Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar

17 May

In the Tampa Bay Times a few days ago their “Short List” was a collection of wine bars in Tampa. You know I cut out that sucker and plan on checking out each one of them. I picked the Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar as my first excursion and went there last night with a friend. It’s off of N. Dale Mabry Hwy in the same strip mall/plaza as a Chuck E. Cheese’s so when I first pulled up I was a little put off.

Once you get inside all of your concerns are washed away by the beautifully planned out ambiance. It’s literally a hidden gem that most people would drive right by without thinking twice if they hadn’t heard about it before. 

It can be a very intimate dining experience with minimal interruptions from your waitress since they provide an iPad where you can order, pay and even play games like Angry Birds. They bring out a plain, clear wine glass full of water that they leave at your table. The wine nerd in me thought that was super cute. 

I decided to go on Wednesday because I checked out their website and saw that from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday they have 5 wines that are $5 for a 6 oz. pour and all 5 of their flatbreads are $5 also.

I started off with a glass of the Sangre de Toro red blend of Grenache and Carinene from Catalunya, Spain. I’ve never had Carinene on it’s own before but knew that I liked Grenache and enjoy most red blends. It had a good balance of tannins. It smelled of rose and was light and refreshing like water. This was paired with our $5.79 appetizer of Nan’s Goat Cheese which is served with garlic crostinis, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and roasted garlic. 

The next wine I tried was Caposaldo Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy. It had an apple/peach scent. The flavor was light, dry and acidic. It paired well with my slightly spicy grilled lemon chicken, artichoke and arugula flatbread. 

The last wine I tried was the Sangre de Toro white Parellada from Catalunya, Spain. It smelled slightly of petroleum. It was fruitier than the Pinot Grigio, very peachy, and had the smallest hint of tannin aftertaste. This paired well with the $5 spinach and artichoke dip served with pita chip strips. 

We got there early to take advantage of their deals but as time went on more people came. All the food comes out so quickly after you order. This place is clearly doing well since their website says they are opening two more locations very soon. I would recommend this place to anyone who is in the area. You will not be disappointed. 

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