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Quinoa Salad from Chef Beppe Galazzi at Fontana Restaurant at the Biltmore

serves four


2-1/2 c kale
1/2 c quinoa
2 ripe hass avocados, thickly sliced
ƒ16 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved ƒ
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 fresh lemon
ƒjuice of 1 fresh lime
ƒsalt and pepper ƒ
1/2 c salted roasted pumpkin seeds ƒ
1/2 c shaved red onion


Remove the hard center ribs of the kale. Coarsely chop the leaves. in a pot, add enough water to cover the kale, and bring to a boil. add salt and blanch the kale leaves. set kale aside.

Cook the quinoa in the same boiling water for 12-15 minutes. Pour out the water and let quinoa cool.

In a bowl, combine the quinoa, kale, avocado, and tomatoes. add olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Garnish with red onion and pumpkin seeds.


This Valentine’s Day, there are tons of romantic activities, dinners, and specials to celebrate in the Miami area. From lavish five-course dinners, to luxurious spa packages, we don’t know where to begin! Here’s our round-up of the ultimate V Day events to take advantage of.

Deals and Packages

Cleo airplane on bay 012

Cleopatra’s Love Package

Surprise your better half with a memorable Skyline seaplane tour and a romantic dinner for two at the famous Cleo South Beach {1776 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach}. Your night will begin with a 15-minute flight from the bay towards South Beach. You will pass over the eclectic Downtown Miami, Star Island and admire the trendy South Beach Deco Drive with its many hotels and restaurants. The package is just $395 for two, and is available February 14 and 15. Upgrade with a bottle of Moet Rose or Whispering Angel Rose for $445.

Valentine’s Day Spa Deals at The Mandarin Oriental

Indulge in one of the spa packages at The Mandarin Oriental {500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami}. The Couples Delight package is perfect for guests seeking a truly pampered and romantic experience, offering all the pleasures of the hotel’s five-star spa enhanced by amorous amenities. The package includes two hours of treatment time plus relaxation time in a VIP Couples Suite, Champagne, and an assortment of chocolate pralines. The package is $720 plus gratuities for two, or $360 plus gratuities for one, excluding advanced facials.

Perfect as a gift for a loved one or as a personal treat for Valentine’s Day, the spa is also offering the luxurious Perfect Beauty package. With an 80-minute Hydrating Oxygen Facial and a manicure, guests will leave feeling pampered, refreshed, and looking their best. The package is $285 plus gratuities.

Couples seeking an experience to treat the senses can enjoy the Couples Connection Journey, which includes Inner Strength Massage in the VIP Couples Suite, side-by-side Mandarin pedicures with mimosas, and his and hers perfume from Dossage to take home. The Journey is $845 plus gratuities, and is also available for one.

My Valentine Package at Azul 

Azul {Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami} is offering the My Valentine Package, which includes overnight accommodations in a deluxe room, a full American breakfast at La Mar with mimosas, and a romantic welcome gift including a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, for $739.

Dinners and Meals

La Mar Chocolate Mousse HR

A Special Evening at La Mar by Gastón Acurio

La Mar by Gastón Acurio {Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami} will serve a trio of special dishes created in celebration of romance, with Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline serving as the backdrop. Available on an á la carte basis from 5:30-11pm on February 14, the Power, Passion, and Spicy menu is priced from $9 to $25 per dish and includes:

  • Power Cebiche with scallops, oysters, and uni in a creamy rocoto leche de tigre with chalaca
  • Passion Tiradito with thinly sliced salmon, peanut sauce, and passionfruit leche de tigre
  • Spicy Parihuela, a traditional Peruvian soup with chiles, served with toasted baguette

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Azul

At Azul {Mandarin Oriental, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami}, a sumptuous five-course Valentine’s Day menu will be served from 6:30-11pm on February 13 and 14 for $148 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Guests will enjoy:

