The salted fish, lobster, scampi, patatas a lo pobre and other Spanish delicacies that made La Dorada a hit in Miami will soon be gone.
The Coral Gables restaurant, a favorite of celebrities like Isabel Pantoja, Camilo Sesto and José José, will close at the end of September — another victim of the economic crisis created by COVID-19.
“We have to close, with all the pain in my soul, we cannot continue,” said Lilly Gándara, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, Domingo Gándara, one of Miami’s most experienced restaurateurs for four decades.
Two reasons beyond their control determined the fate of the restaurant, Lilly said: the Giralda Street remodel — which took two years and made it difficult to get into the restaurant — and the pandemic.
“This situation has been the coup de grâce,” she said, , noting that in February they had already managed to recover from the situation generated by the construction in Giralda.
But like many businesses in Miami, rent has hit them the hardest amid quarantine, closures and restrictions.
“Rent in Coral Gables is unpayable,” Lilly said, noting that La Dorada pays $22,580 in rent, and now faces late fees of $4,500 per month since March.
Since the pandemic began, well-known Coral Gables restaurants that helped give the area personality have shuttered, such as Ortanique on the Mile, which closed in July after 21 years, and JohnMartin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in April.
“It was very hard, very complicated. We did not expect to have this ending,” said Lilly, noting that she is also very sorry for the 32 employees of the restaurant, who are very sad because they will lose their jobs.
The restaurant will remain open until Sept. 26 and will continue to offer the fresh, quality seafood it is known for, Domingo promised.
“We have capacity for 250 people and we can follow the rules of social distancing very well,” he said.
In Miami-Dade, restaurants can open for indoor dining at half capacity.
The couple is also selling the nautical pieces and works of art that decorate the restaurant, for those who want a souvenir.
Though they consider the situation too uncertain to start a business, in the future they could open another Spanish restaurant because that is Domingo Gándara’s passion.
“I have no words to comfort my husband,” concluded Lilly. “We have put a lot of effort and a lot of work into the restaurant, but we will continue in Miami and there will be other opportunities.”