Monday, April 13, 2015

Raw deal: Cafe 118 in Winter Park has closed

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 10:15 AM

click image Beet and green-apple juice from Cafe 118. - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Beet and green-apple juice from Cafe 118.
After a couple of weeks of uncertainty, the area's only high-end raw-food restaurant has permanently closed. There had been rumors about chef Os Barruos and owner Joe Diaz's Cafe 118 possibly closing doors for a while, stoked by unpredictable hours, but now it seems that the rumors are true. (Update: Barruos contacted us at 5:30 Monday to let us know he hadn't worked there since 2010; Diaz had taken over in the kitchen.)

In our 2009 review, we praised the inventive, delicious and surprisingly filling dishes, singling out the chiles rellenos in particular: "a trio of crunchy poblano peppers filled with corn and zucchini, then layered with a fluffy macadamia-nut 'ricotta' cheese. Of note were the dollops of chocolatey mole sauce made from cacao nibs." We also named Cafe 118's beet & green apple juice "Best Attention-Grabber Beverage" in our 2012 Best of Orlando issue.

The definitive closure (although, is any restaurant closure truly definitive?) leaves vegans without a place to get dinner on those fancy occasions like anniversaries and birthdays — a place where they won't have to spend the whole night policing their plates and being treated as a PITA by restaurant staff, that is. (Yeah, yeah, there are some flexible chefs and servers out there, but if you've ever actually tried to get a vegan meal in an upscale restaurant in Orlando, you know that it's a fraught experience.)

Speaking of exhausting experiences, OLV is closed again (WHATEVER). They say it's temporary


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