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Orlando Area Dining


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Thank you all very much. I've got a couple of reservations set already -- Christini's (I really like this place), Capital Grille, and a friend of mine picked another place (he hasn't told me yet). I've got some great suggestions here -- and thank you again!

Eric

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This may be a little late, but I spent a little over five years in O-Town.

If you're looking for a little low-brow food, my absolute favorite was Hotdog Heaven on Colonial near Semoran (it's a shack, but you'll leave happy).

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  • 4 weeks later...
I just returned from 5 days in Orlando and before leaving I searched the Florida Forum for restaurant suggestions...so I was prepared for a culinary wasteland.  I don't think there is a chain restaurant that does not exist in Orlando!  That said, we did end up having some good meals.  Here is where we went:

1. Memories of India - tucked into a strip mall on Turkey Lake Road near Sand Lake Rd.  Went here on Valentine's Day and there was a line out the door.  We had wonderful, authentic Indian food, very gracious service and no rushing.  While waiting we spoke a gentleman originally from India, who said he was in Orlando on business.  He had heard of the restaurant and had eaten there every night of his business trip.  We had the chicken makhani and the lamb shakuti.

2. Cedars - Sand Lake Rd.  Again an authentic ethnic restaurant, this time Lebanese.  The food was wonderful and the server helped us select items to round out a nice dining experience.  Delicious hummus, and a unique pita bread. 

3. Before heading to the airport, we stopped at Lee & Rick's Oysters on Old Winter Garden Rd, just off Kirkman.  We had tried to eat there one evening and there was an hour wait.  It is a dive but it has the most fantastic fresh oysters.  It has been there forever and locals call it home.  It is also the best value in town...a dozen fresh oysters for $4.95!  You sit at a counter and the server shucks the oysters for you as you eat.  Besides oysters, they also have steam crab, shrimp, mussels as well as deep fried fish baskets.  If you like seafood, treat yourself to this experience.

While there we also heard of a restaurant, K Restaurant Wine Bar on Edgewater Dr., that is supposed to be good but we didn't have a chance to try it.

thank you again..we ate at Lee and Rock's...see my comment at end of this Forum..WONDERFUL FOOD.... :biggrin::biggrin:

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We spent a week in Orlando and first I want to thank those who told us about Lee and Rick's Oyster Bar...the food was wonderful...we had oysters, both raw and steamed...yummy..and peel and eat shrimp..so tender and properly cooked...and at Epsot in the pastry shop in the French Pavillion....the best Napolean ever...other than that...chicken and pizza at Costco...so sad...thanks... :biggrin::biggrin:

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I spent 5 years in Orlando. I didn't start cooking until the last year I was there, which wasn't really cooking, it was a sports bar near the college. However, I did eat.

I'm having difficulty understanding why all of these posts concentrate on the tourist cess-pools where everything is buffet-style or dinner and a show. I always ate at the asian restaurants, because of the enormous asian population in Orlando. Near downtown Orlando there is a section of state road 50 (Colonial) known as "Little Vietnam", I had friends swear by a few places there. If you stay on Colonial going away from downtown and I-4 there are several nice little sushi or thai places. It isn't "fine dining" (even though some people were talking about Emeril's as if it were more than whatever you could make at home with his marketed seasonings), but if you go into the little run-down strip malls, there is plenty of food to escape some of this criticism. I also consider these little gems a heck of a lot more honest than City Walk or Downtown Disney.

So please, next time you go, rent a car and get out of the tourist trap.

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I'll have five nights in Orlando next week, and want to treat myself to some nice dinners. I love places like Disney's CA Grill, Artist Point, Citricos, Jiko, etc. I've been to all the Disney Signature restaurants.

How about some recommendations outside the World? I've heard there's more to Orlando than Disney. :raz:

Any good buzz about Emeril's Tchoup Tchop? It looks interesting, but I'm not sure how serious the food is. Maybe early for some appetizers and drinks would be the better option there?

I have no hang-ups about dining solo.

Thank you!

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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Do not venture to anything Emeril, please, for the love of God. It is touristy and not great.

Better choices: Luma on Park in nearby Winter Park. Also there is a new place, called The Ravenous Pig, supposed to be rockin! Check out Doc's too, it is right downtown, and I have heard decent things. There is an outlet of Primo (full disclosure, I worked at the original in Maine), and I have never been dissapointed. Right next to Primo at the JW Marriot is the Ritz, which holds a Norman's (of Van Aken fame). Other than that, if you are into crazy Asian, check out our section of town called Little Saigon. It is the area downtown on Rt. 50 (Colonial Ave). It is my choice for eats more often than not. Have fun! Hope the mouse doesn't bite your wallet too hard!

TA

Edited by Tonyy13 (log)

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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Thanks, Tony!

Not really into "crazy Asian," but nice to know venues like that exist in Orlando.

I'm looking for the more chef-driven places, maybe Norman's would be a good option for one night.

