Dabeni's Latin

on on .

DabenisI was a little concerned when I stopped in at Dabeni’s Latin, a tiny bakery and cafe in a strip of shops on Michigan Street near Orange Avenue. I had been lured in by the sign out front touting a lunch special. But when I got inside and the friendly woman behind the counter lifted the lids from the steam trays of the three prepared foods offered that day, I had to double check that it said Latin food out front. 

On one end was spaghetti and meatballs, on the other end was fried chicken. I don’t usually associate either of those with Latin American cuisine. Fortunately, in the middle, was a catfish stew with chunks of banana looking -- and smelling -- decidedly Latin. That’s what I had, along with a scoop of mofongo, the fried mashed plantains that are such a guilty pleasure.

It turned out to be quite a feast for $7.99 (including drink), even without the dry lettuce and tomato wedges that, I suppose, were meant to be a salad. The mofongo was full of flavor, even beyond the predominant garlic, and I loved the big slab of bacon that sat atop the mash. And the catfish stew, with onions and tomatoes in the mix, was so good that I almost went back for more.

Dabeni’s main feature, however, just may be its baked goods, from cookies to pastries to rolls and cakes. There were so many items available that I questioned whether they were all made on the small premises. The woman assured me that she made everything in the store except the bottled juices and sodas.

I couldn’t resist the slice of tres leches that was calling my name from within the glass display case. It was so wonderfully moist and delicious. I fear I’ll be going back often.

Dabeni’s Latin Restaurant & Bakery is at 239 E. Michigan St., Orlando. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner (closes at 6 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. Saturdays) Monday through Saturday and for breakfast and lunch Sunday. Here’s a link to latinfoodinorlando.com. The phone number is 407-422-6888.

{fblike}

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.