There is so much to like about Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach it’s difficult to find a place to start. But because this is still Miami Spice (through Sept. 30), let’s begin with AQ, the resort’s Mediterranean-style restaurant that in addition to having of having one of South Florida’s top sushi bars, is offering a three-course Miami Spice menu ($39) that’s hard to top.
Each item on the Miami Spice is featured on AQ’s regular menu, so whether it’s appetizer, entrée or dessert, the Miami Spice menu gives guests an opportunity to experience a selection items (in smaller portions) at a good price. After all, that’s what Miami Spice is all about.
On a larger scale, for those who want to know what the “new’’ Miami Beach is all about, Acqualina Resort & Spa in the north Miami enclave of Sunny Isles Beach, is the perfect example. Alive with bright colors (mostly red) and great service, the resort sits on 4.5 beachfront acres and features 98 guest rooms and suites and 188 residences, each with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
With amenities that include the 20,000 square-foot Acqualina Spa by ESPA, and AQ and Il Mulino restaurants, Acqualina Resort & Spa easily is one of South Florida’s better resort experiences.
AQ’s Miami Spice menu is a great way to begin that experience, with appetizer choices of that include Octopus Agro Dolce and Dragon Fruit Greek Salad. You can’t miss with either, but my choice is the salad that features the aforementioned dragon fruit as well as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans, red onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese tossed in Greek vinaigrette with micro greens.
For the uninitiated, dragon fruit is kind of a cross between a kiwi and melon.
“It’s has the inside texture of kiwi and the freshness of watermelon,’’ said AQ Sous Chef Josue Pena. “It’s (dragon fruit) is not big on flavor but it is very refreshing. It soaks up anything you add to it.’’
If you’re looking for appetizer off the Miami Spice menu, the octopus ceviche is a “must have.’’
“We get very creative with our ceviches,’’ Pena said. “Being in Florida, I believe ceviche should be a staple on the menu – it’s lime and fish.’’
For entrees, the Wok Charred Salmon with Asian BBQ sauce and purple potatoes pays homage to the Asian and Latin flavors that have become South Florida favorites.
“The pan has to be very hot to lock in all the juices,’’ Pena said. “The Asian BBQ sauce gives you that crispiness and char on the outside.’’
For beef lovers, the thick, Grilled Petite Filet Mignon with black garlic sauce is a great choice.
The Miami Spice dessert is a decadent Chocolate Icebox Pie with whipped cream, graham cracker crust. It’s a great way to begin to get to know AQ and Acqualina Resort & Spa.