Thursday, November 29, 2007


Woo Hoo!

Ventured out this rainy Thursday evening to Ceviche, the new transplanted from Tampa/St. Petersburg authentic Spanish tapas addition to Orlando. Located on the precarious in-the-midst of remodeling Church Street in downtown, Ceviche is in the historic Rosie O’Grady’s prime location. Three words to describe this restaurant: I Loved It!

I was a bit hesitant to try this new place that I have read about from the foodies on For a middle of the week meal, I was thinking of something a little more on the light side, but curiosity got the best of me, so my dining companion and I set out on the short trek. I haven’t been to this location for a while, maybe even a year, and while I love the whole revitalization of downtown thing, the parking was definitely a pain in the ass. But it was worth it. I’d go back to Ceviche for the ambiance and décor alone. I felt transformed while taking in the high ceilings, mosaic tables and fine details. Not to mention the highlight of the atmosphere: the tapas bar complete with legs of ham and wreaths of garlic.

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself because we’re not even at our table yet. I first took in the wine list that, in all honesty, is a fantastic compilation of Spanish and Portuguese wines. We started off with a bottle of Monastrell (2006 Bodegas Hijos De Juan Gil “Wrongo Dongo”). Mark my words, with it’s creamy chocolate undertones, the Monastrell varietal is on the verge of an upward popular trend. (And, as my dinner companion pointed out, how can you go “Wrongo with the Dongo?”)

Being a tapas restaurant, we ordered two dishes each and dove right into our first two choices: Espinacas and Queso de Cabra. The Espinacas (which we both agreed was our first choice of dishes) was out of this world! Sautéed spinach and garlic mixed with honey, strips of roasted red peppers and figs. Enough said, right? I was surprised by the complexity of such a simple dish and the figs really put me over the edge. This is a must have!

The Queso de Cabra was a simple baked Goat cheese and tomato dish lightly seasoned with dried herbs. Don’t get me wrong; it was good, but probably nothing that I would order again. I love Goat cheese, but would’ve liked to have something more to enjoy it with besides the unimaginative bread that was served.

My veggie dinner companion then enjoyed the Portobello Relleno. I don’t sit well with Portobellos, but I couldn’t resist a taste when this came out to the table. The large mushroom was stuffed with wilted spinach and Manchego cheese. It was delicious! But what the menu failed to mention was the fantastic Béchamel sauce that was served on the side. It was quite tasty and unique to have on an all veg dish.

I then thoroughly enjoyed the Filetito (just like it sounds, a petit Filet). Served with authentic Cabrales bleu cheese, I was over the top with this dish. The sautéed onion, bell peppers and baguette slices completed the Filetito that was tasty and very satisfying.

Lastly we shared the Pudin de Pan. (You guys know how I love Bread Pudding!) With raisins, vanilla ice cream and a creamy Brandy sauce, the chunk of hot bread pudding was really in all of it’s glory. I’d order this again in a heartbeat (but of course sharing; the serving size was huge!). At this point we also had some more wine: a 2001 Tempranillo/Mazuelo blend (Faustino V. Reserva) that captivated me with its leathery and licorice undertones.

The staff was not only friendly but also sincere. Our server exuberated friendly enthusiasm and the manager was knowledgeable and passionate about his wine list (he even gave me a copy for my students!) On the way out we peeked into the bar where they featured live music. Again the atmosphere entranced me: a tall cathedral ceiling with beautiful and detailed lighting. I can definitely see myself enjoying a drink there in the future.

All things said, I really hope this place catches on. With the Dessert Lady opening a new location across the street and (hopefully soon) the completion of construction, I can see Ceviche having a promising future that they deserve in their new Orlando location!

Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


bkhuna said...

I've loved Spanish cuisine (especially tapas) every since I traveled in Spain and have eagerly awaited the opening of Ceviche.

Slowly, Orlando is catching on to Spanish food and this restaurant is on the top of my "to eat" list.

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

As Kate's super secret dinining companion, I second her comments. It was a refreshingly original Orlando dining experience -- especially for a rainy Thursday night. And, one thing I think she forgot to mention is that they have live flamenco shows nightly. Oh, and their bar looks like it could be my new favorite....

Andrew said...

Hey Kate, I like your Ceviche review so much I included a link to it on my blog (Orlando Bytes).

Here's the link

-Andrew Riley

Anonymous said...

Dinners include a free side of Montezuma's revenge!

Myself and another person, on two separate occasions, became violently ill with food poisoning directly after eating at the Ceviche in Orlando on Church St. I know it's an old building, but cmon, you would think that they would clean up the kitchen.

Never going back and I wouldn't recommend to anyone unless you were trying to lose 5 pounds in 24 hours.

- Doubled Over in Orlando

Kate said...

Sorry to hear that Doubled Over!
All jokes aside, food bourne illness is never a good thing. I went ahead and looked up Ceviche health inspection reports and Surprise! they have not had one recently. Actually, none were listed so I'm doubting they've been inspected yet which is shocking. Both other locations had no major inspection issues. As much as I hate to say it, and if you haven't already, go ahead and report it (both to their corporate office and the health department).
PS Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

Anonymous said...

I too became VERY sick a couple hours after eating at Ceviche!!! This happened the night of June 21, 2008. My night was ruined!! I will never go back!!

Kate said...

Poo! (And no, that is not a cruel joke!)
If you ever suspect food poisoning from any restaurant make sure you call the health dept!

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