Chef Thomas Keller’s Iconic French Bistro Concept, Bouchon, Opens In Coral Gables

The historic La Palma building in Coral Gables, Florida, is welcoming a culinary gem as Chef Thomas Keller’s award-winning French bistro concept, Bouchon, has officially opened its doors. This exciting addition promises to enrich the already thriving culinary landscape of the Coral Gables neighborhood.

Chef Thomas Keller’s Iconic French Bistro Concept, Bouchon, Opens In Coral GablesPhoto Credit: @bouchon_bistro

Dating back to 1924, the La Palma building was developed by Jose Ortega and Marc Schwarzberg of Maven Real Estate. Designed by architect H. George Fink, the building exemplifies the Small Mediterranean Style, an aesthetic originating in Coral Gables. It was previously home to the Cla-Reina Hotel, one of the longest-standing hotels in the area, and now stands as a mixed-use space designated on the National Register of Historic Places.

Chef Keller, the visionary behind Bouchon, expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to expand the Bouchon Bistro concept: “It was born out of the need to create the perfect place for those looking for something uncomplicated, that served hearty, authentic and well-crafted food and wine that was unpretentious but of the highest quality. It is more than a bar or restaurant, but like any proper bistro, it can be the hub of a community.” Chef Keller eagerly anticipates the development of Bouchon Coral Gables as a gathering place and a cherished community hub.

Renowned hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, celebrated as one of the world’s foremost designers, has lent his creative touch to Bouchon’s vibrant environment. Bouchon Coral Gables boasts a classic mosaic floor, a magnificent zinc bar, antique light fixtures, and hand-painted murals by the talented French artist Paulin Paris. Each Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery has unique murals created by Paulin, subtly reflecting the restaurant’s atmosphere and drawing inspiration from the French Surrealist movement. These artworks have become an integral part of the iconic Bouchon aesthetic.

Chef Thomas Keller’s Iconic French Bistro Concept, Bouchon, Opens In Coral GablesPhoto Credit: Nick Garcia for Haute Living

Leading the culinary charge is the esteemed Chef Keller, working in collaboration with Chef de Cuisine Thomas Castellon, a distinguished alumnus of The Surf Club Restaurant. Pastry Chef Courtney Kenyon will be at the helm of the pastry team, while Michel Couvreux, a longtime Director of Beverage for the restaurant group, will curate the wine and cocktail menus. The capable hands of Christopher Harris as General Manager and David Simms as the Director of Culinary Development and Operations will manage the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.

Bouchon’s menu promises a delightful rotation of classic French bistro dishes, including delectable offerings such as roast chicken, steak frites, croque madame, and, of course, the signature raw bar featuring an array of fruits de mer. The culinary journey is further elevated by an extensive selection of French and domestic wines and a range of traditional cocktails. Chef Castellon shares his excitement about bringing Bouchon to a city where he began his culinary career: “To open this restaurant in a city where I spent the early days of my career feels like a homecoming celebration. We’re excited to bring the community together to experience traditional French dishes showcasing exceptional ingredients of the highest execution.”

Director of Beverage, Michel Couvreux, has meticulously curated the beverage offerings to reflect the lively atmosphere of Coral Gables and the rich traditions of French culture. The wine list includes a Vin De Carafe program that highlights prominent vintners from California and France, offering excellent value. There’s also a Coravin program, allowing guests to savor unique French varietals and Napa Valley’s reserve wines by the glass. The cocktail program adds a touch of French elegance to classic libations, making them perfect for apéro hour or post-dinner indulgence.