Greetings, Chowhounders. My upcoming assignment is to
check out the restaurants of Disney World. HEELLLP!
Seriously, any suggestions about where to eat at Disney
World and in the Orlando area? I'm particularly
interested in places off the Mouse trail, though any
comments on actual Disney-sanctioned places will be
much appreciated. Many thanks.
Within Disney, I like O'Hana in the Polynesian best. It's a no-menu, fixed price meats-on-skewers-over-the-fire place with interesting side items. Costs about $20, and has a great view of the fireworks. House of Blues in Downtown Disney is OK, Wildhorse Saloon pretty good. Off property but nearby, you're swamped with chains and no-name feedbag places that embarrass all of us who live here permanently. On International Drive, I like all the restaurants in the Peabody (Capriccio for Italian, Dux for four diamond fancy, and B-Line Diner for informal but still interesting.) Jack's Place on I-Drive has good steaks, as does Vito's Chop House (so I hear.) Atlantis and Haifeng at Sea World are OK, I hear. Pebbles is a nearby favorite (local chain.) California Grill and Arthur's 27 have a good reputation on the high-end front, as does Victoria and Albert's in the Grand Floridian (just got a five-diamond award from Mobil.) Universal has some new ones, like Emeril's and a couple of places in the Portofino Bay hotel. Lots of folks like Rainforest Cafe, although the locals can't figure out why. For a fun evening, MurderWatch Mystery Theatre in the Grosvenor is decent a buffet and murder mystery. I'm sure I could think of several others, but basically there's a lot of disappointment (and not a lot of us locals) lurking in the restaurants in and around The Mouse. After all, LOOK at you tourists! (just kidding.)
In October 1998 while trapped for 4 days at the Swan Hotel in Disneyworld, we uncovered Tarantino's Italian Restaurant, in Orlando. OK/Good Queens style Italian food--which for Orlando means exceptional. The owners (like myself) went to Martin Van Buren H.S in Queens Village. The place is small, maybe 60 seats, so in season you should call for a reservation.
I had a very memorable meal in Orlando three yrs ago
downtown. I can't remember the name of it. But like Jim
said about the Winter Park bank place (was it 'Park
Place' or 'Park Avenue', Jim? I had a wonderful meal 10
yrs ago in WP at a "Park xxx".) from this description
you should have no problem finding it:
It's in downtown Orlando in the business district, in a
skyscraper, top floor. The name of the place is the
street number...486...123?! Very upscale, AWESOME food!
And the decor is most unusual. All the tables I saw
were along the windows in cozy upholstered booths that
fit 2 (or 4 at the curved ends) sitting side-by-side
and directly facing out the windows. Feels like you're
in your own cozy capsule.
Menu printed daily, and suggests wines with each
course. Fabulous food/wine-- from bread through
Service was wonderful. The way the seating is arranged
you only see the wait staff when they come to your
Hope this place is still there!
Lets face it, most of the the food at Epcot and Disney
World is pretty institutional. Since I was lucky enough
to stay at the Grand Floridian, I ate at Narcoossee's
which is on a pier that juts out on the lagoon facing
The Magic Kingdom. The view of the Electric Parade at
night is spectacular and the food was the best I had on
our trip. A decent raw bar and grilled alligator (
tastes like chicken) did me just fine.
Welcome to Chowhound, Regards, JK
Forgot one more.
Bacco -- 10065 University Blvd. Ph: 407-678-8833
It's a little bit of a drive from Disney; I think it's
northeast of downtown Orlando. It's located in a
small strip mall. Food was unexpectedly good.
Restaurant is a member of GRI (if it means anything to
you). Call for directions if you want to make the
That was quite a list Jim gave.
Portobello Yacht Club at Pleasure Island is quite
good, as Jim mentioned. Check ahead to see if it is
open -- it might be closed for renovation.
Next door to Portobello is its sister restaurant
Fulton Crab House. The chef Clair Epting does a
really good job. It's one of the better places to eat
in Disney World.
Also check out Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge.
Believe it or not, it serves Pacific North Western
food. I had a very nice meal there 2 years ago. It
also has some very good wines from the North West.