I can snag a table for a late seating at Victoria & Albert's. At least it will be quiet without kids there.

I think eating at the bar at CA Grill sounds cool.

Primo's website says it's closed for the season. Am I looking at the right site?

And I still want to at least see Tchoup Tchop. Maybe just for appetizers and drinks late-afternoon. I hear it's the better of the Emeril places. I remember Emeril from his eponymous place in NOLA. Didn't really like that one too much, even seventeen years ago.

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Do not venture to anything Emeril, please, for the love of God.  It is touristy and not great. 

Better choices:  Luma on Park in nearby Winter Park.  Also there is a new place, called The Ravenous Pig, supposed to be rockin!  Check out Doc's too, it is right downtown, and I have heard decent things.  There is an outlet of Primo (full disclosure, I worked at the original in Maine), and I have never been dissapointed.  Right next to Primo at the JW Marriot is the Ritz, which holds a Norman's (of Van Aken fame).  Other than that, if you are into crazy Asian, check out our section of town called Little Saigon.  It is the area downtown on Rt. 50 (Colonial Ave).  It is my choice for eats more often than not.  Have fun!  Hope the mouse doesn't bite your wallet too hard!

TA

Tonyy13 is right. Please do not venture into anything Emeril's in O-town. I had one of the worst meals of my life at his signature Orlando restaurant. I could, perhaps, excuse one bad meal on the basis that it was an aberration (although at those prices, there should be no bad meals IMHO). However, what I could not excuse was the condition of the ladies' room. It was beyond filthy. And I'm not talking about filth that occurred that day, while swarms of tourists were in there (although such immediate, personal filth was likewise present). I'm talking about a good 1/4" of dust/dirt on top of the vanity mirrors, light fixtures and decor. That didn't happen in one day, or even one week.

I was so appalled that I brought my sister in for a look. And we both agreed that it warranted bringing to the manager's attention. So we brought the manager in for a look. It was agreed that the place needed cleaning, and we were "thanked" for bringing it to the manager's attention (the thank you did not involve any comped items, FWIW).

OTH, I had a very good meal at his restaurant at the MGM in Las Vegas. And I would definitely be open to trying his other venues. Just not Orlando. I don't know what the heck is going on there!!!

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I believe the Primo that is closed is the one in Maine. I whole heartedly recommend the Primo at JW Marriott.

Disney...Check out Jiko at Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge, Flying Fish Cafe at Boardwalk, or if you want to try one of the best buffets in Florida, Boma also at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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I believe the Primo that is closed is the one in Maine.  I whole heartedly recommend the Primo at JW Marriott.

Disney...Check out Jiko at Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge, Flying Fish Cafe at Boardwalk, or if you want to try one of the best buffets in Florida, Boma also at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

We were just there this weekend and I must say that Boma was quite good. I'm not a buffet fan by any means, but they do it right. The soups (carrot ginger, curry chicken, and one similar to a chinese hot and sour) were especially good, as were the three types of hummus. Maybe not the best place for a solo dinner though.

Edited by biskuit (log)
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Thanks, all! I'll have to check out Primo at JW Marriott.

We did WDW last summer on one of those three-table-service-meals-a-day plans, and you better believe we ate three table service meals a day! We ate dinners at:

Fulton's Crab House

Artist Point

Hollywood Brown Derby

Citricos

California Grill

Narcoosee's

Jiko

Flying Fish

All were good except for Fulton's Crab House. They served a "banana cream pie" which had the consistency of a rubbery lemon meringue, the top dotted with small piped meringue. No cream to be found anywhere. The king crab was sub-par (I've bought better king crab at Costco), and the service was indifferent at best.

Flying Fish was a bit of a letdown as well; we'd had several superlative meals there in the past, but this one left us wanting a bit more. Not bad by any means, but not the great dining experience we'd experienced before.

Jiko was a revelation. Citricos lived up to our past experiences there (we found and had an '89 Corton Chalemagne on the wine list for $125 - who says wishes don't come true?) Artist Point may be the most beautiful room in The World.

I've had many great meals at WDW restaurants. And not just great by WDW standards. The best of the best could hold their own with the finest "upper-moderate" places in any big city.

Edited by gmi3804 (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

For pretty decent soul food try Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar B Que on Lee Road on the edge of Winter Park. They have an incredibly diverse menu. It seems to always be crowded, but service goes along pretty well and you usually have your food within a few minutes. The prices are very reasonable. You can eat inside or out on the patio. I guess that its a mini chain, since they have two other Orlando locations.

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I spend about a week and a half in Orlando in late January. I've been going there for a couple of years now (for a conference) and once or twice at other times on business. I try to avoid Disney (at least the park(s) per se). Not that it's reflective of the restaurants, but more so of what I like, dislike, etc.

I went to the Emeril's (inside the park) last year. The food was good (nice flavor). Not great, but good as in just good. However, there were other issues for me. First, it was an incredibly long walk to the restaurant (from the parking lot). That may not bother you, so go for it. The place seemed a little "assembly line" to me, impersonal, etc. The tables, at least the ones around me, were a bit close togther which opened up a few other issues as well.

