Restaurant Interior

A California-style small plate (tapas) restaurant, with Caribbean influences.

Located in the heart of College Park, Taste restaurant is a California Style Small Plate (Tapas) Restaurant, with Caribbean influences. Taste has received rave reviews from the Orlando Weekly, Sentinel and Orlando Leisure.

In addition to a great tasting menu and full service bar, Taste showcases local artists and hosts live music in a colorful, contemporary setting with an urban flair.

Live @ Taste

Taste hosts music, art and other events. Visit our events page, and check out our video feed!


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Caribbean Corner

Presenting the Jerk Menu, Tapas Style

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning blended with the best tropical spices and herbs to create a savory sensation when delicately marinated. This combination of spices, when heavily coated on Pork, Chicken or Fish, produces that aromatic taste.

Taste has Live Entertainment!

Bar (with late menu) is open 'til 2 AM

We also serve our late night menu items until 2am!

Come by for Jazz on Mondays, Open Mic Comedy on Tuesdays, and live music every Friday and Saturday

Upcoming events >>

Private Parties

Taste is available for private group bookings, ranging in number from 6 to 300 guests. We host holiday events, sit down dinners, cocktail gatherings, wine dinners and tastings, corporate meetings, birthdays, graduations, wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners. We will work with you to accommodate your needs. If you have a group and you want something a bit different and exciting, contact us directly at 407-835-0646.

Catering

Taste is also available for outside catering events. Just to name a few who have "Tasted" what we have to offer groups: Enzian, University of Central Florida, Quest, Premire Beverage, Darden, Council of Volunteer Coordinators and the Orlando Ballet.

The Taste Videostream

You can watch other videos and see a complete list of events on our events page.


Upcoming events
Monday Night Jazz Jam
Every Monday
Ted X
Thursday

News

Our Small Plate Menu allows diners to order a variety of dishes including, Lemongrass Coconut Mussels, So Cal Fish Tacos, Patatas Bravas and much more.

Featuring a contemporary interior design including the Gallery, which houses live music, events, and works of local artists. Boasting an eclectic tapas and full portion menu, full liquor bar, extensive beer and wine list, exclusive martini menu, and an attentive staff, Taste restaurant offers a taste of something different: it's not just a dining experience, but an artistic and cultural one as well.

Gallery

Taste supports local artists! Check out our gallery, showcasing local art in a 700 square foot exhibition space. We frequently host art openings that include food, wine, and an opportunity to meet each exhibiting artist.

For a taste of the talent on our walls, check out the work of some of our artist friends: Delores Haberkorn Tracy Burke andToni L. Taylor .

Prawns And Wine

Reviews

Taste in College Park is a restaurant that serves up delicious food – and so much more. It’s also a neighborhood art gallery and a performance space for local bands and jazz groups where the artists and performers are found interacting with the food clients – all done to give back to a grateful community. It’s a pleasure for me to join in applauding the management of Taste for their kindness and generosity.

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It’s also a pleasure for me to share my reactions to the glorious food that comes out of Taste’s kitchen. Self-described as a “small plate (tapas) restaurant, with Caribbean influences,” the servings I enjoyed were anything but small, and Caribbean is the major influence. Located at 717 W. Smith St., just around the corner from Edgewater Drive in the heart of College Park, Taste offers a uniquely varied menu, a full-service bar, and an extensive wine list.

