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A new minute in Orlando City website about a new artsy cafe here is the detail

Arts and Culture Assistance Application and Agreement for Dandelion's "Communitea" Cafe. Approved the Application and Agreement for Dandelion's "Communitea" Cafe, and authorized execution of same by the Mayor/Mayor Pro Tem and City Clerk, subject to review and approval by the Office of Legal Affairs. Dandelion's "Communitea" Cafe is an upscale urban cafe specializing in herbal teas and organic foods. The business will be located at 618 North Thornton Avenue. Upon initial start-up, the Dandelion's Communitea Cafe will employ three employees at an average wage of $30,000.00. Over the next year, the business will create a minimum of ten full and part-time positions. The Arts and Culture Assistance Program was designed to encourage arts and culture-related businesses and organizations to locate, expand, or redevelop in the Traditional City of Orlando. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit or for-profit arts and culture-related organizations, or a business/organization incorporating an arts component (i.e. an art gallery within an establishment). Dandelions "Communitea" Cafe has applied for assistance via the City of Orlando's Arts and Culture Assistance Program. Dandelions "Communitea" Cafe will showcase the works of local artists and musicians. Artists will be present at showings and participate in forums and other scheduled activities. Because Dandelions "Communitea" Cafe is incorporating an arts component into its business plan, the City will utilize its Arts and Culture Program to offset eligible Transportation Impact Fees and Sewer Benefit Fees. Eligible Transportation Impact Fees for Dandelions "Communitea" Cafe total $8,399.00. Eligible Sewer Benefit Fees for the business total $4,872.00. The Arts and Culture Assistance Program pays 50% of eligible fees up to $20,000.00. Based on this calculation, the Arts and Culture Assistance Program will assist with Transportation Impact Fees in the amount of $4,199.00, and Sewer Benefit Fees in the amount of $2,436.00. The total incentive offered is $6,635.00 , filed and documentary #051026B12;

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  • 2 weeks later...

The most authentic Japanese I have had here in Orlando, and the best sushi that I have had since Japan has been at Sushi Tomi on Sand lake and John Young by the Staples. That california roll garbage is not sushi!!!

Agreed... Sushi Tomi was recommended to me by Japanese friends and is excellent. I do like Ichiban however, so if you're downtown give it a try.

Also, like Sunshine says, Cafe' TuTu Tango serves their food tapas style, so it is meant to be shared. Their gator tail is recommended as is the hummus. It's definitely a fun place to visit with friends from out of town. It too is a chain, but at least an uncommon one with nightly entertainment and a unique martini and beer list. If you're in the I-Drive area, and want some good coffee, across from Cafe' TuTu Tango is Bad Ass Coffee Co. serving authentic Kona coffee beverages accompanied by an uber friendly staff.

Edited by WeNeed2Progress
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... minute in Orlando City website about a new artsy cafe here is the detail

Arts and Culture Assistance Application and Agreement for Dandelion's "Communitea" Cafe. Approved the Application and Agreement for Dandelion's "Communitea" Cafe, and authorized execution of same by the Mayor/Mayor Pro Tem and City Clerk, subject to review and approval by the Office of Legal Affairs...

Thanks for this posting, Sunshine... this place reminds me of Moby's tea house 'Teany'. I hope this proves to be an awesome place to hang out!

[is scouring apartment for furniture and dishes to donate to Dandelion]

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I went to a "tea tasting" there last weekend. They were getting people to come in and try out some of their teas, give some feedback, etc.

Good stuff. I hope they are able to make a go of it.

I'm not a huge tea person, but I enjoy a cup now and then. Tatame in Winter Park makes some killer jasmine tea, and the food's not too shabby either.

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Has anyone tried the Fondue restaurant on Sand Lake Rd? I think it is called The Melting Pot or something like that. It may be a chain, but if so one I have not seen elsewhere. I am also curious about the Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I am headed down there in a few weeks to visit a friend, who in his 12 years down there has almost never gone out to eat anywhere outside of the parks. So I want to find something that is a bit unusual, maybe a bit hip, but not so ethnic he won't find something to eat. And something not Italian.

