Ortanique, the funky little restaurant with the flamingo out front on Miracle Mile, is an excellent restaurant that sometimes gets overlookied in the rush to visit the latest trendy spot in the Gables. Chef Cindy Hutson’s Cuisine of the Sun is reflected everywhere at Ortanique- from the plates decorated with oranges, to the bright orange walls and curtains, to the orange slice garnishing a tall iced tea.
Tropical music plays in the background, introducing the Caribbean theme that runs throughout the menu. The vibe is somewhat Moroccan den meets Caribbean funk, with little individual dining spots swathed in fabric. Luckily the service here is not as laid back as the islands.
Servers are knowledgeable, water glasses refilled promptly and a delicious basket of pesto brushed baguette slices appeared on the table shortly after arrival. Suggestions are made for the menu.
The lunch menu features soup and ceviche that change daily, as well as a Taste of the Sun prix fixe menu- two courses are $20, three (with dessert) are $25. The Taste offers a choice of asterix- marked appetizers and entrées to choose from, with no substitutions. The roasted eggplant and tomato soup sampled recently from the prix fixe menu, was smooth, rich and satisfying.
The entrée ordered with the Taste was a Hogfish Nicoise- an innovative take on the classic French salad.
It took a while to arrive, but was worth the wait. The pan seared hog fish was perfectly seasoned and cooked, with a lovely golden crust revealing white flaky flesh inside. It was served atop golden slices of potatoes, perfectly crunchy green beans, sliced cherry tomatoes and a Nicoise sauce of black olives and capers. The different elements of the dish complemented each other well.
The other entrée sampled- Mahi with an orange plantain mash, was garnished with steamed julienned chayote and carrots and served in a puddle of flavorful orange, rum sauce. It was delicious. Portions here are generous.
Other items on the lunch menu are: salads, sandwiches, hot appetizers, entrees, cocktails and dessert. On a recent visit here for dinner, the jerk chicken penne pasta in a creamy, spicy sauce ($23) and cocoa and coffee encrusted flat iron steak ($29), were big hits.
There’s outdoor seating available and the upbeat atmosphere, white table cloths and cozy nooks make Ortanique an excellent choice for special occasions. A birthday celebration was taking place at a nearby table on a recent visit. Their seared ahi tuna with mango salsa and jasmine rice looked extremely tempting.
Cindy Hutson’s style of cooking- incorporated Caribbean flavors with tropical fruits and fresh local seafood, is reminiscent of the Mango Gang back in the eighties. It was a good idea back then and Hutson’s innovative twists on island eats keep it fresh today. So, don’t overlook the Grande Dame of the Mile in favor of all those New Kids on the Block.
Ortanique will be participating in Coral Gables Restaurant week, which starts June 10th, 2013 and runs for three weeks. Ortanique also runs different promotional events during the week, including happy hour Monday through Friday, from 4:30- 7:30 pm. In addition, Cindy Hutson teaches an interactive cooking class.
Ortanique on the Mile
278 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
Lunch Monday- Friday 11:30 am- 2:30 pm
Dinner Monday- Wednesday 6- 10 pm Thursday- Saturday 6- 11pm Sunday 5:30- 9:30 pm