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Orlando Restaurants

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Orlando Restaurants

Post  Jeff F on Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:05 am

We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  healdgator on Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:29 pm

@Jeff F wrote:We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!

Where are you staying and what is your willingness to drive?

The parks, particularly disney, are well south/southeast of the city of Orlando. I can give you some recommendations if I know your location.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Diego on Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:15 pm

I had the best Tuna ever at Gloria Estefan's restaurant, but that was a few years ago. I think it's called Bongos Cuban Cafe.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Stephanie on Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:33 pm

@healdgator wrote:
@Jeff F wrote:We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!

Where are you staying and what is your willingness to drive?

The parks, particularly disney, are well south/southeast of the city of Orlando. I can give you some recommendations if I know your location.
Oooo I'd love to hear about some recommended restaurants too... we're wanting to go out after the marathon to celebrate. We'll be in Kissimmee and will have a car so we're up for driving somewhere.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Jeff F on Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:58 pm

@healdgator wrote:
@Jeff F wrote:We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!

Where are you staying and what is your willingness to drive?

The parks, particularly disney, are well south/southeast of the city of Orlando. I can give you some recommendations if I know your location.

We are staying at Hilton Grand Vacations on International Drive. We will have a car and are willing to drive a reasonable distance but are not interested in fighting a lot of traffic.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  healdgator on Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:44 pm

@Jeff F wrote:
@healdgator wrote:
@Jeff F wrote:We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!

Where are you staying and what is your willingness to drive?

The parks, particularly disney, are well south/southeast of the city of Orlando. I can give you some recommendations if I know your location.

We are staying at Hilton Grand Vacations on International Drive. We will have a car and are willing to drive a reasonable distance but are not interested in fighting a lot of traffic.

Then stay off I-Drive. The area where you will be staying (I think that is down by Sea World) doesn't have much traffic. Get to the Convention center and north and I-Drive is a nightmare.

Unfortunately, the tourist area isn't great for local establishments, but there are some really good restaurants in the vicinity. You aren't too too far from "restaurant row" on Sand Lake Drive. A bunch of more upscale chains along there (Seasons 52, Bonefish, Morton's, Flemings, etc), but there are some non-chains along there as well. The best local casual place is Tijuana Flats. They have expanded throughout Florida and elsewhere, but it started in Orlando. There is a new location opening on Sand Lake. Toojay's is a local deli/restaurant that is very casual but with good food. Neither are destinations, but they are good laid back places. The best local places are Del Frisco's (best steakhouse in America, bar none) and 4 Rivers (Florida bbq is weak, but this guy has the best brisket I have ever had). Both are a haul from Sea World and depending on the time of day, traffic on I-4 can be awful. Later in the evening, traffic won't be an issue though. Keep in mind, you will stand in a very, very long line at 4 Rivers. It doesn't matter what time you go, it is always packed.

Closer to you, there are numerous high end (not casual) restaurants that are very highly rated. Norman's at the Ritz Carlton isn't far from you, neither is Primo which is another resort location. Some of the Disney resort restaurants are very highly rated as well, the tourist corridor attracts the big name chefs.

In college park (close to downtown) and thornton park (also close to downtown), there are a lot more local joints. I love Paxia in college park and graffiti junction has locations both places. It's popular and very casual burger joint with a great beer selection. I'm trying to think of some more casual stuff down close to where you will be staying, but that area attracts chains. A less common chain that is pretty good and down that way is Bahama Breeze. It's got solid carribean style food for a chain. Ask at your hotel about the back way so that you don't have to drive I-Drive and it wouldn't be a bad drive. Pointe Orlando isn't far for you either and it's got places like Capital Grille (good, not great), Copper Canyon (or something), Oceanaire (good) and some more casual chains. There's nothing unique about it though.

I'll try to come up with some more suggestions.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  healdgator on Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:50 pm

Stephanie O wrote:
@healdgator wrote:
@Jeff F wrote:We are going to Orlando in September for my wife's birthday. Any recommendations for good places to eat? Looking for more casual, local places with some character. Thanks!

Where are you staying and what is your willingness to drive?

The parks, particularly disney, are well south/southeast of the city of Orlando. I can give you some recommendations if I know your location.
Oooo I'd love to hear about some recommended restaurants too... we're wanting to go out after the marathon to celebrate. We'll be in Kissimmee and will have a car so we're up for driving somewhere.

