Carmel Café & Wine Bar is located on N. Orlando Avenue in Winter Park. The atmosphere is an upbeat, colorful and modern eatery. I love the bold reds and modern artwork decorations throughout the restaurant. There is also huge floor to ceiling wine cases with a vast variety of wines for any wine enthusiast.
The menu at Carmel Café & Wine Bar is inspired by a modern twist on Mediterranean coast classics (Mod Med) from Italy, Spain, France, and Greece. They are known to use the best ingredients such as seasonal produce, and high quality meats and seafood. Offered both in small and large plates you are able to try a little taste of this and that.
One thing that stood out from the beginning was how tech savvy the restaurant was. Each table gets an Ipad with the entire menu listed with full color pictures. You able to order your food as you go and fire each course as the night goes on. You will still have a human server but this was a cool touch. I loved being able to see pretty pictures of all the menu items.
When we visited Carmel Café we tried a bunch of dishes so here we go….
Hendrick’s Gin and fresh strawberries
Seared Ahi Tuna
with edamame hummus and vegetable crisps
Red & Yellow Roasted Beets Salad
with goat cheese and pistachios
Carmel Café House Salad
Braised Short Ribs
with creamy polenta and olive tapenade
Basque Crab Cakes
with roasted almonds and avocado salad
For sides we had roasted Brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes and parsnip mashed potatoes.
Then the best for last dessert…
Pound Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Lava Cake
The video of the dishes doesn’t do the food justice. Each dish was presented beautifully and all ingredients were made in house, including the salad dressings. The ahi tuna was amazing. I hope to replicate the edamame hummus that it was paired up with. The fish was so fresh and full of flavor. Onto the crab cakes, lump big pieces of crab meat with minimal breading. They were light and wanted a dozen more of them. My husband enjoyed the Braised Short Ribs and polenta . I kept wandering onto his plate to steal bites of the polenta. Oh it was so creamy, I should have ordered a side dish of just that.
Overall everything was cooked well and the trendy, fun environment was a hit. Our server was very knowledgeable and personable. If you are in the Orlando area, it is definitely a must try. I know we can’t wait to go back to Carmel Café and Wine Bar.