Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Carmel Cafe Altamonte Excels

You have heard me rave about Carmel Cafe Winter Park in the past. Now, Carmel Cafe Altamonte Springs is open and the food and atmosphere are just as great as its Winter Park counterpart. Actually, I like the design of the bar area a bit better at the Altamonte location. And service is outstanding at both locations. 

When we dined at Carmel Cafe Altamonte with family recently, we were able to taste some new items we hadn't had before. That night, the happy hour special was a house-infused Cherry Bourbon cocktail. I don't normally like bourbon, but this was delicious and refreshing! By the way, Happy Hour - every weekday from 4 to 7 p.m. - is a good time to go to the restaurant. You get to try some of the restaurant's appetizers and drinks for only $4 each.

On this night, we tried some apps and entrees that we had not tried before. The Short Rib Empanadas were so flavorful, and the Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta were cooked perfectly and flavorful as well. I'm so glad I ordered the Moroccan Lemon Chicken, a tender chicken breast with pine nuts, saffron, and olives. Again, the flavor was delicious and different than anything I had tried before.

We also recently visited Carmel Cafe Winter Park and tried some of the new summer entrees and traditional apps on the menu. We started out with the Mezze Platter, a huge sharing plate that was more than enough for a table of five. The platter features Edamame Hummus, Goat Cheese-Stuffed Peppers, Crispy Fried Feta and Marinated Artichoke Hearts, and other tastings, served with warm pita. If you like hummus and Mediterranean cuisine, this is definitely a dish to order.

We also tried the Pasta Marseilles, which is a light, flavorful bouilliabasse broth with plentiful helpings of shrimp, scallops, mussels, fennel and gnocchi. This is different from any bouilliabasse I have had, and I must say, it was delicious. The fennel paired very nicely with the seafood and broth.

For dessert, we always get the Warm Poached Pear, which is served with caramel sauce and ice cream. It was delicious. Soon, I hope to have room to try the Chocolate Lava Cake and the Pound Cake with Strawberries.

Every visit, I have great food, service, and atmosphere at both Carmel locations. Let me know your experience at Carmel Cafe Altamonte and Carmel Cafe Winter Park in the comments section below.

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