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Aug 4, 2007 11:50 AM

Best lunch in Coral Gables?

The girls want to have a nice lunch in Coral Gables what are the best places to eat lunch?

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  1. What do you like and at what price point? There's lots of choices in the Gables and now is a great time with Miami Spice. My personal faves:

    - Ortanique - Nuevo Caribbean
    - Cacao - Nuevo Latino
    - Chispa (over by Merrick Park, not in central Gables) Nuevo Latino
    - Bugatti - nice Italian, I like their Caesar salad, pastas are very good.
    - Pascal's - fairly classical French, but with a somewhat lighter touch

    A little more downscale from the above:
    - Miss Saigon - decent if not overwhelmingly authentic Vietnamese
    - Randazzo's - heavy, red-sauce Italian (good meatballs)
    - Su Shin - good sushi

    Ortanique On the Mile
    278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Izkaya Japanese Restaurant
    159 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Chispa Restaurant
    225 Altara Ave, Miami, FL 33146

    Cacao 1737
    139 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Pascal's On Ponce
    2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Bugatti Restaurant
    2504 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Miss Saigon Bistro
    148 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Randazzo's Little Italy
    150 Giralda Ave, Miami, FL 33134

    21 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Hey thanks Frodnesor all good suggestions. I have tried most on your list. I like Bugatti's but we had dinner there last week and my husband had a horrible meal of underdone pasta and dried out chicken.

      How about any good just lunch place for a sandwich or a quick bite that is not a major restaurant. I saw a blur about the gourmet quesadilla place Mari something. Any suggestions off the beaten path?
      Any Coral Gables workers who have found a lunch gem?

      1. re: mom2mateo

        Francesco being one of my favorite restaurnats in miami gets my vote.

        1. re: mom2mateo

          Mari Nali's gourmet quesadillas - on Ponce, just north of Giralda I believe. I've tried a couple times and only thought it was OK but others love it. Same owners as Jaguar in Coconut Grove. I know this may seem an odd comment, but I find the place smells a little fusty when you walk in, which is off-putting to me (this is a problem at several Gables places where I think some old buildings must have real mildew problems).

          Surprised to hear of a bad meal at Bugatti - their execution is usually pretty consistent.

          Copas y Tapas on Miracle Mile is a nice little spot for Spanish sandwiches and a fairly limited tapas menu. There's another Spanish place on Giralda west of Ponce whose name I can't recall, may be Taverna Giralda, which had a more extensive tapas menu including very good bacalaitos (codfish fritters).

          Maroosh on Valencia does OK middle eastern food and has good lunch specials. Across the street and pretty much take-out only (there are a couple stools and a very narrow counter), I find Gourmet Gourmet Chinese to be decent for a quick meal. I'm also a fan of the holstein schnitzel (topped w/ a fried egg and anchovies, though if that's not to your taste there's plenty of other schnitzels and wursts) at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus.

          If you're willing to venture out of Coral Gables proper, Maria's on Coral Way (around 27th) is yummy Greek food (much better than Mykonos further down the road). Sergio's is good for Cuban sandwiches and the like.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            Adding place links ->

            Sergio's Restaurant
            3252 SW 22nd Ave, Miami, FL 33133

            Tapas & Copas
            98 Miracle Mile, Miami, FL 33134

            Maroosh Mediterranean Rstrnt
            223 Valencia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

            Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
            60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134

            Maria Greek Restaurant
            2359 SW 22nd St, Miami, FL 33145

            1. re: Frodnesor

              i think the cuban food at Sergio's is horrible. A lot of people i know dig it though. I think everything is way too greasy.

              1. re: sprmario

                I like their sandwiches (esp. pan con lechon) more than the "dishes". Good tostones too.

              2. re: Frodnesor

                My partner and I went to Maroosh for lunch and I found it forgettable (and really noisy with the overcranked music and narrow room/high ceilings). Definitely just OK.

                1. re: monkeytoe

                  I would never suggest it's anything but OK, though it's not bad for a relatively cheap lunch.

            2. re: mom2mateo

              Mari Nalli is a great place for a quick bite as it's counter service. The quesadillas are like none you've ever had and their salads are solid.

              Another place I like is Gastronomia. Their Lazagna is my favorite!

              I used to dig and now miss that cafeteria on Miracle Mile, that was a throw back to the times of good simple American cuisine. RIP!