After eating in Emeril's in NO, I didn't walk away from this one as a fan -- and I was a big fan after my visits in NO.

Anyway, on the top of my "must go to" places is Christini's. Like I said in my previous post -- top notch in every respect.

This year I was introduced to RenGetsu. Excellent -- every fish in the sushi, sashimi, and other dishes as well, was very fresh, high quality and full of flavor.

I also had an excellent meal at The Capital Grille. I am not a "chain" kind of guy, but I have always enjoyed the various locations I have visted. Another excellent time, and meal, was at Bice. There are several others as well. I guess it just depends on what you are looking for, your likes, dislikes, etc.

Eric

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For pretty decent soul food try Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar B Que on Lee Road on the edge of Winter Park. They have an incredibly diverse menu. It seems to always be crowded, but service goes along pretty well and you usually have your food within a few minutes. The prices are very reasonable. You can eat inside or out on the patio. I guess that its a mini chain, since they have two other Orlando locations.

Man I miss Bubbalou's more than anything else about Orlando, that and Hotdog Heaven.

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  • 6 months later...

Is there any hope for a traveling businessman stuck at the Orlando County Convention

Center for four days without a car (though cab, is possible)?

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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  • 5 months later...

Just returned from 10 days in WDW. Some foodie highlights:

** Best salad was at Wolfgang Puck. Was also the simplest. Mixed field greens with a wonderful sherry wine/olive oil dressing.

** Loved California Grill. Goat Cheese Ravioli appetizer had a wonderful light broth. Shamelessly sopped the broth dry with bread!

** Le Cellier in Canada was superb. The Spicy Chicken Sausage Chorizo appetizer over a bed of polenta was especially good.

** Haven't seen it mentioned in this thread, but we really enjoyed the San Angel INN in the Mexican pavillion. Had the Black Pepper Crusted Lamb and really enjoyed it.

** Lastly, I also liked the Boma African Buffet. Awesome homemade soups.

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  • 2 months later...

Next week my wife and I are taking our 25 yr old daughter and her 8 yr old son to Orlando for 5 nights

We are on a pretty tight budget this trip so if anyone has some nice places to grab something casual but that has a fav or enjoyed something I'd really appreciate sharing any ideas.

Were staying three days just west of Disney and 2 nights right my Universal but we have a car so we can go wherever. Our taste is wide open from mexican to chinese and anything inbetween.

We saw recommendations to check out Little vietnam which we may try.

Our price range is to try and keep it not too much over 10-15/person.

Does anyone know of any decent Buffett's worth trying that represent a good value or might stand out a bit for their food quality? It might be nice for the Family.

Due to the price considerations we are going to try to eat off property as much as possible but if you have any recommendationd on food deals on property we'd take them as well.

Thanks for any ideas you can provide that help us stretch our food dollars and still enjoy a meal.

Edited by T Raveret (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

well we didnt go the buffett route but found a gem of a restaurant in downtown celebration.

I wasnt aware that the Columbia restaurant from Tampa's ybor city has opened several locations throughout Florida. It was very good food nicely prepared in a great environment. It also was reasonably priced so i would highly recommend it for someone looking for a nice authentic spanish or cuban food in a beautiful atmosphere.

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  • 11 years later...
 On 6/30/2007 at 5:29 AM, Dave the Cook said:

Finally, don't miss Bill Wong's Famous Super Buffet. According to recent reports, the food is not what it used to be, but the entertainment value (especially the actual buffet line) more than compensates for an average meal.

 

Hands down this has got to be one of our favorite foodie memories ever, as we continue to talk about it til this very day. We think it was in 1990 when we visited, I was a kid. It was my first time in the US and I totally went all out at all the buffets. My savvy mother couponed away, while I swooned over all those options that we just didn't see back at home. 1 dollar breakfast buffets, including spag bol and a dessert department? Oh yeah😍 

 

Bill Wong's was the place were I first saw people who had to sit on two chairs at once. I lost count how many plates of gamba's they ate, it was insane. My score was 8 cups of wantansoup, before I moved on to the rest (which of course is insane as well). Last time my mom went to Florida, I tried finding Bill Wong's for her and saw it is now defunct. Sad, but at least we got to visit once in a good time and our memories were never tainted by their decline. 

We have tried other Chinese buffets during other visits, but were always underwhelmed. Although I do remember one that advertised having 250 dishes on offer when I was in my twenties. I ate so much I walked out looking a few months pregnant. The magic obviously lies in having so many options, not in the quality of the food itself. A lot didn't differ that much, but it was an experience so to say.

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Not quite Orlando, but Tampa is certainly in the neighborhood -- my very favorite restaurant there is Columbia. Spanish/Cuban/Latin in general. Spicy, not hot. Voluminous menu. And flamenco shows.

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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