1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.673.0044}
Spice menu available for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Sunday-Friday.

Veal & Pork Meatballs from BLT Steak

Veal & Pork Meatballs from BLT Steak

We love that Celebrity Chef Laurent Tourondel likes to keep things interesting—his blackboard menu changes daily—and that means he’s entirely revamped his Spice menu for the month of September. For appetizers, our hands-down first choice is the Veal and Pork Meatballs. Chef Tourondel served these babies up for us during a special preview dinner last March, and we’ve been dreaming about them ever since! For entrées, it’s a toss-up between the 12oz CAB Coulotte and the Grilled Black Tiger Prawns. To round out the meal, you’ll also be able to choose your own side and melt-in-your-mouth dessert. But that’s not all! Even though it’s Miami Spice, you’ll still receive the complimentary goodies that are brought to every table at dinner: Chicken Liver Mousse with artisan bread and pickled vegetables, and the famous giant Popovers dusted with Gruyère cheese.

2. Bulla Gastrobar {2500 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables; 305.441.0107}
Spice menu available for lunch and dinner daily.

Branzino a la Vasca from Bulla Gastrobar

Branzino a la Vasca from Bulla Gastrobar

There’s nothing more disappointing than arriving at your planned restaurant of the evening, sitting down at your table, and then having your server tell you: “We’re not offering our Miami Spice menu right now.” With many establishments placing restrictions on when their specials are actually available, it’s comforting to know that at Bulla, it’s always time for Spice. Just last week, the Spanish restaurant rolled out updated Spice menus, featuring items such as the Albóndigas de Cordero (lamb meatballs), Branzino a la Vasca, and the Torrija dessert. As an added bonus, for both lunch and dinner, you can enjoy TWO glasses of any of Bulla’s popular sangrías for just $10.

3. Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room {1395 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305.503.6529}
Spice menu available for lunch and dinner daily.

Pan-Roasted Monkfish from Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room

Pan-Roasted Monkfish from Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room

For Miami Spice, the Conrad Miami’s signature restaurant is serving up some of its classic dishes and seasonal favorites. For appetizers, we recommend the crisp Waldorf Salad, followed by the Pan-Roasted Monkfish, which is served with confit garlic, Mediterranean baby vegetables, and red wine reduction. And for dessert, don’t miss out on the gooey Chocolate Coulant Cake served with salted caramel ice cream. Plus, if you’re looking for a quick power lunch, Atrio’s got you covered. Simply ask for the special “Taste of Time” menu, which guarantees (if you so choose) that you’ll be in and out in 45 minutes or less. An hourglass will be placed on your table at the start of the meal; and if your meal isn’t completed in time, your lunch is on the house.

4. Scarpetta {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 877.326.7412}
Spice menu available for dinner Sunday-Thursday.

Creamy Polenta from Scarpetta

Creamy Polenta from Scarpetta

Celebrity Chef Scott Conant’s menu at Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau is drool-worthy any time of year. But during Miami Spice, it becomes even more enticing. The restaurant recently revamped its Spice menu, giving you even more options to savor. For appetizers, we recommend the Creamy Polenta, which is served alongside a medley of truffled mushrooms (which happen to be a specialty of the restaurant this time of year). Continue the experience with the Short Rib Agnolotti Dal Pin before ending with the traditional dolce: Almond Panna Cotta. If you’re not in the mood for Italian, Fontainebleau’s three other flagship restaurants—Hakkasan, Michael Mina 74, and StripSteak—have also updated their Spice menus for the month of September.

5. The Bazaar by José Andrés {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.455.2999}
Spice menu available for dinner Sunday-Thursday.

Bao con Lechón from The Bazaar by José Andrés

Bao con Lechón from The Bazaar by José Andrés

Decisions, decisions! Hands down, one of the most extensive option-filled Spice menus out there is from the SLS South Beach’s Bazaar by José Andrés. First, you’ll choose your appetizer, or “snack,” from five different options (we recommend the Bao con Lechón—pork belly on a Chinese bun). Next, you’ll select THREE options from an expansive menu that includes several “Verduras,” seven types of “Carnes y Mariscos,” and three “Fruits and Vegetables” dishes. And don’t forget: You’ll also get to choose a dessert, so be sure to save room!

By Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor


By Sherri Balefsky | Online Editor

Easter is just around the corner, and Sunday brunch reservations are filling up quickly. Don’t wait until the last minute; book your table now with Atrio Restaurant & Wine Room {Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305.503.6529}. Enjoy sweeping views of the city and bay—some of the best views in town—from the restaurant’s chic 25th floor while relishing an expansive buffet with an array of flavorful options:

  • A prime seafood bar featuring shrimp cocktail, peel-and-eat shrimp, assorted sushi, and smoked salmon accompanied by mignonette, cocktail sauce, and mustard dip
  • Seasonal salads such as the Mango Lobster; Three Sister Green and Yellow Bean, Orzo Pasta and Minted Zucchini; Mini Tuna Salad Niçoise; and Gazpacho
  • A charcuterie and antipasto display
  • A traditional carving station featuring Roast Angus Rib-Eye with roasted duck fat potatoes and Whole Salt-Crusted Scottish Salmon with Champagne beurre blanc

And be sure to save room for the decadent dessert station, featuring carrot cake, chocolate pudding, sponge cake, ginger banana pudding, and Easter cupcakes.

