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Orlando Area Dining


ksnel
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The whole family (myself, the husband, our four year old and our infant) will be going to Disney in mid-November for a week. We will be celebrating our anniversary while there, and will be getting an in-room babysitter for that night. It will be our only night out without the kids.

While at Disney, we are doing the Dining Plan which covers one counter service meal, one table service meal and one snack for all of us (well, except the little guy, who's still on breastmilk only).

For our special night out, we can eat at one of the Dining Plan included Signature restaurants by trading in two of our table service meals. The question is, which one??

Our choices are:

California Grill

Artist Point

Citricos

Coral Reef

Flying Fish

Brown Derby

Jiko

Les Chefs de France

Yachtsman Steakhouse

My husband ate at Flying Fish last year for work and really enjoyed it, but the California Grill sounds wonderful from what I'm reading above. That said, the mentions above are all a bit dated, so I'm wondering if anyone has any more recent experience?? Do any of the others listed deserve our reservation?

Thanks!

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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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 :smile:

Edited by Bill_H (log)
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  • 3 months later...
Guest MNewman

I will be staying at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in February and need to entertain a dozen business persons for dinner. What are some good options for something closeby that has quality food too?

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I will be staying at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in February and need to entertain a dozen business persons for dinner.  What are some good options for something closeby that has quality food too?

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.

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I will second the response about being in the middle of nowhere. I would stick to either restaurants on Disney property (which there are quite a few amazing ones) or in Celebration (Columbia is great!). Even with these however make sure you allow enough travel time. Coming from this resort you will encounter horrible traffic coming "back to civilization". If you are going to be traveling 5-7pm range add an extra 30min travel time to whatever your destination is.

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I think I saw somewhere that California Grill has a small room off of the main dining room. If this is correct it might be a nice spot for a party of 12.

John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

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I think I saw somewhere that California Grill has a small room off of the main dining room.  If this is correct it might be a nice spot for a party of 12.

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 :biggrin:

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I believe the Epcot fireworks start at 9pm. I have heard different experiences on how long it took to dine at California Grill. I would like to plan such that 4 adults can enjoy the fireworks towards the end of our meal. Thus, what time would you suggest I make the reservations for?

Any particularly favorite dishes you would recommend?

Thanks

Percy

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I believe the Epcot fireworks start at 9pm. I have heard different experiences on how long it took to dine at California Grill. I would like to plan such that 4 adults can enjoy the fireworks towards the end of our meal. Thus, what time would you suggest I make the reservations for?

Any particularly favorite dishes you would recommend?

Thanks

Percy

Hey Percy,

The California Grill is actually ideally situated for the Magic Kingdom fireworks, which start at 10pm. We had a 7:30 reservation, and our waiter timed the meal so that we would be brought our dessert just as the fireworks began. (He was WONDERFUL - do call ahead and ask for Ron)

This was a long, slow dinner, but we enjoyed ourselves. You could certainly do 8 or even 8:30 and still enjoy the fireworks. We actually left our dessert on the table and went out to the promenade to watch them.

Regarding dishes, you, for one, would certainly appreciate the duck pizza. It was excellent. We also loved the sushi plates. Short ribs are highly recommended as an entree (I loved them). For dessert, we shared the cheese plate and were very pleased.

Did you look up the menu on that AllEars site? Let me know if you need help finding it, and feel free to PM for more dining tips - we just went in November.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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we just went in November.

Me, too, :smile: from the 5th to the 12th.

We're headed back in 11 days for three nights. We have dinners planned for Flying Fish, Artist Point and Chefs de France.

I'm wondering about Chefs de France. Does anyone have any menu suggestions (a dish that stands out in a good or bad way)?

John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
Isn't Chefs de France in EPCOT?

Yep...

Does that mean you have a buy an EPCOT ticket as well if you just want to have dinner there?

I do believe so. :sad:

I would not eat at Chefs de France. We are longtime residents of Orlando but had never eaten that much in Epcot. We started trying some of the food there after getting an annual pass. The food was awful. I had the bavette steak and it was tough with absolutely no flavor. We have also heard that a majority of the food is made in one central kitchen and farmed out to the restaurants explaining the same pre-fab taste in a lot of the different places. I would stick with the restaurants in the hotels. I have heard Jiko is really good but I have not eaten there along with Flying Fish Cafe and Citricos. We have eaten in the California Grill and the food was pretty good.

If you can get away from the Disney area, there is a really good french restaurant near downtown called Le Coq au Vin. They have some really excellent authentic french provincial food.

Have fun on your trip!

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  • 1 month later...

OK, I am reporting back after my trip to Orlando this past week.

I was only there for a few days, so there are 2 restaurants worth reporting on - Emerils and the California Grill.

On our first day, we visited Emeril's, which is in Universal's Citywalk area. This place is a bit touristy (like most places in Orlando) and I actually prefer Tchoup Chop, which I have also visited. However, since my in-laws were with us and not huge Pan-Asian food fans, we went to Emeril's instead, where we ordered:

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BBQ Shrimp (New Orleans style, with rosemary biscuit) - The sauce was great, but I remember thinking that the shrimp could be bigger (these seemed to be 26-30) and fresher.

