Business Bites: Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar

An Innovative Experience

By Dave Nevill Jr. of OrlandoFoodScene.com

When you hear the word Mediterranean cuisine, one often conjures up memories of gyros and falafel. In most cases, you’d be right on the money, but not at Carmel Café. Taking cues from the flavors of the Mediterranean, Carmel Café offers up a variety of sophisticated and original dishes that make for a memorable experience.


The Winter Park location, one of 6 currently in Central Florida, is located on 17-92 just across from the new Trader Joes location. Their concept has touches of fine dining with a modern twist. The interior is inviting with soft lighting and colorful artwork. But what’s the modern twist you ask? I was greeted at the table by my server, who presented me with my menu and an iPad. That’s right, there menu is digital!

The iPad is a very cool idea, and I think it really helped me get a better understanding of both the food items and the wine. With every dish on the digital menu, the chefs have done you a solid and included a few suggested wines to accompany each dish. The selections are nearly all available by the glass, and can even be broken down by the pour size. This is a nice touch for those who want to experience the dish to its full potential without breaking the bank. The digital menu also features a photo of each menu item with a full description. Their digital menu is easy to use and is full of helpful information. I would love to see more of this from other restaurants!

I visited for lunch on two occasions, and managed to try quite a few of their menu items. I started off a cup of the Tomato Basil soup, which I was surprised to find out w

as completely vegan (No cream or chicken stock).  The soup was fantastic, with rich tomato flavor and just a hint of bite from the black pepper. My appetizer was the chickpea fries, which was something new for me. They take a ground chickpea mixture, shape it into wedges, and fry it coated in chickpea flour. Accompanied by two delicious and unique dipping sauces, these are something that the whole table will enjoy.


Next up was the Moroccan Lemon Chicken plate. Served in both a lunch and dinner portion, this dish was a satisfying combination of pine nuts, saffron, olives, lemon, and roasted veggies. The lemon sauce with saffron was light and did a nice job of complimenting the chicken. For my next visit, I asked my server to pick her favorite lunch choice. A risky move for some, but I love surprises. I was very pleased to find a pair of Basque Crab Cakes. These crab cakes are more than generously packed with crab meat, and were cooked perfectly. Crispy on the outside and tender and flaky in the middle, paired with a small avocado salad and roasted almonds. As a lover of all things seafood, I would easily rank these as some of the best crab cakes in town!

Not be left out are the specials that are on offer. Wine & Unwind Wednesdays offers up one of the best deals for the wine enthusiast. Starting at 5pm, every bottle in the house is 50{bfd614f294d07c51b84c8dad33a56885001f0ed7300088ac66752d3246377d5a} off.  You can also join the Carmel Club, which is a rewards program that can earn you some free menu choices. Check out their website for all the details here (Website Link to http://www.carmelcafe.com/events/winter-parks-events.aspx)

My visits to Carmel were always accompanied by pleasant and knowledgeable staff, neat high tech menus, great food, and prices that didn’t break the bank. Open for lunch and dinner, Carmel Café is easily one of my new favorite Winter Park lunch stops. Whether it’s a quick lunch, a happy hour with friends, or a dinner party for your office, Carmel Café is your spot!



Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar
140 N Orlando Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789


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