Is Ichiban only sushi, or Japanese?

I haven't tried out the Sand Lake location, but I have been to the one in Greenville, SC while visiting some friends. I was fairly impressed although I would like to find a fondue place that isn't a chain so I can make an educated comparison. The atmosphere was nice and I left pretty full. A dinner for two without drinks will run you about 45 to 55 bucks plus tip and if I remember correctly I think they offered a four course meal for two for around 75 bucks. I've thought about trying one out down hear, but just haven't made the time.

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Has anyone tried the Fondue restaurant on Sand Lake Rd? I think it is called The Melting Pot or something like that. It may be a chain, but if so one I have not seen elsewhere. I am also curious about the Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I am headed down there in a few weeks to visit a friend, who in his 12 years down there has almost never gone out to eat anywhere outside of the parks. So I want to find something that is a bit unusual, maybe a bit hip, but not so ethnic he won't find something to eat. And something not Italian.

Is Ichiban only sushi, or Japanese?

There's a The Melting Pot in Dallas and it's also a fondue place. No idea if it's a chain. I've never been able to make myself eat there, it seems like just fondue wouldn't be too satisfying.

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Should have guessed. Everything in Orlando seems to be part of some chain.

Quick off topic ? - are there any cafes or decent fast food places (like Panera) that offer free wireless? I looked on Panera's Website, but none of them seemed to have Wireless down there.

All the local Panera's offer free wireless. For some reason, their website just doesn't indicate it.

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Should have guessed. Everything in Orlando seems to be part of some chain.

Quick off topic ? - are there any cafes or decent fast food places (like Panera) that offer free wireless? I looked on Panera's Website, but none of them seemed to have Wireless down there.

Moe's Southwest Grill has wi-fi, so perhaps Mama Fu's Noodle House and WOW Cafe' also have wi-fi. I would also find out whether or not Testa Rossa or Saucy Bella also have wi-fi. Hope this helps.

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Should have guessed. Everything in Orlando seems to be part of some chain.

Quick off topic ? - are there any cafes or decent fast food places (like Panera) that offer free wireless? I looked on Panera's Website, but none of them seemed to have Wireless down there.

I drove by Urban Think yesterday and saw a sign out front that mentioned free WiFi. I know it's not a restaurant, but they do have coffee and wine.

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Thanks - this is great!

I am not from down there, just visitng a friend. But I want to try something a little bit, well, different. What is Mama Fu's and Testa Rosa?

Mama Fu's Noodle House is operated by the same creators of Moe's Southwest Grill and features pan-Asian cuisine in an upbeat atmosphere. Testa Rossa is the first in the US of a European chain and is excellent! They feature their own brand of espresso (that meets my approval), sandwiches, salads, desserts, and a full wine list. Think of it as a more upscale version of Panera.

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It appears as if I got the name of the new coffee shop opening on Robinson wrong, it's not Java Java coffee shop but "Lava Java Coffee Shop" (or the other way around). Visible work is finally being done on the inside.

As for Greens & Grille in the Shoppes at Millenia; I went there... it's okay. The menu is confusingly laid out. I wound up ordering more than what was considered an entree or something and resulted in it being an expensive lunch for what it was. The food is okay, nothing spectacular, but the price and seemingly deceptive menu left a bad taste. Most of the staff was pretty nice though. The tomato bisque... leave it, it's too watery.

