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Miami Spice is twice as nice at The Biltmore Hotel

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What’s better than one restaurant with a Miami Spice menu? Two restaurants with Miami Spice menus, particularly when they’re Palme d' Or and Fontana at the fabled Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

In its eighth year of participating in Miami Spice, The Biltmore is showing off the talents of Palme d’Or Michelin Star Chef Gregory Pugin and Italian Chef Beppe Galazzi in Fontana. It’s a culinary duo that’s tough to top any time of year, but especially during Miami Spice when Fontana offers its Italian lunch menu ($23) and Palme d’Or follows with its classic French menu ($39).

Let’s start with lunch. Fontana’s Miami Spice menu features homemade pastas and sauce, including homemade Pumpkin Tortellini with Bolognese sauce and slow braised veal shank. The braised lamb meatballs are a great appetizer and the Tiramisu layered with chocolate sponge cake, coffee and mascarpone cream is a delectable dessert.

“Miami Spice attracts up to 35 percent new guests for us, many of which return as regular guests after discovering the multiple restaurants and bars we have here at the hotel,’’ said Michael Pouounsberry, food and beverage director at The Biltmore.

In addition to Palme d' Or and Fontana, those include Cascade, which overlooks the hotel’s famous pool, and the 19th hole at the Biltmore’s golf course. The Biltmore also offers Lobby Afternoon Tea, the Cellar Club Bar, Biltmore Bar and a Champagne Sunday Brunch.

The jewel in The Biltmore’s culinary crown, however, is Palme d’ Or. It might be the best restaurant in Miami, regardless of cuisine. Here’s a bit of advice: Get a table at night near the windows that overlooks the pool.

“The menu in the Palme d’ Or’ gives our guests a unique opportunity to sample the most popular dishes of our five course dinner that the Chef prepares each night, which normally sells for $105,’’ Pouounsberry said.

That menu includes Duck Foie Gras Ravioli (my favorite) and the Marinated Squid Ink Risotto. A cheese cart – presented by stylish Maitre’d Patrick Calvarese – features more than 15 different cheese for guests to sample.

Palme d’Or’s Miami Spice menu is an excellent introduction to classic French cooking, as well as a dining experience that’s as good as any in South Florida.

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