Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar Grand Opening - South Tampa

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tonight I had the pleasure of dining at the new Carmel Cafe in South Tampa with my friend Leslie and our other halves.
Carmel Cafe Bar
Before I dive into the food, I have to get a little geeky on you: This was the first restaurant that I have seen use a MenuPad. MenuPad is tablet-based technology presented on tableside iPads, allowing guests to completely customize their dining experience. Photos and detailed descriptions are provided of food, along with giving you wine suggestions. My favorite part of this technology is that you control how quickly (or leisurely) your selections are brought to you, and make modifications based on diet, preferences and size.
It's time for the food. I was very impressed after checking out their menu. Carmel Cafe has everything from steak frites to braised short ribs to seared Atlantic scallops.  The most expensive entree on the menu is a large serving of Lamb Lollipops, which will set you back $22.99. PS - I love when restaurants do large and small portions! I am such a light eater that this works out very well in my favor.The decor of Carmel Cafe is very warm, modern and open.

Their wine list is excellent, letting you choose between a 3oz, 6oz, 9oz or bottle which I feel is great for both wino's and beginner wine drinkers. Carmel also offers informal wine tastings, visit their calendar to see what they have coming up. Eventually, the South Tampa location will have brunch. You can enjoy a great inexpensive meal, get good wine and drinks while hanging out with friends.

We started off with a Sangria French Press! How genius is this? Gabe loved it. He raved on and on about how it was better than the Columbia's sangria. I have to agree that it was one of the top Sangria's in the Tampa area.
Sangria French Press
We were brought out a Mezze Platter and Chickpea fries.The Chickpea fries were good, served with two amazing dipping sauces - tomato jam and curry aioli. My Sangria filled boyfriend told me they reminded him of French Toast sticks (you see why I am the foodie of the family).
Chickpea Fries
The Mezze Platter was a trilogy of edamame humus, Muhammarra (roasted red pepper) and Nan's Goat Cheese. It was great and the goat cheese was my favorite of the three.
Mezze Platter
Next, we were served three flatbreads. The Braised Short Rib & Portabello, Grilled Lemon Chicken & Artichoke and a Seasonal - Shrimp, goat cheese, arugula and yellow peppers.

I think I'm in love with the Braised Short Rib flatbread. It had fontina cheese, arugula and a mission fig marmalade. I would have ate the whole thing to myself if it weren't for us sharing a table with other foodies.
Braised Short Rib Flatbread
The seasonal flat bread was good. I am personally not a fan of shrimp on pizza but it was much better than I expected. I didn't get a shot of the Chicken flatbread but it was very good, topped with arugula and parmesan.
Seasonal Flatbread
We were served a variety of gyros, one of which was a Mediterranean Swordfish with a mint cucumber sauce. It was excellent (and Gabe's favorite of the evening).
Mediterranean Swordfish Gyro
Moving onto the entrees, we tried the Moroccan Lemon chicken, which was very good but the Steak Frites were to die for. Grilled meyers angus, bearnaise aioli and Carmel fries.
Steak Frites with Carmel Fries
Next up was dessert. The Chocolate Lava Cake and Pound Cake with Strawberries. I loved the pound cake. It was so fresh and amazing.
Pound Cake with Strawberries
The chocolate lava cake was extremely good. See the beautiful shot below? I am kindly borrowing Leslie's photo from her review on Carmel Cafe in Carrollwood.
Photo rights of Dash of Les
The food was very good, priced well and there are selections for everyone. We will return for sure.
Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh my gosh...this Carmel Cafe needs to open up a branch in NYC. Their food looks delicious!! And the menupad looks like fun to play around with xD but yes, extremely efficient, I've never seen one before.

    1. It was very good!! Plus you can play with the iPad while you are eating (it had full safari capabilities).

  2. Great review lady! You are far too kind :).

    1. Glad to have experienced this meal with you :)

  3. If I lived near you, I'd *totally* be eating here! Love the French-pressed Sangria! Genius.

    1. It really is a smart idea! It kept all the "floaters" out of the drink. That's one of my peeves about Sangria. I like the fruit, but I don't want to swallow bits and pieces, or have it get in the way of my wine consumption!


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