Pascal’s on Ponce is not for everyone. But if you actually looked forward to AP French, order a kir royale without even opening the cocktail menu, and can’t look at a shiny new Miami restaurant without feeling nostalgic for what used to be there, then you may just fall in love with this place.
The Coral Gables fine dining French restaurant has been around since the early 2000s. The understated dining room is late ‘90s chic—with walls the color of crème patissière and cherry wood accents. There are tablecloths on the tables, and, yes, they are white. Service is cordial, but distant and unobtrusive. Servers silently refill your water glass and then disappear into the background to fetch an amuse bouche.
All of this may warn of a stuffy, dated restaurant with food that nobody has found interesting in 50 years. But the vibe here isn’t pretentious—it’s convivial, like a Flanigans for those with good table manners. And the food—the big reason to come here—might just blow your mind if you recognize yourself anywhere in the first paragraph.
Almost everything here is executed with absolute precision and elegance, a term that is often confused with opulence in Miami, but really means a middle path—neither too much nor too little. Pascal’s understands that more truffle isn’t always a good thing. A foie gras and porcini soup with a drizzle of truffle-infused olive oil is a perfect example. It’s just rich enough that you’ll want to lick the bowl clean rather than grab your phone to order a colon cleanse from Amazon. Pascal’s is one of the few places in Miami to nail a proper soufflé, and it’s one of our favorite chocolate desserts in town.
It’s not essential, but it will help your Pascal’s experience to have a fundamental knowledge of classic French food. It’s not that a diner won’t enjoy themselves without being an old-school Francophile, but they may miss some of the details, like how a foie gras terrine beautifully mimics the rusticity of a pâté de campagne while retaining the meltingly buttery quality of the foie. Or how a twice-baked upside down gruyère soufflé is actually a trompe l'oeil masquerading as a timbale, yet somehow miraculously delivers the same cloud-like textures of a proper soufflé.
Did that all sound like an alien language that you have absolutely no interest in? Fair enough. Then you can probably skip this place.
Pascal’s is definitely a restaurant for a very specific type of diner. It’s almost a perfect time capsule of what fine dining in Miami was like 30 years ago when Coral Gables was the place to eat in Miami. For those who bemoan the gradual extinction of those types of restaurants in the city, this is one place that is still doing it right. And despite the fact that Pascal’s isn’t following any newfangled culinary trends, a meal here can still hit all the right notes if you’ve got a soft spot for the classics.
The menu at Pascal’s changes frequently, but here are a few examples of the kind of dishes you might find here.
Porcini Mushroom And Foie Gras Soup
This feels like eating a sauce rather than a soup, but in the best way possible. It has just a smidge of minerality from the foie gras and lots of little bits of chewy porcini, which feel like a vegetable version of diced lardons. It’s a perfect soup.
Twice-baked Upside Down Gruyère Cheese Soufflé
This is a Pascal’s classic, although it’s not quite a soufflé but resembles more of a timbale in form. Whether or not you know or care about the difference, the most important part is: it’s delicious. It has a nutty flavor from the gruyère, and the proper billowiness of a souffle. It tastes like a very flavorful cloud.
Beef Tenderloin With Red Wine Sweet Onion Fondue
A good steak rarely needs anything, but with this dish, Pascal’s has created the perfect little Chanel black dress for the steak with a matching handbag. The red wine and sweet onion fondue compliments the meat with its jammy sweetness. It also combines with a proper bordelaise to make a complex sauce. It comes with a little cube of mille feuille potatoes that’s like a puff pastry made from impossibly thin slices of spuds.
Traditional Bittersweet Chocolate Soufflé
Pascal’s is one of the few places where you can get a chocolate soufflé in Miami. And this is a proper soufflé—fluffy and puffy and like burying your face in a chubby Turkish Angora’s belly without the fear of getting scratched. It’s finished tableside with a drizzle of chocolate ganache. It’s hard to wrap your head around how Pascal’s can add so much intense chocolate flavor into a dessert that is as light as air. So don’t, and just enjoy this masterpiece.