What I love about Orlando is that the city is constantly changing and growing. Especially in the food scene, which has taken great strides in the ten years I’ve lived here, the change is welcome as new restaurants pop up and old favorites expand and grow. Winter Park’s Black Bean Deli is one such restaurant that has benefited from the emerging “foodie” culture as it has expanded from it’s original location to an secondary location on Colonial Drive. This weekend, while attending a rain-soaked fundraising walk for a local organization, I knew that Black Bean Deli would definitely hit the spot on such a dreary day.
Although both of the Deli’s locations were on my way home, I decided to stop by their Colonial Drive location because I was curious to see their new space. For those unfamiliar with Black Bean Deli, their original location in Winter Park is pretty small and standing room only during the lunch and dinner hours. Most of their business is actually take out, so the lines usually go pretty quickly. Their Colonial Drive location is geared more towards a sit-down experience because they have a nice dining room and bar area. Although not conducive on a rainy day, they also have a wonderful patio area which is perfect for these last days before the summer heat and showers irrevocably sinks in.
Their menu has it’s danger zones, but is definitely navigable for those with dietary sensitivities. Their black bean, red bean, and garbanzo bean soups are all safe, both with and without rice. Entrees are called “platters” and they come with a main dish and and multiple sides. The platter options that are safe include the vegetarian (yellow rice, black beans, sweet plantains, and green salad), picadillo (ground beef with carrots, potato, and olives), Cuban sandwich (without the bread), the Spanish baked chicken (both white and dark meat) as well as the special of the day (it was mojo pork the day I ate there). Side options include a side salad (the dressing is also gluten/dairy free), fried plantains (sweet or green), yuca (boiled/fried then drizzled with garlic mojo and salt), and rice (white or yellow). If these options weren’t enough, one could also enjoy dessert with safe options such as a coconut macaroon and flan (but I’m not entirely sure this is dairy free).
For this review, I stuck with my absolute favorite from the Deli- black bean soup. Their black bean soup ranks very highly in my book because it is perfectly seasoned and is just perfect on it’s own or over rice. I got some chopped onions on top, which I haven’t before, which only accentuated the great flavor. The soup has become one of my go-to comfort food staples when it gets cold outside or when it’s raining. It’s not unusual for me to pick up a quart or two whenever I’m in the area. One of the great things about Black Bean Deli is that their prices are great for the quantity and quality of food you get. For example, this cup of black bean soup is $2.25. As someone used to being upcharged for gluten free food when eating out, I really do appreciate Black Bean Deli’s commitment to making great food at a reasonable cost.
This review definitely will be update in the future as I plan on exploring more of their menu. I have my eye on the Spanish baked chicken (white meat) as well as their daily specials. I’d recommend double-checking for gluten and dairy ingredients when going to the Winter Park location because their menu is slightly different than the Orlando one. While I was there, the staff were all friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about gluten and dairy free options. I’m so thankful our city has dedicated restaurants and restaurateurs such as Black Bean Deli and their entire staff because they are helping to further Orlando’s foodie culture on amazing black bean soup at a time.
Disclaimer: Restaurant reviews are based upon the information I have at the time of the review and do not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.