Coral Gables Restaurant Week Begins June 4; Kick-Off Party May 31

More than 20 Coral Gables restaurants will be wowing guests with signature dishes starting May 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Westin Colonnade Hotel. The Fifth Annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week event (which actually runs for two weeks), kicks off with a "vote for your favorite taste dish competition" at the landmark hotel.

Look forward to a first mouthwatering evening with sample tastings prepared by local restaurant chefs. Presented by Bacardi and the Jackson Family Estates, guests over 21 years of age can try the original Bacardi Cuba Libre cocktail (rum and Coke), as well as wines from the estates.

One of the exhibitors is Nick Di-Donato, president and CEO of Liberty Entertainment Group of Toronto. He opened Cibo Wine Bar on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables at the end of 2011 to bring Miamians authentic rustic Italian fare and vinos. Traditional dishes at the restaurant are mostly from the Sorrento region and are prepared by executive Chef Massimo Gianattasio. They include thin crusted pizzas, homemade pastas and a variety of Italian favorites.

"Chef Gianattasio will be at his food station and will be watching over his chianti braised short ribs," said Di-Donato. "The organizers of the festival asked each participant to cook one dish for that first evening that best represents each establishment. We know that everyone loves delicious ribs and our ribs are macerated in rich Chianti which gives them an unforgettable taste. We want to delight guests and hope that they will vote for our ribs to win first 'Taste' dish."

"We will be serving our Kobe beef in a carpaccio style with scallions," said Vince Tien of The Local. "We want to keep the carpaccio interesting and we want to be sure that it is very, very fresh. I'm a graduate of FIU Hospitality and I come here from N.Y. for the event because I want to participate and give back to the community."

Next, from June 4 to 17 over 35 restaurants in Coral Gables will feature old favorites and introduce new ones. Each dining place will offer a three-course lunch and/or dinner menu with at least a 20 percent savings off the regular menu prices.

Recently our waiter at Le Provencal Restaurant explained that their eatery could not afford the fee needed to participate in the "tasting evening" but they plan to have a rich assortment of dinner dishes ($35 for a three-course meal, taxes and tip not included), during the following two weeks.

General admission for the May 31st evening is $25 ($50 for VIPs) in advance and $35 ($65 for VIPs) the day of the event. Raffle prizes are also available. To purchase tickets

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Marguerite Gil