  • Two glasses of Champagne per couple
  • Beausoleil Oyster with herb granita and Tellicherry
  • Citrus Marinated Beets with caviar, crème fraîche, fennel, and radish
  • Maine Lobster Espagnole with tomato, saffron, lavender, potato, and garlic
  • Wagyu Beef Duet with au poivre, onion mousse, pickled shallot, black truffle, and forest mushroom
  • His and Hers Desserts: Passionfruit Mascarpone Cream Dehydrated Strawberries with white chocolate sorbet, and Chocolate Truffle Cream Salted Caramel Crunch with peanut ice cream

Un-Valentine’s Day Boozy Brunch at Barceloneta 

Chef Juliana Gonzalez has singles and couples covered at Barceloneta {locations in South Beach and Miami Beach}. From noon to 4pm, guests can celebrate their singlehood at the Un-Valentine’s Day Boozy Brunch. For $30, one can enjoy specials à la carte and an open bar that includes: well liquors, draft beer, Aperol, and citrus popsicles, tangerine Mimosas, and a make-your-own sangría bar, including three different types of sangría with fresh fruit.

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Barceloneta 

At Barceloneta {locations in South Beach and Miami Beach}, couples can enjoy a six-course dinner for two, plus a bottle of Juve Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava, for $90. Sample menu items include Salmon Crudo with raw salmon with a citrus vinaigrette, watermelon radish, pickled grapes, and garnished with salmon roe; Fig Toast with rustic flatbread with herbed goat cheese, Port-poached figs, Forum reduction, and Paleta Iberico de Bellota Ham; Grilled Langostines with grilled prawns over a bouillabaisse broth and garnished with a fresh fennel salad; and Strawberries and Cream with compressed strawberries, stracciatella gelato, balsamic reduction, and sugared rose petals. Call for reservations.

A Special Menu at L’echon Brasserie

Chefs Jose Mendin and Josh Elliott are letting couples celebrate Valentine’s Day from Friday throuh Sunday at L’echon Brasserie {Hilton Cabana, 6261 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach}. Guests will enjoy a special menu including dishes such as Foie Gras Torchon with Sicilian pistachio, rhubarb chutney and confit, aged balsamic, and brioche; and Butter Poached Maine Lobster with sauce Américaine, orange, braised fennel, and lobster mushroom. Call for reservations: 786.483.1640.

Oratnique Interior

Lovers Lane Martini at Ortanique on the Mile

Enjoy menu specials and this V Day cocktail at Ortanique on the Mile {278 Miracle Miles, Coral Gable} from 5-11pm. Or, shake up the martini yourself with this recipe!

Lovers Lane Martini

Muddle 2 ounces watermelon in a shaker. Add 1/2 ounce St. Germaine, 1/2 ounce lychee juice, and 2 ounces Bacardi grand melon, and shake vigorously. Serve in chilled martini glass with a watermelon garnish.

The Biltmore

Valentine’s Day at The Biltmore

At Palme d’Or {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables}, enjoy a five-course tasting menu prepared by Chef Pugin for $135 per person. Over at Fontana {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables}, a three-course dinner for $95 per person tempts. Fontana is also offering La Settimana del Tartufo–a week of truffles! Chef Beppe will serve four courses featuring truffles for $75 per person. Make your reservations online or by calling 305.913.3200.

The Avalon

Three-Courses at A Fish Called Avalon 

Choose from a medley of offerings to create three fantastic courses for your Valentine’s Day Dinner at A Fish Called Avalon {700 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach}. Sample selections include charcoal-grilled Mediterranean Octopus or Bang Bang Shrimp for the first course; an 8oz Roquefort Filet Mignon or Macadamia-Crusted Snapper for the main course; and  Chef Kal’s Cheesecake or Classic Key Lime Pie for dessert. Pricing depends on entrée choice, and ranges from $42-$180.


Valentine’s Menu at Seaspice

A five-course menu plus a bottle of Veuve Rose at Seaspice {422 Northwest North River Drive, Miami} is a splendid way to spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other. The first course is a dozen Shigoku Oysters served family-style. The second course is a Pan-Seared Diver Scallop. The third course is Alaskan King Crab Fettuccini, and the fourth course is the Wood Oven Roasted Chateaubriand with chestnut purée, Brussels sprout petals, and fresh shaved black winter périgard truffles. For dessert, look forward to the Strawberry and Rosewater Crémeux. The dinner is $500 per couple, excluding tax and service charge.


