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3 Nights in Coral Gables

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BigBonesBradley May 22, 2012 12:24 PM

I am taking the family to the Biltmore Hotel this holiday weekend and would appreciate any and all suggestions for 3 excellent dinners. My kids (5 and 7) are pretty good eaters and have managed to behave themselves fairly well at some of the better restaurants in Miami Beach. Our criteria would be excellent food within a 5 minute radius of the hotel. We are very flexible regarding cusine and cost. On past trips to the area we have tried and enjoyed: Christy's, Cafe Violetta, Randazzo's, Pascal's (not with the kids) Yardhouse and Matsuri. We're trying to avoid staying in the hotel, although my wife and I love Palme D'or (especially before chef Ruiz left). Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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    tpigeon May 22, 2012 03:34 PM

    You can try Grazianos, Francesco and Ortanique. I have not been to them in a while though.

    13 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon
      Frodnesor May 22, 2012 08:31 PM

      None of those places has particularly changed and all are good suggestions. Talavera (Mexican) is also good, Bugatti (Italian), Su Shin Izakaya (Japanese), The Local (Gastropub), Route 9 (American) are all also worthy of consideration. I've not been to the restaurant but I've had their food at catered events, and Whisk in South Miami is highly recommended by folks whose taste I trust.

      1. re: Frodnesor
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        BigBonesBradley May 24, 2012 05:01 PM

        Thanks you two. Thinking of trying Graziano's and Talavera. Would you both recommend Graziano's over Christy's if I've never been to Graziano's?

        Anyone else have any last minute suggestions for the last night?

        1. re: BigBonesBradley
          Frodnesor May 24, 2012 05:06 PM

          Yes to Graziano's over Christy's especially if you've already done Christy's (and even if you hadn't).

          1. re: BigBonesBradley
            lax2mia May 25, 2012 06:51 AM

            Just to be safe, and because it's caused some confusion to others that I've recommended Graziano's to, there are two locations in the Gables. One is the restaurant with waiter service, etc. The other is a market/deli with counter service. You want the one on Giralda and LeJeune.

            1. re: lax2mia
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              BigBonesBradley May 26, 2012 02:05 PM

              Got it. Thanks for the clarification. We're going tonight and looking forward to it.

              1. re: BigBonesBradley
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                BigBonesBradley May 29, 2012 08:34 AM

                Thanks again for the recommendations. We loved Talavera. Over dinner we discussed its ranking compared to Rosa Mexicano and Lolita (two Miami Beach Mexican restaurants we enjoy) and decided unanimously that Talavera has the best food. We particularly enjoyed the queso fundido with poblano peppers starter and I loved the red and green enchiladas. My wife wanted fish tacos, which weren't on the menu. Our waiter suggeted the grilled mahi, which came with tortillas, salsa, rice and beans. The dish was like deconstructed fish tacos and was excelllent. The prices were great given the quality of the food.

                We didn't love Graziano's. I probably should have had more reasonable expectations of a $22, 16 oz NY strip, but I was diappointed nonetheless. Perhaps I ordered the wrong type of steak, but mine was very tough. The flavor was ok, but the quality of the steak didn't approach the level of my favorite steakhouses. The sides were good, but what should have been the star of the show - the steaks - were not to my liking.

                Definitely want to try the Local next time.

                1. re: BigBonesBradley
                  Frodnesor May 29, 2012 09:31 AM

                  Argentine-style parrilladas typically use leaner grass-fed South American beef (usually from Uruguay I believe, there are some import/export issues with Argentina) and it is not as tender as the grain-fed beef you'll find it most American steakhouses - but often more flavorful.

                  1. re: Frodnesor
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                    BigBonesBradley May 30, 2012 11:01 AM

                    That makes sense and is consistent with my experience. The flavor was good but the meat just wasn't tender enough for me. Does the grass impart the flavor to the meat? Normally, it seems that the leaner the cut, the less flavor.

                    1. re: BigBonesBradley
                      Frodnesor May 30, 2012 11:42 AM

                      I do usually find that grass-fed beef is more flavorful - more beefy, sometimes more iron-y. Some people don't like it.

                  2. re: BigBonesBradley
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                    Alfred G May 31, 2012 06:48 PM

                    "The flavor was ok, but the quality of the steak didn't approach the level of my favorite steakhouses."

                    How do you compare a $22 steak to a $45 steakhouse steak?

                    1. re: Alfred G
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                      BigBonesBradley Jun 1, 2012 10:52 AM

                      "I probably should have had more reasonable expectations of a $22, 16 oz NY strip, but I was diappointed nonetheless."

                      You make a valid point.

                      I'm not sure if you read my entire post, but I intended to acknowledge that I had adjusted my expectations to account for the considerably lower price.

                      I was not commenting on value -- only my enjoyment of the steak.

                      A different question is: how does it compare to other $22 16 oz NY strips out there? I'm not sure there is a huge sample size; and maybe that is the best endorsement of Grazianos' NY strip.

                      1. re: BigBonesBradley
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                        tpigeon Jun 1, 2012 01:38 PM

                        Generally my ordering strategy at an argentinian steakhouse is to order a provaleta app, followed by a mixed grill, then finish off with a ddl crepe.

                        1. re: tpigeon
                          Frodnesor Jun 1, 2012 08:37 PM

                          That would certainly be a good plan of action for Graziano's. Though they also have a nice picada to start. And at Las Vacas Gordas I always get the salad rusa and the grilled peppers too.

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