Guavate, a Puerto Rican restaurant, apparently has been around for several years but has somehow escaped my notice. I’m sure some of that has to do with its location, which is eastern Orlando. Actually, if you use Semoran Boulevard and the East-West Expressway as bisecting lines, Guavate is in the southeastern quadrant, which makes it a bit more off of my radar. I understand that there is such a place as Avalon Park in that vicinity.
But Guavate is well before that mythical land. And I ended my ignorance of the little eatery with a blissful little lunch recently.
One of the servers greeted me warmly when I walked in and didn’t protest when I insisted on choosing my own table. She kept her good humor as I quizzed her about the menu and asked for recommendations.
I’ve been on a mofongo kick lately, so I ordered the Mofongo de Yuca that is listed under the Side Orders heading. For my main plate, I chose the Carne Frita Encebollada lunch special, which includes a choice of side dishes, none of which is mofongo. But it was my server who suggested that it could be my choice, which I appreciated.
And that the entree included a salad was a complete surprise. (Sometimes it’s the little things.) Not the most stellar salad I’ve ever had, but I liked the tanginess of the vinaigrette, which was doused on the iceberg lettuce leaves and tomato wedge liberally. I was also gifted with a basket of toasted bread onto which had been slathered more garlic than I would have thought possible.
Actually, this is not a place for garlic averse. But hey, you don’t have to worry about dining next to a vampire.
The deep-fried pork chunks in my entree were accompanied by big ribbons of sauteed onions, which is appropriate since endebollada means cooked with onions. At first the pork looked like it would be dry and hard, but it proved otherwise.
And the mofongo was mofongood. As the name foreshadowed, it was made with fried yuca instead of the usual mofongo’s plantains. And garlic. Lots of garlic.
When my food was delivered I asked if I could have some hot sauce. I was given a cruet filled with a mustard-colored substance and warned that it was very hot. So of course I shook it onto my food with wild abandon. It was very hot. But it was also very good. I asked what it was and was told that it was something they whip up themselves. Shouldn’t they have a hazardous substance license?
Anyway, it’s not available in stores, so you hot sauce lovers are just going to have to get to Guavate to try it yourselves.
Guavate is at 422 S. Alafaya Trail, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. For some reason, the website plays jungle noises, so be ready with the mute button. Also, prices have gone up slightly since the website was published. My lunch platter was still a very reasonable $8.29. The phone number is 407-281-4700.