The contemporary/retro interior provides a variety of seating choices – from the potentially romantic seclusion of the front room, to the main dining room with a choice of individual tables, family-style seating (to fully appreciate the live music), or seating at the bar. Beginning sensibly with the avocado and hearts of palm salad, I immediately recognized the aptly-named Taste manages to offer extra taste in the food from a variety of sources – one of which is Chef Joan’s personal herb garden. The fresh thyme in my salad came from that personal garden. Moving on to the crab and goat cheese torte — which comes with the highest recommendation — I luxuriated through every bite. When I experience a “taste” that is new (and this special), I always slow down to fully appreciate the new taste sensation. I love goat cheese and who doesn’t love crab, so I was already thinking of telling everyone about this amazing mix of my favorite things served together. This is the perfect appetizer before a full meal, or an accompaniment to an after-work-drink, or a taste-treat while listening to live jazz. Even the handmade bread crisps – served with the torte – made their way into my notes as “wonderful.” When I commented to my server about how much I enjoyed the torte, she wisely noted, “Everything tastes better when it’s made with fresh ingredients.” I was enjoying these food treats with a homemade specialty of the house called ginger vanilla soda – which can be served with or without vodka. While I’m not normally a fan of sweet drinks, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and found it refreshing – even on a chilly evening. The Caribbean influences in this kitchen are to be celebrated, so I ordered the Blackened chicken served with a side of rice and sweet plantains. Chef Joan gets her “blackened” chicken just right. It’s marinated in her own blend of tropical spices and herbs, but where some restaurants serve this dish and leave your mouth tasting nothing but fire, Chef Joan’s is both tender and spicy (in a good way). We also tasted the oxtail – done with the Caribbean seasoning Chef Joan has mastered so beautifully. Served with navy beans, and creating its own natural gravy, don’t be afraid to pick up this wonderfulness with your fingers and eat it off the bone. Picking it up is “proper” for this dish that had me dipping bread into the gravy to make the experience last longer. We added a side order of sautéed mushrooms, which also benefitted from the fresh herb garden. I never knew mushrooms could taste that good. I had now been ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over the food so much that we were presented with a specialty dessert of the house – Bananas Foster. My advice – when you enjoy the food that much – is to always let the chef know it. Our gift from the chef was that old New Orleans specialty, served here with the Caribbean touch of candied citrus. Thank you. I am more than happy to recommend Taste’s food, but you can also visit Taste’s website for more on this charming and friendly restaurant that sincerely cares about the community. Its event calendar showcases jazz, open-mic nights, Caribbean music, and art galleries featuring local talent. And if you’ve read this far, tell them “Josh sent me,” and Taste will offer a free dessert with every entrée purchased in the month of February. Call 407-835-0646 or visit tastecp.com
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Winter Park Observer - Caribbean flair at Taste in College Park
Josh Garrick
2013-01-23

Eclectic/romantic setting. Absolutely delicious food and great service. Highly recommend a try to taste some really different and interesting items.

Ken Brown
2003-12-24

The land of the endless lilliputian meal may exist only in dreams, but a similar vision, and your appetite, can be fed while you're awake at Taste, the restaurant that moved in hard on the heels of Chapters Bread & Books Cafe's exodus to Winter Park.

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[Taste] has revamped the place with backlit paintings and big swatches of color for a new urban, contemporary feel. It's amazing how much space was added by removing the walls of bookcases. Be careful coming in; the new expanse is so captivating that many people don't see the step up into the dining room - including me.

"California cuisine in tapas style" is how Dennis describes the menu, share-a-bite-sized portions conjured up by Chef "Brooks," formerly of Antonio's La Fiamma and Trastevere. Touches of Asia, Italy and the West Coast appear in these bites, and it's difficult to know how to categorize a meal made up of appetizers. The tapenade trio of pepper, olive and roasted garlic spreads ($5.95) are a good warm-up, but ask for extra bread.

The plates roll in as they leave the kitchen, so even though the service is exceptional, plan on a leisurely experience. A tangy and so-fresh ceviche ($5.95) of shrimp, teeny calamari and spectacular chunks of fish, "cooked" in lime juice and cilantro, was polished off in time for the entrance of seared scallops ($6.95), tender without being underdone, with hints of basil and chipotle peppers.

There's not a bad plate in the place, with high points going to slender grilled asparagus drizzled with pale-green garlic and wasabi dressing ($4.95), and a "Southwest cornbread souffle" ($3.95) that combined hot, sweet and creamy to best advantage.

There are too many great items to mention, and with every plate under 10 bucks, it's easy to think you'll get away cheap at Taste, and you can. A quick meal of cannellini and green-bean salad, along with a surprisingly large serving of green mussels in a fragrantly exotic lemongrass/coconut broth, comes in at under $12. But, like the lure of sushi when it's time to order, one more amuse-bouche calls out and the bill can add up. Still, the value is in sharing, and the portions are large enough that everyone leaves the table satisfied.

Impressive is too pedestrian a word for Taste, a unique experience that will require many return visits.

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Orlando Weekly
Joseph Hayes
2003-11-20

Like a steaming cappuccino on a gray day, there's something inherently cozy about a restaurant that encourages you to share dishes with the rest of your table. And that's just the idea at this boldly painted tapas restaurant that filled the spot vacated by Chapters Book Store in College Park. Taste's inspired menu features scores of small dishes - order two to three per person and pass the plates around your table for a true tapas experience.

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Seafood samplers include Thai-style mussels steamed in a lemon grass coconut broth, and seared deep-sea scallops in basil oil. The pork tenderloin dish is a tender nugget filled with cornbread stuffing and topped with apple cider sauce. And innovative veggie creations include grilled asparagus drizzled with wasabi aioli. The decadent desserts are also best shared. Don't miss the Over the Top Chocolate Bread Pudding, served with warm vanilla sauce. Retro-cool-meets-urban-mod best defines the decor at Taste. Colorful backlit panels create instant mood lighting, and dark woods and sleek seating maintain the restaurant's classy yet casual edge.

