Kafe Kalik

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Kafe Kalik is unique in a number of ways. First is its location, tucked among myriad retail stores at the Prime Outlets Mall, the only full-service restaurant in the shopping center. Then there’s the restaurant itself, a sprawling space with a lively decor, bright and pleasant and just a bit upscale. There is a large, open kitchen with a long row of seating at a low counter for those who want to watch the cooks in action. Bright orange backlit panels give the place a colorful glow.

Kafe KalikThe main focus of the menu is the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands, but the kitchen steps out a bit with other worldly tastes, including a version of fajitas, called bahitas, sandwiches, called baninis instead of paninis, some pasta dishes, and sushi.

The sushi, our server told us, was an ideal way for the chef to feature the fresh fish that is central to the Bahamian diet. But while the sushi we sampled was just fine, I preferred some of the other seafood selections in the appetizer platter. I especially liked the cracked calamari, slices of squid steaks that were fleshy and tender. And the grilled shrimp with balanced, even spicing.

For our entree the chef presented us with the pan roasted spiny lobster skillet, an impressive array of a split lobster, tomale intact, splayed over jasmine rice and sauced with roasted mango and pineapple butter.

It was OK, but I think next time I’ll go for the lamb shank curry, or jerk chicken in a bag or herb-crusted whole red snapper.

Our dessert was also unique: a coconut creme brulee served in a big coconut shell. This island version had a thicker texture and was a bit eggy, but we loved the ice cream that accompanied it.

Service was efficient and fast -- also unusual for a Bahamian restaurant -- and everyone greeted us with the trademark friendliness of the islands.

Kafe Kalik is at the Prime Outlets mall, 4969 International Drive, Orlando; 407-248-0889. More information and the menu at KK's Web site.