MIAReview

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

The Gibson Room review image
8.5

The Gibson Room

$$$$

2224 Coral Way, Coral Gables
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

The first time you swing open The Gibson Room’s front door, you will think you’ve just walked into a cocktail bar. And you have. The crowd is drinking reasonably priced martinis while the band in the corner plays something that warrants foot tapping. The dark space’s design is a collision of a cocktail lounge, jazz club, and taxidermy shop. This feels like a place you’d come to get drunk on a Wednesday with a friend you haven’t seen in three years.

But first impressions don’t tell the full story here. Because—while, yes, technically true—the whole casual locals bar thing is a disguise. And with each plate you order, this place slowly reveals its true identity as a thrilling restaurant serving thoughtful, delicious food that—even if we gave you a zillion and three guesses—you’d never imagine ordering at a bar on Coral Way.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

And so it does feel like a shame to come here without at least a partially empty stomach. The Gibson Room’s food is such a good idea, in fact, that you should still make the trip whether or not you’re interested in consuming a drop of alcohol. Plus, you will have some form of entertainment thanks to the live music and DJs who take to the small stage every night except Mondays.

There are bar food regulars on the menu, like a bulky double cheeseburger, shrimp cocktail, marinated olives, and tinned fish. Those are very good. But if it's your first time, prioritize the dishes that sound like they must’ve gotten lost on their way to another menu: the head cheese, eel, and shrimp nuggets, or the perfectly cooked rainbow trout on a phenomenal seafood lenteja, and the tamal en cazuela with roasted foie gras and crispy duck chicharron, which is simply the best rainy day bar food we've ever encountered.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Those are the kind of dishes that make The Gibson Room such an unexpected delight, and also make this such a useful place to have in your restaurant roster. Bring a date you want to impress here, keep it in mind as a spontaneous Saturday night walk-in option, or sit alone at the bar on a Tuesday and slurp oxtail ramen while listening to live jazz.

This place could easily get away with a menu of straightforward finger foods—in which case we’d still be very down to come here. But there’s an ambition to the menu that takes The Gibson Room from the casual bar genre and drops it somewhere entirely unique. Wherever that is, the words “cocktail bar” just don’t do it justice.

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Food Rundown

The Gibson Room review image

Nuggets

Everything about this dish—even the little takeout container its served in—feels familiar. But what’s inside the little golden nuggets is anything but. Each crispy piece contains a delicious mix of pork head cheese, eel, shrimp, and comes with a barbecue eel sauce for dipping. Whether as a bar snack or an appetizer, order these.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Tamal En Cazuela

The Gibson Room adds a couple flourishes to this classic Cuban dish in the form of a rich rectangle of foie gras, crispy duck chicharron, and dried fruit mojo. But even the bites without the decadent add-ons are incredible. This is the kind of warm, rich, creamy dish that’d be ideal for winter if we actually had one. But it makes great thunderstorm food too.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Rainbow Trout

You may order this dish for the rainbow trout, which is cooked perfectly and has crispy skin. But it’s the ink-black seafood lenteja that’ll have you holding your plate up to the candle to make sure you’ve eaten every last scrap.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Oxtail & Shrimp Ramen

Easily one of Miami’s best ramens, the bowl comes with piles of oxtail, shrimp, herbs, and an egg atop a delicious tangle of noodles. The dark broth should absolutely be drunk from the bowl. The portion is plenty for one, and you could even split it with someone you’re comfortable slurping alongside.

The Gibson Room review image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

The Burger

We do love The Gibson Room’s more unique dishes, but there’s also positively no shame in ordering the burger here. The excellent double cheeseburger is huge, but stays together impressively well and won’t disintegrate into a soggy mess as you tear into it. It also pairs beautifully with the house gibson martini.

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