Awesome lunch spots in downtown Orlando and Dr. Phillips area?
Well, I have a new job AND a new internship, so I find myself driving around Orlando a lot, making several stops throughout the course of the day. This makes it difficult to pack a lunch, since I rarely know where I'll be, or for how long, and I don't like the idea of carrying around unrefrigerated perishables for too long (especially when I don't have a central base of operations). Therefore, I'll be eating lunch in downtown Orlando every so often, and I'm looking for some new options -- preferably cheap.
I've been to several Tijuana Flats locations, so I don't feel the need to hit the one near the downtown library. I finally tried its next door neighbor Crooked Bayou the other day. It was good (it's hard to get a fried oyster po'boy that ISN'T good), but not as good as Jockamo's on John Young and Sand Lake, which I was introduced to through this board. Today a co-worker forced us to have lunch at the SUBWAY on Orange Avenue (eeurgh, what a waste of a meal out), but I'd love to stop in at some smaller, local places while avoiding the crappy ones (like that tiny deli next to the parking garage on Central Avenue, across from the library). I'll be on foot, and my stomping grounds will mostly be up and down Orange and Central.
Soon enough, my internship will have me venturing out from downtown and spending a week or two in the Dr. Phillips area. I never go to this side of town, don't know exactly WHERE it is, or what's out there. Again, if anyone can recommend any nice, cool, casual lunch spots near the Southwest Branch of the library at 7255 Della Dr., I'd greatly appreciate it.
Also, how is that Urban Flats place in Winter Park, on Fairbanks and New York? I wind up near there once a week as well. Anything awesome in that area that I can't miss? My boss took me to East of Paris for lunch on my first day of work last week, and I got this pasta special they had -- very underwhelming, after all the good things I have heard about the place. I make better pasta dishes at home all the time. I'm sure it was just a bad selection, so I'm not crossing it off my list for good.
I know I will miss a few, but since my office is also downtown and like you I need to eat out a lot, here's some shared knowledge.
First you are right on so far of your assessments downtown -- good and bad.
If you haven't tried the Z-Cafe in the library, first, its actually pretty good.
On Magnolia, near the post office, two places. Philly Style Hoagies is awesome, you could eat there 2 days a week easily. Also, a couple of doors down is the Thai Cafe, also good. Green curry is great, try their Thai coffee. Skip the News Cafe.
On Orange you have Cafe Annie, buffet style, very good, next door to the Mini Cooper place. A couple of blocks up is Detroit Joe's for a Detroit variation of the Cincinnati chili dog. Pretty good. There a Cuban place there -- not Cafe Rincon, but its replacement, that's supposed to be good.
Going south on Orange there's the Pita Pit and the Natural Chicken Grill, where they do various combos of chopped chicken and rice.
On Lake Eola, there's 903, outside dining and good sandwiches -- but can be slow.
There's a cluster of restaurants and bars on Orange at Wall Street. The Globe is the best, decent cheap sushi, but the Wall Street Cantina is OK Tex-Mex.
Napasorn on Pine does really great Thai and, across the street, the Breakfast Club isn't bad at all.
A bit farther out is Johnson's Diner for soul food on Robinson and Parramore, Wildsides in Thornton Park for decent bbq and, across the street, Gelatone, which serves great gelato with some funky European style sandwiches. On Magnolia at Marks there's the Lunch Box, try the meat loaf or the liverwurst sandwiches.
There's also a laundry list of pricer places, if you want them or someone else is paying.
There's not much cheap for lunch on Restaurant Row. Try Sushiman in the Marketplace, think they are open Tuesday through Friday for lunch. Also, the McDonald's Bistro actually does some pretty decent pasta and Mexican dishes -- worth the trip just to say you did it.
Urban Flats is good, but limited. Across the street is Tatame Lounge, give them a try.
I've blown out my brain, let me know your thoughts and if you need more . . .
re: Bob Mervine
Bob, you really knocked yourself out again! Thank you so much. I've been wanting to try Gelatone ever since you mentioned it on here some time last year. It's a bit out of my way, but maybe I can hit it as I'm leaving my final downtown destination one day.
I've been to Breakfast Club and Cafe Annie as well, what seems like a lifetime ago (last year, when my old career brought me to the courthouse once a month). I loved Cafe Annie, and haven't been back since because I had no idea where it was. Now I do, thank you!
I've also been to Wall Street (meh) and The Globe (for some singles mixer during happy hour -- double meh, but mostly for a weird evening I won't go into here).
I appreciate all the time that must have taken! I owe you a round of drinks or a good meal, after all the advice you've given me on this board for the last year.
re: Bob Mervine
All those spots are awful. The Thai place is good but the portions are weak. With the exception of Harvey's your better off packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich then eating out in downtown Orlando. I've lived in several places and this is the worst food city imaginable. People who move here from other cities are in culture shock with the horrible food choices. Locals don't know any better. After dark downtown is deserted except for tattooed punks and all the bars are pathetic.