|This past June 2022, a little gem of a restaurant opened in the former Eating House spot at 804 Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables. The Lion and the Rambler was opened by chef/owner Michael Bolen, a San Diego native and his beautiful wife Angelina (front of the house). Chef Bolen serves a daily changing evolving seasonal menu based on the ingredients brought in by farmers, purveyors and fishermen that morning. He showcases mostly local produce plus some additional items from farms in California and Ohio.
This restaurant was just named by Infatuation and Eater as one of the best new restaurants in Miami. You can add my name to that list as well. Everything he makes is from scratch, he ferments his own kombucha, he makes his own salt, cultured butter, and bread, plus starter. He even mills his own flour for the bread service. And his bread is heavenly, from the sourdough to the focaccia to his brioche.
They did a nice job transforming the restaurant with hand painted fresco by Canadian muralist Derkz. Casual and cozy with wrap around windows, wooden tables and chairs on a concrete floor, with an open view kitchen. The soundtrack eventually gets lost when the restaurant fills up and it becomes boisterous.
Chef’s original plan was for a more upscale format of a $120 tasting menu but was smart enough to scale that back to a smaller tasting menu and then eventually to a moderately priced a la carte one, after reading his patrons wants and desires.
His contemporary American menu are technique driven dishes. Some of our favorite dishes were the focaccia with house cultured butter, a steak tartare, with green blueberry capers and Shelburne Farms two year aged cheddar. The white asparagus ajo Blanca with white cucumber and green grape is delicious, especially if you are a lover of garlic. We also ordered the stuffed chicken wing with summer herb sausage in a sour cherry glaze and the gratitude garden maitake in a delicious, aromatic escargot butter with a delectable brioche. We devoured our sweet corn agnolotti.
They serve natural wines, I’m not a fan but it seems to create a positive impression with the younger crowd. They also serve beer as well as sake.
The meal concluded with a selection of three ice cream presentations. We selected the banana butter ice cream surrounded by a ring of chocolate mousse, ginger and date caramel… oh my, and peach ice cream on top of a sponge toffee honeycomb.
This restaurant will be a success because the chef is hands on, passionate and cooking in the kitchen. His wife is managing the front of the house, and this is the friendliest staff I’ve seen in all of Miami. I asked what the name of the restaurant means, Lion, because of the fierce fire, passion and commitment of the chef, and rambler, a place where friends and family come together to break bread. His plates are shareable, seasonally focused and appealing.
The restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday, although the plan is to be open eventually on Tuesdays. Dinner is Wednesday to Saturday 5:30pm to 10pm. Brunch is served Sunday from 11:30am to 4pm. Happy hour is every day from 5:30pm to 7pm.
Recommend. Happy dining,