**UPDATE** O Cocina announced permanent closure on July 10, 2018.
I have been wanting to go back to O Cocina ever since I had the wonderful brunch at their restaurant and since Candy was in town visiting Tampa, I thought this was the perfect time to visit O Cocina again to try their dinner menu. I’m so happy we went back for more because this dining experience was even better than the last!
I was originally drawn to this place because of the beautiful decor and the amazing succulents over the bar but now I've come back to try more of their delicious dishes and cocktails. Plus, the general manager of O Cocina, Charles, is so inviting and fun to chat with.
We had quite a feast this time and wanted to share some of O Cocina's spectacular cocktails and dishes we tried. First, let's start off with their creative cocktails!
Teddy V (short for "Teddy Vegas") makes amazing cocktails and has been with O Cocina since the day it opened. He has a background of bartending in Las Vegas for 10 years working at a few different bars such as Caesar's Palace and Paris Hotel. His knowledge goes far beyond O Cocina's signature margaritas and he loves talking to the guests and making classic cocktails. He even made us a tasty special drink with bourbon and we loved the heart he created with the orange peel and grapes in the middle.
COCINA MARGARITA - Tequila, Lilet Blanc, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, lime, guava nectar, tomatillo foam
Margaritas are always my drink of choice and lucky me, this margarita is their signature drink! The Cocina Margarita is served martini style with no ice, so it’s a pretty strong cocktail. The tomatillo foam on top adds a nice aroma to it that gives it’s own unique flavor on the classic margarita.
O PALOMA - Tequila, campari, lime, salted grapefruit cordial, Prosecco
An excellent summer drink that is very refreshing with citrus flavors. Almost tastes like a Long Island Iced Tea but more pleasant.
THE FRESHMAN - Resposado, Dry Vermouth, lime, strawberry shrub, cucumber, agave nectar
Another refreshing drink for the summer. Lately, I love any drink with cucumber and especially in cocktails. A very tasty drink that I might even like more than my favorite margarita (and that’s saying a lot).
CHIPS WITH GUACAMOLE AND SALSA
O Cocina makes their guacamole and salsa from scratch so we knew we would love this. The chips are served warm and the guacamole was amazing with fresh ingredients. The salsa was also tasty and more on the mild side, which I prefer.
GUAJILLO PORK BELLY - Crispy Duroc pork, habañero crema, pickled red onion
Make sure to eat this dish with the sauce and pickled red onion all together so you get that perfect flavor. The pork belly was tender and we enjoyed the unique flavor.
CHICKEN TINGA FLAUTAS - Crispy corn tortillas, avocado tomatilla salsa, queso añejo, Mexican crema
I love fried food so I'm not sure why I have never tried this before but I absolutely loved it. The tortillas were fried perfectly and it was actually nice and light. The shredded chicken was very tender and I liked the burnt edges too where the chicken was charred.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD - Shaved red onion, queso fresco, local micro green, sherry thyme vinaigrette
Such a beautifully presented dish and so light and refreshing. We really love shaved onions with tomatoes and the vinaigrette dressing is perfect with this type of salad. The tomatoes were so fresh that we felt like we were eating them straight from the garden. If this is going to be your main dish, you can also add chicken, salmon, steak or shrimp.
POLLO EN MOLE POBLANO - Spice rubbed half chicken, mole poblano, green rice, house crema
Out of all the dishes we tried, this was by far our favorite dish. We weren’t expecting much with a chicken dish but boy were we wrong. This was the most amazing tasting chicken dish we’ve had in awhile. The chicken itself is super moist and flavorful with the tasty spice rub. Then you add the mole sauce and it’s just heaven. I pretty much gobbled down this dish and barely shared with Candy.
SALMON A LA PARILLA - Grilled salmon, charred tomato vinaigrette, roasted oyster mushroom, chayote squash
The salmon was excellent and cooked to perfection. Even without the sauce, the salmon was tasty. With the sauce, it makes the dish even more powerful with a kick to it.
PORK CHOP - Pipian mole, toasted pepitas, smoked paprika vinaigrette, street corn
Love it when pork comes with a huge bone like this dish. We hesitate to order pork dishes because a lot of the times, it comes out dry but this pork was nice and juicy with great flavors. The street corn was fantastic and paired nicely with the pork chop. We also loved the pumpkin seeds on top. Now we know what do with those pumpkin seeds for Halloween and Thanksgiving!
CAST IRON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE - Served with vanilla gelato and chile infused chocolate sauce
This dessert was to die for. The cookie is served warm and when you add the chile chocolate sauce on top, it adds a nice heat to it. You'd think that it would be pretty spicy but it's a totally different type of flavor we weren't expecting. It was so good that I still can't stop thinking about this cookie dessert. In fact, I might just go in for dessert and cocktails at their beautiful bar next time I visit.
CREME BRULEE - Chef's daily selection served with fresh seasonal berries
If you're looking for a more light dessert, definitely go with the creme brulee. The fruits were fresh and came a little charred which was something new and different for us.
Everything we tried was outstanding but if we had to pick one cocktail or dish from each section, we would choose The Freshman cocktail, the Chicken Tinga Flautas appetizer, the Pollo en Mole Poblano (seriously guys, this was amazing) for the main course and definitely the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet for dessert.
If you haven't been to O Cocina's yet or haven't been back in awhile, you need to go now. It's the perfect place for any occasion whether it be a girls' brunch, a date night or a family gathering. The restaurant's executive chef, Gerardo Moreno, and bartender, Teddy V, both have some exciting menu changes coming up with a focus on more regularly featured food and drink specials, so stay tuned for that!
A special thank you to the wonderful general manager, Charles, for taking great care of us and making our experience even more enjoyable than the last. He is truly passionate about the restaurant and really takes in everyone’s feedback to give the customers the best experience possible at O Cocina’s.
ADDRESS: 4110 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, FL 33629
HOURS: Tue - Thu 4:30p - 10p, Fri - Sat 4:30p - 11:00p (bar open late), Sunday Brunch 11:00a -3:00p
Happy Hour: 4:30 - 6:30 daily