Local Insight: Valeria's Favorite Spots in Coral Gables

Valeria is always out and about discovering new places. Recommendations are usually hidden gems or establishments that are truly authentic or what they do, they do it well. 

  • Do as the locals do. For a vintage Gables experience, join me any day of the week at Burger Bob's, a local diner and Gables jewel, hidden inside the Granada Golf Shop (2001 Granada Blvd.).

  • Best healthy lunch: I hate to be fooled by new and expensive healthy/gluten-free/dairy-free restos. I stick to the classic Gables Green Cafe for a healthy and filling lunch (327 Alhambra Circle). Understated, usually packed at lunch time, it never disappoints.

  • Best sinful treat: Chocolate Croissant @ Chocolate Fashion (I prefer the bistro setting in their newer location @ 396 Alhambra Circle with indoor and outdoor seating - although may be randomly situated in the lobby of an office building with limited parking). 

  • Best Gables lunch deal: Izakaya Sushi, 159 Aragon Avenue (sushi bento box with soup or salad $12) or the legendary Matsuri on Bird Rd. (as you head West, it will be on your right hand side once you cross Red Red). Matsuri is legendary, having opened in 1988 (and probably the first place where I tried sushi). They seem to maintain lunch prices from the '90s as their filling sashimi lunch is not only fresh, but a steal at $9. 

  • Best boutique shop: a den of hidden and delightful homewares: Aragon 101. Tucked in a low traffic street, this is one of the best Gables stores (they also offer cooking classes and it's a great spot for gifts). 

  • Best spot to take out-of-town guests: Biltmore (seat by the pool during lunch or by the courtyard at Fontana, where they host their very popular Brunch).

  • Best Coffee Shops: Chef Sucre Cafe (475 Biltmore Way) is pretty cool; Small Tea pretty quaint (205 Aragon Avenue), but if you rather stick to the traditional, there's always Cafe Demetrio.

Restaurants in the area are plentiful. I personally don't have a favorite in the neighborhood. There are some obvious choices and the competition is fierce. The crowd is young and happening at lunch time in Coral Gables. Happy hour is always hot and perhaps most fun at Bulla.