If you are looking for a date night in Orlando, look no further than Santiago’s Bodega in Altamonte Springs Florida. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, yet vibrant at the same time with lush red velvet booths and intricate lighting fixtures. The cuisine is tapas with a twist. Santiago’s offers small plates so you can share- or not. The plates range from the fairly usual fare done deliciously to the outright inventive. My husband and I almost fought over the last of the dates stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto. Incredible! He has heard that some people come to Santiago’s just for the dates. It’s true. The dates by themselves are reason to go back. Jim loved the beef short ribs, and I loved the pasta with shrimp and basil. We almost had another tug of war over the pastry puffs with portabellas. There was nothing we tried that we didn’t love. The flavors of all our dishes were perfect. Everything was seasoned and done to perfection. The sangria was the best I’ve had this side of Barcelona.
I was surprised not to see any children. None. Our server explained that Santiago’s does not offer a children’s menu, and while children are not banned from the restaurant, they are not encouraged either as it is an adult venue. There are locations in Orlando and Key West as well. The Altamonte restaurant was quiet, which was wonderful for conversation. I sometimes tire of loud restaurants with crowds of people talking over one another, children yelling, and high ceilings that do nothing to mitigate the noise. Santiago’s provides an oasis of civility, and taste. Far from the usual, and far from boring, Santiago’s is the place for innovative food, chic atmosphere, and good conversation.