When we cruise out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale, we are always looking for new and interesting restaurants. Recently, we spent two nights in Coral Gables before embarking a cruise out of Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and had the opportunity to enjoy an amazing dinner at Bulla Gastrobar (pronounced Boo-Ya).
Bulla is located just a block from The Miracle Mile, on Ponce de Leon Blvd in Coral Gables. We were able to walk to Bulla from our hotel (Hyatt Regency Coral Gables) in less than 10 minutes. The restaurant and bar is dark inside, requiring us to use the light from my cell phone to read the menu. The eyes are getting old, I assume. The golden glow from the Edison light bulbs really sets the mood of this place.
With Happy Hour from 5 to 7 offering 1/2 prices glasses of wine, we wasted no time ordering two glasses of Spanish Rosé. As it turned out, the wine was a perfect complement to the tapas we were about to enjoy. The Spanish influence is obvious in Coral Gables, and the food at Bulla reflects that influence perfectly. The tapas (small plates) on the menu will make you think you are dining in Barcelona. We started with the Pan Con Tomate, slices of toasted bread which have been grilled and topped with grated tomato and olive oil. This is very similar to what we had at Pork in Barcelona a few months ago. At Pork, the toast, tomato, sea salt and garlic were separate and you created the dish yourself from the ingredients. At Bulla, they have done the work for you, sans garlic. Pan Cot Tomate is very good and should be part of any visit to Bulla. Alongside the Pan Cot Tomate was a beautiful platter of assorted cured meats, cheeses and candied walnuts.
Selection of cured meats and cheeses
Our tour through Spanish tapas continues with an order of pork belly sliders on house-made brioche bun with pickled cucumber (from the Chef's daily micro-menu) served alongside an order of Patatas Bravas, crispy fried potato cubes drizzled in spicy brava sauce and aioli. Both dishes could have benefited from a pinch of sea salt, especially the pork belly sliders which were sadly under-seasoned.
Pork belly sliders (background) and Patatas Bravas (foreground)
Seasoning was not an issue with the next two dishes to arrive. Huevos 'Bulla" is one of their signature dishes consisting of jumbo egg, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil. Marianas, our waitress, prepared the dish at our table by basically mixing everything together. When she was finished, the disk looked a mess, but was absolutely delicious and quickly became our favorite of the entire meal. Alongside was another dish from the daily micro menu, a Spanish rice dish served "Risotto-style" with lentils and portobello mushrooms. Both dishes were delicious and perfectly seasoned.
Spanish Risotto-style rice with lentils (left) and Huevos 'Bulla" (right)
By the time our next dishes arrived, we were already crying "uncle". From the micro menu came two large sea scallops, perfectly seared and sitting atop a butternut squash puree. The scallops were slightly over-seasoned with salt, but still delicious. Two large prawns sauteed and served with a vermicelli-like pasta were also delicious.
Perfectly seared sea scallops on squash puree
As if all of this were not enough, we were treated to a special Thanksgiving-themed dessert served in a hollowed-out mini-pumpkin. The goat cheese and pumpkin crema topped with vanilla ice cream was decedent and sublime. Our visit to Bulla delivered the best meal we have had so far in Miami. The atmosphere is great, service is polished and friendly, and the food is excellent. A visit to Miami or Coral Gables would not be complete without a visit to Bulla. We can't wait to return.
For more information, visit their website.