Recently Universal Orlando revealed big plans for CityWalk, home to a number of shopping and dining venues. The reinvention of Universal’s nighttime district is beginning to take shape as Antojitos is now open for business. The new restaurant resides in the area formerly occupied by Latin Quarter and specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Universal recently extended us an invitation to tour the venue as well as sample several dishes. Guests visiting Antojitos will be greeted by a colorful exterior topped with a bell tower. The vibrant exterior is matched by its lively interior with dramatic colors and a stage for live performances. A mariachi band performs both outside and on-stage inside. The band played some Mariachi-style modern hits including Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”.
The restaurant has two floors and each floor has its own menu: first floor for casual dining and second floor for a bit more upscale dining. If you’re interested in an even more casual experience, there is a kiosk outside the restaurant that is in the form of a food truck. There you can get a quick bite to eat and even enjoy one of many cocktail offerings. As one would expect Antojitos does offer (exceptionally large) margaritas. What is unexpected is another tequila-based drink dubbed The Handsome George named after actor George Clooney. Clooney not only has an accomplished career in the movie industry but also has a line of tequila.
You can follow up your cocktail of choice with an array of appetizers including tamalitos fritos, a roasted corn tamal golden fried with guajillo aioli.
While the appetizers are largely the same across both menus for the first and second floor, the entrees for the second floor represent a more varied selection.
Those looking for meat will have a number of choices to select from including carne asada. Antojitos accommodates vegetarians as well with dishes such as Antojitos Vegetarianos. While most of the menu consists of staples that can be found in typical Mexican restaurants, Antojitos separates itself with its strong emphasis on fresh ingredients. This is on full display with its guacamole which is prepared table side using fresh avocado. The experience is unique enough to make this memorable, but the guacamole would shine even without the presentation as it provides a sublime accompaniment to the house-made tortilla chips creating a signature antojito. (By the way, antojito can be loosely translated as a food craving, though I believe in this case the term is being used more so to mean appetizer.)
The night however belonged to the dessert offering of Chocolate Banana Bread with Mamey Sorbet and Fruit Salsa. The chocolate filled bread is perfectly complemented by the fruity sorbet providing a balanced combination of decadence and sweetness. After filling up on dessert you will want to ensure you don’t leave without obtaining a souvenir face mask. These colorful masks are complimentary with your meal on select nights and serve as a memento of your dining experience at Antojitos.
Antojitos is now open just in time for Valentine’s Day! Will we see you there?
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary dinner to experience Antojitos and facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
All photos © Ricardo Escobar for modernmami™