- Dave Feldman
Back from Orlando and managed to spend almost a week there and survived.
As expected, Orlando isn't exactly a food nirvana, but it also wasn't a disaster.
By far our best meal was at Chatham's a terrific and quiet restaurant on Dr. Phillips Rd. that specializes in seafood and has a slight Italian tilt. Especially wonderful were the shrimp and grouper preparations. Also prevalent was an Orlandoesque tendency -- toward spiciness even in dishes not usually spicy. Not cheap, I'm afraid. Approximately $50 per person for a full meal with one glass of wine.
Le Coq Au Vin is a strange country-French/Cajun combination, generally considered to be the best bistro in Orlando. It was wildly inconsistent, with a fantastic Alsatian onion tart appetizer, a horrifically sweet raspberry souffle (but the chocolate one was fine), and entrees that veered between acceptable and good.
Siam Orchid is the premier Thai restaurant in the city, but the tendency toward sweetness ruined many of the dishes. Still, the pla lad prik was terrific and the service couldn't have been nicer.
Pebbles is a couple of steps up from a Chili's, and twice they did a fabulous job serving large parties. A wide menu that sounds, perhaps, a little bit better than it eats. Still, non-Chowhounds will tend to like this faux-California cuisine joint. No reservations.
Barney's, the local espresso chain, serves a decent cup of espresso, although the combination of fake coffee drinks and flavored beans is truly scary.
The Outback (not to be confused with the Outback Steakhouse) in the Buena Vista Palace Hotel was, let us be charitable, not worth an E coupon.
Didn't get a chance to go to Bacco, Gary, my one regret.