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Mar 23, 2007 05:35 PM

Orlando- Splurge-Worthy Dining?

Moving back to Orlando and we just received the go ahead to have a celebratory dinner on the company! Ideally looking for a place that is veggie or mild-tasting fish friendly and well worth the extra dollars. I think V&A is too pricey. Currently considering BlueZoo, Norman's, Primo, California Grill, Antionio's, Le Coq au Vin, Hemingway's. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations or other ideas.

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  1. Of the list you mentioned, Norman's is going to cost you as much as V&A, for a less satisfying experience.
    BlueZoo would be one of the list tied for first choice. Seafood is their speciality.
    Primo would be the other choice for co-favorite. They have an emphasis on fresh ingredients and on healthier items, without going overboard.
    I like California Grill, Antonio's and Le Coq Au Vin, but don't think of it as "veggie or mild-tasting fish friendly."
    Hemmingway's also does a nice job with their fish -- and you can enjoy the bonus of a wonderful fresh sushi bar in the lobby with a cocktail before dinner.

    Seasons 52 would definitely fall into the category you describe, as would Moonfish on Restaurant Row.


    1. I agree with Bob about Le Coq au Vin being good, but not vegetarian or fish friendly. I went to Emeril's Tchoup Chop for my birthday a few years ago and thought the fish dishes were pretty good. It's a little trendy and dark, though. I also think Roy's on Sand Lake might be a place to consider. My mother absolutely hates fish and she loves the Misoyaki butterfish they make.

      Good Luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: AlyKen

        This past weekend dw & I dines at Roy's & Primo. Roy's was good Primo was excellent. It was the best food we have had in Orlando. Of the places written about in this thread we have been to Moonfish, Jiko and Blue Zoo, Blue Zoo & Primo were our top 2 experiences. At Primo we Started with Frito Piccolo & soft shell crab, then she had halibut & I had salmon Then she finished with passion fruit sabayon & I had a fruit tart. We both had the lobster with cam pizza at Blue Zoo. Roy's had the best deserts.

      2. I agree with Roy's and also FishBones on Int'l Drive. Gets kind of crowded as it attracts the convention crowds but the food is good, especially the stone crabs.

        1. Jiko at Animal Kingdom, also when you make the reservation mention that there is a pescatarian ( vegetarian that eats fish) dining with you.

          1. My absolute favorite restaurant in Orlando (well, Winter Park) is Luma On Park. They have a wide variety of entrees on the menu, but their seafood is fresh and excellent and are consistently some of the more interesting menu options. The atmosphere is intimate and energetic, but at the same time you can tell that people are there to relax and have a great meal. We tend to wear cocktail attire there for dinner on the weekend, but you can wear something a bit more casual at other times- just to give you a better idea of the atmosphere.

            Of the others, I've only eaten at Hemingway's, Tchoup-Chop, and Norman's, and prefer Luma hands-down. The nice thing about Luma is that you get the same level of overall quality of Hemingway's and Norman's at a smaller price, which makes dining out seem less like a splurge. Also, if you go, start out with the calamari fries, and make sure to save room for dessert.

            Just as a note, I've eaten at Tchoup-Chop at least five times over the past three years and have found the quality of food and service to be seriously subpar to the level of service that we've gotten at Emeril's other restaurants (we love Delmonico and NoLA). The service is extremely inconsistent, ranging from generally acceptable to one instance when our server started flinging f-bombs at one of his team mates in front of our table. I've also found the menu offerings to be too loaded with a sugar and butter combo at times, although they seem to have adjusted their recipes a bit to make them more balanced.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jazzy77

              I would NOT recommend Jiko for pescatarians. My husband and I went to a wine dinner there, after speaking with the chef and being assured that our pescatarian dining status would not be a problem. We were served not one, but TWO courses with meat: our fish had bacon on top of it, and our carrot soup was made with a chicken stock. Disappointing, to say that least, that a restaurant of that price category couldn't get its act together to accommodate our dining needs, after assuring us that they could.

              I also would nix Blue Zoo. I think the chef focuses too much on what's trendy, rather than attempting to pair tastes that genuinely work well together. If you are interested, I'd posted a review with photos here:

              I would strongly suggest Roy's. It's got great, fresh seafood; the tuna there is outstanding - definitely one of the top five best-tasting things I've ever eaten. Victoria & Albert's is also excellent, though I know you said it was out of your price range. As far as California Grill, we enjoy the food, but you might be attacked by bands of rabid fireworks-viewers. We've witnessed several "incidents" there and now try to time our dinners to not coincide with fireworks.

              Heather W

              1. re: hmp2z

                Heather, When you spoke with a chef did you call the restaurant in advance or did you just speak with the chef that day?

                Also I hope you spoke with someone at Jiko management so that hopefully they can fix the problem.


                1. re: cherylp3

                  I actually didn't mention it to them. We'd spoken with the chef well in advance, and were assured that it wouldn't be a problem. I assumed that the chef knew that bacon wasn't a seafood item! The event was one of their monthly wine dinners, so for us to have made a deal about our meat items would have caused upset to the others dining at our table, something we were reluctant to do. At $150/head, we understand how important a smooth, uninterrupted dining experience is! We just didn't eat the meat items that were served to us.

                  We'd never been overly impressed with Jiko, so this was just another deciding factor for us: we won't be returning.

                  Heather W

                2. re: hmp2z

                  >>I would strongly suggest Roy's. It's got great, fresh seafood; the tuna there is outstanding - definitely one of the top five best-tasting things I've ever eaten.<<

                  I've eaten at Roy's in Tampa and other cities, but not Orlando. Does Roy's-Orlando serve sushi. I've heard it isn't at all of his restaurants. My favorite restaurant in Tampa.
                  Flying Fish at the Boardwalk also has good fish. I love the pesto-chardonnay mussels.


                  1. re: fjs08

                    No sushi at Roy's Orlando, at least not in the sense of a sushi chef and special menu.


                    1. re: Bob Mervine

                      To bad. We were at the Tampa Roy's and I was talking to a manager from Baltimore who was training at the Roy's in Tampa. He informed me that 21% of their sales in Tampa is sushi. It's really good too!!
                      Thanks for the information.