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Orlando Restaurants & Bars

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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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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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I have to agree with Wide that SushiMan is the BEST! It's hard to find, but SO worth it.

You'll want to get there around 11:30 or after 2:00 PM though, it's not very big and is packed during these hours.

Wide, have you visited Luma (on Park Ave in Winter Park)? It's new, but very, very good! From what I can gather, I think you'd like it.

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I have to agree with Wide that SushiMan is the BEST! It's hard to find, but SO worth it.

You'll want to get there around 11:30 or after 2:00 PM though, it's not very big and is packed during these hours.

Wide, have you visited Luma (on Park Ave in Winter Park)? It's new, but very, very good! From what I can gather, I think you'd like it.

I third the notion on Sushiman... they are great. Not trendy, just pure good sushi. They've been open for years!

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Food that could fuel College Park property values

Adair's says its food is Southern-inspired. Take away the 'Southern,' and the assertion is dead on.

Scott Joseph | Sentinel Restaurant Critic

Posted February 19, 2006

College Park hasn't exactly been in need of urban renewal. This neighborhood northwest of downtown Orlando is one of the most desirable places to live, and houses tend to range somewhere between expensive and "they want how much for that little shack?

Orlando Sentinel link

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^ I recently tried it....was so-so. Nothing spectacular, imho. I was expecting something with a bit more southern flair. The restaurant, however, was beautiful inside. Also finally tried Norman's at the Ritz. Excellent.

http://www.lumaonpark.com is also one of my new favorites.

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^ I recently tried it....was so-so. Nothing spectacular, imho. I was expecting something with a bit more southern flair. The restaurant, however, was beautiful inside.

Interesting... I made it to Adair's soft-opening/trial run (friends with one of the chefs), and was completely blown away by the food. I really thought it compared very well to some of the more upscale restaurants in Charleston. They had a very long delay before opening due to permitting problems (because of parking), so there was some decent staff turnover since I ate there, but I would only imagine that the food and service has gotten better now that they've been open for a while.

There's a lot of pecans and southern veggies woven into the dishes, and the she-crab soup is phenomenal. Also the steak was one of the best I've ever eaten...

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There's a lot of pecans and southern veggies woven into the dishes, and the she-crab soup is phenomenal. Also the steak was one of the best I've ever eaten...

Funny, because that's what I had. BTW, speaking of steaks, The Capital Grille opens next month. YUM.

Edited by tm68

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I just noticed a sign in the window of the soon-to-be developed retail area of The Sanctuary advertising what seems to be a "hip" lounge:

http://www.thortonparknightlife.com/

Now if we can get a full fledged restaraunt to complement this in there we'll be all set at this corner!

There was talk of a New Orleans based restaurant opening up in the Sanctuary. Haven't heard anything about that in months.

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There was talk of a New Orleans based restaurant opening up in the Sanctuary. Haven't heard anything about that in months.

Actually, last I heard it is a Tunisian restaurant relocating from New Orleans

Edited by WeNeed2Progress

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Actually, last I heard it is a Tunisian restaurant relocating from New Orleans

I think I was the one who "started" the talk of the NOLA restaurant... A realtor selling the sanctuary told me this when I was talking to her a while ago...

I hope it materializes. We need more places to eat downtown!

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Is it just me, or is $150 per head at the chef's table at Victoria & Albert's an unreasonable expense ($200 if you drink wine)?

you must have never had dinner there.....it is worth every penny

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you must have never had dinner there.....it is worth every penny

I don't know... I've got a buddy who does this a few times a year and says its worth every cent. I just don't see spending that kind of $$$ on food and wine-- not that I haven't done that before. How much better than Norman's and Morton's and Emiril's and former Arthur's and Ruth's and Fleming's and Emmanuel's can this place be?

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The "South Eola District"

So THornton Park is bounded by Central to the south?

South Eola is West of Thorton Park. Thorton Park is bounded by Summerlin on the West.

orlando-neighborhoods.gif

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Just to let you all know, the City Market Cafe restaurant (former Eola Yacht Club) opened today. They are opened from 7am to 10pm weekdays and to 11pm weekends. You can order breakfast all day!

I ate there for lunch today, and while the scenery/environment is obviously awesome, the price is kinda high and food is so so. It basically a burger/sandwich place. While I am not too excited about the lunch food, I hope it is successful.

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it sucks this is not going to be open 24 hours...that was the first plan when they were just talking about opening.

I totally agree. I work out in Celebration and have essentially been living at the Market Street Cafe (formally Max's Cafe) during lunch time for the past 5 years. I tried pushing the 24hrs on them for the downtown Cafe for the past few months. You're right though, they originally talked about going 24hrs initially but scaled it back. We can only hope they will extend the hours as time goes on. It should at least be 24hr on the weekends!!

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