Valentine’s Day Dinner at Siena Tavern

Siena Tavern {404 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach} is offering a four-course prix-fixe menu for $85 this Valentine’s Day. Add on an order of West Coast Oysters for $20 to start your evening, and a bottle of Champagne to make sure it stays lively and fun. Here’s a sampling of some of the dishes on the menu: Burrata with seared foie gras, walnut crème, pomegranate, and brioche toast; Beet Gnocchi; Pan Seared Branzino; and Red Velvet Cake with dark chocolate gelato and candied rose petals.

Valentine’s at Zen Sai

Indulge in a three-course dinner at Zen Sai {1001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach} this Valentine’s Day for just $49 per person (plus tax and gratuity). The meal comes with one glass of wine or Champagne, or a specialty cocktail. Enjoy Asian-flavored dishes like Garbanzo Spring Rolls, Robata Grilled Organic Chicken Steak, and Fried Green Tea Ice Cream.

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In the Winter 2015 issue, we printed a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli from Fontana at the Biltmore. Here, we’re providing Fontana’s Bolognese sauce recipe to pair with the pasta. Chef Galazzi adds someone wonderful sauce-making advice as well in the recipe instructions!

Bolognese Sauce from Chef de Cuisine Giuseppe Galazzi of Fontana
serves six


extra virgin olive oil, for the pan
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
kosher salt
3 pounds ground beef (chuck, brisket, round, or a combination)
4 Italian sausages, skins removed
1-2 lbs pork jaws, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
2 c tomato paste
3 c hearty red wine
1 lb can of Italian peeled tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
pasta for serving
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
high quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing


Coat a large pan over medium heat with oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and season generously with salt. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until all the water from the veggies has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef, the sausage, and the pork jaws, and season again generously with salt. Brown the meat. Don’t rush this step! Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes. Roughly squeeze the canned tomatoes over the sink to get rid of excess liquid, and add them to the pan.

Add water to the pan until it rises about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don’t be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. Making Bolognese is a game of reducing the sauce and adding more water as big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning, you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and taste frequently. Season again with salt, if needed. Simmer for 2-2-1/2 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should always be well salted–salty as the ocean! Taste it! If your pasta water is under seasoned, it doesn’t matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under-seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or a big pasta bowl. Top with remaining Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

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This makes a fantastic winter meal, especially when paired with Fontana‘s Bolognese recipe.

Pumpkin Ravioli from Chef de Cuisine Giuseppi Galazzi of Fontana at the Biltmore Hotel
serves four


Ravioli pasta:
3-1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour ƒ
4 extra-large eggs

Ravioli filling:
1 lb oven-roasted pumpkin (seeded and peeled) ƒ
1 egg
2 Tbsp heavy cream
4 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp salt
pinch black pepper
4 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve ƒ
butter and sage, for garnish (optional)


For the pasta: Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any leftover dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature.

For the filling: In a mixing bowl, combine cooked pumpkin, egg, heavy cream, and 4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.

To assemble: Cut prepared pasta dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece to form a thin layer (about 1/8 inch) of dough. As you roll, keep the other sheets covered in plastic wrap or a moist kitchen linen to prevent drying out. Place tablespoonfuls of filling onto each sheet of dough, 1/2 inch from the edge and 1-inch apart from each other.

Place another piece of rolled-out dough on top of the piece with the filling on it. Pinch the dough around the filling to form the ravioli. Use a cookie cutter or a knife to cut out the ravioli. Pinch the edges of each ravioli with the tines of a fork. Set aside each ravioli on a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour. Do not stack the ravioli, because they will stick together. Repeat with the remaining two sheets of pasta.

To cook: Add raviolis to boiling water. When the ravioli float after about 2 to 3 minutes, fish them out with a slotted spoon and place in a colander.

To serve: Serve each portion of pasta with Bolognese sauce, or top with butter, sage, and 1 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving.

