Tamara’s Bistro: Variety is the Spice of Life

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On August 1, our favorite time of the year arrives: Miami Spice. The two-month-long event lets diners try out prix-fixe menus at over 200 restaurants throughout the city. Spending $23 for lunch or $39 for dinner gets you a three-course affair, which is a steal depending on the eatery.

With so many choices available, it can take forever to find the best deals. One of the better ones we’ve come across is at Tamara’s Bistro. Located within the National Hotel on South Beach, the bistro prides itself on international cuisine with a Miami twist. It should also pride itself on offering diners a great value during Miami Spice.

In our food adventures, we’ve come across places that only offer one selection per course during Miami Spice. These are not the places you want to eat at. Instead, you want to focus on places that offer a variety of options, embracing the Miami Spice concept wholeheartedly. That’s Tamara’s Bistro.

Options abound here — and not just during Spice. The eatery has launched a new dinner menu in parallel with our favorite time of year. Among the Miami Spice offerings and the new dinner items are starters like some refreshing watermelon and feta and a tuna tartare, which are perfect for these warm summer months; the former with its thick, ripe watermelon was a hit at the table, but our favorite was the tartare. Creamy and light — just how we like it.

Grilled oysters and endives also stood out, particularly the former. Featuring creamed spinach and confit garlic, it’s much more approachable for diners who aren’t fans of the raw counterpart. As for the endives, the candied walnuts and shaved apple brightened up the dish with some sweetness for a fun bite.

Mains like the lobster omelette and the poulet roti filled us up with sizable, satisfying portions. Initially, we weren’t sure who would want an omelette for dinner, but after this delicious, lobster-loaded entree, we’re fans of breakfast for dinner. And while we’ve been very vocal about our disdain for chicken and waffles, Tamara’s Bistro made us bite our tongues with a rendition that breathed some new (and much-needed) life into the tired classic.

It’s a shame that the Miami Spice menu limits you to just one dessert per diner because the Chocolate Mousse and Key Lime Tart both deserve your attention. Rich and airy, the mousse takes your taste buds on a joyride once it hits your palate, while the Key Lime Pie is tart enough to appease key lime connoisseurs while approachable enough to make some new fans.

Your money goes a long way at Tamara’s Bistro. The new dinner menu and this year’s Miami Spice offerings provide diners with tremendous value; there are so many options here that even your annoying picky friend will find something to eat. Plus, there’s live music to complement the whole dining experience. What we’re trying to say is this: Tamara’s Bistro is a good value, and you need to take advantage sooner rather than later. The end.

Tamara’s Bistro is located inside The National Hotel at 1677 Collins Ave on Miami Beach. For hours of operation and their Miami Spice menu, visit their Miami Spice page or call 305-532-2311.