Good places to eat in Kissimmee and Casselberry?
It looks like I'll be leaving Miami in about a month, to accept a job in Kissimmee and move in with a buddy in Casselberry (in the northern part of Orlando). I know he goes out to eat at a lot of chain restaurants and Chinese buffets, but what are some Chowhound-approved places in the Kissimmee and Casselberry areas? Local is nice, cheap is even better, and places that are open late might end up being life-savers for me. Big portions are just a bonus! Basically, I'll be a young professional in my first "real job," but trying to live on a college student's budget.
I'm the kind of guy who loves good deli sandwiches, NY-style pizza, subs, burgers, and barbecue. All-you-can-eat buffet options will be welcome, particularly Thai or Indian so I can try new things. I cook Italian pretty well, so that's probably my least concern, but it would be nice to know about a Greek place, affordable-but-good sushi, Cuban food for this soon-to-be-transplanted Miami boy, nice Mexican cuisine that isn't necessarily a chain, and so on. Any advice will be much appreciated! I enjoy cooking for myself and even grocery shopping, but I crave options and variety.
(Also, for anyone who knows those two areas, what kind of commute will I be looking at?)
I've been here for almost a year (from NYC) in the Winter Springs/Casselberry area. Here are some of the places I've found so far:
There is a good Indian restaurant called Clay Oven on the east side of 17-92 just south of the 434. I have never been to their lunch buffet, but I'm sure it's a good "reasonable" offering.
There is another Indian place (mainly south indian) nearby on the south side of 434 just west of 17-92. It's actually an Indian supermarket, but they have a little sit-down area set up for dosas & iddly(?) prepared fresh in front of you.
I found a persian kebab shop at the intersection of 436 and 426 (Semoran and Aloma) that makes excellent kebabs and gyros. The place doesn't look like much, but the food is well worth it. They do mostly take-out.
There is another middle eastern restaurant called Ali Baba's somewhere on 434. I've never been there; been meaning to go. It's the biggest one in this part of Orlando. They have a website as well.
There are a number of Thai restaurants. I've been to one on 426 (Aloma) somewhere near 551/Goldenrod. I liked it very much, but recently I've been going to "thai house" on E Colonial (SR 50) downtown near where I work.
The downtown area on E Colonial/50 also has a lot of vietnamese restaurants - it's called "Little Saigon". I'm not too familiar with vietnamese food, although I've eaten it in NY and Paris, but what I had here wasn't the same. I guess I should give it another shot: there are many to try here for such a small city.
There is a Korean restaurant I like downtown on E colonial near Bumby. Nice lunch portions ;-).
It's called Shin Jung. They have table-top barbecues that looks like fun. I need to go there with friends when I have more time. Speaking of which, I saw a sign for Mongolian Barbecue on a side street off of E Colonial. It needs to be explored.
As for NY Pizza, there is Li'l Anthony's(?) on Red Bug Lake Road at Dodd Road. It's pretty good, most of the time.
One place I liked was Casey's Grill on Tuskawilla just north of Red Bug. It's independent-run american fare.
Avoid Gator's Dockside. They have crazy wing pecials, but the quality is to gag for.
At the Oviedo Marketp[lace there's a place called "Elbow South" (or something like that). Nice outdoor seating/bar area. My first time, I decided to get something they probably did well: wings, what else? They were served to me practically raw. No exaggeration. Total dud this place, although i did see people were very into the deep-fried stuffed mushrooms. Unfortunately, i won't give thema second chance, it was that bad. There's another place next door, a caribbean themed burger-joint/bar. No complaints about the food.
People talk about the rib shack (or rib ranch?)in sanford. I went there and they were closed. I don't know if it was permanent or just temporary due to the hurricanes. their sign was also broken, which doesn't help.
There is a an English pub-style place on the north side of the 436 just west of the I-4. I hear they have excellent fish & chips. Haven't been there yet.
I have been to "The Fiddler's Green" on 426/Aloma (?) in winter park. A very authentic irish pub with excellent food (as far as I have been able to tell, so far). I think it draws people from all over, but also seems to have a steady local crowd. I highly recommend this place.
I saw a mexican restaurant/eatery on Goldenrod just north of Colonial/ E 50. It looks like it caters to mexicans/mexican tastes, so it has got to be authentic, I'm sure. It looks good and definitely priced right as well. I haven't eaten there yet - working on it.
I'm still searching in this land of chains and fast-food.
By the way, isn't casselberry-kissimmee too long of a commute?
Check out the Orlando Sentinel website for their restaurant reviews--I live in the northern part of Orlando so I'm not much help in Kissimmee, but I do know the newspaper has some great reviews and archives you can search through--many locally owned, inexpensive places too. Their chowhound seems to know their stuff.
Good luck with the commute--Orlando traffic is treacherous! Hopefully you work during the "off" hours!
Fuji Sushi on Lee Road is reasonably priced and serves excellent food. The Kimchi roll is less than $3.00! Alex's Cuban Cafe on 17-92 is owned and operated by a young man whose grandfather has had Cuban restaurants in town for more than 25 years(Rolando's and Numero Uno.) It is reasonably priced and serves huge portions.