Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Bill_H

  1. I married into a Lebanese family, when we visited over there I was scared s***less by boys with guns, but if you stay out of a few areas you'll be fine. It is a party town, guess that's what 20 years of civil war will do for you. Couple recommendations - try Bar Bar downtown for some great street food and get a manooshi (zatar) from a street cart sometime after 2 AM - better than a slice of pizza to ward off a hangover. Also, the mezza in Jounieh is awesome at a place called Manuela's - the whole fried birds, pickled lamb brains and testicles should be right up your alley. Finally, please take your cameras to Jeita caverns - people in America need to se this amazing place to understand what a beautiful country they're missing because of the fact folks in that part of the world just can't seem to get along. Be safe.
  2. Honestly, and I'm not being pessimistic or overly critical here, there is NO good Chinese food in Orlando. In fact, the Sentinel food critic passed on a winner in the Foodie awards. Instead, eat some Vietnamese or Japanese - there are good options there. Vietnamese - Lac Viet, Little Saigon, Viet Garden, Pho 88 Japanese - Nagoya, Hanamizuki, Amura Thai is OK here, couple options we've liked include Red bamboo and G&G Thai.
  3. Yeah, it's the "wine cellar" room, very nice. But it's often hard to reserve, but it's worth an inquiry if you can afford to eat there. Depends how good these clients or partners are
  4. First off, I would recommend avoiding all the restaurants at your resort, I've heard many negative reviews. You should also know that resort is in the "sticks" a bit, so any cab fare from there will be pricey. For that large of a group, you could try Columbia in Celebration, it is a beautiful space with good solid Spanish food but nothing too adventurous. Another option may be Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge or Todd English's bluezoo at the Dolphin hotel. If you want a steak place, contact Charlie's at the I-Drive location, I think they have a shuttle van that will pick up large groups to bring them to the restaurant. Their steaks are really good and they have a nice wine list.
  5. From that list - California Grill first, Jiko second. Citrico's is also nice and usually a little quieter. Artist's Point used to be great but has slipped. Let them know it's an occassion when you book priority seating - you have a better shot at a window table. Be aware though that other than Victoria & Alberts there are noisy kids EVERYWHERE at Disney as others have no respect. You can still enjoy yourself if your expectations are set right
  6. Tony, it looks great again! We keep meaning to get in there but your dinner hours are challenging for us working professionals. You need a late seating! Remind me again, do you take/need reservations?
  7. I checked the "Pinned" guide and searched on Whistler, but saw no answers. Pretty simple request. We are spending 2 nights in Whistler August 24-24 (at the Westin). Any recommendations for lunch and especially dinner?
  8. Wow...thanks! I find it a little sad that I had to find out about this place from a tourist but I'm already making plans to head over there for lunch sometime this week. I can't wait. I get a feeling there are alot of good hidden places in South Orlando with the QUICKLY growing Hispanic population down there. I think all us eGulleteers need to go exploring down there to see what's poppin' up. Anyone try Lenos y Carbon yet? (it's Columbian)
  9. I'll 2nd the recommendation for Jiko. It's unique, consistent, and it accompanies a visit to the Animal Kingdom lodge, which is worth seeing. Make sure to get a bottle of wine - they have the best South African selection in the States. I hear bluezoo is much improved, it was a beautiful space when I visited, but the seafood was only OK. But it's location right next to your hotel may be a plus or a minus depending on your perspective. IMO Flying Fish is vastly overrated. I have been 3 times as I keep hearing rave reviews from others but everytime I go I'm disappointed. Maybe the others are comparing it to Red Lobster? If you have the time and money though, you should make sure to try either Victoria & Alberts or the California Grill. Both of those are the best options at Disney. We've also enjoyed meals at Citrico's and Artist's Point.
  10. Hello everybody. As an Orlando resident and frequent poster on the Florida board, I am used to getting multiple posts every month asking for recommendations for people vacationing at Disney World or around Orlando. We usually point them towards a couple of very long threads that have evolved over time with many recommendations based on their specific needs. After spending some time on your, well, FANTASTIC forum, I must say I am impressed and a little overwhelmed. My pregnant wife and I are planning a 10-day vacation to BC, and I was hoping for your insight. Either direct recommendations or a link pointing me to the best exisiting thread is much appreciated. We will be visiting the last 10 days of August. We will spend 2-3 nights in Whistler, 5-6 night in Tofino at the Long Beach Lodge, and then 2 nights in Vancouver after returning our car. We are not sure where we are staying in Whistler yet (either the Four Seasons or the Westin) or in Vancouver, but it will be centrally located. So I would mostly appreciate recommendations for those 2 Vancouver dinners. We are looking for places with a unique Pacific Northwest connection (e.g., no Italian places as while I'm sure they're great I can get great Italian in NYC, Philly or Chicago). We are looking for one fine dining option and one "authentic", legendary or must-eat Vancouver experience (if you catch my drift). My guess is that seafood or Asian places are the way to go. And please make them "pregnant" friendly. Also, any list of must-visit establishments in Whistler or near Tofino would be great. Again, I commend all of you on a great forum, and salivate while anticipating your recommendations. Thanks, Bill EDIT: I just saw the PINNED post at the top of the forum that listed recommendations Regardless, as usual on good boards it is just TOO much to process with my hectic life. I would appreciate your specific options for the BEST choices based on my criteria above.
