A Historic Meal At The Biltmore Hotel

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The historic Biltmore Hotel is home to the exclusive Biltmore Spa, the Biltmore Golf Course and the award-winning Palme d'Or restaurant. This legendary hotel in Coral Gables has been a favorite of world leaders, celebrities, and athletes since it opened in the 1920s. Offering exceptional accommodations, the Biltmore showcases championship golf, cosmopolitan dining and a luxury spa. This very grand lady has remained Miami's only four-star, four-diamond hotel for six consecutive years.

Entering Palm D'0r reminded us of the "grand old days" of fine dining that is often a distant memory. You can almost hear the orchestra and mottled voices of the guests at the Bilmore's grand opening gala in 1926. An upscale piano bar and lounge is just off the main entrance to this very classic French dining venue.

Walls of awards, marble floors, fine linen tablecloths, and chandeliers adorn the dining areas. The service is some of the best we have experienced, complete with a very attentive server that was at the table's beck and call with the wave of a hand.

It was a pleasure to experience this lovely hotel and dine with Florida historian and author, Dr. Nancy Dale who took a break from signings for her most recent book, Wild Florida The Way It Was: As Told By The Pioneer Cow Hunters and Huntresses Who Lived It to discuss with us the art of wine/food pairings as we sampled Chef Philippe Ruiz's cuisine.

Chef Ruiz greeted us tableside as we sipped Champagne and sampled a lovely amuse-bouche. He explained that patrons at Palm d'Or can custom design their dining experience around the 20-plus offered tasting dishes and an award-winning wine list.

The duck foie gras with black truffle was as classic as its gets — prepared to perfection. The sauternes reduction was a very nice touch of sweetness that balanced the dish. The next dish, a braised Mediterranean John Dory was a work of art — John Dory and caviar all in one dish. The leeks and potato boulangere provided an exceptional base. The scallops and chorizo with artichoke barigoule was a nice take on a French dish with a Miami twist. Chef Ruiz creates high quality dishes that in many cases are sustainable. His roasted grass-fed beef tenderloin and rich black truffle sauce is a perfectly cooked earthy dish.

Of course we had to sample Palme d'Or's bûche de Noël with Black Forest chocolate, Vanilla, and American cherries. It literally "put the cherry" on top of our gastronomic evening.

From its Old World elegance and terrific service to the chef's culinary artistry, an evening at Palme D'Or is as close as you can get to perfection. It's a must-visit on any trip to Miami.