Ovinte is a recent addition to the St Johns Town Center. It occupies the building that formerly housed the Original Pancake House, tucked behind a fast food restaurant and computer store.
Chef Ian Lynch, formerly of Bistro Aix, and Chad Munsey, former owner of Vingevity wine distribution have created a tempting menu of tapas, small plates and desserts, with over 50 wines available by the glass.
Ovinte has a cool vibe. Most of the interior space is filled with large velvet couches. They have waitstaff serving the people on the couches, so even without a table, this would be a fun option. I noticed a couple of couches had “reserved” signs on them. One wall is lined with enomatics: wine serving coolers that operate on a card system. You can purchase a card from a waiter or bartender for $25 or more, and serve yourself a sample, 2 ounce pour or a full glass of wine. Outside, the patio has a bocce ball playing field and cigar smoking is allowed.
My companion and I shared a half bottle of The Pessimist Cabernet Sauvignon. We started with the bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with cheese, and the fried artichoke hearts with aioli, for $5 each. Both were good, although only about 4 bites per plate.
We moved on to the pumpkin ravioli, which was delicious. We didn’t order any larger plates, just shared small tapas, and I can see how it would be very easy to rack up quite a bill and leave hungry.
However, our dainty sampling left us room for coffee and dessert. I tried the s’mores, but was disappointed. Three cold s’mores left me jealously wishing I’d ordered the chocolate torte that my friend was enjoying. I loved having my own little French press, however, which filled my cup twice.
I will definitely return to Ovinte and try more tempting tapas. This place is a gem in the midst of the chain-restaurant-dominated Town Center.