Tag Archives: Main Street Vero Beach

The Original Mama Mia’s Kitchen – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie

For my next tasting experience, I head back to Downtown Vero once again and to The Original Mama Mia’s Kitchen!  It seems like just yesterday that the VB American Bar & Grill was there, and in the blink of an eye, the sign changed and the new one for this place went up.  Once the word got out about Mama Mia’s, the questions started flooding in.  Is this the same place that was open in Sebastian many years ago?  I’m happy to report that the family recipes and lineage are the same, just with new ownership.  For the full story of Mama Mia’s history, be sure to check out the back of the menu when you dine with them.

Located on 14th Avenue in the corner between Main Street Jewelers and Baci Trattoria is Vero’s newest Italian restaurant.  Subtle changes were done to the interior due to the quick change over, but they did add a lattice wall with green vine through it to divide the room, most of the tables and booths were used with a few changes to the configuration, and they added white tablecloths with glass tops on all the tables.  The bar and TV’s that were there previously have remained.  They still share the patio with Baci, but they don’t open until well after Baci has closed, so there is no overlap.  Most of the businesses in the plaza are also closed or closing shortly after Mama Mia’s opens, so most of the parking lot will be available to their customers.

 

Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!

Escargot in Phyllo Cup – ($8.95) – I have fond memories of a dish that used to be offered at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival in the France pavilion that this one reminded me of, so I had to try it.  The escargot was placed in the phyllo cups, topped with a garlic butter sauce, then baked until golden brown.  The escargot was very tender and almost disintegrated with the flakiness of the phyllo cup when I took a bite.  The garlic butter sauce was just enough to coat and not overwhelm the dish.

Mozzarella en Carozza – ($8.95) – With such a fancy sounding name in Italian, I was not sure what to expect since it translates in English to just a mozzarella cheese sandwich.  Fresh mozzarella cheese is sandwiched between two slices of bread and the “sandwich” is then coated with seasoned flour, dipped in an egg wash and fried until golden brown.  Marinara sauce can be served over the top or alongside.  The outside of the bread had a light crunch, while the inside was soft and gooey from the cheese.  The marinara has just the right amount of sweet verses tartness from the tomatoes.  It was so good!

Twisted Caesar Salad – ($7.95) – I was curious as to what makes it “twisted”, so we ordered it to find out.  From the description, it’s a typical Caesar salad with the addition of fresh mushrooms and bacon.  The lettuce was nice and crisp and was not overdressed.  The addition of the mushrooms and bacon added some additional texture, but only a minimal smokiness from the bacon.

Momma Mia Fiesta Platter – ($18.95) – Since this was our first time here, I thought that ordering the sampler platter would be a good idea to try several of the dishes they offer at one time.  This platter includes an eggplant rolatini, ravioli, meatball, sausage, and penne.  All were topped with their house-made marinara sauce.  The meatball, made with only ground beef, was seasoned nicely and quite tender.  The sausage was quite bold in flavor but just a little too “herby” for my tastes.  The ravioli had a generous amount of filling and was cooked al dente.  The true star on this plate was the eggplant rolatini.  I’ve tried several around town at other restaurants, but this one steals the show.  The eggplant was roasted, then rolled up with seasoned ricotta cheese, topped with mozzarella, and baked until golden brown.  It was very tender and easy to cut through with a fork, yet still had a little chew to it which was nice.  Flavor was spot on and it was a table favorite!

Veal Parmigiana – ($19.95) – As one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes, I was happy to see this on the menu.  Portion size is HUGE!  I would compare this to the size of a chicken breast you get at Fresh Market.  Being as thick as it was, I really expected it to be a bit tough as I had read in a previous review by a local newspaper. I had preconceived expectations, but to my surprise, it was anything but.  It was perfectly seasoned and very tender.  The sauce served on the side was their meat sauce and it was delicious.  A side of spaghetti with marinara was served alongside.

Tiramisu – ($5.95) – While not necessarily one of my favorite Italian desserts, it is one that we have not had very often during my reviews, so we decided to order it.  Portion size was very generous and could easily be shared, it also had just the right amount of sweetness after such a savory meal.  The ladyfingers were perfectly tender and did not have much alcohol flavor which was nice because that is one of the reasons why this is not a favorite of mine.  It was a nice way to round out our Italian meal!

