Miami Spiced: Ortanique on the Mile

 

Ortanique on the Mile
278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables

As one of Miami’s culinary legends, Chef Cindy Hutson has been dishing out her award-winning “Cuisine of the Sun” for more than two decades. And from the moment we walked into her Caribbean-inspired Ortanique on the Mile, situated on Coral Gables’ glitzy Miracle Mile strip, we were transfixed by the brightly hued ambiance of the place. I’d been pining after a meal here since moving to Miami, and Miami Spice was the perfect opportunity for our first visit.

"The succulent Cape Cod black mussels were served swimming in a delightfully spicy Scotch Bonnet pepper broth."

Cape Cod black mussels

At Ortanique, the colorful décor of the restaurant isn’t the only thing that shines bright. First there was the service: while the dining room (both indoors and out) can get pretty busy, given this is a favorite among locals, our server was both attentive and polite. Then there were the cocktails: if you can choose from the extensive list of premium offerings, you’ll be rewarded with creative concoctions like the Facundo Eximo Old Cuban (Eximo rum, fresh lime, spearmint, sparking wine) and the The Duchess of Bombay (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Early Grey, Fresh Thyme) — just be forewarned, these jewels are $20 a pop.

We were delighted with the selection of dishes for the Miami Spice menu, which at $39 per person is a serious steal (full disclosure: my entrée alone was priced at nearly that amount). We started with corvina ceviche, which provided a light, refreshing bite, and succulent Cape Cod black mussels served swimming in a delightfully spicy Scotch Bonnet pepper broth. My husband was pleasantly surprised to see his certified Angus beef sirloin steak was cooked to a perfect-pink medium, while my melt-in-your-mouth-tender pan seared duck breast was rivaled only by the salty-cheesy turnip and Manchego gratin that accompanied it. So unexpected. So scrumptious.

"We couldn’t get enough of the apple cinnamon bread pudding (topped with cinnamon ice cream, mind you)."

Apple cinnamon bread pudding

We were almost too stuffed to enjoy dessert. I said almost. Yet we couldn’t get enough of the apple cinnamon bread pudding (topped with cinnamon ice cream, mind you). Apparently, bread pudding is one of Ortanique’s specialties because they feature a different one each night (that could get dangerous!). Oh, and truth be told: the mango tres leches with Chantilly cream was among the best tres leches I’ve had in the city. Not too sweet. Incredibly moist. Tons of fresh fruity flavor.

Overall I’d consider Ortanique a superb date night spot, but I wouldn’t think twice about returning with a group of foodie friends — especially knowing the restaurant changes their Miami Spice menu daily, depending on what’s fresh.

Miami Spice lasts until September 30 — for more info and to view menus go here.

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