Fun for the whole family, the Atrio Easter brunch offers kids fun activities such as arts and crafts and a cookie-decorating station. And who knows, maybe the Easter Bunny will make a surprise appearance.

Easter Brunch at Atrio will take place on Sunday, April 5, from 11:30am-3pm. Cost is $75 per adult and $24 per child. Children under 5 dine free. For reservations, call 305.503.6529.

Homemade Smoked Salmon with Huancaina Potatoes

This makes a fine breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Atrio cures and smokes their own salmon for this recipe, but you can also buy it at the store.

Homemade Smoked Salmon with Huancaina Potatoes from Executive Chef Virgile Brandel at Atrio

serves four to six


1 c kosher salt
1 c sugar
1 tsp chopped dill
zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon, sliced
1 fresh 12 oz Salmon fillet
2 handfuls of hickory wood chips
1/2 bunch dill and pinch of dill sprigs

1 large Yukon gold potato
1 large purple potato
1 large sweet potato
1 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
1 hardboiled egg, chopped
1 Tbsp fried capers
2 tsp olive oil

Huancaina sauce:
1-3⁄4 oz onion, diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
10-1⁄2 oz queso fresco
3 oz evaporated milk
1-1⁄2 oz aji amarillo paste
1-3⁄4 oz canola oil or grapeseed oil
1 oz saltine crackers
1 oz lemon juice


For the salmon: In a bowl, mix salt and sugar, chopped dill, lemon zest, and sliced lemon. Cut a large piece of aluminum foil and top with an equally large sheet of plastic film. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto the plastic film. Lay down the salmon skin side up, and then rub the remaining half of the mixture on the other side of the fillet. Fold plastic and aluminum over to cover, then close edges together and crimp tightly. Place wrapped fish on a sheet tray and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then unwrap the fish and rinse under running water to clean; pat dry. Smoke the salmon over smoldering wood chips in a metal tight container for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for two hours. Slice fish as desired.

For the potatoes: Cook potatoes in boiling salted water. Check with the tip of a knife to see if the potatoes are cooked. Cool down the potatoes in ice water then peel and slice 1⁄4-inch thick. Create small circular potatoes by pressing a 1-inch round cookie cutter into the potato slices. In another bowl, combine chopped Kalamata olives, chopped hardboiled egg, capers, and the olive oil. Set aside to use during the assembly.

For the sauce: In a sauté pan, cook the onions and the garlic until translucent, place in the blender or food processor. Add cheese, evaporated milk, aji amarillo, canola oil, crackers, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Check the consistency as the sauce needs to be slightly thick. Add water if necessary to liquify.

To assemble: Shingle the potatoes on a plate in a circular design, alternating the colored potatoes. Top with fried capers, sprig of dill, Huancaina sauce, and olive-egg mixture. Place three slices of homemade smoked salmon on the plate.

At Atrio—The Conrad Miami’s top-notch restaurant—there’s always something that’s titillating our taste buds. It turns out that our favorite this season is also one of the destination’s most popular treats. Do try this at home. {conradhotels3.hilton.com; 305.503.6529}

Goat Cheese Croquettes from Atrio at The Conrad Miami
serves four



Orange dressing:
3 c orange juice
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/4 c Champagne vinegar
3 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Goat cheese croquettes:
1 c goat cheese, softened
1/4 c heavy cream
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped basil
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c liquid eggs
1 c panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Beets and assembly:
1 yellow beet, roasted and quartered
1 red beet, roasted and quartered
4 blood orange segments, roughly chopped
8 oz micro-greens
2 oz candied pecans, roughly chopped
1-1/2 oz orange vinaigrette


For the orange dressing: Over medium heat, reduce orange juice to roughly 1 cup. Set in the refrigerator to chill. In a bowl, combine the mustard, the Champagne vinegar, the chilled orange juice, and the salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil slowly while whisking until dressing is emulsified. Adjust seasoning as needed.

For the croquettes: In a bowl, combine softened goat cheese, heavy cream, shallot, herbs, and salt and pepper. Assemble three separate bowls for dredging—one with the all-purpose flour, one with the liquid eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs. Shape the goat cheese mixture into 3-inch-long sticks, coat first with flour, then dredge in egg, and finish with breadcrumbs. Freeze until ready to fry. When ready, preheat vegetable oil in a pot or pan to 350 degrees. Fry until golden brown and set on paper towels to drain.