Depending on how you celebrate, there is a Charley's location in Kissimmee. I've never been to that one (there are 3 in Orlando, 1 in Tampa) but I suspect it is comparable to the others. It's a relatively expensive steakhouse. I've been to the one on Orange Blossom Trail 4 times. Two times the steak was up there with the best I have had (I'm kind of hard to please on steak) and the other two times were very subpar. The atmosphere is poor for the price, but you can get a really good steak there. I'd choose Charley's over Shula's (grossly overrated), Morton's or Fleming's, but it's no Del Frisco's. If you are talking about celebrating at an expensive restaurant other than steak, and want to avoid/can't get in at one of Disney restaurants, Restaurant Row has two really highly rated places that are local. Christini's is an expensive italian joint. I know a lot of people who love it. I was underwhelmed. Chatham's is really, really expensive. The wife and I went once and spent $250, by far the most I have ever spent on a meal. Keep in mind, my wife doesn't drink and I probably had a scotch or two, so that's $250 just on food for two. It was really, really good and the service was fantastic, but I'm not paying $250 for a meal. That's 2 meals at Del Frisco's.

I don't know Kissimmee that well, but I'll ask around.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:32 am

I didn't realize there was a Seasons 52 in Orlando, but we have two in Atlanta, and this is buy far one of my favorite restaurants. Every entree is less than 450 calories and they cook without using trans fats, butter, etc. (you can read their website). The food is seasonally fresh and very good. They also were the first to come out with those mini desserts which are 150 calories - just enough to make a sweet tooth feel satisfied.

They also have an excellent wine list - so, see wine must be healthy.

www.seasons52.com
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Stephanie on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:47 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:I didn't realize there was a Seasons 52 in Orlando, but we have two in Atlanta, and this is buy far one of my favorite restaurants. Every entree is less than 450 calories and they cook without using trans fats, butter, etc. (you can read their website). The food is seasonally fresh and very good. They also were the first to come out with those mini desserts which are 150 calories - just enough to make a sweet tooth feel satisfied.

They also have an excellent wine list - so, see wine must be healthy.

www.seasons52.com
Oooo this place sounds wonderful!!! How's the price? We're not looking for a super expensive place as we'll be going with some friends and we're not too sure what they're budget is.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Jeff F on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:45 pm

Thanks, I appreciate the information! Now the tough part, actually picking a place.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:45 pm

Stephanie O wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:I didn't realize there was a Seasons 52 in Orlando, but we have two in Atlanta, and this is buy far one of my favorite restaurants. Every entree is less than 450 calories and they cook without using trans fats, butter, etc. (you can read their website). The food is seasonally fresh and very good. They also were the first to come out with those mini desserts which are 150 calories - just enough to make a sweet tooth feel satisfied.

They also have an excellent wine list - so, see wine must be healthy.

www.seasons52.com
Oooo this place sounds wonderful!!! How's the price? We're not looking for a super expensive place as we'll be going with some friends and we're not too sure what they're budget is.

Pricing is extremely reasonable - at least to me. After spending $12 for a hamburger in western NY state, anything seems reasonable though.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Stephanie on Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:48 am

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Pricing is extremely reasonable - at least to me. After spending $12 for a hamburger in western NY state, anything seems reasonable though.

Sounds great! I'll definitely have to check this place out! Thanks!
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  healdgator on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:37 pm

Seasons 52 started in Orlando, the one on Sand Lake is the original. We go there fairly regularly, but I think the quality has slipped. As for value, I think the value is lousy. We go there b/c the atmosphere is very nice and it isn't a diet buster. However, it stays under 450 calories b/c the portions are very small. That's fine, but you are still going to get whacked high end chain prices. For $60 for 2 people, I shouldn't leave hungry.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:58 pm

Wow, both of our Seasons 52 locations are well done, and I don't feel like the portions are too small at all - nor do I think I didn't get my monies worth. There are several other restaurants around here that are more than overpriced for what you get chains and non-chains alike. We have lots of excellent restaurants in Atlanta, and I would choose others for many reasons, but Seasons 52 is still an excellent option.

Maybe Orlando is such a tourist destination that they can get away with it? Both Atlanta sites are keeping with high end steakhouses and are for the business crowd.
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Re: Orlando Restaurants

Post  healdgator on Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:53 am

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Wow, both of our Seasons 52 locations are well done, and I don't feel like the portions are too small at all - nor do I think I didn't get my monies worth. There are several other restaurants around here that are more than overpriced for what you get chains and non-chains alike. We have lots of excellent restaurants in Atlanta, and I would choose others for many reasons, but Seasons 52 is still an excellent option.

Maybe Orlando is such a tourist destination that they can get away with it? Both Atlanta sites are keeping with high end steakhouses and are for the business crowd.

Seasons 52 always gets voted the best restaurant in town in the local paper's poll. Like I said, we've eaten there many times and I think the quality has slipped. It is surrounded by options (several of which are better, imo) but I think it gets by on reputation. They aren't similar restaurants, but it reminds me of cheesecake factory. The first 4 or 5 times I ate at one (different locations), I thought it was great. They have proliferated so much that the quality has gone in the tank. Seasons 52 hasn't collapsed, by any stretch, I just don't think it's as good as it used to be, and I've never found it a good value.
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