Where To Find Chef Thomas Keller's Favorite Restaurants In Florida

With roots on both coastlines, Thomas Keller has been making his mark on America's culinary scene since the mid-1970s. The iconic chef was born in Oceanside, California, but spent his childhood in Florida, where he pursued his passion and aptitude for culinary art. Keller is perhaps best known for his world-class restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California, beckoning the locals of Napa Valley wine country. Since then, he's been credited for launching several additional eateries and collaborating with Hollywood's Pixar Studios. According to Tasting Table, the studio recruited Keller to design the menu and several dishes for the fictitious Parisian restaurant in the film, "Ratatouille."

Given the large chunk of time Keller spent perfecting his craft in Miami's kitchens, he's developed a handful of recommendations that, according to him, are worth paying a visit. Miami has long been known for its Latin American and Caribbean eateries. Today, it's a melting pot of cuisines, ushered in by the city's reputation as an iconic American hot spot.

Skip Mexican, scope out Italian

With dishes reminiscent of summertime in the Mediterranean, stop by


at The Surf Club, one of Keller's own restaurants. Upscale elegance is tempered by feathered palms and a cozy seaview balcony accented with fairy lights. The menu blends traditional Italian and


fare, but make no mistake in embracing Keller's recommendation and ordering their Branzino. The European sea bass dish is a Lido signature with rainbow chard, "Palermitana" sauce, and citronette.

Call Me Gaby is the epitome of a French Bistro in almost every way. A Southern France native, Gaby is the proud owner of her small women-owned and operated businesses (but not without the help of an incredible crew of male chefs sautéing away behind the scenes). Call Me Gaby's trendy, open-air dining sphere captured Keller's attention as a favored evening meal spot. The sophisticated yet relaxed setting is perfect for enjoying Keller's favorite dish, the pissaladière. This classic flatbread is similar to Roman pizza, but it is native to the South of France and draws its ingredient inspiration from Provence and Nice. Caramelized onions, anchovies, and black olives are the secret to what sits atop this breaded masterpiece.

Cuban Coffee is best

If anyone knows where the best place to purchase your daily caffeinated cup is, it's Thomas Keller. Cuban coffee, in particular, is his beverage of choice at Versailles Bakery, tucked in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. Nicknamed "The World's Best Cuban Restaurant," the cuban gem has earned its label with all of its baked goods prepared fresh daily. Croqueta in hand, make your way to the bakery's "La Ventanita." This celebrated coffee window is frequented by more than just locals, garnering the attention of high profile personalities scoping out their go-to coffee spot while in the city. Cuban coffee holds a unique flavor profile, as the beans are combined with sugar before roasting, resulting in a sweet yet bold taste. Follow Keller's advice and order a single shot of their Cafe La Carreta espresso blend, perfect for a morning or midday pick-me-up if you could use some caffeine.