  11. I posted this months ago, but with this fine thread I thought I'd bring it forward a couple of pages. It's another viewpoint on Primo.
  12. I came across the following article written for a trade magazine that was having a convention in Orlando. It is written by a writer for Orlando magazine and recommends place to eat for those here for a convention. Please note that Orlando magazine is one of those city magazines that tends to read like advertising copy and is rarely critical, so take the recommendations with a grain of salt and cross-reference with other comments you have seen in this thread. It is also far from a complete list, but it is quite comprehensive. The best thing about this is that it describes much of the menu and atmosphere of each of the places and alos provides contact information. Orlando Convention Dining
  13. Sorry you missed out on Cedar's. It is open later on other rnights, but they do close earlier on Sunday's because most Arab's eat their Sunday meals in the late afternoon. Maybe we can join you there when you return. I think you hit the nail on the head with Tchoup Chop and Season's - good but not great. They are not my first choices in town but I don't mind eating there if someone else wants to. I'm glad you liked Antonio's. It can be a little hard to find but I've never had a bad meal. Something you discovered on your trip was the general "nice-ness" of most folks here in Central Florida. Whether it's in a grocery store or the mall or anywhere out and about, I have always been pleasantly suprised at how friendly people are. Of course, I lived in NY before moving here, so perhaps my comparisons are skewed :)
  14. Here's the details: 7732 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, Florida 32819 407 351 6000 Here's a link from the NY Times Now, the REAL directions: Take International Drive south to Sand Lake Road, make a left and go under I-4. After a couple lights, you will be right in the middle of Restaurant Row. Cedar's is on the left, basically in-between Season's 52 and Roy's. 2 things to keep in mind: 1) Service can be slow. They are very nice and helpful with unknown ingredients, but they are always understaffed. More importantly, especially on a Sunday, the Lebanese use the meal as a social occasion, so it is culturally normal to slowly pace the meal. 2) I would recommend dining "mezza" style. While the entrees are good, the traditional Lebanese way is to order a ton of hot and cold appetizers (mezza) and stuff yourself silly. For a different taste, make sure to try the sujuk and the mouhamara. The pita bread is heavenly. And for a treat save some room for their deserts - usually VERY sweet cheese-based items that are perfectly offset by mint tea or super-strong Arabic coffee. Enjoy (I hope). Wish we were avaialable to join you - my wife is half-Lebanese and was born in Beirut. She's invaluable in picking things you might not normally try.
  15. The area is called "ViMi", for Vietnam on Mills. If you take the SR 50 exit (Colonial Drive) off of I-4 downtown and head east about 5 minutes, you will find it at the intersection of Colonial and Mills. The area actually radiates from that intersection north on Mills and east and west on Colonial. These restaurants and stores are not fancy at all - they are low priced and low ambiance. But the food is great and a great value and very authentic (most menus are like 20 pages long ) If you are ever in Orlando and want to try Vietnamese in a nicer place, Rice Paper is a good option (although it was trashed by Tony on here a month ago). It's not perfect, but I think the food is good. The service is just ok. Rice Paper is in the Restaurant Row area on Turkey Lake Road right off Sand Lake Road (and next to the best Indian in town - Memories of India)
  16. Well, we know about it. In fact, it's said that other than LA Orlando has the best Vietnamese food and diversity in the states (go figure). By the way, you missed the best place - Lac Viet, which is based on North Vietnamese cuisine. Just opened and receiving very nice reviews. But you did well by Little Saigon and Pho 88, both also quite nice. I think the reason you don't hear about places like this is everyone is too busy bashing Orlando's cuisine based on hotel and tourist-area dining selections. Here's another hidden secret - good Middle Eastern food. Next time you're here check out Cedar's, Middle Eastern Market, and Tony's.
  17. As I see it you have 4 options, in order of what would be my preference. 1) Spring for the cab fare to head to downtown Orlando and make it a late dinner. I would recommend Hue for dinner, then walk up Central Avenue to the area around Orange Avenue/Central Avenue/Church Street etc, stopping in at places along the way. Make sure to try get some wine at the Lake Eola Wine Company (also called the Wine Bar). Two other possible places to eat are Kres Chophouse or Boheme, but they can be a little pricey. Rocco's in Thornton Park (a downtown neighborhood) is also popular. 2) Second choice is the Restaurant Row area, a short cab ride for you. Eat at Season's 52 or Samba Room, and the later bar scene at both of those are popular. 3) Universal CityWalk is OK but very touristy. The only places to eat there that are worthwhile are Emeril's and Tchoup Chop. The bars there are OK but full of vacationers. 4) The last option is to take a short cab ride to the Mall at Milennia, which is a very upscale mall. The food there is OK (try Brio or McCormick & Schmick's), and a new bar called Blue Martini just opened there that seems popular, but the clientele may be too old for you A last option (if dinner is all you want) is to head for Texas de Brazil, a churrascaria, or Cafe Tu Tu Tango, both on International Drive. They have a fun atmosphere, but after dinner there's not to much to do right around there. So based on your age and marital status, I'd say head downtown.
