La Gamba opened quietly a week ago in Coconut Grove. It serves Spanish tapas and entrées.
While we were dining, owner Maria Elena Otero Calvo introduced herself and made a refreshing request.
"We've only been open a week," she confided. "Please let us know if you have any suggestions." She added that she made the dessert -- baked pears in red wine sauce -- herself. Calvo told us that although this was her first foray into owning and operating a restaurant, she was a passionate cook. "Owning a restaurant has always been my dream."
The little restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating, the latter perfect for the cooler evenings Miami has having, and serves wine and beer to go with the sharable plates. With an attentive owner and good food, La Gamba is a welcome addition to the growing list of Coconut Grove restaurants to open this year.
Diners are started with complimentary gazpacho and green olives.
Chorizos al brandy ($8) are flavorful and make a great addition to a cheese plate.
Classic Spanish tortilla ($9) is simple and satisfying with a glass of wine.
Spanish cheese plate ($13) is served with pan con tomate ($4 à la carte).
Croquetas de camaron ($7) are served with a house-made squid ink sauce.
Baked pears with red wine sauce, served with ice cream ($8), made daily by the restaurant's owner herself.
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La Gamba opens daily for dinner at 5 p.m.; on weekends, it opens at noon for lunch.