Coral Gables, known for its tree-lined boulevards and Mediterranean-style architecture, is also a hotbed for some of the best dining in Miami. The area has both time-honored establishments as well as innovative new ventures. So, whether you’re seeking a leisurely brunch, lunch at a casual café, or dinner at one of Miami’s top Italian restaurants, Coral Gables offers a diverse range of options to satisfy your palate.
Follow me below as I delve into the best restaurants in Coral Gables, each offering unique flavors and atmospheres that contribute to the area’s vibrant food scene.
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The Best Restaurants in Coral Gables
Coral Gables is home to several of the best Italian restaurants in Miami. And Portosole is one of the best of the best. The restaurant, named after a small marina in Italy, is known for its coastal Italian menu featuring fresh seafood flown in from across the Atlantic.
Lucio Zanon, the owner of Portosole, grew up in Venice, and worked at the famed Harry’s Bar for decades before joining the large Cipriani Group and moving to the U.S. And now he has set out to ensure an authentic Italian dining experience here in Miami.
The menu at Portosole is diverse and Italian-forward, including a range of dishes from salads, crudi, and antipasti to freshly made pasta and seafood. Specialties of the house include dishes like Ravioli ai Funghi Porcini and the Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, as well as a variety of seafood options like Grilled Branzino and Dover Sole. But the perfect meal for me is the pulpo (octopus) appetizer followed by the spaghetti with zuchinni.
Luca Osteria is known for its creative take on Italian cuisine, with a blend of traditional Italian dishes with unexpected Miami-inspired flavors. The menu at Luca Osteria often changes, but you can expect a range of dishes from appetizers to desserts that promise both classic and innovative culinary experiences.
Chef Giorgio Rapicivoli showcases his Italian roots with light and simple dishes such as Pasta al Limone, Pasta al Pesto, and Cacio e Pepe. While heavier dishes include the seafood, risotto, lamb shank, and the very popular Patate Fritte (potatoes with black truffle, parmigiano fondu, and egg yolk).
Located on the pedestrian-friendly Giralda Avenue, Luca Osteria offers comfortable outside dining.
Zitz Sum is an unconventional dim sum experience that brings together Asian influences from Japan, Korea, and China with occasional Colombian and Italian elements.
Colombian Chef Pablo Zitzmann turned a pandemic-era pop-up selling dumplings out of his house into a dynamic dining experience. The ever-changing a la carte menu and 7-course tasting menu has catapulted Zitz Sum from one of the best restaurants in Coral Gables to one of the best in all of Miami.
On any given night you might find an ox tail bao bun with sofrito and lebneh, ramen noodles, or even cavatelli with crabmeat in a Japanese curry.
This restaurant has garnered Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Award and only seats around 30 people, so I suggest making a reservation.
Other Top Restaurants
Those listed above just touch the surface of great dining in Coral Gables. Great Italian can also be found at Zucca in the Hotel St Michel, Fiola, or the somewhat over-the-top Erba. Bouchon Bistro is a classic French restaurant from Thomas Keller and Motek opened a restaurant on Miracle Mile that offers kosher style Mediterranean cuisine with influences from Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey, and Yemen.
Brunch in Coral Gables
Bachour is a bakery and restaurant led by the internationally renowned pastry chef Antonio Bachour. It is particularly celebrated for the exquisite and visually stunning pastries. While the macaroons, tarts, and other sweets are top notch, it’s the selection of French baked goods known as Viennoisere that make this a Miami alternative to Dominque Ansel and Bien Cuit up in New York City. The pistachio croissant might be the single best baked good in Miami.
But the cafe menu at Bachour is diverse, with a range of breakfast & brunch options. Some of the signature items include the Guava and Cheese Pancake, Challah French Toast, and one of the better Eggs Benedict I have had.
Threefold Café is a breakfast haven that also doubles as a coffee shop. Inspired by the Melbourne cafe scene, Threefold Cafe has been serving up superb breakfast since 2014. Here, you can enjoy breakfast favorites all day long, ensuring that you can indulge in a satisfying brunch even into the afternoon. The menu offers a delightful fusion of diverse flavors, combining ethnic breakfast dishes from various cuisines.
A must-try is the Emperor Nasi Goreng, a mouthwatering Indonesian fried rice dish with chicken, scallions, jalapeños, a fried egg, cilantro, and crispy shallots. The meat pie is a classic Australian dish and the selection of avocado toasts is guaranteed make a Millennial at your table happy. As a sidenote, it has been claimed that a cafe in Sydney may have been the first to add this to a modern menu in 1993, before the avocado toast craze took off.
Whether you’re seeking the best brunch in Coral Gables or a perfect cup of coffee, Threefold Cafe has you covered.
While it’s actually a great place for any meal, I especially like Eating House for some of the best brunch in Coral Gables. Like its sister restaurant Luca Osteria, it sits right on the pedestrian friendly Giralda Ave for some lovely outdoor dining.
Standard weekend brunch items like the chicken and waffles, breakfast sandwich, and loaded tater tots are all hits while the fancier Eggs on Eggs (soft eggs on brioche with crème fraiche and caviar) should give you pause to try something different.
