Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Coral Gables

Coral Gables has always been a very walkable city and with so many residents and visitors out with their dogs in tow, many businesses have embraced the idea that dogs are welcome to their establishments. There are several area restaurants that are very open to their patrons bringing their furry babies with them.  Here are our favorite dog friendly restaurants in Coral Gables:

Lokal Burgers and Beer, 3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove.  Located in Coconut Grove, Lokal is such a dog-friendly restaurant it has a dog menu with items like “Marmaduke’s Meatloaf.”  Open every day for lunch and dinner, dogs are allowed on the patio which is logical.  Lokal Burgers has received lots of accolades which is no surprise once you eat here.  Miami New Times voted Lokal as one of the “Top 10 Best Chicken and Waffles in Miami” as well as having one of the “Top Five Veggie Burgers in Miami” not to mention “Top 10 Dog Friendly Restaurants in Miami.”  It is well worth it venturing over there to enjoy one of the best burgers you will ever eat and the coldest beer you will ever drink.  The Frita burger is absolutely awesome with the guava jelly and gruyere cheese.  Another favorite is the Lokal burger with its local twist of Florida grass-fed burger topped with homemade honey mustard using local honey, melted jack cheese, Florida tomatoes, sliced red onions, arugula, and Homestead avocados. It literally does not get much better than that.  This is the perfect place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon with Fido. 

Shake Shack, 1450 South Dixie Highway (US1), Coral Gables.  Another dog-friendly favorite is the Shake Shack.  And, yes, again, this fairly new hot spot is so dog friendly it offers a few items for the pooch.  The stand out attribute about the newest Shake Shack is that it was built with sustainable and recycled materials.  For instance, the tables were sourced from reclaimed bowling alley lanes handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY, and window seating was made with wooden counters made from river-recovered cypress.  It is just a hop, skip and a jump from University of Miami and has good burgers, fries, shakes, custards and more. They even have wine and beer if you want it.  The shakes and cones are made with frozen custard made from real sugar and milk that contains no hormones or antibiotics right at the restaurant.  If you are calorie conscious, feel good knowing that the Shake Shack features calorie counts for each item on the menu.  As for out furry children, there are a handful of items on the menu for the dogs as well as their own bowls of water. 

Ortanique on the Mile, 287 Miracle Mile.  An all-time favorite restaurant on the Miracle Mile is also a very pet friendly restaurant in the Gables.  And it is a good thing since the Mile is one of the most highly traversed roads by foot in all of Miami-Dade County. After all, the Miracle Mile is so close to Coral Gables condominiums.  So you can just imagine the number of dogs that walk on the Mile!  As for the restaurant, it is unique, Caribbean themed restaurant that is very similar to its sister restaurant in Grand Cayman.  There are so many favorites on the menu from ceviche to fresh salads and seafood that patrons have a hard time choosing something so they come back.  As for pets, it is very common to see people having lunch and dinner outside on the patio with their beloved furry family members sitting beside them.   Everyone loves Ortanique on the Mile and goes there over and over again.  It is one of those spots where you enjoy sitting outside with friends and family while enjoying tropical drinks and dining on delicious specialties. 

Pete’s Authentic Cooking, 153 Giralda Avenue.  Everyone loves Pete’s Authentic Cooking – we know that!  But to add its dog-friendly nature to its status takes it even further up the food chain.  It offers some of the best sandwiches, salads and more in addition to breakfast and brunch items that leave you wanting more.  Open only on weekdays between 8am and 4pm, Pete’s is very popular spot in Downtown Coral Gables which is why it is so crowded.  And for those who love taking their dogs with them everywhere they go, Pete’s is very dog friendly.  For those who watch what they eat or who avoid certain foods, Pete’s has vegan and gluten-free items to appeal to everybody.  Just check out the blackboard for specials and the extensive menu if you still need ideas.  When coming with the dog, be sure to sit outside.  While they love dogs, they know that not all of their customers do, so they prefer to keep them outdoors.  But, hey!  This is South Florida – it is much nicer to sit outside!

Spizzigo, 127 Giralda Avenue.  Of course, we have to include an Italian restaurant in our dog friendly picks.  And one of favorites is Spizzigo just off the Miracle Mile.  Open for lunch and dinner, Spizzigo features fresh homemade pastas as well as unbelievably good pizza and the best wines and drinks for everyone who has a craving for Italian.  And being so close to the Mile, it is also a restaurant within walking distance to many Coral Gables condominiums and neighborhoods.  When the outdoor dining is set up, dogs are very welcome to hang with their parents.  Everyone wolfs down the pizza bread they bring when seated as well as most everything on the menu.  Its classic Italian fares are the best around and the prices are not outlandish which makes it easy to eat here a couple of days (or nights) a week.  Top your meal off with their gelato and you will think you are in paradise.  And, if you bring the dog, you can walk off dinner! 

