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What's the best fine dining restaurant in Orlando?

Looking for the best fine dining restaurant in Orlando to take my folks to in May. I prefer Contemporary American, but if something else is really special and considered THE best, I'd like to hear about it as well. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Victoria & Albert's @ The Grand Floridian

    Normans @ The Ritz Carlton

    Venetian Room

    2 Replies
    1. re: theflytyr

      Could not have said it better myself.

      However, if they are listed in priority order, Venetian Room, for me, ranks ahead of Norman's. Unless Norman happens to be in town and cooking, of course.

      Venetian Room's service is just a bit more in tune with Orlando diners and those who are sometimes intimidated by an overbearing service staff with an attitude.

      Oh, and Del Frisco's -- even though I suppose it is technically not fine dining - would be fourth.

      Bob

      1. re: HeatherFL

        Sorry, but I must disagree with this one on a simple but irritating point. Granted they do have a wonderful Wine List and wonderful food and seem to treat their customers right (especially if you are a regular), but any restaurant that can't satisfy a simple request for Iced Tea for the non-drinkers in a party lose points. The sign of a fine dining establishment to me is one that will take a request and meet that customers need, especially here in the south where Iced Tea and dinner go hand in hand. I know it may sound absurd but to those who choose not to drink or can not for various health or other reasons, to not make an attempt to meet the need of the customer and act indifferent is in-excusable to me. By the way this has happened on 3 different occasions over 2 years.

      2. I wrote Christini's because from what I have heard fine dining in Orlando is limited. I do not live there, but have found the food at Christini's to be quite good on a consistent basis. I rather enjoyed the atmosphere too.

        As an iced-tea lover, I will tell you that I love the stuff. However, Iced-tea = fine dining? Iced tea is actually considered quite a faux pas in some European countries/cities (yes, I know they drink it in Europe, but hot tea is the norm.) I am going to disagree with you. I would not expect a true European restaurant that considers itself to be fine dining to serve iced-tea. If they did, great. But I wouldn't expect it. I have European friends who will playfully scoff when I drink tea with ice.

        I will say if they didn't apologize at least and acted indifferent as you've indicated, then that was inappropriate on their part, however, iced tea and fine dining almost seems like a paradox. Chili's? Sure! Fine Italian restaurant? Well...

        If I prefer not to drink, I'll happily go with water. In the meantime, I am eating there this weekend. I will have to see if they serve hot tea, as I can't recall. But if I wanted my iced-tea that badly I'd order the hot tea, ask for a tumbler of ice and do it myself. Not that you should have to, but hey whatever works.

        1. Heather, I know it may not seem like it, but Orlando IS in the South, even if it is below the SweetTea line (roughly I-4). Every restaurant should be able to serve you a glass of iced tea. I've eaten at Christinis often and although it's good, it ain't knock your socks offf good. I've generally been there as the guest of some sale rep with an expense account and I would bet that business/entertainment is 50% of their business. Sometimes that shows in the service. In fact, it's my main beef with Orlando in that the restaurants and wait staff don't depend on "regulars" to any extent.
          Don't leave off your list the oldest of the classics in Orlando, "Maisson Jardin" in Winter Park. They do have the service right. Beyond that, anything away from I-Drive and Disney is a good start.

          1. If by any chance your idea of fine dining includes Japanese - you might take a look at Ran-Getsu on International Drive. It is a branch of a restaurant in Tokyo. Has some touristy things (like flaming non-Japanese dishes and Japanese drummers in the courtyard - the drummers who work at Epcot during the day). But we found the food quite good - and - for the most part - authentic Japanese. It is also a very nice looking restaurant.

            For contemporary American - you can take a look at the California Grill (at the Disney Contemporary Hotel). Robyn