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AOL CityGuide
Terry Ward

[..The food is served tapas-style, meaning small plates and portions designed to be ordered in multiples and shared with others at the table. Tapas is a Spanish tradition, but here [Taste] has spiced the menu with a variety of influences, including touches from Asia and California.

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[..If wine is your thing, expect to spend as much &endash; or more &endash; time on the delightful list. In fact, we suggest ordering a glass before starting in on your food selection. The assortment of citrus and pineapple marinated olives, with an accent of fresh garlic, makes a great starter. Try the ceviche. For those not familiar with what has become a Floribbean menu standard, raw fresh fish, calamari and shrimp are "cooked" in lime juice and flavored with cilantro and chilies. My favorite is a large portion of mussels presented in a coconut, bathed in a lemongrass and coconut milk broth. Each of the four desserts is different, from a chocolate bread pudding to a tart soufflé with chunks of fresh lemon.

House Specialities: Thai-style mussels served in a coconut shell, roasted beet salad, garlic shrimp.

Vegetarian Options: Several. There is a roasted veggie platter, but we like both the Hass avocado and artichoke salad and the polenta tower.

Bar Service: The beer selections and carefully selected wine list take up more than half of the menu.

Ambiance: Bold colors, the work of local artists, plenty of wood, including the beautiful refinished wood floor, and back lighting - along with background jazz - creates a great atmosphere.

Clientele: Young locals from College Park and after-work professionals mix it up.

Dress Code: Casual.

Type of Service: Table service with the chef stopping by at least once during your dinner service.

Seating: 100, plus some outdoor seating.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, although the rest rooms appear to be a little tight. The tricky step at the front door has been repaired.

Parking: Minimal parking in an adjacent lot and some on-street parking.

Banquets/Catering: Taste does cater and also has a seperate room for events.

Special Considerations: A great place for groups to gather. Taste has a fine wine list and the menu, while limited, offers a variety of flavors and spices.

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Chow Orlando
Bob Mervine

My husband and I were on the way to Jax when we passed by Taste and decided to give it a try. We were very glad we did. Not only was the food wonderful, our server, Paulina, was excellent. Our favorites on the menu were the goat cheese and cracked pepper herb spread, the southwest cornbread souffle and the potato artichoke accompaniment. The puff pastry and lemon souffle were also outstanding. The ambiance was relaxed and modern. What a nice surprise after a stressful Monday..p>

Paula R
2004-02-23

College Park’s Taste: A Colorful Tapas Experience

It’s always great when we find an establishment that provides food and entertainment that appeals to a myriad of patrons. Well Taste, located in College Park, is without a doubt one of those places. Although known for its California style tapas infused with Caribbean influences, this restaurant has so much more. They also serve a variety of tasty full plate meals, have a full service bar, showcase art exhibits, and host live music. Even their interior decor is an eclectic mix of urban and contemporary with a little hint of a retro flare . . . as I said a little something for everyone.

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We went for our recent visit on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. It was surprisingly slow but our friendly and attentive server informed us that evenings are when Taste really gets hopping. Lunches are actually an area where they are trying to build up business and as a result they have some great lunch specials for $5.99. We opted for some sandwiches which were delicious and I absolutely loved my hass avocado and hearts of palm salad. We also uncovered an absolute must if you go, the Big Easy Banana Triangle, a dessert consisting of caramelized bananas in a filo package topped with ice cream and carmel. What else is there to say but YUM!!!

As for the scoop on the live entertainment you can head over to Taste’s website to check out their event calendar which showcases Jazz every Monday night, open mic nights, Caribbean music, and art galleries featuring local talent displayed in their designated 700 sq ft. gallery space.

Check out the photo gallery for a few glimpses of this great find and head over to Taste where your colorful dinning experience awaits!

Read the review on AMPlified culture: http://amplifiedculture.com/college-parks-taste-a-colorful-tapas-experience/

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AMPlified Culture
Erica
2011-03-03

Wow I thought I was in Barcelona. Finger Foods and appettizers. The Scallops and Tuna was excellent. This was a well welcomed discovery. The restaurant also served as a part art exhibit (much like a place i have been in Montreal) performance venue also. I see big things for these guys.

Orlando Citybeat
Joseph Skinner
2004-03-05

Why should we locals flock to Taste? only for the excellent food, well-chosen wines and warm and friendly atmosphere. Don't you wish you lived nearby? I always start with the totally addictive garlic-citrus olives and the ceviche. I am also hooked on the grilled asparagus with wasabi sauce. Also, don't miss the mussels in lemongrass-coconut broth or the incredible Asian-style short ribs. Lots and lots of interesting wines by the glass, so you can have fun working your way through the wine list. The menu has such a variety that I recommend ordering lots of different dishes and share so you can get a tast of everything.