  18. Mama Della's I think it is. Just average Italian food served in a faux Italian family atmosphere. To be honest, I think Buca di Beppo does it better, but that's not meant as a big compliment. There are much better options for you, even on Universal property, although on the whole I find dining there disappointing. The real shame is that they closed Delfino Riviera at the Portofino to open Bice because of the "brand" name - one of the perils of tourist locations I guess. Anyway, I think you'd be happier at Emeril's or Tchoup Chop than at Mama Della's. If you want real family Italian in the area, check out Cairera's Cucina Italiana on Dr. Phillips Blvd or for a more upscale option Antonio's in the Sand Lake Restaurant Row area, both short cab rides from Portofino.
  19. You mean Bice? It's new, so I haven't been, but it has not been well-reviewed.
  20. Are you there on a weekend?
  21. I'll see your balsamic and raise you a sundried tomato. For the record, I should also add that, though I stand by what I said earlier, I too found it a bit odd to read of kumamoto oysters being listed among someone's favorite dishes in the south east. I come from Pacific oyster country so there I do indentify them a specific location, and this ain't it. ← Gotta tell ya, wish I'd never brought it up What can I say, I ate the oyster appetizer in Atlanta, which is in the Southeast, and I thought the presentation was beautiful and it tasted fantastic. So I mentioned it. Foodies are SO opinionated But I still stand by the Florida Black grouper in pecan butter at Chatham's Place in Orlando. Although I'm sure some snobby foodie will tell me REAL pecan treatments can only be relied upon in Georgia at a roadside Stuckey's in the form of a "roll".
  22. I usually eat alone on business trips, so I'm not uncomfortable doing that, but Texas de Brazil is really a communal experience. I recommend making some friends at the convention and convincing them to go with you Since you may be dining alone, from my recommendations I would further encourage Bonefish, Amura and Season's 52 as a full menu is served in the bar area and it's a little nicer way to eat alone. But other than Texas de, the only other place I might skip is Chatham's as it is a little romantic and might mnake you feel lonely. But then again, you'd miss out on the Florida black grouper in pecan butter, my nominee is the "Best dish in the Southeast" thread in the Southeast forum. And the folks that work there are SO nice. I also wanted to add something if you like Japanese food. Hidden in a strip mall (same one as Charley's) is a tiny restaurant names Hanamizuki that serves very authentic Japanese food. Sushi is not a real staple, but if you want to try some different stuff, this is the place. Let's just say most of the clientle are FROM Japan and not much English is heard throughout the place, but they are friendly and very helpful in negotiating some of the unfamiliar items. It's one of my newest discoveries, if you like different things check it out. Here's a brief description Hanamizuki
  23. Probably. If not, just tell them to take the Sand Lake Road exit off I-4 and make a left. It's then about 1/2 mile up on both sides of the road. You really can't miss it. On a side note - it may be a little expensive to take a cab from all the way out at Disney to Sand Lake. I'd get a quote first. Orlando is very spread out (similar to LA or Atlanta) If you're on Disney property, make sure you try Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Also, California Grill and Victoria & Alberts are great but very pricey. In the Dolphin itself, Todd English's bluezoo is ok and Shula's serves a decent high-end steak. DO NOT eat at the Italian place in the neighboring Swan though. You'll be sorry!
  24. The menu and atmosphere INSIDE the Antonio's on Sand Lake Road is IMO nicer than the la Fiamma location you visited Susan. However, there is no view. last time we were there, though, we had dinner at a table next to Mark Wahlberg and his baby and baby's mother. The service there is usually top notch.
  25. I love comments like that. Metro area of 1.2 million, hundreds of restaurants, and a throwaway sentence to denigrate the whole city's options. Sigh. Anyway, I-Drive does suffer a bit. I would do Charley's over Vito's, though Mark does have a point on the service. Happens in most tourist and convention areas - they don't usually have to deal with return business and especially in the convention area there are many drunk obnoxious groups, so the service lags. As for Dux, I ate there several years ago and enjoyed the meal. However, they change chef's alot and quality varies widely with the chef. I have not eaten nor talked to anyone who has under the current regime. It is a VERY high-end restaurant, though. Of course in Orlando, despite the prices and atmosphere, you'll still see people in leisure-wear. If you take a cab or the trolley a little bit down I-Drive you'll find a Texas de Brazil, our newest churrascaria. It is a good version of the style, and we have had great service there. Your best bet otherwise to to head for the Sand Lake Road Restaurant Row area (a short cab ride) and dine at Cedar's, Chatham's Place, Annele & Hugo, Memories of India, Antonio's, Amura, Season's 52, Moonfish or Bonefish. Or consider a slightly longer cab ride to the Grande Lakes resort for Primo at the JW Marriott or Norman's at the Ritz. Finally, downtown has a couple nice options in Boheme or Kres Chophouse. Emeril's has two restaurants at the Universal property that have decent food but many tourists. Your hotel probobly has a free shuttle to Universal.
  • Create New...