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.
1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables
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.
Pascal's on Ponce
2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
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.
2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
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
Xixón Spanish Cuisine
2101 SW 22nd St., Miami
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
804 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
Giorgio Rapicavoli's Eating House started life as a pop-up and continues to attract a diverse crowd that ventures to the small eatery for innovative, ever-changing dishes. Though Rapicavoli more recently opened Glass & Vine in Coconut Grove, Eating House remains his experimental playground. The menu rotates daily, but on any given day, you might find heirloom tomatoes with Thai fish sauce and frozen coconut milk ($14) or "420"-minute braised short ribs ($30). Whatever you do, check out the annual 420
2618 Galiano St., Coral Gables
Let's get one thing straight: The croque-monsieur at Frenchie's Diner is one of the most delicious lunches in town. Sure, the family-run spot churns out delectable French onion soup ($9), escargots ($11), and
159 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
Warning: Su-Shin Izakaya will not refund your money if your meal was not what you expected. In other words, take your
2330 Salzedo St., Coral Gables
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There's something about a steaming bowl of noodles that's universally satisfying, and Ichimi's savory bowls of ramen are filled with everything you crave: noodles, made in-house using a state-of-the-art noodle machine, steeped in a rich broth. That's the base for your choice of proteins or veggies. Try the baby-back rib ramen ($26) for a hearty meal. The uni and roe summer
Gusto Fino Café
271 Alhambra Cir., Coral Gables
There are sandwiches, and then there's Gusto Fino's Pork Five-O ($8.95) — a ridiculously rich sammie stuffed with sliced pork tenderloin, mushrooms, mozzarella, and pancetta. Sure, lighter items also appear on the menu: soup,