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The best Coral Gables restaurants for meetings and date night

The best Coral Gables restaurants are a mix of fine-dining mainstays, trendy spots and casual lunch hangs

By Virginia Gil and Time Out Miami editors |
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Ad Lib
Photograph: Courtesy Ad Lib

July 2019: Coral Gables’ restaurant scene remains consistent, though the City Beautiful has seen a recent boom in fine-dining options. The popular Southern-style restaurant Swine is gone, but in its place is another fast-favorite, Ad Lib, where chef Norman Van Aken and pastry whiz Hedy Goldsmith are putting their respective touches on contemporary American fare. For fans of haute-cuisine, we’ve also added D.C. import Fiola, a fancy Italian restaurant that sits on the edge of Coral Gables. And because not every good meal should cost a fortune, there’s Japanese gastropub Ichimi, which serves up some of the best ramen in town.

Once a destination for power lunches and a bite to eat after a splash in some of Miam’s best pools, Coral Gables is now just as frequented for boozy brunches as it is for its dynamic happy hour scene. Coral Gables’ restaurants feature plenty of opportunities for group dining and tasting menus, and have some of the best drink specials in town. (The community is home to some of the best bars in Miami and best Miami coffee shops, too.) Suits are still welcome, but Coral Gables is more than just a place to unwind after a day at the office. Ahead, the 10 must-try Coral Gables restaurants in the City Beautiful.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Coral Gables, Miami

Best Coral Gables restaurants

1
Eating House
Photograph: Eating House/Mario Davila Quijano
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Eating House

Little Gables

What is it? Giorgio Rapivacoli turns traditional recipes into food that’s good and fun to eat. Some dishes are playful, like the kiddie classic dirt cup, while others, such as the mushroom tartare and the pasta carbonara are serious and sublime.

Why go? Nearly six years since coming onto the dining scene as a pop-up, Eating House proves it has staying power. Reservations are still tough and tables are seldom empty. If you know, you know. 

2
Frenchie's Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lisa V.
Restaurants, French

Frenchie’s Diner

Coral Gables

What is it? Run by a cheerful husband-and-wife duo—he serves while she cooks—this tiny French bistro features a simple chalkboard menu with a healthy mix of daily specials and classics like moules frites, steak tartare and french onion soup.  

Why go? The small space is ideal for a romantic evening. Though waiting for a table is inevitable without a reservation, you’ll receive a complimentary flute of bubbly for your troubles. 

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3
Ad Lib
Photograph: Courtesy Ad Lib
Restaurants, American creative

Ad Lib

Coral Gables

What is it? While we were devastated when Swine closed, its replacement, Ad Lib, turned out to be just the sparkling restaurant Coral Gables needed. It’s high-end and approachable all at once.

Why go? Not to gloss over the food, because it’s delicious and deserving of high praise—especially the myriad fresh vegetable dishes—but the service is the real draw here. Few places in Miami have it this down pat. 

4
Ichimi
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ichimi
Restaurants, Japanese

Ichimi Ramen

Coral Gables

What is it? This Coral Gables ramen shop churns out fresh noodles daily from a sinister looking metal machine guests can see from the dining room. The finished product is used in three iterations of ramen, including a Miami-appropriate cold version mixed with veggies. 

Why go? Ichimi isn't just for ramen lovers. The spot skews more Japanese gastropub, featuring a mix of Izakaya favorites such as fried pig ears and pillow bao buns. Though if you are in the ramen mood, the wonton with egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and house-made noodles is a winner. Lines are particularly long on weekends, so plan ahead. 

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5
Fiola
Photograph: Courtesy Fiola
Restaurants, Italian

Fiola

Coral Gables

What is it? This Michelin-starred, D.C. import is just as popular in Coral Gables as it is with the celebrity set on Capitol Hill, where the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Obama and others make the rounds.

Why go? Fiola is the kind of fancy restaurant befitting of an anniversary, birthday or any kind of special occasion. Though if you don’t need a celebration to justify a hefty bill, the regional Italian spot wows on a regular night, too, thanks to decadent dishes like the unctuous lobster pasta, the flavorful bison tartare and the fresh cod. 

6
Bulla Gastrobar
Restaurants, Small plates

Bulla Gastrobar

Coral Gables

What is it? Bring your croqueta-loving abuela or your sangria-guzzling sister here, both will feel equally at home at this trendy tapas restaurant. High-top tables and a lengthy menu of shareable plates—from salads and skewers to mini Spanish toasts—keep the vibe casual.