They do have free wi-fi. At some point I will return to see if they worked the kinks out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

-Italian I liked Babbo in College Park- they have the best bread and it's nice to sit out on the porch and eat

-White Wolf is good- I was there for lunch and had the pizza- a bit pricey though

-Mexican- there are no good mex restatuants, I used to live in arizona and nothing here comes close

-Pizza and beer- Mellow Muchroom is good, but their beer is the reason to go, same with Jax's in College park, good beer- food is so-so

-Chinese- PeiWei is good and fast, Jade Bistro has great Sushi

what's the best seafood out there? everytime I go somewhere I'm disappointed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot on what thread someone aksed if anyone had been to 'Kres' before. I've never been, but do a goole search for "gastrointestinal dysentery" to find out what google thinks of the place! :blink:

Anyway, when you're out and about checking on the progress of the Plaza and Solaire, stop by the corner of Pine and Magnolia to Nature Coffee & Tea. This store from just outside UCF has opened a second location here in the UCF DMAC. You can see a documentary on some evening, check out some art and hopefully soon enjoy hookah similarly to the mother location. I wish them all the best and their pastries (from Chefs du France and Anaelle & Hugo fame) are amazing. I hope they bring some alternative culture to downtown because they lack the certin "je nais se quois" that the former tennant, Gwenivere's lacked.

Cheers!

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  • 1 month later...

I dine out EVERY other day. I consider myself a major foodie and I have spent almost $25k on dining out last year. Currently, I reside in Orlando and have been here for 4 years.

Let me start by saying: Orlando Cuisine in general is HORRIBLE. It is nowhere near as diverse as other cities I've live in. Way too many cookie cutter establishments, chains , and franchises who serve identical cuisine.

BUT. I have found some bright spots.

Recommendations:

-Chinese AND Sushi

Jade Bistro in College Park on Edgewater Dr

This place was mentioned a few times by some of you already..and I must agree this is a "must try" in Orlando. Jade is really sort of an anomoly in Orlando. Most asian restaurants who try to do both Chinese Cuisine and Sushi fail miserably at it but Jade Bistro truly stands out. Their sushi is not as flashy or inventive as some others, but the owners actually care about what they serve and they spend a few extra bucks to offer not only some of the freshest sushi in town, but they splurge on a higher GRADE of fish as well (You didn't know there were different grades of sushi fish did you?). Jade is one of only a handful of places I will ever eat raw sushi in Orlando. And lastly, the level of hospitality-- Nearly every single time I walk in Jade, the door is held open for me and I am welcomed with a smile--and every time I leave, I am also graciously thanked for my business. Obviously you can't eat hospitality, but that extra perk makes you feel that they are also trying to impress you in the kitchen as well. Do not go on friday nights, they are packed. Sunday and the other weeknights are a good bet. Try the Tuna tataki, honey garlic chicken (make sure to request XTRA garlic), and Jade's Perfect Match. Their tom yum soup is better than most thai restaurants in the area also.

-Italian

Babbos Italian in College Park Edgewater Dr

Very eclectic. Very Italian. So Italian that even the servers and host exude that Italian attitude which might come off as rude if you are not careful to notice it. You feel like you are dining at a friend's house rather than a restaurant. The portions are generous and everything has a homemade feel to it. The appetizers are excellent. They have a beef carpaccio that is to die for. Honestly, if you are thinking of dining here, skip your lunch that day. (You know they are italian since they have a picture of a red Ferrari hanging in their bar area.)

-Sushi

Sushiman in Dr Phillips off of sand lake

Chances are you never heard of this place. You cannot see this restaurant while driving down the road. You cannot even see this restaurant when you are parked. You must walk down a hallway in order to spot the entrance and restaurant sign. But once you get there, it is usually packed with locals who reside in Dr Phillips. Their sushi is high quality and the owner who is also the sushi chef insists on preparing every sushi order himself. Their beef tataki appetizer is reason for visiting this place alone. And their california roll--even though some do not consider that true sushi, they will prove to you that not all cali rolls are the same. Be prepared to wait for a table though. They only have a handful of seating as the dining area is quite small. The last half a dozen time I went, the place was full to the brim. Their servers seem to be all young college students so try not to penalize them on service alone. The food more than makes up for it. Udon noodle soup, mussle appetizer in ponzu sauce, and age dashi tofu is also worth trying as well.