In Conclusion:

I had heard they had a rough start when they first opened and their review from 32963 confirmed some of what I had heard.  I’m happy to report that my experience was much better than expected for a place that had only been open for a short while.  I usually like to let the “new” wear off a bit and let them get in their groove, but I was anxious to see what all the hype was about.  The food was quite good and very fresh.  You can tell most, if not everything is house-made.  The atmosphere was somewhat like the previous tenant since some of it was reused, but they did add some nice touches to make it more of a fine dining establishment.  If you love Italian food as much as I do, then I suggest you go give these guys a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Original Mama Mia’s Kitchen Facebook Page

Address1920 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
 
Hours of Operation:  Wednesday – Thursday, 4:30pm – 9:00pm, Friday – Saturday, 4:30pm – 10:00pm, and Sunday – Monday, 4:30pm – 9:00pm, Closed on Tuesdays
 
 

Beach Bum Bagel Cafe – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine

My next tasting experience takes me to downtown Vero, just off of 14th avenue to a little place called the Beach Bum Bagel Cafe.  Before I visit any restaurant to do a review, I’m curious how others rate it, so I read a lot of reviews about them from different sources.  Everything that I’ve read about this place, they seem to get very positive reviews and have quite the loyal following that comes back and visits them on a regular basis.  Celebrating 8 years in business, owners George and Julie must definitely be doing something right.  With so many breakfast and lunch places in and around Vero, let’s jump in and see why this place does so well.

I’ve driven by this place a few times, and never knew it was there.  They are located on the south side of the Hibiscus building, and unless you are specifically looking for them, you may pass right on by.  Parking is located on the street around the building.  We quickly found a spot across the street near Pocahontas Park.  As you approach the front entrance, they have a wonderful outdoor patio with lots of seating available.  There are ceiling fans to keep you cool in the hot summer months.  Upon entry into the building, there are two booths on the far right that use a surfboard shaped table along with a few other tables for your convenience.  The counter where you place your order is on the left and George is usually at the ready waiting to serve you.

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Chef Salad – ($7.75) – With all of the reviews I do, some people have the misconception that I must weigh 400 lbs from eating all of this good food!  When I’m not reviewing restaurants, I do follow the low carb diet, so this was a welcome addition to the menu at a bagel shop.  The chef salad has rolled up ham, turkey and cheese, fresh romaine lettuce, chopped carrots, tomatoes, celery, and green peppers.  Everything was very fresh and crisp, tomatoes were sweet, and the ranch dressing was quite tasty.

Sunrise Sandwich – ($3.95) – Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was looking forward to trying this one.  You get your choice of having it made on a bagel, biscuit, croissant, or into a wrap, so we chose the Asiago Cheese bagel.  It had sausage, egg, American cheese on the Asiago bagel.  The bagel was lightly toasted and very fresh, the eggs were perfectly cooked, the sausage had a mild zesty flavor.  The only problem with it was that I had to share it with someone and could not keep it all for myself!

Avocado BLT – ($7.50) – That sandwich is definitely stacked up HIGH!  It’s made with white bread, avocado, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.  Served alongside were chips and a pickle.  The bacon was perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were sweet, and the lettuce was nice and crispy.  A well put together classic sandwich that was exceptionally good and very fresh tasting.

Loaded Philly – ($6.75) – This is not something that I expected to see on the menu at a bagel place, but since they service lunch too, it’s definitely a nice option.  The bun was lightly toasted and filled with chopped beef, peppers and onions, mushrooms, and lots of cheese mixed in.  The meat was tender, the onions and mushrooms were finely diced and seasoned perfectly, and the cheese definitely gave it a punch of flavor.  The French fries were salty and crispy, just the way I like them.

In Conclusion:

The more of these locally owned restaurants that I visit, the more impressed I am with them instead of the big name brand places that have similar offerings.  Those restaurants are more concerned with quantity than quality, so if they lose a few customers over a bad experience, no sweat off their backs because they have a large corporation to back them up.  These local shops have everything riding on their success because this is what pays the bills, so they definitely work harder to make sure you are satisfied each and every time you visit them.  Case and point here, George and Julie work hard every day to bring an exceptional experience to each customer, every single time you visit them, and you can definitely taste the difference.

