Carmen's lunch bar

As a Pensacola native, I am happy to see the downtown area thriving. I am always hearing about new growth and new businesses popping up. To be honest, I can't keep up with all of the new restaurants, which is actually a good thing in my eyes.  I was in town for a few days and my friends decided to go exploring a bit. One in particular said he wanted to try Carmen's Lunch Bar. He works on the other side of the city and says he can never make it downtown to try it out so we did.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs $5
If you're new to my blog, first.. thanks for stopping by. Second, I have a confession to make. I have an addiction to appetizers. Really, there is rarely a time I go out, especially to somewhere new, and not order an appetizer.  This time, I decided on the smoked salmon deviled eggs. To be honest, I was hoping for more of a smoked salmon punch but then I looked at the menu. It said a "hint" of smoked salmon. I missed that part. Oops. It was good though and enough to whet your palette for what's to come.

For lunch, I decided on what the waitress called their most popular dish: the Spanish Crab Melt Sandwich ($14). This was blew my mind good. I couldn't get enough of it. It has jumbo lump crab meat (so good), chorizo (even better) and some cheese (Yes, please!) on some ciabatta bread. I was surprised the chorizo didn't overwhelm the delicate crab meat but you can definitely tell there was seafood in this sandwich. I didn't eat it like a sandwich. I used a fork and knife instead. It was very good.

As a side, I was given a choice of potato salad or chips. I went with the potato salad. I should have gotten the chips. I thought the potato salad was beyond bland. I had to add a whole lot of salt (and I am not a big salt eater) to make it palatable. 

Spanish Pepper Poppers ($8), Straccotta Pie ($12), BBQ sandwich ($10)
My friends ordered a few other items too. One was crab stuffed peppers. It is basically what was in my sandwich stuffed into a baby sweet pepper then broiled. It was delicious. I liked having the arugula to break up the fattiness of the stuffing. The Straccotta Pie is like a Shepard's pie but with roasted beef. OMG this was bland. Even adding heaps of salt and pepper, my friend could barely barely put a dent in it. Let's just say he was not happy with his meal. The BBQ sandwich was just "eh" according to the friend, who ordered it. She actually was trying to give half of it away. I don't know what that says about the food. It appears we should have stuck with the seafood options. The prices are on the high side but some items are worth it.

Be forewarned. Carmen's is extremely small. I mean the actual place is just a bar and then maybe five seats facing the window. My friends and I opted to sit outside. There's maybe 5 tables outside that seats about 4 each. When we arrived, it was a rather pleasant day but Florida weather being what it is.. storms started to roll through. At one point, a strong gust of wind blew over food from the balcony and it barely missed us. As you can imagine, we quickly paid for our food so we could get out of there. Otherwise, I had a great experience at Carmen's Lunch Bar. My friends, not so much. It's all in what you order. Apparently, Carmen's have a tapas style menu for the evening. I would like to try that out but the question is can I convince some of my friends to give Carmen's a second shot.

To check out Carmen's menu, click here.

Carmen's Lunch Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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