First Bites

The Seven Dials in Coral Gables: Foie Gras on Zak the Baker Toast and Fried Kalamata Olives

Coral Gables isn't nationally known as a dining destination, but the place is actually swarming with hidden gems and restaurants that have put the area on the map. Sure, you have the ever-popular Ortanique on the Mile, Eating House, and Swine. But there are also lesser-known options like Uvaggio and Seven Dials, which quietly opened a couple of weeks ago.

The gastropub describes itself as eclectic American. It's run by British chef Andrew Gilbert, whose resume includes Michy's, Sra. Martinez, and the Local Craft Food & Drink, who deemed it time to open his own restaurant. Short Order was invited in for a bite of Gilbert's offerings.

See also: The Seven Dials American Gastropub Opens in Coral Gables

Seven Dials serves lunch and dinner. The menu is succinct but exciting. No liquor here, but there's plenty of beer and wine available. Try the Lazy Magnolia Lazy Saison ($9). It's crisp and light. Or keep it local and go with Wynwood Brewery's IPA.

Instead of bread service, Gilbert served up lentil papadum, a thin and crispy like cracker with origins in India and is made from black gram. Two sauces meant to be mixed and dipped into -- tamarind chutney and cilantro -- decorate the plate.

Fried kalamata olives is a fantastic idea. Sitting atop yogurt and chili oil, they're even better and a perfect beginning or sidekick to any meal ($6).

Choose between Miami clam chowder and tomato soup. The chowder, brimming with gulf shrimp, mussels, Florida clams, and smoked bacon oyster crackers ($12), caught our attention, but the intense heat and humidity made a tomato soup with saffron, basil, and the Brazilian cheese bread "pao de quiejo" ($10) a bit more appealing. It was a great choice.

Seven Dials proffers unusual charcuterie and pate offerings that change daily, like duck jerky and goat gouda. A foie gras terrine on Zak the Baker bread (all charcuterie come accompanied by Zak's bread) with mashed dates is decadent and velvety ($16).

Order the roasted eggplant ($8). You might be thrown off by the molasses pomegranate, but it works wonders with the miso aioli. Zak, who's a good friend of Gilbert, also has a hand, or bread, in this dish.

Everything at Seven Dials is well priced, including the bone marrow at $12. It's served with sesame toast for your dipping and topping pleasure and with a chimichurri that's got a kick of ginger and soy.

Finish your meal with a traditional British bread and butter pudding with custard ($7).

Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha

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Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.

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