Coral Gables with a toddler
My husband and I are excitedly planning a one-week trip to Coral Gables at the end of July, with our toddler in tow. We will also be traveling with my parents, who are a foodie and a picky semi-vegetarian. I'd really appreciate some advice!
We're staying at the Biltmore, and we will have a car, but would prefer to keep the drives short if possible. We plan on early dinners (5-ish) to accommodate the baby's temperament and so we won't be a bother when the restaurants are crowded. We'd like to avoid places that are too trendy or "south-beachy"--my parents are older and can't handle loud music and noisy crowds. We love authentic Chinese (including Dim Sum), Indian, Italian, French, seafood, and would like at least a couple of good Cuban meals. We're not so into Mexican or Japanese (see: picky semi-vegetarian parent).
I've been to Miami once before for a brief visit--went to Versailles and Mago de Fritas, which were both fun. I'm thinking I'll take the clan to Versailles one day since it's pretty family friendly and seems like a real local institution.
I'd like to try Palacio de los Jugos but I hear it's a zoo in the summer--any rec's as to when to go to avoid the crowds? Also, there are like 10 places listed on Yelp with that name or similar names--is it a chain? Are they all the same? I see one listed on Coral Way, close to our hotel, but not sure if that's the "real" Palacio de los Jugos?
Other than that, any rec's for Miami must-try's?
Thanks in advance for the advice!!!
We stayed at the Biltmore last month and got some good feedback from fellow hounds. See the link below:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850427 (you may have to paste it into your browser).
We really loved Talavera. GREAT, gourmet Mexican and very family friendly.
Randazzo's is family style Italian and is good as well.
We really like Cafe Violetto. More upscale Italian, but they have always been very tolerant of our young children (even when they were toddlers).
Have fun at the Biltmore. You are going to have a great time!
Focusing on places in / near Coral Gables:
Dim Sum - Tropical in south Miami is reasonably close by and while my favorite now is Philip Ho in Sunny Isles, Tropical is much closer. Alternatively, you could go to Chu's Taiwan Kitchen, right in Coral Gables.
Indian - Mint Leaf in the Gables is somewhat pricy and not exceptional, but it's OK to good. I've also heard Bombay Darbar in Coconut Grove is good but haven't been.
Italian - I like Bugatti in the Gables though it may not be an ideal place for a toddler. Not overly fancy, just not a great layout. For something more red-saucy, there's Randazzo's.
French - Pascal's on Ponce is good, but again maybe not an ideal toddler place. For something more casual there's Le Provencal, but the food is only OK. I haven't been to Bouchon du Grove in Coconut Grove in ages but it's serviceable.
Seafood - for a good lunch treat, go to La Camaronera on Flagler St. for their fried fish sandwich or fried shrimp sandwich. Very casual, stand-up counter service only. For an old-school seafood place, go to South Miami for Captain's Tavern. Or not far away near downtown Miami is River Oyster Bar (noisy).
Cuban - Versailles may not have the best food in town but it's got some history and isn't terrible. I hear good things about Havana Harry's on LeJeune Road.
There are several places now with the name "Palacio de los Jugos" and I believe, though I could be making this up, there are several family members, some estranged, all using the name. The original is the open air one on Flagler and Red Rd.
Also in the Gables, Route 9 is family friendly with a comfort food kind of menu. You may also want to consider Graziano's (Argentine parrillada); Fracnesco (Peruvian); Whisk in South Miami.