I firmly believe that there is nothing better in life than enjoying good food with great people. I was so excited to catch up with one of my oldest and best friends last night. Anisha and I grew up together, and even when it has been a while since we have had a chance to get together, we always pick up right where we left off. We’ve always had so much in common – one of those things being a love of food. We always try to check out the best new restaurant when we catch up over dinner (and a bottle of red!)
We chose Mita’s Restaurant because of its location (right around the corner from my work) and because the owner is Chef Jose Salazar. I’ve been a fan of Chef Salazar’s since his days at The Palace Restaurant at The Cincinnatian Hotel (Ryan and I once did an insane chef’s tasting there and it was completely unforgettable!) Jose has been a longtime customer of my husband’s family’s butcher shop at Findlay Market, Eckerlin Meats. I love his restaurant in OTR, Salazar, so when I heard the news that Mita’s was opening, I couldn’t wait to try it. Polly Campbell’s review of the restaurant, which was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier yesterday, cemented our decision.
I arrived right when the restaurant opened at 5:00, which meant I was able to grab a great photo of the interior space.
The space is light, bright, with an unbelievable “cool” factor. I love the colorful Portuguese tile details, the huge windows, and the ornate metal screens. It was gorgeous.
Our server was so personable and friendly. She was quickly able to recommend a wine to us that fit our tastes (and our budget). The La Posta Tinto red blend was perfect – they have it available by the bottle or glass, but we obviously opted for the bottle, because we had a lot of catching up to do!
If you like picking a bunch of dishes to try and sharing them around the table, like me, then this is the ideal restaurant for you. I have felt that Cincinnati has been lacking a good tapas restaurant for so long (RIP Bootsy’s!), and I’m thrilled that Mita’s has finally filled that void. Mita’s offers lots of unique tapas and small plates that are perfect for sharing. The food here is inspired by Chef Salazar’s grandmother’s cooking in Colombia, and the menu boasts many beautiful South American and Spanish dishes.
Based on recommendations from both our server and from Polly Campbell, Anisha and I opted to share the Coliflor Asada, Empanadas de Res con Pique, Ceviche de Camarones, and the Paella Valenciana.
Chef Salazar puts a lot of thought into every detail. Everything is meticulous – from the order the dishes are delivered to the table, to the way they are plated, to the balance of colorful flavors in each bite.
The Chef recommended that we start with the lightest of the dishes, which was the Ceviche de Camarones.
I love ceviche. It’s basically all I ate for our entire honeymoon in French Polynesia – super fresh, flavorful fish, paired with beautiful citrus flavors. This is, by far, the best ceviche I’ve had since then. Mita’s version includes gulf shrimp, hominy pickled onions, lime and fresh cilantro.
It was paired with fried sweet plantains, bringing a little crunch and extra flavor to the dish. It was a fantastic start to the meal.
And this is where I began to fall down on the job. There is no photographic evidence of our subsequent two dishes – the Coliflor Asada and the Empanadas de Res con Pique, because I was too busy eating and talking to stop to take a photo!
The Coliflor Asada was a gorgeous dish – cauliflower is one of my favorite ingredients, and Chef Salazar served it beautifully with manzanilla olives, pomegranite seeds, hazelnuts, and herb puree. I love pomegrante seeds in dishes like these. They surprise you with a burst of flavor that absolutely sets off the dish.
The Empanadas de Res con Pique was also a delight – three crunchy empanadas filled with melt-in-your-mouth beef short ribs, served with a side of cilantro-chili pepper sauce (that we kept on the table for the rest of the meal, because it was so delicious!)
Our final dish was the Paella Valenciana. I can’t imagine a more colorful dish than this.
It tasted as good as it looked. Filled with chorizo, gulf shrimp, mussels and octopus, this dish is not to be missed.
Everything was cooked perfectly, and it was beyond flavorful – the most perfect dish to share with friends over a few good stories. Anisha gave it a rave review, saying that it’s the best paella she’s had outside of Spain. It was fabulous – it makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Our only regret? We were too stuffed to eat dessert! Mita’s pastry chef, Brian Neumann, supposedly makes desserts that are out of this world. It just gives us something to look forward to the next time we have a chance to visit Mita’s.
Have a night out with friends coming up? You can’t find a better place to catch up over fantastic food that at Mita’s.
Until next time,