top: Steak Frites; middle: warm tones in the dining area;
bottom: guests order from Ipads. photos by Matt Allison
LAKEWOOD RANCH - A hip take on Mediterranean cuisine has come to Sarasota. The Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar, located on Cooper Creek Blvd in Lakewood Ranch, combines modern Mediterranean food with technology and atmosphere to create one of the coolest culinary experiences in town.
When you first approach the new Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar located in a shopping center full of restaurants, you might think you are in for an average night out, but upon stepping inside, it becomes evident that such is not the case.
Guests are greeted by a lush and comfortable atmosphere; high top tables to both sides, banquets along the walls, and in the center a lounge area full of comfy sofas. The staff is friendly and attractive, all holding iPads.
When you arrive at your seat, you are informed that the iPads are actually for you. They contain the menu, a selection of mostly tapas. Every dish has at least one wine pairing from their extensive 70-bottle collection. Each order is selected and sent to the kitchen by you, and arrives in about 8 minutes. The iPad is also loaded with games and other fun apps, great for passing time while you wait, or entertaining your kids.
The food at Carmel is nothing short of phenomenal. Seafood gyros, meatball lollipops, and zatar seasoned steak frites, are must haves. The food is fresh, fun, and totally on theme. The Mediterranean feeling is clear in every dish.
Carmel also has an amazing selection of desserts. The chocolate molten cake and strawberry pound cake were delicious. The dessert trio was amazing and the dark chocolate truffle is perfection.
Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar is a truly unique experience. When the owners were planning their third location they picked Sarasota because it is a very cool food city. Now, I think we are an even cooler foodie community for having them here.
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