The next time business, pleasure, or your sense of adventure takes you and your friends to Miami’s legendary Coconut Grove during the day, linger a while over lunch at one of its many fantastic restaurants. Whether you’re craving the formal elegance of French cuisine or the laidback vibe of a Mediterranean spot, you’ll find it along the picturesque lanes and stately boulevards–and there’s a good chance you can dine alfresco under a canopy of trees. Here are three of our favorites for a marvelous mid-day munch in the city’s oldest continuously-inhabited neighborhood.
Le Bouchon du Grove
If you have a hankering for French food, duck into Le Bouchon du Grove, a cozy spot filled with artwork and classic advertisements straight from the Rive Gauche. Start with a hearty French onion soup, or share sumptuous Provençal tartine sandwiches with a tangy black olive tapenade. For your entree, keep it classic with a steak tartare with french fries, or dare your crew to try the restaurant’s escargot in a rich, buttery garlic parsley sauce. You are not exempt from this challenge, of course. When you work up the courage to take that first bite, your reward is cheers all around, and the realization that these snails are actually quite delicious. You might even want to complete the experience with a glass of red wine.
If luxury is your middle name, head to Gibraltar inside the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa. All it takes is your friendliest smile to snag a table beside a window with gorgeous views of Biscayne Bay. Bite-sized Angus beef carpaccio tapas and creamy truffle cauliflower soup will get you going. If you’re hungrier, tear into a juicy rotisserie chopped chicken, a popular entree that might cause you to forget about silverware for a moment or two. When you and your buddies can’t agree on a dessert, go big or go home with the brownie and brulee banana sundae. It’s not as good as it sounds–it’s better.
Lulu has a whimsical-sounding name, but lunch is serious business here. As you and your dining partners take in a sea breeze from the terrace, try a citrus “cooked” ceviche featuring fresh local fish. Reminisce over the Mediterranean omelette salad, which juxtaposes perfectly cooked egg with crumbles of salty feta, or the black truffle macaroni and cheese, made with black truffle béchamel sauce. Finish off with sweet pumpkin bread pudding paired with a cup of coffee and savor the experience in one of Miami’s most welcoming neighborhoods.