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IHMO, Best Thai in Orlando area by rank:

Soong Thai - West Colonial Drive (across from Ocoee Mall)

Napasorn - Downtown Next to PTP

Cafe Thai - Downtown on Magnolia

Still looking for decent Chinese that serves "real" fried rice and doesn't involve a chain (any suggestions out there?) on the order of Mandarin Gourmet in Cupertino or House of Nanking in SF.

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Best thai imho,

Thai House, 50

Siam Garden, WP

Ayothaya, Sand Lake

Thai Restaurant (hole in the wall, edgewater)

Good chinese- Ming Court (Idrive), Winnies (WP),

Funny, Thai House is my favorite thai (actually ate there tonight) but Siam Garden is one of my least favorite. Siam Garden is watered down, to me. It's as if they are afraid to go all the way with the flavors and spices. My wife and I are both HUGE fans of bold flavors. When we eat, we want a kick! Siam Garden left us wanting much more while Thai House always satisfies.

Ming Court is the best Dim Sum place in Orlando, in my opinion. They have a large selection and good prices.

Chinese.... hmmmm.. we usually just go to Chinatown, because it is close. So many people pick something like PF Changs, which I cannot stand. No sense in spending three times the price for the same food. Asian food, all around, is supposed to be very cheap. It makes me laugh when I see expensive a place like PF Changs packed. Just isn't worth it to me.

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Chinese.... hmmmm.. we usually just go to Chinatown, because it is close. So many people pick something like PF Changs, which I cannot stand. No sense in spending three times the price for the same food. Asian food, all around, is supposed to be very cheap. It makes me laugh when I see expensive a place like PF Changs packed. Just isn't worth it to me.

The do Pei Wei, P.F. Chang's casual/ to-go concept. Mmm... it's good stuff. Again, check out Jade Bistro. Yea, it's pricey, but some things there are worth it. Apparently the Peanut Crusted Angus Beef is awesome. (don't eat beef).

Whoever goes to Greens & Grill that just opened in the Millenia outparcel needs to let us know how it is!

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Friends on Mills, near the corner of Virginia has a great Sunday brunch. They had a buffett with bacon, ham, biscuits and gravy, seafood crepes, chicken stir fry, eggs benedict, fresh fruit, homemade pastries, cheese tray and a chocolate fountain! They also had made to order omelets, belgian waffles (which were fantastic!) and scrambled eggs. Best of all, all the mimosas you could drink. All for $14.95.

The service was very nice and attentive, keeping my glass full before it could even get half empty. All of the food was great, especially for a buffet type setting.

It's a small place inside, and very quaint. It's gay friendly, but if that's not your bag, it shouldn't really be a bother because the food and drinks are so good. With all of the other good breakfast spots in this area (Brian's, Chuck's, etc.), it's good to see another come into the mix. I'm a big fan of all of these places, so Friend's gets a thumbs up just like the rest of them.

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Anyone ever been to that restaurant in the Antique District by Lake Ivanhoe. I forget what its called but it looks really cool. Its like the Cat Cafe or something.

Hey Prague, sorry if I forgot to respond to this one... you're not talking about the White Wolf Cafe' are you? I've not been, but a friend of mine loved it there.

Also, I have a new second favorite (1st still goes to Boma) buffet. I went to the Crazy Buffet yesterday and it is surprisingly clean and well designed inside, and the food is good too! I was very surprised though I wanted to hurl after I left--- not from the food, but from too much of it.

I have also been hearing some good things coming from Saucy Bella, a new Italian eatery on the corner of OBT and Sandlake. If I get to it first, I will let you all know what I think!

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What we desperately need in the downtown area is a decent Indian restaurant. (Why are they mostly in the I-Drive area?? Like only the tourists deserve them?) I am a former food editor/dining critic and I've been to many of the best local restaurants, but when I need a fix of Indian food I swear by a take-out place called the Spice Cafe at Dr. Phillips (off of Sand Lake Road). I think they do a buffet at lunch, too. The prices are reasonable and the chicken masala and naan bread are consistently top notch from my experience on many visits.

I made a plea with the owner on one visit and he mentioned that he was interested in opening a second location at Thornton Park Central at some point, should a vacancy arise in an appropriately sized venue. He was interested in opening it more as a high end Indian restaurant. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

Another rant: Why isn't there an Ethiopian restaurant anywhere in Orlando?? Not even one? At least there wasn't one when I last checked. I would love to be wrong on this. It's not uncommon to find chic, fun, even upscale Ethiopian restaurants in places like NYC and D.C. Ethiopian cuisine is similar to Indian food in its spiciness and ingredients but it's a more hands on experience, similar to finger foods and tapas.

