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“Not By Choice” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Hillstone

Hillstone
201 Miracle Mile, 1300 Blue road, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Formerly Houston's)
(305) 529-0141
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Ranked #14 of 280 Restaurants in Coral Gables
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Miami, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Not By Choice”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013 via mobile

Permit me to begin this review by disclosing that I am fundamentally opposed to any restaurant as mismanaged as those in the Hillstone Restaurant Group. While alike in many ways, with the same impersonalized, faux-friendly service, similar wine menus, and similar eats, the disparity between the Hillstone in Coral Gables and the Houston's in North Miami does not go unnoticed; while I have had several inferior experiences in both, this one was particularly unfavorable. Knowing what to expect in any restaurant is key, and, especially with a franchise such as Hillstone, it is disappointing when a venue fails to deliver on the only thing they are consistently good at. In this case, it would be the food.

Seated at the bar, my companion and I were greeted and promptly delivered our wine. That was pretty much the end of service.

We selected the Clark and Telephone, a Pinot Noir from the Belle Glos family of wines that is a notch up from the Meiomi found at Aventura's Houston's. A fan of both, I can attest that the wines throughout this franchise are very reasonably priced, as well as notable. Thankfully, the wine was delicious, because we were not revisited by one of three bartenders until having leisurely knocked out half of the bottle.

The spinach dip was reliably good, as was the Thai tuna roll. The sushi selection at this location is one of the reasons we were inclined to stop in. Our water glasses were empty most of the time, and attendance from the staff was poor.

We ordered a bottle of Honig, a fabulous little Cabernet, and waited some more.

To order our Hawaiian Ribeye, I had to be assertive. I almost wish I wasn't, because what we received was atrocious. Formerly USDA prime beef, our steak arrived perfectly cooked at medium-rare, but lukewarm and tough. It was so awful that I had to saw off my first bite in physical discomfort. Against the wishes of my companion, I sent it back. They graciously and promptly delivered a new steak, with no new sides, and it, too, was tough. It became clear to me that they no longer serve prime, but have moved down to choice an still charge what they did for prime. If I wanted a choice ribeye, I would buy it from the grocery store.

No manager apologized, although I had not eaten any of it, and nobody offered to take it off of the bill. I do not believe in raising hell for the sake of receiving good service, but I will absolutely never dine there again by choice.

Go for the wine and the ambiance. Have some spinach dip and their daily specials, but do not go there for their service, the value, or the steaks.

All in all, the meal cost well over $200.00 and my dreams of delicious, supple, fat-marbled ribeye. Shame.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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162 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    72
    66
    13
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    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Miami, Florida
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Good Place for People Watching”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

We used to go and sit on the dining room but everytime we go now we make sure to find places on the bar for people watching. They serve the complete menu on the bar as well. The bar area gets really busy on the weekdays, especially after 5 PM. We enjoy sitting there and watching everybody else around us.

The food is good which does not make it a burden to come back. We have only tried the steaks and ribs. The sushi seemed too Americanized and hence never attracted us and besides Hillstone should be for steaks. But if sushi is your preference then I think it could be good since their other food is always fresh. Their spinach dip and key lime pie are the best I have ever eaten. Service is very good. They are always attentive.

All in all, it is a good experience all around.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bowie, Maryland
Top Contributor
217 reviews 217 reviews
137 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 114 cities Reviews in 114 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Don't come if you're hungry...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012 via mobile

Came here based on a recommendation from the hotel front desk clerk where I was staying. He'd warned me this place was pricier than most, but garunteed I'd have a great experience.

The place is nice: Dim lights, funky / ecclectic background music, a well-trained wait staff who say "My pleasure" when you say Thank You.... The hostess at the front was especially great to interact with - with her slicked back hair, trendy eyeglasses, and warm greeting. Alex (female) was my waitress - and she was prompt, efficient, and checked on me a few times during my meal.

So I like the service. And the people I dealt with. It was the quality and quantity of the food versus the price per plate that I had an issue with.

I ordered the chicken entre' with the creamed corn and home fries on the side, with an amoretto sour and ginger ale. The fries they serve are the string kind (super thin and oily), and the chicken was a three piece set that looked like something I could've cooked in my own kitchen. All in all - not worth the $25 for the chicken entre. My bill came to over $50 when I include the suggested 15% tip... and I ate and drank alone.

In short, come here if you want to impress your date for being a big spender, or if you want to check out the attractive wait / host staff. But avoid this place if you're on a modest per diem like I was, and *especially* if you're hungry!

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Miami, Florida
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Expensive, long wait, very good basic food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

I am torn in writing this review.

On the one hand, I despise this place. The wait is ridiculous for what is very unsophisticated food (burgers, unimaginative salads, grilled meats). The service is average (the place is so busy that you can't blame the waiters and it's even worse at the bar). The place is very dark and loud.

On the other hand they have the best veggie burger I have ever had and the best spinach dip I have ever had. So I am giving a very good rating but people need to understand that the food is basic comfort food (almost no creativity) and they could wait 45 minutes for a table at 3:30 pm depending on the day.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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westport
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great Restaurant!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012 via mobile

I've had Hillstone a bunch and it never disappoints. I was truly shocked to find out it is a small chain restaurant with locations all over the country. The food is always delicious, especially the Asian Steak Salad with a peanut sauce dressing. The service is top-notch and clearly very well trained. My only complaints are: 1) there is almost always a wait but the line moves relatively quick and you can normal find a spot at the bar for a cocktail 2) overall the menu is fairly well priced but a few things always strike me as extremely expensive especially in comparison to other things on the menu, ie the sushi.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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