For the beets and to assemble: In a bowl, place the quartered yellow and red beets in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the beets among four plates, making a line of beets on each plate. Arrange the blood orange segment around the beets. Top with the micro-greens and candied pecans. Finish with fried goat cheese croquettes.

Fontainebleau {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.538.2000}

Fontainebleau is a beacon of Miami glamour for many reasons, one of them

The Fontainebleau

The Fontainebleau

being the amount of fine-dining options under one roof. Dive into the bold Asian flavors at Hakkasan; have a tête-à-tête over French cuisine at La Côte; indulge in the rich Italian cooking at Scarpetta; and finally, top off your night at Fontainebleau’s latest venture, Michael Mina 74, part restaurant and part ultra-lounge set inside one of the hotel’s former clubs. fontainebleau.com

Avalon Hotel {700 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.538.0133}

Located on one of Ocean Drive’s busiest blocks, the Avalon Hotel is an icon of Art Deco glory. It also happens to house one of South Beach’s most iconic

The Avalon

The Avalon

restaurants, A Fish Called Avalon, which epitomizes everything you’d ever want from a dining experience in Miami. avalonhotel.com

JW Marriott {255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami; 305.421.8600}

The JW Marriott has a secret: Drakes. This lounge has the feel of a private club, where only Miami’s most powerful and elite congregate, but it’s every bit as inviting as you’d expect for a restaurant at the Marriott. marriott.com

SLS Hotel South Beach {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1701}

Such an emphasis was placed on dining at the SLS that the hotel forewent a lobby, choosing instead to greet guests with the sumptuous smells of small plates from the kitchen of The Bazaar by José Andrés. Beyond that, the doors to Katsuya lead to one of the most tantalizing sushi experiences ever to hit your taste buds. sbe.com

The Catalina Hotel and Beach Club {1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1160}

Whether you’ve headed to Maxine’s for a post-party burger or you’re just starting out your night with drink specials and Korean barbecue at Fung Ku, The Catalina never fails to provide a fabulous ambience and great food. Just remember: What happens at The Catalina, stays at The Catalina. catalinahotel.com

The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.520.6000}

The Setai

The Setai

An air of mystery may surround The Setai upon first inspection, but one bite into any dish from The Grill or The Restaurant and you’ll realize quickly that these establishments are so grand, they need no name to be recognized. thesetaihotel.com

The Four Seasons {1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.358.3535}

Whether you come for happy hour on EDGE Steak & Bar’s rooftop terrace, or you’re slicing into a juicy cut of meat in the restaurant’s bustling indoor dining area, there’s no doubt that EDGE is one of the best establishments to have happened to Brickell Avenue. fourseasons.com

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne {1 Lincoln Road, Miami; 786.276.4000}

One need not go to Mexico for an authentic Mexican dining experience. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne houses Cantina Beach, an intimate outdoor oasis where you can dine under a breezy tiki hut and pair your meal with the perfect tequila as recommended by the restaurant’s tequilier. ritzcarlton.com

Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach {101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.938.4600}

No time spent in Miami is complete without a solid meal at a Cuban establishment; with a vibrant ambience, an extensive cocktail and food menu, and a prime location on Ocean, De Rodriguez at the Hilton Bentley is one you must try. hilton.com

The Essex Hotel {1001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.534.2700}

The Essex House is a boutique hotel in Miami Beach done right, especially when it comes to dining at Zen Sai, the Asian fusion grill located within its Art Deco walls. Whether sipping on sake or enjoying any of the restaurant’s delectable seafood dishes, a meal at Zen Sai is everything right about Asian cuisine. essexhotel.com

The Ritz-Carlton South Beach

There are myriad restaurants facing the ocean, but surprisingly none with an actual ocean view. DiLido at The Ritz-Carlton is the only fine dining establishment on Collins to boast this view, which is comparable only to the restaurant’s perfectly crafted menu. ritzcarlton.com

The Biltmore {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 858.311.6903}

Two concepts anchor the world-class Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables: Palme d’Or and Fontana. At Palme d’Or, an upscale ambience welcomes guests both

The Biltmore

The Biltmore

local and distant, serving Chef Gregory Pugin’s Michelin-starred French cuisine that “has a twist of modernity to it.” At Fontana, the hotel’s courtyard restaurant, Chef Beppe Galazzi dazzles with local and farm-fresh ingredients, rounding out an Italian-inspired menu for any meal. We love Palme d’Or’s flaky Chilean Sea Bass, and Fontana’s potato-ricotta Gnocchi. biltmorehotel.com

The Conrad {1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.503.6500}

Located within the Conrad Hotel, Atrio is cozy and intimate, save for the grandiose view of Miami’s skyline. The choice cuisine is locally-sourced and sustainable, from the produce to the fish, and the option of sitting within the restaurant’s wine room for a private tasting with friends makes this a definite Magic City gem. conradhotels3.hilton.com