New Restaurants: From Mexican to Ecuadorian and Beyond the Putting Green

Maiz y Agave

With three stories, three menus, and three different concepts for lunch, dinner, and happy hour/drinks, Maiz y Agave is probably Coral Gables’ most ambitious restaurant. Which is why we cut them a bit of slack for the service during their soft launch — the restaurant employs over 100 people, from bartenders to dishwashers to maintenance workers, and not everyone has gotten into the swing of things yet. 

The first floor is devoted to a more casual lunch, which ends at 5 pm. That’s when the second-floor dinner area opens, as well as the rooftop bar. We haven’t had a chance to explore the latter two yet, but we were happy overall with the lunch menu, which, like everything else here, is inspired by dishes from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Our favorite was the esquite tradicional mexicano, a creamy dish akin to street corn made with mayonnaise, epazote (a Mexican herb commonly used to season black beans), cheese, and Metchi worm salt, a smokey salt made from dried chiles and ground agave worms that we sprinkled on top.

The quesadillas also get an honorable mention, as well as the birria tacos, which were served with their own cup of birria broth and salsa verde. We were too scared to try anything from the insectos side of the menu. 

Of course, we paired everything with margaritas, of which there are seven on the menu, mostly the same outside of various juice mixers. Classic cocktails are also available, but if you’re a mezcal or tequila fan, this is the place for you. — Kylie Wang

Maiz y Agave
375 Miracle Mile

La Pata Gorda

Ecuadorian restaurant La Pata Gorda has expanded its reach to Coral Gables, the first outside of its home country. Taking over the Miracle Mile spot that was previously KAIA Greek, La Pata Gorda showcases authentic Ecuadorian sea cuisine. The restaurant’s name, as proprietor Josué Sánchez puts it, alludes to eating Ecuadorian crabs family-style, where everyone is vying to grab “the fat crab leg.” 

We sampled their uñas de cangrejo — eight crab claws in a flavorful stew, served with criolla sauce ($24). The star appetizer, however, was the carapacho croquetas, filled with Ecuadorian mangrove crab meat and combined with sweet and spicy plantains and red pepper aioli ($17).

Stepping out of our comfort zone, we ordered “the most iconic Ecuadorian ceviche” — Jipijapa-style. Here, shrimp, octopus, and the catch of the day are submerged in roasted peanut sauce and citrus marinade, topped with avocado mousse ($26). Fair warning: order only if you like the strong taste of peanuts. 

For the main course, we tried the Chopsué (Sánchez’s proud creation) and the signature cazuela. Both plates followed that traditional, homestyle feel of La Pata Gorda. The must-order Chopsué consists of crab meat served over cocolon, or crunchy toasted rice, with chopped bits of fried plantain, criolla sauce, and the tangy house special sauce ($27). The cazuela, or “cooking pot,” melds a green plantain base with roasted peanut sauce, shrimp, fish, and rice ($26). We finalized our intro to Ecuadorian cuisine with a maracuya stracciatella (aka passion fruit; $9) — a perfect palate cleanser. — Natalia Clement

La Pata Gorda
232 Miracle Mile
786. 963.8171


This long-awaited golfer’s paradise at the Biltmore Hotel easily fills the hole left by The 19th Hole (pun intended). The ambience and views wow here with huge windows that lend it a bright, airy feel, antithetical to the previous restaurant’s darker atmosphere.

That golden, sunlit feeling is enhanced by the large outdoor terrace, elevated by the addition of TUUCI umbrellas (made locally) and comfortable patio chairs. The sunset views of the golf course are without comparison, and watching aspiring athletes test their chipping and putting skills on the green is a nice plus. 

The bar inside is similarly beautiful, well-stocked and great for happy hour or a quick beer after a day on the links. For a refreshing twist, we went with Butterfly Kisses ($17) — Tito’s, lemon, strawberry, and Butterfly Pea Flower tea – and for something heavier we tried the Pineapple & Corn Margarita ($19) with Ilegal Mezcal Reposado and Nixta corn liquor. Both excellent, ice cold, and strong without being overwhelming. On happy hour (Mon. through Thurs. 4 to 6 pm), draft beers are $6 and pitchers $20. 

One happy addition to the food menu is a short list of all-day breakfast items, but we went for a traditional dinner. We started with the Clubhouse Chili ($12), served with oyster crackers and all the fixings, and a Pretzel Bucket ($15) with surprisingly good warm beer cheese. The churrasco ($38) was our favorite, an eight-ounce cut with chimichurri and two sides, well-worth the price tag.

The sides include healthy options like marinated grilled broccolini or the simple yet effective onion ring. We’ll be back, especially for the breakfast menu. — Kylie Wang

1200 Anastasia Ave. (The Biltmore Hotel)

Looking for more places to dine? Check out our Bites section for your culinary guide in the Gables.