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Family behind Miguel’s Restaurant keep its long and tasty legacy alive

Miguel Garcia had a vision for continental cuisine on Siesta Key. His sons keep that vision alive.

Miguel’s Mixed Grille entree consists of three tender lamb chops with mint sauce, veal with Bordelaise sauce and filet mignon with Bearnaise sauce, along with cauliflower, grilled mushrooms and duchess potatoes.
Miguel’s Mixed Grille entree consists of three tender lamb chops with mint sauce, veal with Bordelaise sauce and filet mignon with Bearnaise sauce, along with cauliflower, grilled mushrooms and duchess potatoes.
Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
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Miguel’s Restaurant was the brainchild of Miguel Garcia, who was originally from Málaga in Spain. This cosmopolitan creator also lived and worked in France and Canada before he came to Sarasota. Garcia opened Miguel’s in 1983 on Siesta Key. 

The restaurant has been renowned ever since for its continental cuisine and French classics. Miguel’s sons, Gabriel and Daniel Garcia, are keeping their father’s legacy alive today. Gabriel, executive chef, attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales and is also a sommelier. 

Daniel serves as general manager. He recently shared his thoughts about why Miguel’s consistently receives critically acclaimed ratings.

Our father’s core concept for Miguel’s was …

To open a French-based restaurant that was also very continental, with many different culinary influences. He was born in Spain and lived in France for many years, so he always took a cosmopolitan approach. Dad wanted a diverse menu with French cuisine at its core. That’s what we have at Miguel’s to this day.

Daniel and Gabriel Garcia always have excellence as their standard at Miguel’s.
Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
The three secrets of Miguel’s popularity are …

Our amazing food — that’s first and foremost! We have the highest standards and zero compromise. We make everything in-house from scratch and use all the best ingredients. Second, the all-around dining experience. Miguel’s tableside creations are very popular — we make many things right in front of our guests. Service is number three. We strive to take care of our customers and always go the extra mile.

Don’t leave Miguel’s without trying …

Our Caesar salad. It’s one of our tableside items. You absolutely have to experience it. Our chateaubriand is 20 ounces of USDA prime center-cut filet. We carve it right in front of you with a whole bouquet of vegetables. Our slow-roasted duck is also fantastic.


Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
The secret of Chef Gabriel’s wine selection is …

Knowledge and passion. He’s very into wine, and he tries many different wines to find the selections on our list. Our vintages are unique — you won’t find them anywhere else in the region.

When I’m not working, I’m …

Well, I’m almost always working (laughs). On the few days I’m not, I like to spend time with friends, try new restaurants, have a glass of wine, and experience new things. I also do a little bit of traveling.

My culinary inspirations/heroes are …

My father and my mother. When we were growing up, they let us try so many different foods. Every year, we’d travel through Spain and get a taste of Spanish cuisine. My dad really opened up our culinary tastes. My mom was a great, great chef. My grandmother in Spain had taught her the art of cooking. 

The top restaurants in the world I’d love to visit include …

Pétrus in London was a fantastic, Michelin-starred restaurant. But I’m more interested in discovering new places than working on a bucket list of world-famous venues. I like to go off the beaten path to restaurants that create their own authentic food. That’s where my heart is.

How does Miguel’s menu honor your father’s vision?

My dad wanted a very traditional restaurant — and our menu still reflects that. You’ll find a lot of things you can’t find in modern corporate restaurants. Our rack of lamb has been on the menu from day one. Our Chicken Champagne was one of Dad’s first chef’s recipes. Chef Gabriel took the menu to a new level, but we’ve stayed faithful to our father’s core vision. Yes, we’ve added to his legacy. But we’re still walking the path he laid out for us.



Marty Fugate

Marty Fugate is a writer, cartoonist and voiceover actor whose passions include art, architecture, performance, film, literature, politics and technology. As a freelance writer, he contributes to a variety of area publications, including the Observer, Sarasota Magazine and The Herald Tribune. His fiction includes sketch comedy, short stories and screenplays. “Cosmic Debris,” his latest anthology of short stories, is available on Amazon.

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