Have you tried Beach Bum Bagel Cafe?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 4 Forks

Service – 4 Forks

Food – 4 Forks

Rating Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Beach Bum Bagel Cafe Website

2205 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Wednesday 6AM–3PM
Thursday 6AM–3PM
Friday 6AM–3PM
Saturday 7AM–1PM
Sunday Closed
Monday 6AM–3PM
Tuesday 6AM–3PM

 

Taco Dive – Restaurant Review

by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine

My next tasting experience takes me down to 14th Ave once again, and this time to Taco Dive!  Located in the previous Counter Culture location, they opened their doors this past summer on July 20th.  Owners Allison O’Connor and Bonnie Turk both left their secure careers as educators behind to venture into the restaurant business.  Their first location has been open for a while and is located in Fort Pierce.  Banking on their first successful location, they decided it was time to branch out and open a second one in Vero Beach.  So far it has been a hit and definitely a welcome addition to the downtown Vero restaurant scene.

Upon first entry into the restaurant, it was nicer inside than I was expecting.  I guess with a name like “Taco Dive” I did not know what to expect.  The other surprise was that it was a sit down restaurant, and not counter service.  I figured due to the size of the restaurant and type of food they served, you would simply order at a counter, and they would bring it to you once ready.  The interior of the restaurant has been changed quite a bit since the previous tenants that occupied the space.  It has that industrial gastro-pub style decor with dark stained wood table tops, metal legs and dark grey walls.  Reclaimed wood pallets hang on the walls, and an old spring mattress is suspended from the ceiling that has been outfitted with Edson bulb light fixtures.

Now on to the food!  Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!

Smothered Tots – ($7.00) – The first item they brought out for us to taste was this wonderful dish!  It’s a pie plate full of tater tots that have been baked until golden brown, then smothered with their house made queso, and topped off with diced jalapeño’s.  The tots were nice and crispy, the queso was full of flavor, and the jalapeño’s added just a little bit of heat to the dish.  This is definitely a fun shareable appetizer and a great way to start your meal.

Taco Bella (Left) – ($5.00) – A lot of my readers are always asking me about vegetarian options in Vero, so I thought it was a good idea that I try one and let you know my opinion about it.  This taco is made with a flour tortilla and is slathered with guacamole, then it’s filled with marinated portabella mushrooms, arugula, black bean corn salad, and topped off with diced tomato and a wedge of lime.  Upon first bite, I was able to taste the black beans and the tomato’s, but not the mushrooms.  They could have used a little bit more seasoning for my taste, but everything on it was very fresh.

Irish (Middle) – ($5.00) – I’m a huge fan of NY Deli, so I decided to try the corned beef taco.  It’s made with a flour tortilla, house made corned beef that is slow roasted in cold barley soup (beer), and topped with sautéed cabbage, tater tots and spicy mustard.  The corned beef was definitely the star of the show.  It was as flavorful and salty as I expected it to be, and I could actually taste the beer it was slow roasted in.  The cabbage added a nice texture variation, and the spicy mustard was a great way to top it off.  I will be getting this one again on my next visit.

Steak (Right) – ($5.00) – My wife was with me for this review, and steak is one of her favorites, so we decided to give this one a try.  It’s made with a flour tortilla, marinated beef tenderloin, shredded cabbage, diced tomato, thinly sliced radishes, and topped with queso fresco crumbles and their cilantro Dive sauce.   The steak was fantastic!  It was very tender and had a nice beefy flavor.  The cabbage and sliced radish added a nice crunchy texture, and the queso and cilantro Dive sauce added a creaminess to it.  It was so good, we were fighting over the last few bites of it!

BBQ Pork Torta – ($7.00) – Now this is not something that I expected to find on the menu at a taco place.  It’s made with slow roasted pork, tossed in a Carolina BBQ sauce, and topped with a pineapple slaw.  The bun is from Miranda’s bakery in Fort Pierce.  I’m into BBQ and consider myself an experienced pit master, and this is really good pork.  With just the right amount of BBQ sauce, the pork was moist and tender.  The slaw was crunchy, a little sweet, and delicious!  This is one amazing torta!

In Conclusion:

I’ve had the opportunity to dine here twice now and both times I’ve been really impressed.  It is more upscale and trendier than I thought it would be, but still casual and family friendly.   While their main menu offerings are Mexican inspired, they do offer some additional choices that will please just about any diner.  Almost everything that comes out of the kitchen is scratch made so they can accommodate just about any request you might have.  From salads, nachos, tacos and tortas, to having some really great local beers on tap, this is definitely not your average “hole in the wall”

Have you tried Taco Dive?  What has your experience been with them?  Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at thefoodguy@verovine.com with your questions or comments.

Atmosphere – 5 Forks

Service – 5 Forks

Food – 5 Forks

Ratings Scale Legend:

1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent

Address: 1901 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Hours: 11:00 am til 9:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, 11:00 am til 10:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Sundays