Why go? Happy hour is a tight squeeze (tricks to navigating the crowded bar here) but so very fun—and cheap! Drinks are half price and thirsty mobs spill out onto the sidewalk making for an exciting after-work proposition.

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7
Threefold Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Laura S.
Restaurants, American

Threefold Cafe

Coral Gables

What is it? Melbourne transplants Teresa and Nick Sharp’s attempt to bring true Aussie eats to Miami is everyone’s gain. Go for the smashed avo, a souped-up regular avocado toast with mushrooms and feta over Zak the Baker bread, charming atmosphere and friendly service. Ingredients are mostly local and food is always fresh and made to order—a win-win.

Why go? This is one of Miami’s most kid-friendly spots; little ones can play games or read a book in a dedicated nook while you sip coffee and relax.

 

8
The Local Craft Food & Drink
Photograph: Courtesy The Local Craft Food & Drink
Bars, Beer bars

The Local Craft Food & Drink

Coral Gables

What is it? As its name implies, the gastropub is the ultimate neighborhood spot for beer—it boasts 18 taps and more than 20 different kinds of bottles—and food, featuring a menu of small and shareable plates, like oysters and fish and chips, that pair well with booze but also taste great all on their own. 

Why go? Time Out Market chef Alberto Cabrera developed the Local’s original menu, leaving his imprint on many of the Latin-inspired dishes. 

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9
Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen
Restaurants, American

Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen, Coral Gables

Coral Gables

What is it? One of Miracle Mile’s numerous large-scale restaurants features a comprehensive menu, attractive happy specials and open-air seating for those temperate Miami nights. 

Why go? Healthy eats abound here. From pizza topped with avocado and lettuce wraps loaded with veggies to fresh-pressed juice cocktails, making the right choice at mealtime is easy.

10
The Seven Dials
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Victoria P.
Restaurants, British

The Seven Dials

Coral Gables

What is it? One of only a handful of British hangouts in Miami, Seven Dials offers a taste of England in Coral Gables. From the stout- and porter-heavy beer selection to the emphasis on hearty comfort food, this place saves Anglophiles a trip across the Atlantic.

Why go? Two words: comfort food. Potatoes done numerous ways, heaps of cabbage, oodles of gravy and plenty of meat and sausage for all types of emotional eaters.  

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11
Ortanique on the Mile
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kent Wang
Restaurants, Caribbean

Ortanique on the Mile

Coral Gables

What Is it? Celebrated chef Cindy Hutson introduced Miami to her signature “Cuisine of the Sun at this Coral Gables institution nearly two decades ago. Her popular jerk dishes and tropical fruit sauces still pack the place, especially on weekends when theater crowds pile in before heading next door.

Why go? Miami brims with Latin-Caribbean restaurants but Ortanique expands on the experience with fusion dishes that draw from Asian and African influences. If you’ve never had jerk flavors, this is the place to try it.

12
Bocas House Coral Gables
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emily H.
Restaurants, Latin American

Bocas House

Sweetwater

What is it? Couples, large groups and people with big appetites all find something to love about this Latin American restaurant. Dishes are indulgent and portions are generous; the lomo saltado and “award-winning macaroni and cheese” with bits of bacon and shredded beef could feed a small army.  

Why go? Your Instagram feed needs a shot of Bocas’ oversize milk shakes—a monogrammed mason jar that’s filled to the brim and loaded with brownies, chocolates you break open with a wooden mallet, sprinkles and everything else sweet imaginable.

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13
Acai bowl at GreenLife Organic Bistro
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sury F.
Restaurants, Organic

GreenLife Organic Bistro

Coral Gables

What is it? Salads, bowls, wraps, sandwiches—lunch rules at this Coral Gables café. Dishes are healthy and plentiful, especially the hearty protein bowls you customize with your favorite ingredients. Keep an eye on the chalkboard menu for the soup of the day—always vegan and invariably delicious.

Why go? The best acai bowl in Miami comes from GreenLife. Period. The almond butter bowl is tasty and filling, plus it’s packed with good-for-you ingredients. 

14
Tap 42
Photograph: Chris Carter
Restaurants, Gastropubs

Tap 42

Coral Gables

What is it? Your neighborhood tavern sized up and polished with plenty of open-air seating and a massive bar stocked with beers galore. Tap 42 is casual enough for a post-work meet-up or a fun birthday with friends, and crowds tend to fall into these two camps often.  

Why go? Brunch is by far the most popular time, partly because you won’t find a better bottomless deal—unlimited mimosas, bloody Marys and Funky Buddha Floridian beer are just $15.    

The best places to eat in Miami—period.

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