I have always enjoyed exploring Coconut Grove on my past trips to Miami. Both Coconut Grove and nearby Coral Gables have some excellent restaurants to explore and are both getting great press as places to dine. As a result, I focused my time on my last two trips away from South Beach to these two areas. I was fortunate to find.
Ariete: Listed on the Eater Hot list as one of the hot new spots in Miami, I enjoyed a fun meal in Coconut Grove at this new restaurant which opened in January, 2016. It features shareable entrees and snacks revolving around a wood fired grill. I loved the smoked pork chop after two weeks of eating non-stop seafood. 3540 Main Highway.
Panther Coffee: This is the Coconut Grove location of this local Miami local specialty coffee roaster. Stop in at 3407 Main Hwy.
La Gamba Restaurant: At 3437 Main Highway, this spot was voted the top Spanish restaurant in Miami.
Lulu in the Grove, 3105 Commodore Plaza: I enjoyed Sunday brunch at this casual spot in downtown Coconut Grove that is open for breakfast, lunch dinner and brunch on weekends. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the Lulu benedict, their take on eggs benedict.
Greenstreet Outdoor Lounge & Restaurant: Across from Lulu in the Grove at 3468 Main Highway. Though open for lunch and dinner, they are known for their breakfasts.
I enjoyed staying in Coconut Grove at the Sonesta Coconut Grove Hotel. It was great being able to walk to restaurants and shopping. The highlight for me was the Panorama Restaurant & Sky Lounge where you can enjoy great view of Biscayne Bay and surrounding area. 2889 McFarlane Rd.
Palmeiras Beach Club at Grove Isle: A short drive or taxi ride north of downtown Coconut Grove is the Palmeiras Beach Club which is a lovely spot along the water. I enjoyed dinner with local friends. The views from the dining room are excellent. They have lovely outdoor seating as well. I enjoyed the swordfish entree with mango, cilantro and salsa.
Remember that city hosts, Fashion Art & Music Nights, on all first Saturdays from October to April. Here you will find live music, art and entertainment in the shopping, dining and business district.
Another highland is visiting Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: At 3251 S. Miami Ave., it is located just north of Coconut Grove. This is the Renaissance and Baroque villa owned by James Deering, vice president of International Harvester. A National Historic Landmark, it was built between 1914 and 1916. Located on 180 acres, it has a lovely setting on the Bay. Make sure to visit the home on a guided tour and then explore the gardens. There is a cafe and gift shop as well. I decided to eat there in the cafe prior to touring the home and grounds, having just flown in.
Eating House: This is a casual dining spot at 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables. It was my first stop in Miami on a recent trip and it was worth the drive as I loved the shrimp tacos for lunch.
Bulla Gastrobar: This is a popular tapas bar with really excellent food. I planned a fun dinner with local friends. We all enjoyed two salads, the Spanish tortilla, oxtail and shrimp and tuna tartare. All were perfect for sharing, besides I got to try more dishes. 2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables.
Biltmore Hotel: Located in Coral Gables, I enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea in the lobby of this elegant hotel with the sounds of a harpist. It was a way to explore “Classic Florida” at its best. Opened in 1926, this grand hotel has hosted many notables from The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and gangster Al Capone. It later closed during WWII and became a VA hospital until 1968. It re-opened in 1987 for three years, then closed again for two years, then was totally refurbished over ten years to its original grandeur.