By KAMILA KNAUDT
Miracle Mile is an area frequented by University of Miami college students and all those local to Coral Gables. Some of the most popular areas to go to are Poc, a sushi buffet style restaurant, and Yard House, whose all-American menu makes it a college student favorite.
Time and time again we see how locals and students continue to visit these local favorites and some restaurants are simply overlooked, Yuga is the perfect example of this.
Nestled on a quiet block of Alcazar Avenue three blocks from the Coral Gables Museum, Yuga is just the place for those who are fans of Asian fusion cuisine. A perfect mix of Thai, Filipino and Japanese cuisine, Yuga brings a refreshing take on Asian Cuisine that is unlike anything you have experienced.
When first approaching the restaurant, it is hard to find due to the quiet nature of the street. The restaurant is usually the only building on the block that has its lights on at night. When driving up, many will second guess whether they are on the right street but Yuga’s big front windows and sign up front are sure to catch your attention.
Once you walk in, you are greeted by a friendly hostess that immediately takes you to your table. For some unknown reason, the multiple times I have been to the restaurant for dinner, Yuga has an abundance of open tables. The wait staff is very friendly and always makes sure you have clean plates and utensils and are always quick to refill your drink. The waiters are also very quick to take your order and bring your food as quickly as possible.
Yuga’s menu is not very long but at the same time offers many options. Some of the best dishes on the menu can be found on the first page under appetizers. It’s famous “Tuna Sandwiches” are to die for and should be definitely something you order. Cooked tuna wrapped in seaweed and rice then fried, the tuna sandwiches are a perfect dish to share among friends for $7.25.
Another great dish under their list of appetizers is their Wild Mushroom salad, for $9.25. Unlike anything anyone has seen before, the salad is piled high with different types of mushrooms and topped with a sauce that will make you want to like the plate clean.
When it comes to entrees, Yuga has it all. No matter what kind of picky eaters with whom you may be dining. Yuga’s extensive entrée options will have something for everyone. From curry to noodles to ramen to sushi, Yuga will not disappoint. It even has a section on the sushi menu called “nothing raw” for those that enjoy sushi but are not up for eating raw fish. Their extensive sushi menu, ranging from $3.50-$12, includes everything from the classic California roll to rolls under their “funky” column that include rolls with conch fritters inside and something they call fried dynamite.
For those who enjoy dining with good drink to go along with good food, Yuga once again has you covered. Along with their many dishes, Yuga has a long list of cold and hot sake, from which diners can choose. But one of Yuga’s staples that everyone should end a meal with is the Thai Donuts at $5.
Lightly fried pieces of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, these donuts take the prize for best dessert. Simple but amazing are the only way to describe them. Served warm and freshly fried, the Thai Donuts are a must have. These small melt in your mouth morsels are plated along side three different dipping sauces that patrons can try.
The chocolate and strawberry sauces are good but the condensed milk sauce is by far the best. The cool temperature of the condensed milk sauce paired with the warm donuts, creates a flavor in your mouth, which will leave you wanting more. So don’t be surprised if you end up ordering two orders instead of one.
There is not much for which to criticize Yuga other than its strange hours. This may be Yuga’s only downfall and maybe the reason why Yuga goes along without much fanfare. Most restaurants are open from 11 a.m. to 11p.m., for the most part.
But unlike most restaurants Yuga is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and open for dinner from 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. These unusual hours have left me at times stranded in front of the restaurant, waiting for them to open at 6 p.m. Be careful if you are someone who enjoys having dinner early.
Other than hours, Yuga should be considered on of Coral Gables best and should be on your list of restaurant to try. It is a great place to bring your family due to its casual ambiance and is sure to have something for everyone. Overall, Yuga is a hidden gem that many overlook.
- 357 Alcazar Ave., Coral Gables, Fla. 33134
- Phone: 305-442-8600
- Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.; 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
- Parking: Meter parking at the front of the restaurant
- Price Range: $$
- Rating: 4.5-5 stars