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Homemade Andouille Sausage With a Sweet Potato Puff Pastry Turnover - The sausage had a nice kick of spice, which the sweet potato in the puff pastry balanced out nicely.

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Confit Duck, Cremini Mushroom and Truffle Pizza With Brie Cream, Roasted Peppers, Smoked Cremini Mushrooms and a Drizzle of White Truffle Aioli - Good but the duck did not stand out as much.

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Smoked Wild & Exotic Mushrooms In a Home-Cured Tasso Cream Sauce over Homemade Angel Hair Pasta - Very good dish, pasta was perfectly cooked.

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Crabmeat Cheesecake, topped with cauliflower - This was good, but not as good as the original from Palace Cafe in New Orleans, which made this dish famous.

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Baked Mushroom & Ricotta Cheese Cannelloni With a Fresh Herb-Tomato Ragoût and Shaved Pecorino Romano - The tomatos in this dish were exploding with flavor and made me think we were in the middle of summer. This dish may have "tomato water" as a secret ingredient.

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Pan Seared Filet Mignon (Prime, handcut) With Roasted Garlic Creamed Potatoes, Red Wine Reduction Sauce, Foie Gras Compound Butter and Poached Green Onions

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I was keen on trying the braised short ribs, but they were out by 6pm.

Banana Foster Bread Pudding served with Rum Caramel and Drunken Monkey Ice Cream - Not the best bread pudding I have had and could only eat half of it.

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Caramelized White Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cheesecake served with Hazelnut Shortbread and Butterscotch Sauce

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The service team of 2 were professionals, but service in general felt a bit rushed, probably to accomodate the line for people waiting to get a table and many others without reservations being turned away.

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The wine list was extensive, but seemed very inflated (300%-500%). They had a "special" of 3 half bottles (375ml); a sparkling, a Pinot Noir and a Borolo for $100. Since my in laws preferred a chardonnary, they were kind enough to substitute a Ramey Chard for the Barolo.

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Edited by percyn (log)
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I am a bit of a Disney fanatic ( :biggrin: ) and I remember the days when the food there was nothing to write home about. But in recent years Disney has worked hard to improve their food. I've had some good meals there -- Flying Fish is a favorite. I do like California Grill but it is a like overhyped. I like Jiko (at Animal Kingdom Lodge) and Le Cellier in Canada in Epcot.

Another good meal experiece is Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's a buffet, but the food is good. And if you ask they will give you the recipe (they email it to you.)

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  • 4 months later...

For Percyn to make the comment "This place is a bit touristy (like most places in Orlando) " is way off base. (See review two above this one). If you have never been past the tourist coridor, i.e., Disney, International Drive, and Universal, then you haven't seen 85% of Orlando. Most of it is not "touristy". Most of the people who live here avoid the tourist areas unless they work there.

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Okay, So I am externing at Disney this fall. All I know is that I will be working in a fine dining restaurant in The Contempory Resort Hotel. I know California Grill is located in there, along with the Concourse Steak House. I am not sure which of the two I will be in. I was wondering if anyone has dined at the Concourse Steak House? Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Pinky

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Okay, So I am externing at Disney this fall. All I know is that I will be working in a fine dining restaurant in The Contempory Resort Hotel. I know California Grill is located in there, along with the Concourse Steak House. I am not sure which of the two I will be in. I was wondering if anyone has dined at the Concourse Steak House? Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Pinky

Just a hunch, but I'd think that "fine dining" would mean California Grill.

Here are menus from both:

http://allearsnet.com/menu/menu_cs.htm

http://allearsnet.com/menu/menu_cg.htm

John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We will, unfortunately, be driving from Kansas to Leesburg, FL (NW of Orlando) to attend a funeral soon. It may be as soon as this weekend...or within a few weeks.

We may want to dine out a couple of times while there; I'm thinking we may want to take my sister-in-law to dinner before we leave. So we'll be looking for a "nice place", but not extremely upscale. The idea is to find a good meal. Culinary adventures will have to wait for another time. A somewhat quiet atmosphere would be ideal.

I could use some blanket recommendations as well as some specific ones. Are there areas to stay away from? Places not to be missed?

We'd be looking for a place with entrees in the $10 to $20 range. I've never been to that part of the country before, so I have no idea what that will buy.

Suggestions for a couple of lunch places wouldn't hurt a thing, either.

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I am sorry that your stay in our state is precipitated by a funeral.

Also, I'm afraid this won't be a ton of help. (Fair warning and all that. :wink: )

I felt you should know that Leesburg is about an hour outside of Orlando, assuming that the Orlando traffic's not a mess. This is not a safe assumption. I am not sure how far you guys will want to travel for eating purposes.

I have only dined in Orlando a few times, so I have no personal suggestions, but if you do venture forth, here's a link to their local indie throwaway: http://www.orlandoweekly.com/dining/ It has restaurant reviews that may be helpful.

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