Ladies Night in Orlando
2 of my GFs and I are spending the weekend in Orlando, visiting disneyworld to relive some childhood memories. We get in friday evening aroun 8, and leave late evening on sunday.
I was wondering if I could get some recommendations for food and drinks while there.
Friday Dinner - Something chic and fun, not too expensive ($50pp) with a young vibrant environment and delicious food. (We've travelled together before, and food defines our vacations!) If there are any restaurants that are quintessential to Orlando, that would be great. Looking to stay away from typical chain restuarants. Cuisine is open to anything...
Saturday Night - bar recommendations with well-made mojitos and martinis
Sunday Brunch - the usual fanfare. We have an avid egg fan, so a place with great egg dishes is a plus.
Friday night Seasons 52 (seasons52.com) on Sand Lake Road, Blue Bistro downtown (bluebistroandgrill.com), or maybe Hue (huerestaurant.com).
Saturday night probably Blue Martini at the Mall at Millenia, although I've never been there.
Sunday Bruncy--maybe Fifi's (fifisorlando.com).
I cannot second the recommendation of Seasons 52. I have been at least 4 times and have found it dull every time, despite the weekly changing menu. It is also a Darden chain and will likely show up in your hometown. If you are looking for fun and exciting, look elsewhere.
In the Disney area: Wolfgang Puck at Downtown Disney is totally chic and fun, with great interesting food (but not weird). Expect to wait an hour for a seat. I don't think they take reservations. If you want something truly unique, check out the African buffet at Boma, or Jiko, both at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You'll want reservations at the AKL restaurants.
By Universal: Emeril's Tchoup Choup at the Royal Pacific resort, has great Pan-Asian food, trendy decor, and great service. Lots of fun cocktails here. Make a reservation.
In Orlando: Samba Room on Sand Lake Road is upscale Cuban, divine food and drinks - that's where you'll find the best mojitos. Samba Room may be a little pricy, possibly $60pp with drinks. I forget if they take reservations, but if they do, then make one. At Pointe Orlando, you'll find the Tommy Bahama Cafe, which has great atmosphere and drinks, better than average, but not stellar, food (except the she-crab soup, which is totally the best). For less expensive, and quintessential Orlando, Midnight Blue in Thornton Park has a neat menu, trendy atmosphere, and is full of locals. It is owned by the same chef as Blue Bistro, recommended by another poster. Both are exceptional, and both take reservations, but Blue Bistro is located in the middle of not much else. I don't recommend it for tourists.
Worth The Drive: If you like Asian or sushi, Zen at the Omni resort off I-4 (exit 58) is divine. It is just a few exits down from Disney (take I-4 west from Disney). If you are a sushi person, try the Zen Experience Roll. I dare you to find a better sushi roll anywhere. If no one likes sushi, try the Zen Experience Dinner, where they bring basically one of every hot dish on the menu to the table for a family style dinner. The only drawback is everyone at the table has to do it, or just order separately off the menu. The atmosphere here is upscale and chic, but it is a quiet restaurant, not for loud groups. Make reservations for Zen on Open Table.
For Saturday Night: Blue Martini at Millenia is a good option for 40-somethings and tourists. Rhythm & Flow downtown for a local 20's and 30's crowd. The Boheme at the Grand Bohemian hotel downtown, for a 30's, 40's, and 50's crowd. Across the street from Samba Room on Sand Lake is Vines, which has live music, full bar, and a fabulous dinner, if you want to eat there too. I recommend the lobster ravioli.
For Brunch: I definitely second the recommendation of Fifi's Patisserie in Thornton Park, just outside downtown, and Park Plaza Gardens on Park Avenue in Winter Park. A less expensive, and equally good, option is Mimi's Cafe on Millenia Boulevard.
Hope you have a great time!
Sounds like you ladies would love Cafe Tu Tu Tango on Friday night. It definitely is chic and fun, the atmosphere couldn't be any more young and vibrant, and the food is delicious. They serve a variety of small plates (like tapas) with international cuisines, and the restaurant is funky and artsy, full of actual artists and performers you can enjoy while you eat. You can order a lot of plates and share them, and while it isn't super-cheap, you should definitely get pleasantly full for under $50.
It IS a chain, but they don't have them all over the country. The Orlando location is on International Drive, not far from Universal Studios. Here's their website with more information, including the menu: http://www.cafetututango.com/
Dear Orlando Chowhounders,
Just wanted to let you guys know, we ended up going to Samba Room for Friday night's dinner. It was fantastic. Our waiter was a little slow...sweet but a little too slow for what I'm used to. But regardless, our meal was delightful.
The mojitos were absolutely delicious. We had the mango and pineapple ones. For appetizers we had the ceviche of the day and the 3 cheese and crab dip. The ceviche was light and refreshing. The fish was very tender with just the right amount of tang from the citrus and red onions. The crab dip was a perfect balance of cheese and crab flavor - you could really taste the crab which I feel a lot of these dips lack.
We shared 3 entrees - the Cuban Pork of the day with their specialty rice and yuca; Chilian Seabass on top shrimp orzo and Scallops with Ropa Vieja. Everything was prepared with just the right amount of spices without being too complex in flavor.
Sat night was a bit of a bust and we just ended up in downtown disney at Motion.
Sunday we rushed back from Clearwater but missed the brunch at Fifi's. We had lunch there - though the meal itself was a little disappointing, we had the best desserts of the trip there.
Thank you all for your suggestions!
just an FYI next time you are in town check out a new restaurant across the street from Samba room called Jeffrey's, it is newer from what I gather I think only a few months, very busy place with live entertainment. we went on Thursday night and couldnt get a seat" I think it was ladies night" BEAUTIFUL place, great drinks and appts. The tuna roll was great. The menu was very large with california style food and very reasonable priced.
and also try Roy's near Samba room. great seafood and great place
Glad you had a great time in Orlando