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.
Ariete: Thanks to Eater Miami, I found one of the best 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.
Recently opened is Navé is the creation of Ariete’s chef Michael Beltran and Proof Pizza & Pasta’s chef Justin Flit. “This Coconut Grove seafood-centric restaurant offers plenty of Italian and Mediterranean flavors like clam pizza, octopus with ‘nduja vinaigrette, risotto with Maine lobster, all paired with a selection of Italian wines that are unique to the restaurant.” I am excited to try it on my next trip to the area. 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.
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 Cafe: Across from Lulu in the Grove at 3468 Main Highway. Though open for lunch and dinner, they are known for their breakfasts.
Other restaurants on many recent top lists include, Sapore di Mare for Italian and seafood, Bianco Gelato, Le Bouchon du Grove for traditional French dishes, Glass and Vine with a beautiful outdoor garden, Harry’s Pizzeria, Strada in the Grove known for its pastas and Jaguar Restaurant for Latin American cuisine.
I enjoyed staying in Coconut Grove at the Sonesta Coconut Grove Hotel. which is now the Hotel Arya Coconut Grove. In addition to the attractive rooms, 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.
Also getting good reviews is the Mr. C Miami in Coconut Grove. It is an 87 room boutique property with a contemporary design and the Bellini restaurant and rooftop bar.
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.
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.
Other local friends love Bugatti Restaurant for Italian food, which is near Bulla Gastrobar at 2502 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
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.
My local friends recommend that you visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden at 10901 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables. This is an 83-acre botanic garden, with an extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines.
I recently read about a recently about a recently opened restaurant Fiola Miami in the Washington Post. It features Italian classics by Fabio Trabocchi, a Michelin starred chef.