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Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

New to the Orlando area

forrest321 Aug 20, 2006 06:05 AM

Hi guys,
My first post here at Chowhound.

I just moved to Altamonte Springs from Birmingham, AL. I love all kinds of food, and I'm looking for some good spots in the area. I like all kinds of foods, but I'm looking for a few things in particular: sushi, bbq, veggies, steak, and a good burger.

I had some sushi at a small place called Saikyo - and it turned out to be the best single roll I have ever had in my life. I got the fireball which consisted of tuna inside and out, with avocado, and a hot chili sauce. The tuna was fresh, the avocado cool, and the chili sauce hot but not so hot as to kill any of the natural flavor of the tuna or avocado. As good as this was, and I highly recommend it, I am told it gets even better in the area - where?? how??

As for steaks and burgers, whats the best around Orlando? I understand thats a hot topic, so I guess I should qualify. For steaks I prefer rare filets and ribeyes. As for burgers, is there anything like a Milo's here?

Mr Mervine, if you are reading this, I am halfway through your Orlando Chow book. There is a lot of great advice in there, but do you have any suggestions specific to Altamonte Springs and surrounding areas for a Southern boy like myself? There are a few restaurants listed for Altamonte Springs, but as you mentioned you left several places out intentionally. I'd love to hear any recommendations you may have.

In the meantime, I'll be reading over previous threads as I just found this site tonight.

Thanks for any future advice and for all the great info I've found from the previous topics!

  1. Bob Mervine Aug 20, 2006 03:48 PM

    You'll learn far more by doing what you are doing -- researching and trying them out -- than I can ever impart in a post.
    It's likely you'll get lots of other input as well. I don't claim to know them all.
    In fact, tell me more about the sushi place you mentioned. The name doesn't ring a bell, While my idea of sushi doesn't include chili sauce -- I prefer wasabi -- it sounds like its worth checking out.

    Here's an edited compilation of a couple of lists I've done recently. I'm not limiting you to Altamonte, but most are wthin a 15-30 minute drive of there.
    By the way, Seminole magazine just published its best restauants in Seminole County. Get a copy of that, it will be a big help.

    Alfonso's Pizza in College Park
    Mykanos for Greek in Longwood, also Journey's for world food. In the same plaza there's a seafood chain called Bnefish Grill that is quite good. And on the other side of I-4, look for Imperial Dynasty for cheap, fresh Chinese and, just past, Manny's Chophouse for steaks.
    Amira Deli in Altamonte -- strictly kosher
    Babbo - Neopolitan cuisine, also in College Park
    I'm told Blackwater barbecue has just opened up on Edgewater Drive in College Park. Award winning 'cue.
    Cecil's on Lee Road does Texas style barbecue, brisket, spicy sausage, etc.
    It's near the best steakhouse in town, called Del Friscos. Pricey, a la carte menu, noisy, crowded but great food and service.
    Adair's in College Park does Low Country food, excellent food and service
    Cuban Sandwiches to Go on Lee Road, best media noche and pork sandwich in town
    Fuji Sushi is one of my 2-3 best sushi restaurants in town -- on Lee Road. Rolls are the specialty
    Back in College Park, I like "K" for eclectic food at Princeton and Edgwater. Nearby is Taste for small plate food, Juliana's for Mediterranean and Jade Bistro for Asian
    Other good French can be found at Chez Vincent at Hannibal Square in Winter Park. Other Winter Park restaurants of note include Luma, on Park and Chef Justin's Park Plaza Gardens, also 310 Park South, Cafe Du France and Panullo's.
    Eastern Pearl in Altamonte serves Chinese food. They changed owners a year or so ago and I'm not hearing the glowing reports that I am used to hearing since they changed. But with little Asian and very little Chinese in that end of town, it might be worth a try for you.
    Another quirky place worth the trip is the Old Spanish Mill in DeLand. It's a state park where you cook your breakfast pancakes to order on a stove set into the table.
    It's quite likely that the best seafood you can find is at Straub's in Altamonte. Beware, they offer an early bird -- watch out for blue hairs at 6 p.m.
    Looking north towards Sanford, there is a cluster of restaurants in and around the Lake Mary exit of I-4 (46-A, I think). Thsse include Amura (Japanese), Harvey's (American), Jinja Cafe (casual Pan Asian) and a new place, the name of which escapes me, in space where Blackfin was, Believe it has the word "Lucia" or "Lucina" in the name.
    In Sanford, Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe (205 E. First St., (407) 321-2204) is a flourishing German restaurant. The food is utterly authentic. Try the schnitzel, in pork or veal versions, and the breaded cutlets presented with a variety of accompaniments. My preference is the Holsteiner, topped with the traditional fried egg and anchovy. The creamy egg, salty fish, crispy breading and moist pork make oom-pa-pa in your mouth.
    Instead of dessert there, walk to the nearby Bruno's Gourmet
    Kitchen (2533 S. Laurel Ave., (407) 323-9300) where the French chef, who trained with Gaston LeNotre, creates marvelous desserts, pastries, fruit tarts and eclairs in his patisserie.
    For barbecue, try Rib Ranch ‹2545 S. French Ave.,
    (407) 321-0090 ‹ where they not only serve up good, pit-cooked ribs, but great pulled pork and a nice side dish of beans. Service is great, and the manager usually makes a visit to each table.

    I've tried to be geo-centric. Let's see what some of the other posters suggest.

    Also, feel free to respond with more specific requests and I'll see what I can do.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mervine
      isol8d Jan 30, 2007 11:10 AM

      Cecil's is on Orange Avenue, near Michigan, not on Lee road, but I'm sure anyone looking for it could figure that out.

      1. re: isol8d
        Bob Mervine Jan 30, 2007 05:49 PM

        There are two Cecil's locations. The original is on S. Orange below Michigan, you may notice they have a new sign -- but the same food -- since Hurrican Charley.

        Their second location, which has been open about 3 1/2 years by the way, is in an outparcel near Del Frisco's on Lee Road.


        1. re: Bob Mervine
          isol8d Jan 31, 2007 08:32 AM

          Is it the same as the S. Orange location? Cafeteria style?

          1. re: isol8d
            Bob Mervine Jan 31, 2007 04:22 PM

            Exactly the same, except the wood still has varnish on it and hasn't soaked up 25 years of wood smoke and grease.

            All the sides, the ice cream machine, the odd combinations, wheel your tray around the counter and pick out the sides after the meat, etc.

            Here's an old post and my response on the subject.



    2. p
      Podie1956 Aug 21, 2006 03:28 AM

      I moved from Orlando to Gainesville three years ago and the only thing I miss in Orlando is Taquitos Jaliscos, a wonderful Mexican restaurant. The original is in Winter Garden and the new restaurant is on S. Hiawassee Road in Metro West. They have the best shrimp fajitas I've ever had in my life, and everything else I've ever eaten was great, too. (More than worth the 200 mile round trip drive!)

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