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Ad Lib

Restaurants, American creative Coral Gables
Ad Lib
Photograph: Catalina Ayubi
Ad Lib
Photograph: Catalina Ayubi
Ad Lib
Photograph: Courtesy Ad Lib

Time Out says

The sudden closure of BBQ spot Swine gave us serious pause. What could possibly replace one of Coral Gables’ most successful restaurants? More importantly, where we would go for a legitimate cocktail in the neighborhood? Seemingly, John Kunkel of hospitality group 50 Eggs had it all figured out. It would be called Ad Lib, and it’d be so good and so remarkably different you’d forget there ever was a Swine.

Part of the restaurant’s early success is the team Kunkel enlisted to helm it: James Beard-nominated pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith on desserts, NYC AttaBoy’s Sam Ross on cocktails and former Setai sommelier Daniel Toral on wine. In April 2019, Ad Lib welcomed two-time James Beard Award-winner Norman Van Aken to the team. Van Aken’s role as newly minuted executive chef marks his return to the Coral Gables restaurant scene in nearly a decade.

Everything on Ad Lib’s seasonal menu has been chosen and crafted by very capable hands.
Work your way through refreshing small plates like the shigoku oysters dressed with a subtle passionfruit mignonette and local heirloom tomatoes plucked fresh from a farm in Homestead. Meat and fish are the stars of the larger plates, featuring perfectly seared New York strip with heirloom carrots, an unctuous rib cap with Romanesco and a flaky piece of Spanish turbot. There’s a uni trend sweeping Miami, and at Ad Lib, you can have yours over al dente pasta, which your servers—among the most gracious in Miami—will be happy to toss for you. No meal would be complete without a Goldsmith creation like the bittersweet chocolate tart or, the sleeper hit, an article array of delicate petite fours.

A complete overhaul of the restaurant made room for a larger bar downstairs and a modern cocktail lounge upstairs—where you’ll catch us trying everything from Ross’s menu of “light and bright” and “big and bold” drinks.


Address: 2415 Ponce de Leon Blvd
Opening hours: Sun–Thu 5–10pm; Fri, Sat 5–11pm
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