Harry R
2003-11-27

The whole experience at Taste was a wonderful one. I definitely recommend this restaurant!!!

Erin G.
2003-11-20

We travel to Orlando from San Francisco often and have discovered this terrific new place. We had dinner at Taste 4 nights in a row on our last trip and were amazed and impressed. Taste has fantastic food, a large selection of small plates so you can sample lots of different dishes: a terrific wine list, attentive service and a warm friendly atmosphere. It's the kind of place where everybody could know your name, if only you ate there often enough. This restaurant is a jewel and should not be missed.

Nancy Ellenbogen
2003-11-19

Impeccable 'Taste'

Tapas-style Eatery's 'Small Plate' Offerings Are Big on Flavor

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Located in a former College Park used bookstore, Taste restaurant is adding a new chapter to the Central Florida dining scene.

The décor is über-artsy, but low key, with massive backlit paintings adorning the walls. The ceiling stretches what must be 20 feet above the hardwood floors in the large, airy main dining room. But after dark, the hanging pendant lights and candlelight give the space a closer, more intimate feel.

Be sure to check out the sleek, ultramodern design of the wine bar, where you can sample any of Taste's 40-50 wine choices along with its tapas. Taste's "small-plate sharing restaurant" approach will feel similar to those who have eaten at a tapas restaurant in Spain.

We started with the Tapenade Trio, a triumvirate of Kalmata black olives, roasted red peppers, and creamy roasted garlic spread served with toasted, crunchy flatbread to go along with Taste's two original drinks, Orange Mint Iced Tea and House-Made Ginger Vanilla soda. Having grown up in the South, I'm a sweet tea man myself. But Taste's tea creation is so bright and peppy, it's just fine unsweetened. The sweet and refreshing ginger vanilla soda will make your tongue do a double take with its contrasting flavors.

After the tapenade, we sampled the Coconut Mussels. This Thai-influenced dish featured more than a half-dozen Prince Edward Island black mussels served in a half-coconut shell and swimming in a salty lemon grass broth topped with a tangle of carrot curls. Small chunks of ginger root permeate the broth with a little extra kick. Delicious.

After working out our "mussels," we cooled down with the Hass Avocadoes and Hearts of Palm salad, tossed in aged wine vinegar and a mildly shaved Parmesan cheese. Taste's two-chef cooking team of Jessica Wafford and Rachida Berji change the menu seasonally and this light, cool dish is perfect for summer dining.

Taste's new White Cheddar Stake Salad eats like a meal. It features thin steak strips (almost like roast beef) served with mixed field greens, spinach, sautéed peppers and button mushrooms, finished with a white cheddar and roasted garlic dressing. As good as this dish was, the highlight of the night was the special Latin Style Grouper. This pan-seared fish was served on a bed of tomato-infused rice and black-bean purée topped with salsa and cilantro. The crispy grouper paired nicely with its Mexican-y entourage of flavors.

At this point, we had left just enough room for the Over the Top Chocolate Bread Pudding with vanilla bean sauce. This cupcake-sized mound of rich bread pudding sits on a plate drizzled with curlicues of chocolate syrup and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Taste offers an artsy yet comforting atmosphere where you can leisurely enjoy creative, sharable dishes. And as my wife, a first grade teacher, will remind you: sharing is good.

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Orlando Industry Magazine
Matthew Porter
2005-07-01

A wide range of internationally inspired gourmet samplers will make the ordering process a leisurely one at the elegant bistro. Peruse the menu with a glass of wine as you choose from eight categories of inventive tapas, including vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and seafood. Ordering two or three dishes per person to share with tablemates is the norm. Small portions allow room for divine desserts like the chocolate bread pudding or baked apples in puff pastry with vanilla sauce.

Orlando Citysearch
Natasha Lawrence

We're amazed people weren't lined up at the door waiting to get in. This food is some of the best in Orlando, prepared with the greatest attention to detail, bursting with fresh flavors. Best of all, it is not the same old menu you get everywhere else. We had the trio tapenade spreads with flat bread (garlic, tangy roasted red pepper, and calmada olive spreads.) My husband was in heaven with his goat cheese spread/fall-apart, slightly spicy & so tender roasted pork/and wonderful herbed mushroom dish. I had the roasted red pepper stuffed with chicken, served on field greens with whole mushrooms, green pepper slices, and shaved parmesan cheese. We loved the smaller portion idea, giving us a chance to try more dishes. Sharing dishes is actually encouraged! Everything was stellar, can't wait to go back. There were numerous other dishes on the menu we can't wait to "taste."

christabelm
2005-07-24