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Upon first entering Giralda Café, it appears to be more wine shop than dining establishment, as wooden crates and cardboard cases filled with mostly South American bottles take up the restaurant's entranceway. Like stage props, they provide the requisite setting and mood -- that of a quaintly cluttered, Old World bistro. The atmosphere, in fact, practically begs you convert a couple of those bottles into a starring role with your meal; so does a corkage fee of only two dollars. The Peruvian cuisine may play second fiddle to the endearing environment, but most of it is first rate just the same. The seafood-intense menu only offers one fish, corvina, and a cast of assorted shellfish, all of which are available deep-fried, broiled, stewed, and sautéed, with sundry sauces such as tomato, garlic, picante, or cilantro. In jalea de mariscos they arrive crisply coated and neatly fried; in pescado sudado con mariscos they stew together in a tantalizingly seasoned red sauce; in picante de mariscos the fish is adrift in a different tomato-based red sauce, one with potent post-bite piquancy. A few beef dishes are available as well, like grilled churrasco steak, and the traditional Peruvian lomo saltado, a sauté of beef with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and French fries. Try the Latin version of "floating islands" for dessert.
For those who love to dine out, strolling along Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables is like being a kid again and traipsing through the aisles of a candy store -- a global one at that, with alluringly packaged delights from Spain (La Dorada), Italy... More »
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