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Dec 13, 2006 02:07 AM

Popolo Bistro in Winter Park

Noticed Popolo in Winter Park while driving down Orange Ave. today. I recall an acquaintence recommending this as a good spot. Any first-hand comments?

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  1. No, but I went when it was Zabella. I gave it two tries, and it was not worth a third visit. I have not been to Popolo since I thought it was one of the original owners under a new name. Let us know...

    1. Take your friend's advice! I was there a couple of weeks ago and we really liked it. For the quality of food the price was excellent. Wish I could remember our waiter's name - but anyway, he was a real pro. I don't get to Winter Park very often but it looks to me like Popolo has the earmarks of one of those places that will develop into a favorite for locals who want a really nice meal in a casual, stress-free zone. (It's also fun to say - POPOLO.)

      1. Popolo is great. I didn't write in at first because a friend owns it so I may come across as biased, but I can't help myself. I've eaten there several times and every meal has been quite good. Several colleagues have enjoyed it, too, and they would have told me the negatives if there were any. (I always ask.) Instead, they talk about craving a particular dish and going back for it repeatedly. The food is far above most area Italians, and above all its peers in its price range. BTW, although it is partly owned by the original ZaBella owner (he sold ZaBella, and that's when its quality sunk), this is a different restaurant with a different chef.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rudykins

          Rudy: That's good to know. I did not have good experiences before Zabella closed. The last time I ate there the lamb was way overdone. I didn't touch it and was not in the mood to deal with it. I decided not to go back when the server made no mention of the full plate when he removed it from the table. We will give this new place a try. The bar is a cool place with neighborhood hangout potential.

          There are now about 6 itilian restaurants in that part of Winter Park, but so far there are no standouts. Lemon and Rocco's fail to impress when you can drive up the street to Antonio's, go upstairs and have whatever you ask for however you like it with a super wine list to boot.

          1. re: Kingman

            I'm told Lemoncello is on its last legs. I'm surprised that you had such a poor experience at Rocco's -- I find it to be the best new Italian place in town in some time.

            I second Rudykins endorsment of the food at Popolo and the other comment about its great bar, Socca.

            The new chef is enthusiastic and creative.


            1. re: Bob Mervine

              The general consensus among the people I know is that Rocco's has exceptional appetizers but should jazz up its entrees. The apps are spectacular, though.

            2. re: Kingman

              Just as an aside, what do other's do when they get an inedible meal at a restaurant? My wife likes to make a big stink and give the waiter a piece of her mind. I go for the "leave the whole pile of crap on the plate and see if anyone notices" response, like you. I figure that if they are so dense that they can't see that you COULD NOT EAT THEIR FOOD, then why waste your breath telling them because THEY DON'T CARE! Or maybe they are so used to getting their food back it is no surpise. Or maybe the waiter is just tired of asking and hearing about how bad the meal was from all the customers. Sometimes I wonder if owners/managers of some restaurants even EAT at the place. What, exactly, is the point of being in the restaurant business if your food is CRAP?

              Pardon my rant.

              P.S. this was supposed to be a reply to Kingman of 12/15, but showed up here instead

          2. I love Popolo and have ALWAYS had GREAT food there. Did you know the pasta is homemade? It's one of the FEW places my picky eater teens LIKE!!