Fontainebleau {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.538.2000}

Fontainebleau is a beacon of Miami glamour for many reasons, one of them

The Fontainebleau

The Fontainebleau

being the amount of fine-dining options under one roof. Dive into the bold Asian flavors at Hakkasan; have a tête-à-tête over French cuisine at La Côte; indulge in the rich Italian cooking at Scarpetta; and finally, top off your night at Fontainebleau’s latest venture, Michael Mina 74, part restaurant and part ultra-lounge set inside one of the hotel’s former clubs. fontainebleau.com

Avalon Hotel {700 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.538.0133}

Located on one of Ocean Drive’s busiest blocks, the Avalon Hotel is an icon of Art Deco glory. It also happens to house one of South Beach’s most iconic

The Avalon

The Avalon

restaurants, A Fish Called Avalon, which epitomizes everything you’d ever want from a dining experience in Miami. avalonhotel.com

JW Marriott {255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami; 305.421.8600}

The JW Marriott has a secret: Drakes. This lounge has the feel of a private club, where only Miami’s most powerful and elite congregate, but it’s every bit as inviting as you’d expect for a restaurant at the Marriott. marriott.com

SLS Hotel South Beach {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1701}

Such an emphasis was placed on dining at the SLS that the hotel forewent a lobby, choosing instead to greet guests with the sumptuous smells of small plates from the kitchen of The Bazaar by José Andrés. Beyond that, the doors to Katsuya lead to one of the most tantalizing sushi experiences ever to hit your taste buds. sbe.com

The Catalina Hotel and Beach Club {1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1160}

Whether you’ve headed to Maxine’s for a post-party burger or you’re just starting out your night with drink specials and Korean barbecue at Fung Ku, The Catalina never fails to provide a fabulous ambience and great food. Just remember: What happens at The Catalina, stays at The Catalina. catalinahotel.com

The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.520.6000}

The Setai

The Setai

An air of mystery may surround The Setai upon first inspection, but one bite into any dish from The Grill or The Restaurant and you’ll realize quickly that these establishments are so grand, they need no name to be recognized. thesetaihotel.com

The Four Seasons {1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.358.3535}

Whether you come for happy hour on EDGE Steak & Bar’s rooftop terrace, or you’re slicing into a juicy cut of meat in the restaurant’s bustling indoor dining area, there’s no doubt that EDGE is one of the best establishments to have happened to Brickell Avenue. fourseasons.com

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne {1 Lincoln Road, Miami; 786.276.4000}

One need not go to Mexico for an authentic Mexican dining experience. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne houses Cantina Beach, an intimate outdoor oasis where you can dine under a breezy tiki hut and pair your meal with the perfect tequila as recommended by the restaurant’s tequilier. ritzcarlton.com

Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach {101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.938.4600}

No time spent in Miami is complete without a solid meal at a Cuban establishment; with a vibrant ambience, an extensive cocktail and food menu, and a prime location on Ocean, De Rodriguez at the Hilton Bentley is one you must try. hilton.com

The Essex Hotel {1001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.534.2700}

The Essex House is a boutique hotel in Miami Beach done right, especially when it comes to dining at Zen Sai, the Asian fusion grill located within its Art Deco walls. Whether sipping on sake or enjoying any of the restaurant’s delectable seafood dishes, a meal at Zen Sai is everything right about Asian cuisine. essexhotel.com

The Ritz-Carlton South Beach

There are myriad restaurants facing the ocean, but surprisingly none with an actual ocean view. DiLido at The Ritz-Carlton is the only fine dining establishment on Collins to boast this view, which is comparable only to the restaurant’s perfectly crafted menu. ritzcarlton.com

The Biltmore {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 858.311.6903}

Two concepts anchor the world-class Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables: Palme d’Or and Fontana. At Palme d’Or, an upscale ambience welcomes guests both

The Biltmore

The Biltmore

local and distant, serving Chef Gregory Pugin’s Michelin-starred French cuisine that “has a twist of modernity to it.” At Fontana, the hotel’s courtyard restaurant, Chef Beppe Galazzi dazzles with local and farm-fresh ingredients, rounding out an Italian-inspired menu for any meal. We love Palme d’Or’s flaky Chilean Sea Bass, and Fontana’s potato-ricotta Gnocchi. biltmorehotel.com