I'd like to second the person who mentioned the amazing falafels at Falafel Cafe (at University and Alafaya) but closer to downtown, Tony's Middle Eastern Deli does an OK job next door to the Peacock Room at Mills and Virginia.

Thai House on Colonial has a good "cashew pork" dish but a lot of my friends also love Thai Place in the K-mart plaza across from Winter Park Village. The coconut peanut curry is to die for.

I'm also a red meat junkie so I was really excited when I heard that recently closed Bacco's (am I getting that name right? The little Italian place a few doors down from Dexter's on Washington?) is going to be the new location for Fillin' Station, a dive bar on south Fern Creek that apparently will go more upscale. They've gotten the "best burgers" award in the Sentinel food awards contest year after year.

To the person who wondered where to find great fried rice: there's a little hole in the wall place on the south side of Curry Ford Road, just east of Bumby, that has lovely fried rice -- light, flavorful, packed full of shrimp/pork/assorted goodies and not the least bit greasy. I've been there many times but the name totally escapes me right now. It's the only Chinese place on that stretch of road however. Dirt cheap. You can have lunch for ahout $3. The air conditioning doesn't really work though. I'm not a sweet and sour chicken fan but I had theirs once and the sweet and sour sauce was real, live, fresh sauce made from fruit extracts, not that gloppy atomic cherry red gunk that some restaurants serve.

It's conveniently across the street from Charlie's Bakery, which has been around for some 30 or 40 years and draws customers from across Central Florida, similar to the way the Yalaha Bakery is where chefs from across Central Florida get their breads. Just try one of Charlie's simple yellow cupcakes with a cloud of whipped buttercream frosting on top, 70 cents or so, and tell me that's not the best damned cupcake you've ever eaten in your life.

In the Vimi district, the best summer rolls with peanut sauce, hands down, are at Hong's on the corner of Colonial and Mills.

Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha is the creme de la creme of gourmet delis.

I could go on and on but I have a Weight Watchers meeting to attend!

Edited by pomegranate
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Oh, and one more: I'd like to second Praha about the Fat Boys Barbecue in Kissimmee but closer to Orlando, you can have the second generation of Fat Boys at Keller's Barbecue which I believe is located in Altamonte/Longwood as well as Lake Mary. I once spoke with the guy who runs it and as I recall, he is the grandson of the man who founded Fat Boys many years ago. He's using all the same old family recipes and smoking techniques, some of which were borrowed from Miccosukee Indian traditions in the Everglades. Their baked beans are the best.

For those who are transplants or haven't lived here very long, Fat Boys was at one time the dominant chain of barbecue restaurants in Florida. When I grew up in the '60s I'm sure there was one in just about every town. I don't know why they fell to the wayside because the smell of that smoked meat -- which usually wafted a good half mile down wind from the restaurant -- was absolutely hypnotic and mouth watering. It was like a siren call every time you drove past one of those restaurants.

Now this is making me want to make the drive to Kissimmee or Lake Mary!

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I mentioned Saucy Bella in an earlier post--- went there today, great place!

The owners are very friendly and passionate about their product. They have a variety of different sauces that you can choose for your pasta. Definitely try the Ca... forgot how to spell it, I'll get back to you on that if anyone wants to know. Great sandwich (Tickled Pink). Check them out! I cannot wait to go back. They also have daily specials, like BoGo pizza on Wednesday nights.

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Mellow Mushroom is all I can say. I went there last night and has some awesome pizza! My friend and I went there a little doubtful of what we'd find inside, but the pizza was incredible. Not "NY" pizza, but so good. The crust is made with spring water and for some reason it makes the recipe really good. Definitely try the BBQ chicken pizza. They also have a variety of toppings for you to create your own. I cannot wait to return and try some other things out.

They are located on Aloma not too far from Habana Grille.

Edited by WeNeed2Progress
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Not a big fan of Mellow Mushroom's pizzas (I was just there Tuesday), but I do love their sandwiches and salads. The best part of the place, IMO, is the very good (and nicely-priced) beer selection, as well as the weekend drink specials. They're a chain (I always visit the one in DT Augusta when I'm visiting my parents), but they really cater to the local community when it comes to beer and wine selection.

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Word on the street is that the Sanctuary is going to have TWO nicer-ish restaurants. I know one is from New Orleans (they are basically relocating after their place was destroyed) and the other I can't remember, though I vaguely remember it being higher end and seem to recall it was a seafood place (kind of fuzzy - I was partying that night).... :sick: Don't quote me on the 2nd one, okay! :P

This will be great for the TP area!

PS - move-ins have started in the Sanctuary already. Retail/dining expected to be complete in two - three months.

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