Best Restaurant in Coral Gables - 2006
Norman's - CLOSED
Readers' Choice: Houston's
There is talk that Norman's ain't what it used to be. That the more time Mr. Van Aken spends overseeing his growing restaurant empire, the less attention he can pay his flagship Gables operation. It all makes for easy cocktail conversation, but those who have actually dined at Norman's lately can attest it remains one of South Florida's finest establishments. It's true Norman is not as involved as he used to be, and it's also a fact it's been more than twelve years since this brash Mango Gang chef first banged out his breathtaking New World cuisine. We have since taken it for granted that our bounty of tropical produce, fresh seafood, and Caribbean/Latin ingredients and influences can be merged into vibrant and delectable foods, but it was a radical idea when Norman and a handful of other local chefs first proclaimed it. And it remains important in the context of American regional cooking. Norman's cuisine still exhilarates; the front-of-house staff, service, and wine list still excel as well. Stormin' Norman may have left the building, but his namesake restaurant still sets the bar for provocative, professional dining in Coral Gables.