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Miami Spice: Best Deals Of 2012

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NAKED SUSHI AT KUNG FU
Kung Fu Kitchen & Sushi

Lest you end up at a South Beach hotel that doubles as the set for a new bawdy reality TV show ordering sashimi off a naked body for a whopping $500 (see above photo), we've culled through this year's Miami Spice offers and plucked out the very best.

Because your reward for staying in the 305 this sticky summer is discounted grub from the city's insanely good restaurants, that are, let's be honest, out of many of our budgets the rest of the year.

For the two-month restaurant event, which starts Wednesday and ends September 30, participating restaurants have been split into two tiers of pricing.

Luxury restaurants (think The Forge, Area 31) are offering Miami Spice lunches for $23 and dinners for $39.

The second group of "fine dining" establishments (that's your Mercadito, your Pubbelly) will offer $19 lunches and $33 dinners.

Read on for HuffPost's picks for Miami Spice 2012:

Hakkasan at Fontainebleau (Dinner, $39)
This one stands out for its elaborate five-course menu. Highlights include charcoal grilled honey-glazed chicken, crispy prawn, or stuffed tofu puff starters; hot & sour lemongrass with beef wonton soup; mains of sea bass or braised chicken; sides of stir-fried vegetables or spring onion egg fried rice; and finally a dessert choice of white chocolate bavarois with raspberry sorbet or mango custard with carbonated lemongrass foam. Tip: wear pants with a little give.

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill (Dinner, $39)
Practically every single chef we interviewed for our My Miami series confesses that they wine and dine their out-of-town guests at Sugarcane in Midtown. Known for their curious fare (marrow with veal cheek marmalade anyone?), they're keeping it pretty tame for Spice. Choose between watercress & plum salad, corn and clam chowder, rabbit rillettes, and shellfish orzo for appetizers; duck breast, fish, and porchetta for entrees; and strawberry shortcake parfait, cocoa nib profiteroles, and mini torrejas for something sweet.

Tantra (Dinner, $39)
If Tantra's self-described "aphrodisiac beauty cuisine" is too gimmicky for you, at least stop by for the live grass floor, waterwall, and diverse Spice menu. Start with a love apple (tomato and goat cheese), sea bass ceviche, veal pelmeni, or thai crab cakes. Mains include a choice of ginger kissed king salmon, seafood hot pot, chicken tikka, or surf and turf. Desserts will change daily with the whim of Chef Jeffrey Beauchamps.

Bourbon Steak (Dinner, $39)
Go a bit north of all the Miami Spice action on Miami Beach to reach Bourbon Steak, Aventura's red meat mecca. For Miami Spice, you can start with either local wahoo, grilled peach salad, or corn ravioli. Choose from Thai curry rock shrimp, kurobuta pork short ribs, or imperial farms wagyu eye of rib eye for your main. Desert comes in the form of either wild blueberry shortcake (served with local corn ice cream) or pecan butterscotch parfait -- with snickerdoodle crumbs, yesssss. Tip: Unlike most of the other Spice-participating restaurants, Bourbon offers their discount dinner menu 7 nights a week.

The Dutch (Dinner, $39)
Stop at the W for two-time James Beard Award winning Andrew Carmellini's The Dutch. In honor of Miami Spice, he's serving appetizers of carrot and giner soup with shrimp ceviche, greens with nectarine and hazelnuts, or middle neck clams steamed in Florida's own Jai Alai IPA, and chorizo. For the next course, choose from quattro formaggi ravioli with roasted chanterelles, crispy mutton snapper with pork popcorn, and a prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin. Top it off with either a buttermilk panna cotta with strawberry sorbet or a caramel-chocolate tart with bing cherry sauce.

Rosa Mexicano (Dinner, $33)
The fastest way to a Miamian's heart? Through his or her liver. Rosa Mexicano smartens up their Spice menu by including an alcoholic beverage into the prix fixe. You have your pick of a pomegranate or traditional margarita (or if you're boring, beer or wine). Start with either tableside-prepped guacamole, cheese fondue, chicken tacos, or tortilla soup. For mains, pick from vegetable enchiladas, chicken tortilla pie, shrimp brochette, or skirt steak taco. Round your dinner off with espresso flan or cheesecake with baked-apple cajeta sauce. Tip: The $33 gets you 3 of 4 courses -- meaning if you decide to booze it up, you'll have to forgo another course.

Juvia (Lunch, $23)
With an $85 brunch and even posher dinner fare, the only way most of us can afford to dine at the top of the 1111 parking garage restaurant Juvia is with Miami Spice. Take in the view while noshing on a $23 lunch of your choice of bento box: short ribs, seared tuna, chicken vadouvan, braised pork belly, or duck confit. Each is chased with a cupcake.

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