I just recently took a special someone out to Carmelita for her birthday because she's been wanting to check out Cafe Flora, but I wanted to find a new place. I've heard that Carmelita is excellent and it did not disappoint.
The outside of the restaurant has an inconspicuous neon sign and the minute we walked in we were met with a flurry of conversation. The place was packed and humming along. I liked some of the reclaimed decor like the doors at the entry that acted as dividers. The lighting was just right and enhanced by candlelight. Everything was really simple. Nothing outrageous which I appreciated.
Prompt and extremely attentive. My water was never empty and our server was very knowledgeable about the menu. She was really patient with us while we made our decisions very slowly. When my girlfriend asked to get her food heated she was concerned they would just microwave it but the server said they don't have a microwave. Her food came back 5 minutes later and the night didn't miss a beat.
As an avid beef eater (not the gin) I really enjoyed this vegetarian fare. I got the empanadas for starters, the crepes for the main course and a chocolate volcano type dessert with a generous portion of delicious whipping cream on the side. This alone was incredible. If you want a place just for a good dessert go here after the dinner rush, maybe 9:30 pm or so. Excellent desserts in my opinion and I LOVE dessert, especially chocolate. I didn't miss the meat on the menu and I felt really good after eating, not heavy and lethargic. I will never give up meat, but I will definitely add in more vegetarian options to my diet (sorry anti-meat activists, it's just not going to happen -- I was raised in Eastern Washington).
The bill wasn't too staggering considering we kind of went all out and had a glass of wine, starters, main courses, and one dessert. With tip and everything the bill totaled just under a bill. $50/person for really good food and a great change of pace was worth it in my opinion.
This is a very romantic place for a dinner-for-two kind of a date, but I also saw a lot of groups there and a lot of late nighters enjoying a good dinner. There was one hippie table, but the rest of the people in the place looked pretty much like anyone else you'd run into around Seattle.
A definite must on a weekend night. The place was packed out at 8:30 when we arrived to sit down and even then we had to wait 5 minutes to have our table prepared (I didn't care about this). If you don't have your heart set on eating there one night then try your luck, but if it's a special occasion I would suggest making a reservation 1 week in advance.
A great ambiance, with tasty food, and excellent service.