I stopped back in to revisit Santiago’s Bodega recently and had a much more enjoyable experience than when I first reviewed it shortly after it opened last summer. The staff all seemed more comfortable -- and were certainly more welcoming and appreciative -- and the size of the tapas were more agreeable, too. It still isn’t the cheapest meal in town, but the quality is certainly apparent.
On this visit my guest and I had the lamb patties, which featured ground lamb mixed with fresh, chopped thyme and a touch of sherry. The meat had a mild gaminess that was piqued with the herbs, and the three patties were served with a salad of sweet cucumbers with feta cheese. Very Greeky.
A special of scallops was indeed. The big scallops were perfectly seared and had a luscious tenderness.
The Brussels sprouts that disappointed me so last year were more acceptable this time, and were offered in a larger serving. The little cabbagelike veggies pan-roasted with pine nuts, which gave it a an interesting note -- I’ve always felt like pine nuts taste like a forest, though I’ve never actually eaten a forest. The sprouts were topped with parmesan cheese and balsamic syrup. (Isn’t the world ready for a balsamic syrup shortage?)
The Orlando Santiago’s is a second location for a restaurant in Key West. And I hear that the owners have been scouting locations for a third operation in Tampa. Stay tuned on that.
Even when I visited last year I liked the atmosphere of Santiago’s, especially the patio that was added on the buildout. I’m pleased now that I can recommend it for an enjoyable meal. It’s a pleasant place to visit with friends.
Santiago’s Bodega is at 802 Virginia Drive, Orlando. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-412-6979.