On a rainy June morning I went to see a fantastically entertaining film called Chinese Puzzle (Director Cedric Klapisch) at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. A wonderfully executed film with superb graphics and knowledgeable, gifted actors. Outside, I debated. Stay in the neighborhood and have lunch by myself or go home and have lunch by myself. A good parking space and plenty of coins left in the meter made the decision easy. I wandered over to Talavera, a couple of blocks north of the Cinema house.
Step through the front doors and you’re instantly transported to the sounds and fragrances of Mexico. Sit anywhere and your waiter will instantly bring you salsa and chips and water. You’ll find that the water is a necessary commodity after you taste the salsa. A fire extinguisher would be handy too but…I digress. The restaurant (according to my waiter), “…selects and offers authentic ingredients which reproduce the original recipes from the homeland. We try to stay away from the common Mexican dishes that most people are familiar with on this side of the border.” It was a well-rehearsed phrase, but cute anyway. So I ordered the traditional Caesar salad with chicken (I know!) and a Corona con limon.
Now here’s where I digress. The décor is fun. The bar area has painted portraits of Mexican notables such as Selma Hayek, Cantinflas, Frida Kalho, etc., hanging on the back wall. Overall noise level is high. Uniformed wait staff is constantly bustling. Hot dishes exit the kitchen door at a face pace. The pottery is beyond charming. What? The pottery? Yep. The pottery is Uriarte and I believe that it was made specifically for Talavera. My grandmother used to say, “You eat with your eyes.” I loved eating on these beautifully decorated dishes. Everything tasted richer and just a little yummier on these artisanal-crafted, cobalt-hued plates. I’ve been a patron there several times since my first visit and I’ve tasted the Lunch specials such as Chuleta “Enchilada” Huarache or the Ceviche Verde Mixto, finished off with the lunch sorbet, which is included in the the three-course $13 price tag ($16 dinners). It’s a pleasure to enjoy good food with salsa verde, agua fresca and paleta helada. They have at least one hundred varied dishes on their menu and it is caliente. But the experience is so much more enhanced when you eat off of artistically painted, hand-made, bold and distinguished dishes. megs at gate. net. Buen provecho.
TO GO: talaveraspot.com or call 305.444.2955.