In the heart of Coral Gables, Fla. lies the luxury Biltmore Hotel. Established in 1926, this grand property is known for its upscale hotel rooms and pristine golf course. While all of these extravagant features may seem inaccessible to UM students, college kids can still get the Biltmore experience through their dining options.
For my 19th birthday, I wanted to immerse myself in the history of the Biltmore and enjoy a high quality meal, so I requested a Sunday brunch at the Biltmore’s Fontana restaurant. The Sunday brunch is a popular way for people staying off the hotel property to experience the ambiance and cuisine that it has to offer.
Brunch was served buffet style and had two rooms, one filled with breakfast options and the other stacked with lunch options. I, of course, had to try both.
Each table is assigned a waiter who provides beverages and any silverware, but everything else is self-serve. Included drink options included mimosas or peach bellinis for those of age, as well as traditional breakfast juices and coffees.
After ordering a refreshing glass of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, I made my way to the breakfast buffet. Here, I requested a made-to-order omelet and picked up a waffle, breakfast pastries, sausage and bacon. Everything was superb. The omelet was cooked perfectly, a step-up from the UM dining hall omelets.
Not to mention the delicious pastry, which tasted like it could have been from France with how fluffy it was. Other than the wait for my omelet, I honestly could not think of a complaint for breakfast.
Despite getting slightly full, I knew I had to try the lunch menu. This is where I became completely overwhelmed with the amount of options. There was a meat carving station, a raw seafood bar and sushi bar, to name a few. I knew I could not possibly consume everything, so I took my pick from the display.
I ended up getting some maki rolls, jumbo shrimp, half shell oysters and caviar. I had never tried caviar before, so I was excited to see if I’d enjoy it. I ate some on a cracker and thought it was nice. It wasn’t too salty and really melted in your mouth. This buffet was the perfect way to try new foods, as you didn’t have to risk ordering something that you wouldn’t end up enjoying.
Even if you’re a picky eater, you don’t need to worry about enjoying yourself at the Fontana brunch. I have a brother that eats very few foods and he did not have trouble dining here. However, you probably won’t get as much bang for your buck since everyone pays the same price for the entire brunch.
We can’t forget the most important part of the meal: dessert! The amount of dessert options were unbelievable and everything was delicious. I appreciate the mini size of the items so you can taste multiple different ones. I went with a créme brûleé cup, key lime pie, chocolate lava cake and a cannoli. I was in dessert heaven. Think of how amazing these items typically are and multiply that by a thousand. I also had a cappuccino — which I normally don’t even like — and even that was good.
Overall, the meal came out to $120 for adults and $55 for children five to 11. Though this seems like a shocking amount, especially for college students, I am not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
I sat outside while listening to live guitar music, which made my birthday feel that much more magical. If I’m being nit picky, I think our waiter could have checked in on us a bit more as I was missing a dessert spoon, but that is a minor detail in the grand scheme of things.
If you are celebrating a special occasion or have family in town that is willing to treat, I absolutely recommend going to brunch at the Biltmore. You can spend your time before and after exploring the history and beautiful resort grounds, then enjoy a meal you will remember for a lifetime.
Rating: 5/5 stars