A Dog-Friendly City
Not only is Coral Gables called the City Beautiful, it is a very dog friendly city as well.  Whether you live in a centrally located Coral Gables neighborhood or away from the downtown business area, there are lots of businesses that invite dogs just as often as they invite their owners. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Coral Gables Waterfront Neighborhoods

There is no doubt, if you live in South Florida, more than likely you love the water.  While many simply want to have access to it whenever they need it or have all the toys that come with living on the waterfront, Coral Gables offers neighborhoods that are ideal waterfront communities for those who are drawn to the water.  Here are a few of the top Coral Gables waterfront neighborhoods:

Deering Bay, List Prices:  $1 Million to $5 Million
Deering Bay has everything an upscale, exclusive community in South Florida should have from its own marinas and yacht club to the only Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course as well as a nice mix of single-family homes and five condominium communities:  Verona, Venice, Siena, Milano and Padua.  It appeals to everyone including families, retirees and anyone who is accustomed to luxury style and privacy. 

In terms of the properties, no stone is left unturned leaving each and every property features all amenities along with top of the line fixtures and finishes expected in any million-dollar plus home in South Florida.  At the top of the list are the views that every home has the privilege to enjoy.  While not all may be water views, the other views play host to meticulously manicured fairways, the adjoining preserve, or one of the three yacht clubs.  To enjoy the community’s luxury amenities, private membership is required but well worth the investment.  Residents enjoy a 30,000-foot clubhouse with formal dining, an informal restaurant, private wine cellar, state of the art fitness center, and more.  As for the “fun,” there is a large swimming beach, junior Olympic-sized pool and more (we’ve mentioned the marinas and yacht club). 

Deering Bay real estate list prices start at about $1 million for a residence in one of the condominiums to about $5 million for a large single-family home with private dock and boat lift.   Many of the single-family homes sit on wide canals with direct access to the Bay.  They have docks with lifts that accommodate large yachts as well as multiple vessels.  One of the most appealing traits of Deering Bay is access to the marinas that provide accommodations for various size vessels.  This is why we put it in our list of top neighborhoods for yacht owners and water lovers.

Gables Estates, List Prices:  $3 million to over $30 Million
Another exclusive waterfront community is Gables Estates. Located in South Gables, it spreads out over 200 acres of shoreline and features some of the most unbelievably palatial estates in the entire country.  As an ideal community for yacht owners, 192 of the lots in Gables Estates are waterfront lots that sit on wide, deep sea-walled canals perfect for large mega-yachts and multiple vessels.

The architectural style in Gables Estates varies but for the most part, has a Mediterranean or Spanish influence and each is surrounded by lush tropical landscaping.  Inside each home, every fixture and finish is perfectly placed to create some of the most beautiful homes in the world.  To give an idea of available Gables Estates properties, the sizes range from about 5,000 square feet (that is large to most people) with five and six bedrooms to well over 16,000 square feet with nine or more bedrooms.  List prices fall between about $6 million to about $20 million.  Over the last three months, three properties have sold with sale prices ranging from $4.5 to $8.5 million.  Typically, homes may take up to a year to sell simply because of the limited number of potential buyers. But without a doubt, this neighborhood is well worth it to live here.

Tahiti Beach, List Prices:  $2 Million to $15 Million
Without a doubt, Tahiti Beach is the most exclusive neighborhood in all of Coral Gables.  It is one that truly takes your breath away while driving through it.  This very private neighborhood is situated in the South Gables and on Tampa Bay giving many of the beautiful estates amazing Biscayne Bay views.  Those not directly on the Bay are situated on wide canals with direct and easy access to the Bay.  Not only is this a perfect neighborhood for yacht owners, it is ideal for those who own large yachts or several vessels. 

The entire community is guard gated with some homes further secured with private gates.  The architectural styles vary with one thing in common – grand and stately.  On top of that, the interiors feature unbelievable gourmet chef’s kitchens, three car garages, elegant foyers and resort-style pool and entertainment areas that overlook the water.  From there, the neighborhood tennis facilities, a community pool with a well-appointed clubhouse, a large playground and more.  

Some of the area’s most well-known celebrities live in Tahiti Beach.  Homes in Tahiti Beach real estate is typically priced anywhere from about $2-3 million all the way to about $15 million. Only one 10-bedroom, 10-bath home with over 21,000 square feet has sold over the past few months with a sale price at $18 million.  This is the simply the top neighborhood for yacht owners and water lovers.

Other Excellent Neighborhoods

While these are three top areas for yacht owners and water lovers, there are other excellent neighborhoods from which to choose that feature similar properties and amenities.  List prices in neighborhoods like Gables by the Sea and Cocoplum start as low as $1.5 million and can climb to over $30 million in Tahiti Beach or Gables Estates.  The common denominator of all the waterfront communities is the easy direct access to the Bay whether situated directly on the Bay or on one of the deep and wide canals that feed directly into the Bay.   
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