A contemporary Mexican & Tex-Mex Kitchen, Cocina 214 sits a stone’s throw away from Park Avenue on Welbourne; boasting a corner location that unveils a modernistic designed space. The open-air patio, chic looking bar, and a private dining room befitting the ultra-fashionable Winter Park patrons.
Even though my first run-in with Cocina 214 left me unimpressed, I am particularly glad that I gave them a second chance. Friendly and attentive service, bold & beautiful flavors, dapper ambiance, all in all, it was truly a delightful experience.
We commenced our dining experience with the house-made salsa and chips. The red salsa was nicely seasoned. That said, for patrons craving solid heat, the Habanero Salsa sure packs a punch. Guacamole like all hand-crafted dish never looks or tastes the same across borders. The basic Guacamole was creamy and well-seasoned while the Guacamole Trio – embellished with Blue Cheese, Mango-Pineapple, and Habenero added just the right sparkle to our palate.
For our beverages we tried Cocina 214’s signature Rocks Margarita and Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling. The Pop Rocks Rita made with Tierras Organic Tequila pop rocks, Grand Marnier, sweet & sour, fresh lime & cranberry was spot on. The Banfi Rosa paired well with the spiciness of the appetizers but personally for me was too sweet on the finish.
While browsing through the menu Tamales caught my eye. I am a sucker for Tamales especially since I personally make them and am well aware that these little packets are a product of labor and love. Made by Chef’s grandmother’s recipe, Cocina 214 Tamales were incredible – tender and moist masa, stuffed with beautifully seasoned filling of chicken or vegetables, topped with vibrant and fresh Verde and Ranchero Sauce. I was utterly satiated!
Our main course comprised of Pescado Rico and Brisket Tacos. Perfectly cooked mahi-mahi, served with spinach and carrots, over a delicate sauce of poblano cream sauce – it was absolutely sublime!
The beef in the Brisket Tacos were super tender and flavorful. Add some crunch with the onions, top it off with pico de gallo, folded in house made soft tortillas – they were light and refreshing. May I have another plate please?
Even though we were bursting at our seams with all these delicious dishes, we were itching to try out some traditional dessert. Our friendly server recommended Tres Leches Cake, and boy are we glad he did! One of my most memorable bites of 2014 – Cocina 214 three-milk cake was simply heavenly – supremely moist, light on the palate, and most impressively not too sweet.
Cocina 214 has indeed ironed out their kinks and has earned the rights of being one of the best Tex-Mex restaurants in Central Florida. For sophisticated and gratifying Tex-Mex food, Cocina 214 is hard to beat. I for one am looking forward to my next visit so I can try my favorite meal of the week – Brunch!