If possible, avoid Ohana (if it is still in existence)
at the Polynesian Resort. I had some very despicable
food there. And the staff keeps calling you "cousin"
which is what Ohana, loose translated, means. That
annoyed me to no end. Everything was grilled to death
and plain awful (just like Riodizio on Astor Place
Bergamo's (outside Disney World, on International
Drive, I think) has been thru a few chefs, and word is
that you should not waste your time.
A friend of mine raved about Dux, at the Peabody
Orlando on International Drive.
Have fun. Can't wait to read that article in the
Wow...shedding your careful cyberanonymity for the first time, and right here on Chowhound.com; I'm flattered! I hope--now that the secret's out--that you'll also participate a bit in discussion here (when not busy meeting deadlines) as well as query for article tips.
Many years ago, the Guinness in the Ireland pavilion at Epcot was absolutely primo. Not sure if that's still the case. That's it for me, the following are tips of varying staleness that I've gotten from different sources on the 'net over the years. Haven't personally tried any of 'em, so caveat eater:
Akabar Palace located at 4985 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hgwy. in Kissimme phone 396-4836
SeaFood and Steak:
Captain Nemo's - 5469 W. Hgwy 192 in Kissimmee, phone 396-6911
Key W. Kool's - 7725 W. Hgwy 192 , Kissimmee, phone 396-1166
Market Street - 4738 W. Hgwy 192, Kissimmee, phone 397-2300
Charlie's Steak House - 8255 International Dr, Orlando, phone 363-0228
The Butcher Shop - Located in Mercado at 8445 International Dr. Orlando, phone 363-9727
Magic Mining Co. - 7763 W. Hgwy 192 - Kissimmee, phone 396-8986
Pacino's - 5795 W. Hgwy 192, Kissimmee, phone 396-8022
Bergamo's - Located in Mercado at 8445 International Dr, Orlando phone 352-3805
Donato's - 5159 International Dr, Orlando, phone 363-5959
Shogun - 6327 International Dr, Orlando phone 352-1607
Kobe - 2901 Parkway Blvd. Kissimme - phone 239-7188
Twin Dragons - 4002 Hgwy 192 - Kissimmee - phone 846-6161
Ming Court - 9188 International Dr. Orlando phone 382-1355
A little family Italian place across from the Sheraton, off Int Drive: Ciao Italia. 6149 Westwood blvd, Orlando (407 354 0770). Wonderful family...great pasta, veal, chicken and fish. The Calamari Saute for starters is a killer.
Florida Bay Grill - on Int'l Drive
Enzo's - In the Marketplace shopping center on Dr. Phillips
Cappricio in the Peabody Hotel - hit or miss depending on the day (a fun place at the Peabody is the diner for lunch)
Chatham's - across from the Marketplace
Le Coq au Vin - S. Orange Ave.
Phonecian - in the Marketplace also (Mediterranean)
Ran Getsu - on Int Dr. (Japanese - a little touristy, but pretty good sushi)
There's actually a better sushi restaurant that I can't remember the name of in a small shopping center off Turkey Lake Rd & Sand Lake Rd.
Pebbles - two locations one in Lake Buena Vista, the other Downtown.
Believe it or not the Italian resturant at Pleasure Island is pretty good! I think its called Portobella's. It gets really (!) crowded fast, so be patient
There's some good spots in Winter Park if you feel like driving that far.There's a wonderful restaturant downtown, unfortunately I can't remember the name of it, but I'm sure if you describe it, your front desk would know. Its in a bank building, about 8-10 block away from Church St. Station and it has an outside patio in addition to a full restaurant inside. I can't remember the name of the street the entrance is on but the side street is Orange Ave. I think its off the anderson. exit off I-4. The building has interesting architecture, it's kind of tiered. At night you can't miss it. Its worth it.
re: Jim Leff
re: Dave Feldman
Dave, I KNEW I should've emailed the list to Eric rather than post it...those places are just fodder--raw material that's unfiltered and suitable only for someone compiling lots of info for methodical research. It's not ready for prime time, and to count on one of those places for a good meal during a limited trip might be a mistake.
Better, wait till the Times runs his article (probably before April, I'd imagine)
re: Jim Leff
Thank you all for those tips! Jim, I'm not sure I have
the time or the stomach to go through ALL those places,
but I do appreciate the effort, and will do as well as
I can. I'm not even going down until the second week of
March, but as it happens I'm compelled to go the week
of spring break! So I figure I better plan now.
re: Jim Leff
re: Jim Leff