The Conrad {1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.503.6500}

Located within the Conrad Hotel, Atrio is cozy and intimate, save for the grandiose view of Miami’s skyline. The choice cuisine is locally-sourced and sustainable, from the produce to the fish, and the option of sitting within the restaurant’s wine room for a private tasting with friends makes this a definite Magic City gem. conradhotels3.hilton.com


We can always count on The Biltmore to offer the dining experience that we crave. There’s Cascade for a fun yet casual lunch or dinner. Palme D ‘Or makes it a date, or the perfect place to take visitors or guests for fine French cuisine. And then there’s Fontana—an Italian romance on the plate and in the ambience. Whichever setting you prefer, there’s many a deal to be had, and many a party to look forward to. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite happenings this month.

Bastille Day Festivities 

The United States celebrates its national holiday with barbecue and ice cream, while France commemorates Bastille Day (Monday, July 14) with brasserie fare like steak frites and tarte tatin. Celebrate at Cascade at the Biltmore with a Pétanque Tournament and Ricard Cocktails.

Pan-American Member Party 

Join the pan-American member party on Friday, July 18 from 7-9pm in the Alhambra ballroom in a member guest celebration of the Americas at The Club at the Biltmore. Come enjoy an assortment of flavors, music, and culture from ALL of the Americas at this ALL-of-a kind celebration!

There will be dominoes, cigars, specialty foods, and drinks to take you on a glorious trip throughout the Americas. Come out and dance, imbibe, embrace, and enjoy! Different specialty cocktails, wine, and food included in price, plus a five dollar cash bar. Tickets are $20 for members, and $30 for guests.

‘Round the Clock Rendezvous  

Here’s the regular lineup of specials and fun.

Daily Happy Hour
Monday-Friday, 5-7pm
Half-priced featured drinks

Afternoon Tea
Daily at 2pm and 3:30pm in the lobby
For a more subdued experience, have a cup at daily afternoon tea in the hotel lobby with live harp. Call 305.913.3200 to make reservations.

Champagne Tuesdays
Bubbly buffs can get their fix at the Palme D’ Or, when selected bottles are $75, or $18 for a glass.

Early Dining Special at Palme d’Orbiltmorepalmedor
Tuesday-Thursday 6-7:30pm
This new specials allows you to enjoy a three-course dinner at Palme D’ Or for only $45.

Cigars Under the Star
Thursdays at 7pm at the Cascade
Live music, drink specials from Flor de Caña, and hand-rolled cigars.

Live Music Poolside
Thursdays at 7pm
Join us every Thursday evening at Cascade for live music and an extended Happy Hour until 10PM.

19th Hole Bar & Grill
A flight of craft beers for only $10 during your favorite sporting events!

A Taste of Italy at Fontana
A tasting menu offered all month with regional specialty dishes created by Chef Galazzi. Prix-fixe dinner is $39.

For the Love of Pasta at Fontana
Chef Giuseppe “Beppe” Galazzi presents “For the Love of Pasta”: $13 Pasta menu every Thursday!

Business Power Lunch at Fontana
$19.99 per person includes complimentary valet parking.

Braised Meat Wednesdays at Fontana
Enjoy a braised meat special menu—Tuttu Brasato—every Wednesday. Lunch is $29 per person; dinner is $39 per person.

For more info on events at the Biltmore, visit: biltmorehotel.com/resort/events.asp


By Josh Tyson | Contributing Writer

Most cities with a culinary culture as robust and vigorous as Miami’s are peppered with French restaurants. These are seen by most food aficionados as benchmarks of a city’s seriousness in the matter of fine dining—France being the birthplace of many of the techniques and recipes used in modern kitchens worldwide.