              I second TP's Francesco's recommendation. It is among, or is the best retaurant in the dig Peruvian food. The cuisine is so varied that there should be something for everyone!

              There's a decent bakerie/sandwich shop on the corner of Ponce and Giralda. I can't think of the name, but it's on the SW corner.

              Then there's always Best Time Wine's sammies over on SW 8th St just north of the Gables. Nice glass of vino and a French pressed sammy and you and the girls will be gabbing 'til the cows come home!

              Also, I heard Archies is good? I ain't buying that though, at least without some worthy CH feedback anyway!

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  That's what I the source was suspect to begin with.

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    I second that emotion! It could be much less pleasant too. It's actually good for families though if I wanted to go strictly for the pizza, I'd drive to Pizzeria Blu in South Miami.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                totally spot on list.

                I personally think randazzo's is pricey for the quality of the food, but it is very goo "home cooking" type italian.

                I had a good lunch at Cohiba Brasserie recently, but the service was slow. The food was great though.

                I like Cafe Abracci for italian too. I think it is the best in the gables.

                1. re: sprmario

                  Agree that Randazzo's is pricey for what it is. If you want a lunch that'll keep you full the rest of the day, though, the pasta w/ meatballs and sausage is the way to go.

                  Never even noticed Cohiba Brasserie before. Just took a look at the menu and I can't figure out what it's supposed to be - tuna ceviche - bacalao croquette - duck potsticker - escargot - crab & lobster ravioli w/ "creamy saffron al ajillo sauce AND truffle essence" - penne w/ chicken, prosciutto, shrimp, creamy porcini sauce, and parmesan - guava BBQ ribs - peking duck w/ passionfruit demiglace ...

                  To quote Emperor Joseph II, "Too many notes!" Maybe someone in the kitchen has the talent to pull off all these dishes well, and some of these unlikely combinations, but I usually find that's not the case.

                  I've never loved the food at Abracci and prefer Bugatti for the food (though Abracci is clearly more of a Gables power-brokers crowd) - what dishes do you like there?

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    Abracci is OK at best. I think Archie's is waaaaay overrated as is Sergio's greasy puddlefest food. I like Spris for lunch anyday. Great salads and probably one of the best pizzas Ive ever had. Nice and thin, light, and crisp with good toppings.

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      In this case I think that Emperor Joseph II sentence is not right, come and try it for your self

                  2. re: Frodnesor

                    ISO the same inquiry that mom2mateo sent out, but, I'd like to cast the net wider - to include more upscalish places - it's more of a taking the parents out mid-day meal. Most likely will be there on a Sunday - so brunch options welcomed. I've been very curious about Ortanique. I fear it's outdated. Thoughts? I've heard great things about Chispa. Will also be needing a dinner in Coral Gables, but perhaps should save that for a different thread. Email me, if you'd like. Thanks!

                    1. re: ulterior epicure

                      If you haven't tried Ortanique it'll certainly be fresh for you. It is not a place that changes the menu every week, but it has made some gradual evolutions. I have been going for years, for lunch and dinner, and have never had a bad meal. Would not call it outdated even if it's no longer "new."

                      If I had to pick one over the other, it would be Ortanique over Chispa, though I enjoy Chispa too. However, the chef who started it has now left, I haven't been back since and do not know if quality has declined.

                      Particularly if you're thinking upscale, you'll get the same recommendations for dinner as for lunch listed here.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        Thanks, Frodnesor. Actually, we're not staying far from Versailles, so I think that might have to be our Sunday lunch spot - although Ortanique certainly sounds like a great option. The problem is, I'm not sure how best to plan routing. It seems that all of the restaurants I want to try on my 3 day trip are at the four corners of Miami! *sigh*

                          1. re: sprmario

                            Is it just me, or does Miami seem to have a high restaurant mortality rate?

                    2. Not sure is this suggestion is too late, but I always lunch with the ladies at Cafe Demetrio. The atmosphere is perfect and they have both indoor and outdoor seating, great soups and sandwiches and nice beverage selections including wine. You order at the front take a number placard and set it at your table where they serve you. The have a nice garden patio in the back.

                      1. Can't say it's the best but it is different and good.

                        Xixons on Coral way. Spanish tapas and sandwiches. Very good in my book