The Ten Best Restaurants in Coral Gables
Bulla's jamón ibérico.
Courtesy of Bulla
Coral Gables isn't nicknamed the "City Beautiful" for nothing. With its gorgeous Mediterranean architecture, tony boutiques, and tree-lined streets, it's the perfect place to live or simply visit for the day. Its dining scene once catered to law-firm types; now the Gables heralds a cool era of dining. There are cocktails, funky foods, and young chefs. What follows are the top ten restaurants in the area, a mix of the old and new.
Courtesy of Palme d'Or
1. Palme d'Or
The Biltmore Hotel's venerable Palme d'Or is the grande dame of Miami's culinary dining scene. Steeped in Old-World charm, the restaurant has accumulated numerous accolades, including the AAA Five-Diamond designation. Dinner service is a $115, six-course affair or a $155 chef's tasting menu, and that could translate into staid and stuffy. Chef Gregory Pugin, however, combines traditional technique with fresh and local ingredients to redefine and modernize his elegant creations. It's the best reason in Miami to get dressed up and take an imaginary trip to Paris.
2. Pascal's on Ponce
OK, OK. We know. Pascal's is kind of fusty, its tables festooned with roses and its walls lined with sconces. But while other chefs obsess over foams and 64-degree eggs, Pascal Oudin sticks to what he knows: cheese soufflé, duck terrine, and olive-oil-poached fish. Classic French, independently owned restaurants are a rarity in this novelty-obsessed town. For that, and his unrelenting permanence, Oudin deserves a spot on this list.
Courtesy of Bulla
3. Bulla Gastrobar
Bulla Gastrobar is exactly what Coral Gables needs: a place with creative cocktails, cool vibes, and a young crowd. Go for the croquetas de jamón ($9); stay for many, many glasses of sangría de cerveza. Whatever you do, get the huevos Bulla ($10), a soul-satisfying concoction of eggs, Serrano ham, and potato chips topped with potato foam and truffle oil.
Pata negra at Xixón's market.
4. Xixón Spanish Cuisine
You look like you need some Spanish meatballs — tender orbs of beef bedaubed in tomato sauce ($10.50). Or maybe you crave black rice, its grains coated in squid ink and topped with seafood. Xixón isn't just a restaurant on Coral Way; it's a Miami institution where you can drink red wine, eat mucho jamón, and learn to love the funky flavors of boquerones and salted cod.
5. Swine Southern Table & Bar
Pork in your drink? Try the bacon-washed whiskey. Pork in your supper? Choose from Swine Southern Table & Bar's suckling pig porchetta ($38) or crispy pig head ($70). Pork in your sweets? Treat yourself to the sticky bun, a dessert garnished with candied smoked bacon. If you don't like Swine, you can't possibly be from Miami. This is the city of la caja china, chicharrón, and pan con lechón. So kudos to Swine! Because little will ever trump a meal of pork on pork on pork.
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