With Valentine’s Day Upon Us, It’s Time to Seek Out the Most Romantic Places to Dine in the Gables
Food, as the saying goes, is the way to a man’s heart. It may also be the way to a woman’s heart.
Here in Coral Gables, there are a handful of restaurants that make the grade as truly romantic places to take your date. We have divided these into two categories. The first is Haute Love – high-end dining where the tablecloths are white linen and the roses deep red. Price alone may be enough to seduce your guest.
The second is Cheap Romance, which doesn’t mean shoddy, but rather affordable. And these are places that exude the romance of a wet street in Paris at midnight, or the sound of a jazz saxophone solo, rather than fine cuisine at an exclusive eatery.
Here, then, is our selection of romantic places for a gourmet dining experience, followed by the romance of places that take you far away.
Caffe Abbracci. Now 30 years old, Caffe Abbracci is known as a power lunch spot. But at night it turns romantic, with its hushed tones (wall soundproofing), superb service and excellent Italian cuisine with a Tuscan turn. 318 Aragon Ave. 305.441.0700. $$$
Pascal’s on Ponce. Chef Pascal Oudin has been preparing classic French cuisine at this location for nearly two decades, and his patrons are devoted. Small, intimate bistro with fine art and exquisite food. 2611 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.444.2024. $$$$
La Fontana. The food here is good, solid southern Italian. But what makes it spectacular is the setting, around a large Venetian fountain in the central courtyard of the Biltmore Hotel. A truly romantic venue. 1200 Anastasia Ave. 305.913.3189. $$$
Christy’s Restaurant. This is old school romantic, with soft lighting and walls of deep red lined with dark wood. We also like the separate bar, where you and your date can have a pre-dinner cocktail. Plus, great steaks. 3101 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305.446.1400. $$$$
Fiola. What can you say about a place where the silverware is gold, and the ceviche is served on a giant mother of pearl shell, itself floating on a bed of ice in a silver bowl? Everything about Fiola is the absolute tops, including price. 1500 San Ignacio Ave. 305.912.2639. $$$$
La Taberna Giralda on Flamenco Nights. If romantic dining is about being somewhere far away, La Taberna Giralda is perfect. On Thursday and Saturday nights, the dancing puts you deep into Spain. Order sangria and tapas. 254 Giralda Ave. 786.362.5677.
Frenchie’s Diner on Mussels. This diner exudes the feeling of a Paris neighborhood bistro, but despite its working-class vibe, the dinner entries on the sandwich board are pricey. So split the mussels and fries ($26) with your date and drink a glass of wine. 2618 Galiano St. 305.442.4554.
Perry’s as a Vegetarian. Yes, steaks here are more than $50. But their salads are superb and cost around $15. Take your vegetarian date to sit near the outdoor firepit, and you will have a happy, reasonably priced evening. 4251 Salzedo St. 786.703.9094.
The Globe on Jazz Night. Are we in some kind of Euro café? Feels that way. And the solid food entries are well priced, making this an affordable, romantic spot, especially on Saturday nights when the jazz swings. 377 Alhambra Circle. 305.445.3555.
Fratellino on Any Night. You can sit outside for the sidewalk café experience, or inside, where it’s narrow and dimly lit and feels like you’re in New York’s Little Italy. And a plate of spaghetti alla Bolognese for $18? Buon appetito! 264 Miracle Mile. 786.452.0068.