The Miami Dining Examiner stumbled upon Chandlers Place, a little restaurant on Alhambra Circle, while researching a "healthy eats in Coral Gables" article. This tiny spot, dwarfed by the towering 121 Alhambra building, only has three or four tables and is mostly a take out and delivery joint.
On a recent visit, this diner and her companion were the only diners eating in. As far as the healthy eats part goes, there are seven salads, ranging in price from $3.50 for a small garden salad, to $7.95 for the asian chicken salad. There are seven different kinds of dressing (although no low fat) to go with the salads.
The vast majority of the menu, however, is sandwiches. There are sixteen sandwiches, ranging in price from $5.95 for the cheese melt, to $8.95 for a French dip. All the classic sandwiches come with a side. The sides to choose from are: cole slaw, chips (in bag), garbonzo bean salad, yuca salad and pasta salad. It is appreciated that Chandlers Place has some inventive sides, instead of the run of the mill standards.
Diners walk up to the counter, where a chalkboard lists the specialty sandwiches, soup of the day and specials, to order. In addition to sandwiches, there were three hot specials offered- Mahi with yellow rice and avocado, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and an apple pork chop with wild rice. Specials come with soup or a salad and a drink, located in the cooler at the back of the restaurant.
There were three soups available to try. The Miami Dining Examiner tried the pumpkin soup, along with the California turkey sandwich. Her dining companion tried the apple pork chip special with a side salad. After ordering, diners get their drink and wait for their meal to be delivered.
The ambience is mixed-,with the woman behind the counter screaming orders, answering the phone and giving commands, coupled with the mellow jazz and French bistro tunes playing in the background. Tile floors, orange walls and laminate wood tables with bistro chairs complete the picture. Cluttered corners, filled with fliers, local newspapers and business cards, left little room for this diner's purse.
Diners are clued into the take out vibe by the fact that meals are served in plastic boxes, Styrofoam and with plastic utensils and paper napkins. The cup of pumpkin soup, in Styrofoam, was super thick and lacked salt. It almost tasted like pure pumpkin puree from the can and could have used some broth to thin it out, as well as seasoning. It came topped with fried Chinese noodles to add some crunch.
The special sandwich this diner ordered was the California turkey, with yuca salad as the side. They were out of the bun it normally comes on, so rye bread was substituted. It was a large, cooked chicken breast (turkey?) on rye bread spread with honey mustard, topped with lettuce, tomato, spinach, bacon and melted cheese. It was sliced in half and was hot, filling and tasty. The yuca salad, served in a little plastic tub, was like a potato salad made with onion and mayo and boiled, chopped yucca.
My dining companion ordered the pork chop special, which was a thin, seasoned pork chop, topped with sliced apples and served with white and wild rice. The pork chop had a good flavor, with nice spices remincent of fall- cloves and cinnamon. The side ordered was a salad, which came in a plastic box with a vinaigrette on the side. It was mixed lettuces with sliced tomato and red onion.
Chandlers Place also serves breakfast, with croquettas, pastelitos, egg sandwiches and egg dishes available. There are also homemade desserts, coffee and pastries.
A technical glitch, when this diner visited, made it impossible to pay with credit or debit cards. Luckily, cash worked. The woman behind the counter was very apologetic, offering a free dessert for the inconvience. This diner, needing to lose a few pounds after the holidays, declined.
The bottom line with Chandlers Place is this diner wouldn't go out of her way to return, but if she happened to be in the area and was hankering for a sandwich (or soup or salad) she would try it again. The fact they serve breakfast is also a plus, since there aren't many Coral Gables restaurants that do.
Chandlers Place has a faithful online following, due to fresh food and friendly service. They also cater and do lunch for office meetings and parties.
166 Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables, FL 33134
M- F 8 - 7
Saturday 8 - 3