Seminole >Food & Dining > Carmelita's Mexican Restaurant
5211 Park St N, St Petersburg, FL | Directions 3370927.819258 -82.753857
Mon. - Thu., Sun. 11am - 9:30pm;Fri. - Sat. 11am - 10pm
Not the BEST in Town, but not the worst... – I've lived in Seminole since 1973 and have ate at all the Mexican restaurants in this area. I also have been out west to Arizona and New Mexico. The restaurant has had a huge following for years and they have stayed close to their roots but I think that is the issue. It's the same ole thing man. For the money, I would rather have better atmosphere, free chips and salsa and more spice!!!!
No longer the best mexican food in town! – For over 10 years I went to this restaurant because it used to be a great place to go for good authentic mexican food at a decent price. However, it has been going down for the last couple of years. I recently went to the Carmelitas in Largo (e.g. Tri City Plaza) and was horrified at the service, food, and cost!!! The waitress suggested an apple juice for the children, then promptly charged me extra because apple juice wasn't part of the kid's meal selection. I've had it with this place and will not be going back again!
bset mexican food – the food at carmelitas rocks. i have been eating there for at least 9 years and never have i had a bad experience!! the staff is very pleasent and you always see a familiar face. the chicken enchiladas are to die for with the rich sour cream sauce. there is no salsa in town to match theirs! now that they offer complementry chips again and the birhtday meal is back there are more reasons to keep going back (not that one needs a reason to go). my family and i love carmelitas and recomend for a great meal and fun times the whole family can enjoy!
Great food, service & prices – After reading the reviews here and on Trip Advisor we were hesitant....but then we figured people more often complain than praise. We're glad we went since the food was great (Enchilada's), the server was efficient and friendly, restaurant was clean with a pleasing decor and the prices were what we expected even paying 2 bucks for corn chips and salsa (free would be nice but if you make it or break it on this point then eat El Paso Mexican out of the box at home to save money). Carmelita's is at least as good as Don Pablo's, which are all now closed in the bay area. We will return again next trip when we get the craving for Mexican.
A bit overrated – I felt Carmelita's was a bit over rated. I've been here twice and both times I felt the food was just average. People I know raved about this place, so maybe my expectations were pretty high. They food wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything special either. If I was in the mood for Mexican food, I'd rather eat at Los Mariachis (Los Mayas) near Clearwater Beach any day. So my recommendation would be, don't expect too much and you will be satisfied.
finally ranchero style Mexican and REAL marguaritas – I have been in St. Pete for less than a year from a Chicago neighborhood where authentic Mexican restaurants were plentiful and in walking distance. I wanted a tequilla marguarita with Chille Rejellos and Ranchero style Carne Asada and I tried all the other places Toro Negro, Red Meza, and their food was good but both lacked something i was used to with my meal. Toro, though authentic seemes like it sat on a steam table until I ordered at 7:00 p.m from the lunch crowd. (i sure lunch is good there but NO tequilla!
Red Meza had only a wine marguarita and not true trandition Mexican but still close and tasty. I DID NOT EVEN TRY CARMELITAS because of the reviews mentioning NOFREE chips and salsa. When i read they changed their stand, my wife and I tried it. Everything was fresh authentic real Mexican. My only problem was the Carne Asada had the skirt steak ranchero style but it was the ultra thin cut piece. I think they should offer the thick cut shirt steack even if the parice was raised $5 bucks, as it is really my preference.( Note: Red Meza offers a nice thick shirt steak although the preparation and sides are not the true taste I look for.) The chiles, tacos, soup, and sides at carmelitas were jsut what I wanted. I still long for the thicker shirt steak version. Sadly, CHILES near tyrone is the closest to the mexican shirt steak i want. I guess I will only be satisfied by getting on a plane.
No charge for chips & salsa – Just wanted to let everyone who doesn't know yet that Carmelita's NO LONGER CHARGES extra for chips and salsa! Our entire family loves their salsa, although we are not salsa connoisseurs. We don't like our salsa spicy or chunky. One could drink Carmelita's salsa as a summer soup if one so wished (our son tried it)! The absolute best dish there are the chicken enchiladas in a sour cream & cheese sauce. It comes with three enchiladas and a BIG portion of rice & beans. You can actually eat half and take the leftovers home (you'll be looking forward to it the next day). The taco salad with chicken is also good and very filling. We tried to get the recipes for the salsa and the sour cream sauce, but we were told they were closely guarded secrets. The atmosphere is fun and the restaurant is kid-friendly. The food may not be authentic Mexican, but it certainly has a delicious twist to it!
(I think the free birthday meal is back, too!!!)
Consistent Through 20+ Years – I've been eating at Carmelita's since they opened 23 yrs ago. The food is great, the restaurant is immaculate! Some complain that it is not real Mexican food. The family who owns Carmelita's, even though they're from Michigan, is Mexican. Their food is a mild mexican (Michi-Mexican) that can be heated w/ various mild, moderate & hot homemade salsas. Their chicken enchiladas & flour gr beef flautas drive me absolutely crazy! My husband & I live in Spring Hill & take the drive very often to get out fill of this great restaurant. Over the last 20+ yrs I have NEVER received a meal that didn't taste exactly as it had when I first started eating there (in St. Pete)! That's is nothing short of miraculous! They could write a book on restaurant consistency! I have never complained about anything, until...
They started charging for chips & salsa & they don't put shredded lettuce & diced tomato on the plates! This upset my husband so badly that he suggested not ever going back!
Mr. & Mrs. Lopez: If you read this, I strongly believe if you have something that works & has brought your family good fortune & local fame, leave it alone! One simple change like charging for chips & salsa can put an end to the word of mouth praise your restaurant has enjoyed for many yrs (read the comments from others before me)! People come to your restaurant & spend good money on food/drinks. Chips, salsa, lettuce & tomato are staples in a Mexican restaurant that should NEVER be charged for! Shame on you or your children for making such a poor decision.
You used to have a b-day program yrs ago. Every yr for my birthday (or my sister, mom, dad, nephew, husband) our entire family (6-8 people) came to Carmelitas so the birthday person could get a free meal. It was a tradition we started when you first opened, but we stopped our tradition when you stopped doing it. What a shame.
Good Chimichangas – Whenever I let my son pick the restaurant, he always chooses Carmelita's! He loves the shredded beef Chimichangas and I like the chicken ones. So what that they charge for chips and cheese? Overall, the food is good and when you want something different, this works.
Not very good – I decided to take my friend out for Mexican food. Coming from Arizona I have really been cravying good Mexican. What a big disappointed. We both order chicken enchiladas. First of you get No chips and salsa! You have to pay extra for them. The enchiladas were extremely bland with NO cheese. I have never eaten enchiladas with no cheese. My friend asked for some salsa to hopefully give the food some flavor and was given what tasted like tomato sauce. I will never go back to this restaurant!!
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