Restaurant News & Reviews

Taste of the Gables offers chance to sample best of Coral Gables restaurants

Vanessa Vallejo, in center, asks for a taste of the pork tacos from Jaguar Restaurant during the Taste Of The Gables at the Westin Colonnade in 2011.
Vanessa Vallejo, in center, asks for a taste of the pork tacos from Jaguar Restaurant during the Taste Of The Gables at the Westin Colonnade in 2011. Miami Herald File

Taste of the Gables, Thursday night at Coral Gables Museum, is a chance for area restaurants to lure new customers by previewing what culinary dishes await those who come through the door.

It also kicks off Coral Gables Restaurant Week, from June 5 to 25, in which area eateries offer discount prices on their menu offerings.

“Taste of the Gables is the ultimate culinary experience where guests have the chance to taste a variety of fine dining restaurants located in Coral Gables,” said Erica Vazquez-Bacardi, Identity Media PR’s public relations and marketing coordinator for the event. “Guests can enjoy delicious food, drinks, live music and see who will win the title of ‘Best Taste.’”

At the event, guests will be able to sample various dishes the restaurants have cooked up. Taste of the Gables is the perfect opportunity to try food from established and new restaurants, Vazquez-Bacardi said.

“This year, guests can sample bites by various Coral Gables restaurants, some who are returning participants of Taste of the Gables, and some newcomers to the area who are excited to showcase their culinary expertise to the public,” she said.

At the end of the night, three guest judges will announce the winner of “Best Taste of the Gables.” Bulla Gastrobar, a veteran of Taste of the Gables, has won the title two years in a row and is hoping for a triple play.

“This year we will be cooking an extraordinary paella, containing butifarra and setas — a deeply traditional Catalonian paella,” said Miguel Angel Rebolledo, Bulla Gastrobar’s executive chef. “It marries pork sausage and wild mushrooms, giving this particular paella a very uniquely earthy flavor.”

Other participating restaurants include Benihana, Cibo Wine Bar, Copper29, Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, Divino Ceviche House Kitchen & Bar, JohnMartin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, La Taberna Giralda, Obba Sushi, Plomo Tequila & Taco Bar, Red Koi, Seasons 52, Swine, Talavera, Tarpon Bend, Uvaggio and 5411 Empanadas.

This year’s Taste of the Gables will be at the Coral Gables Museum.

“The Coral Gables Museum is the perfect location to hold the event to truly embody the essence of downtown Coral Gables and all it has to offer,” Vazquez-Bacardi said. “Also, because of the museum’s unique location, our guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as a private rooftop VIP area.”

Taste of the Gables offers restaurants an opportunity to attract customers who might return during Restaurant Week. Thursday’s event can kick-start a restaurant’s success, said Tullio Calvello, general manager of Cibo Wine Bar.

“I think it will draw a lot more of the community people,” Calvello said. “If they’ve never been [to Taste of the Gables], I would say it’s worth the experience and you’re not going to get anything like it anywhere else. The quality we have is superior and it shows how long we’ve been here.”

While Taste of the Gables is about restaurants putting their names out there, it is primarily about celebrating and promoting the city of Coral Gables and its culture.

“We know we are surrounded by great chefs and incredible restaurants from all of Coral Gables, but there is no competition when we all are united to promote the beautiful city in this great event,” said Lalo Durazo, managing partner and CEO of Jaguar Hospitality Group, which represents Talavera. “The only challenge will be to have enough time to try all the wonderful food from all our neighbors; can’t wait to try all the delicious food.”

The dining event allows diners to discover what they may have been missing out on.

“The Taste of the Gables offers a great opportunity to taste all your favorite restaurants, new restaurants and also hidden gems,” Durazo said. “The interaction with the owners and the chefs makes it really easy to get to know the key people from every restaurant, while being able to ask about ingredients, dishes or any other question one might have.”

If you go

▪ What: Taste of the Gables

▪ When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday

▪ Where: Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

▪ Tickets: $45 general admission, $65 VIP (sold out)

▪ Information: 305-569-0311 or