-Korean

Shin Jung in downtown on Colonial Dr

Outside looks horrible. the decor is gaudy and sticky. There is a huge billboard where birds hang out to poop on your car in the parking lot. The servers speak horrible english and the dining room is always packed and stuffy. Why am I recommending this place?

This is the best place in town where you can pretend you are in your backyard bbq'ing without actually cleaning/scrubbing the grill, buying lighter fluid, or being bitten by mosquitos. There is a bbq grill in the middle of the table and you end up satisfying your inner caveman's need to char some delicious korean/soy marinated meat. Skip the apettizers as they give you about half a dozen complimentay "tapas" style korean dishes to try. Order the "kal bi" (korean short ribs), "bul go gi" (beef), and pork "bul go gi" (pork). If you like grilling, you will absolutely be satisfied here.

-Steak

Houston's of Winter Park

This is the only chain on my list of reccomendations. the decor is classic contemporary, the tables appear to resemble a wooden butcher block symbolizing what is to come on your plate, the view of the lake during dusk is fantastic, and the servers seem to be better trained here than most other chain restaurants. Just like I said before, you cannot eat their hospitality--but it sure does help to know they appreciate you being there. You must try the hawaiin glazed steak? (I think that is the name?)...the marinated peace of dead cow is absolutely amazing (substitute the side of veggies for some beefsteak tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and dressed with basil). And you also cannot go wrong with their shrimp cocktail--they are super fresh and the size of two of my thumbs which are way way up.

-Thai

Thai House in downtown on Colonial Dr

This place is so consistent. I've gone here numerous times throughout my years in Orlando and regardless of going there on a weeknight or a weekend night, or winter, or summer, or when it rains, or when it is hot, the food tastes exactly the same way--excellent. The papaya salad is prepared the same as if your mother is a thai female raised in a thai village. The heat level is painfully hot in the salad and you shouldn't have it any other way. Their satay is pretty good and their pad thai and curry dishes are better than most, but I really just go here for the excellent papaya salad and a tall glass of thai iced tea. For as long as I can remember, I don't think I've ever had a bad meal here before.

If you try my recommendations, you will have an excellent meal in Orlando 9 out of every 10 times.

:D

If I were to dine at one of these places today, where should I dine?

hmmm..tough one there. But I would have to say it would be a toss up between Jade Bistro and Houston's for me tonight. :)

Edited by wide
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-Sushi

-Korean

Skip the apettizers as they give you about half a dozen complimentay "tapas" style korean dishes to try. Order the "kal bi" (korean short ribs), "bul go gi" (beef), and pork "bul go gi" (pork). If you like grilling, you will absolutely be satisfied here.

For Sushi and general good Japanese, try Ran Getsu on I-Drive. It's a pain getting through the tourist traffic, but you will get authentic Japanese. I'm sure someone out there will try to argue this with me, but hey, I'm Japanese and I know since that's mostly what I ate growing up.

As far as Korean, I've heard the same thing about that place. There is also a place on 50 at the corner of Highland that's good. The decor leaves much to be desired, but the food is good. Again, an authentic Korean BBQ. Bulgogi means barbecue to Koreans. The free apps that they serve is usually different types of kimchi, which is pickled/fermented veggies, usually cabbage.

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Thank you for adding to this thread Wide! Welcome.

I don't know if I did it already in this thread, but I second the recommendation for Thai House. My wife and I eat there almost once a week. We have tried almost every other Thai place we can think of in Orlando and Thai House beats them all, every time we are there. The service always seems attentive, but they are very attentive to us because we go there so often, order take out from them often and they know us from being regulars. The curry dishes are always top notch. Not too sweet, not too much curry and certainly not watered down like many Thai places in Orlando. The fish is always fresh, from my experiences, which is good. Fish at Asian restaurants scares me sometimes.

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