In Miami, however, there’s always been just one serious French restaurant to speak of: Palme d’Or in The Biltmore Hotel of Coral Gables. Overall, The Biltmore offers unparalleled dining excellence within each of its restaurants, from the chic Fontana to the fine French Palme d’Or, whose acclaim includes a four-star review in The Miami Herald and top ranking by Zagat.

In a move that seems to buttress the hotel’s long-standing reputation as one of Miami’s most pedigreed luxury resorts, the ownership recently brought in Chef Gregory Pugin to helm the Miami institution. A classically-trained French chef, Pugin brings serious ability and unique verve to the post.

Before coming to Miami, he was in Las Vegas running the kitchen at Le Cirque in The Bellagio. “I saw coming to Miami to work at Palme d’Or as a great opportunity,” Chef Pugin says. “We share the same vision.”

Prior to that, the James Beard nominee was handpicked to work in the laboratory of Jöel Robuchon, the meticulous master chef with more Michelin stars than anyone on the planet. Working closely with Robuchon for four years involved globetrotting, opening restaurants, and working on a television show, but the biggest lessons imprinted on Pugin were precision and consistency.

“I’m always thinking about the experience,” Chef Pugin says. “I want this to be the best meal Biltmoreanyone has ever had.”

Pugin sticks to classic recipes and techniques, but likes to finish his dishes with a twist, creating presentations that burst to life in Palme d’Or’s luxe dining room. The Langoustine au Caviar, for instance—langoustines marinated in a citrus vinaigrette with passionfruit tapioca and finished with an apple-vodka gelée-—has an elegant richness that matches the verdant romanticism of the setting.

“We’re very excited to have a chef of Gregory’s caliber,” Director of Marketing Danielle Finnegan says. “There’s nobody in Miami with a résumé like his, and he represents the new frontier of culinary experience at The Biltmore.”

Pugin notes that with the full support of ownership, his ultimate goal is to craft a culinary experience on par with the fine French restaurants of New York and Paris: “Palme d’Or has always been the best French restaurant in Miami, and now I want it to be recognized as the top of the top in America.”

Creating The French Laundry of Miami might seem like an otherworldly undertaking, but anyone who’s been to The Biltmore knows that sublimely otherworldly things are à la mode here.

In fact, The Biltmore has always been associated with high style. From the massive pool where silver screen siren Esther Williams worked out her underwater choreography in the 1940s, to the barrel-vaulted ceilings bearing hand-painted frescos that lend the property the air of a Venetian palazzo, to the Moorish Giralda tower that gives the impression of a Spanish castle, The Biltmore is an ethereal place where magic happens.

Another gustatory portal awaits at Fontana, where Chef Guiseppe “Beppe” Galazzi, a native of Ferrara, Italy, creates rustic, seafood-focused dishes that are bright, big, and savory. The courtyard restaurant has an idyllic bubbling fountain and resplendent views of the property, but the real draw is a menu of classic Italian dishes. Chef Galazzi travels home to Italy for inspiration, bringing back authentic dishes that are often new to guests. For instance, a fresh Fava Bean Salad topped with sweet red onion and ventresca (preserved tuna belly) offers fresh tastes for Miami’s discerning palate.


“This is something that lots of restaurants don’t have,” Chef Galazzi says, going on to describe a salad topped with tender octopus from the Adriatic Coast cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven.

Of course, capturing the rustic delights of Northern Italy demands housemade pastas, and Fontana does not disappoint. Here, fresh pappardelle sings in a beef ragoût and homemade potato gnocchi radiates comfort in tangy pesto.

Fontana is also where you can find the Biltmore’s Champagne Sunday Brunch, a lavish affair with a reputation that stretches nationwide. Offering everything from caviar to carved meat, to fresh omelettes to sushi, the brunch is capped by a wall of desserts created by Executive Pastry Chef Olivier Rodriguez.

Like all of the best pastry chefs, he’s a bit of a mad scientist, and Rodriguez knows the hotel inside and out. He joins Pugin and Galazzi at The Biltmore Culinary Academy, a recreational school for guests that teaches them how to create some of the gustatory enlightenment the property is famous for.

And if Chef Pugin has his way, Palme d’Or might become something The Biltmore is famous for—in a whole new way.