On the sweet side, you’ll find a French Toast with a cinnamon crumble as well as Cap’n Crunch Pancakes. If you opt to go for dessert, the Dirt Cup, which actually looks like a cup of dirt, might instantly become your new post-meal obsession.
Coffee Shops & Cafes
Jholano’s Deli is the best sandwich shop in Coral Gables that you have probably never heard of. It is hidden in an apartment complex behind a largely unmarked red door. And it’s the best reason to take a day off from ordering a Cuban sandwich or pan con bistec, because it is home to the best Italian sandwiches in Miami.
Sandwiches are served on either traditional focaccia or strecci doppio (a pan baked focaccia style loaf). Some of the best sellers are:
- Il Tradizionale: hot capicola, salami, pepperoni, and ham, lettuce, tomato, hot peppers, and onion
- 3am in Rome: salami, capicola, fresh mozzarella, and hot honey
- 6pm in Tuscany: chicken cullet, soppressata, mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and onion
Throw on your adventure shoes and try to find this place, because Jholano’s Deli is a hidden gem in Miami.
Tinta y Cafe
Tinta y Café is my favorite spot to grab a quick coffee, in particular the iced cafe con leche for me and a dirty chai latte for my significant other. There is a service window for quick to go orders or you can sit at any of the indoor or outdoor tables for a more relaxed meal.
It also appears on my list of the best Cuban Sandwiches in Miami with their version named the Patria sandwich. Although they deviate from the traditional recipe by using mortadella and a baguette instead of Cuban bread, it works.
Sandwiches are served on freshly baked bread and the menu also has soups, salads, and pastries. If you want a casual lunch, Tinta y Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Coral Gables.
Caja Caliente is renowned for its inventive take on Cuban cuisine. The brainchild of Monica “Mika” Leon, this eatery has made a name for itself through a unique approach to traditional Cuban dishes.
The restaurant started as a food truck in 2016 and quickly gained popularity for its Cuban tacos, a novel concept that pairs Cuban flavors with the taco format. Additionally, Caja Caliente serves a variety of dishes that incorporate Leon’s family recipes and the culinary influences she gathered from her travels.
The selection of discos voladors are also a must try. In English this means “flying discs” and they are round Cuban bread filled with a choice of ropa vieja, lechon, or vaca frita (shredded beef). They also make some good burritos, croquetas, and a delicious tamale topped with lechon, pico, avocado, and queso. And the Cuban sandwich is one of the best in Miami.
Café Demetrio is Coral Gables’ first coffeehouse. In this 1920s-era building adorned with Renaissance-style portraits and antique kitchen accessories, you’ll be transported to the coffee houses of the 18th century. Indulge in their signature drink, the original Café Demetrio, a cappuccino with cacao powder, milk, a double shot of espresso, and a touch of sugar. Whether you’re meeting colleagues, catching up with friends, or enjoying a solo study session, Café Demetrio provides a cozy and elegant ambiance that guarantees a memorable experience.
Vinya Table is an offshoot of the beloved Key Biscayne wine shop. It boasts an extensive wine selection where you can buy a bottle off the shelf at retail price and enjoy it onsite for a small corkage fee.
The food menu is influenced by a range of cuisines with starters like short rib empanadas, braised lamb baklava, and oysters.
It is also a great place for happy hour in Coral Gables, with discounted food and wine.
Rooftop Bars in Coral Gables
Cebada, Coral Gables’ first-ever rooftop bar, offers creatively named libations that pay homage to the Magic City, such as the “Your Wife Is in My Piña Colada” and the “Every Belen Guy’s Christmas Vacation.” Pair your drinks with Cuban-inspired bites that reflect the owners’ heritage such as croquetas, rabo encendido (oxtail stew), and chicharrones de pato (crispy duck breasts) served over foie gras brodo with a sour-orange and fennel mojo. Additionally, Cebada’s raw bar offers tantalizing options like oyster platters, Alaskan king crab, and Argentinian red shrimp aguachile.
Other Unique Spots
Chocolate Fashion is a beloved Coral Gables establishment well-noted for its lighted pastry case, filled with glazed super-size fruit tarts, delicate cakes, cookies as big as a baby’s face, and shot glasses of chocolate mousse topped with chocolate macaroons. It’s a paradise for those with a sweet tooth. However, Chocolate Fashion offers more than just delectable confections. It’s a multifaceted destination that combines a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, a bakery, patisserie, chocolaterie, and confiserie (candy store). Additionally, it boasts a market where you can find Lavazza coffee, French sardines, and rose petal jelly among other delights.
ManKind Grooming & Services doesn’t stop at offering its patrons the ultimate grooming experience with hot shaves and shoeshines. It combines a men’s barbershop & salon with a bar and features an upstairs lounge for members. Savor the flavors of freshly brewed coffee or explore their selection of draft beers on tap. For those seeking a touch of sophistication, the fine wines and handcrafted cocktails like the Slim Jim Bloody Mary or Margarita are sure to please.