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Nov 26, 2007 06:56 PM

Good local fare south of Orlando

I'll be staying south of Orlando in the dreaded Caribe Royale Hotel on World Circle Drive. I have one night free and would like to find some good local fare ... not toooo far from the hotel - is that even possible. Someplace tourists don't go (much) - now I'm dreaming, right? I will have a rental car, but just want to roam too far. "Southern" food (whatever that might be), soul food, seafood, barbecue ... what do you suggest? Thanks!

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  1. Bobierto:

    How adventurous are you feeling? Although I have not visited, my chowesque dad has raved for the last few months about a Puerto Rican joint south of Kissimmee so authentic he got goosebumps when he walked in for the first time (he lived in PR in the '70s). It's a picnic-tables-on-a-porch-with-a-pig-roasting-out-back type of place with live music, cold beer and shouldn't be more than a ten minute drive from your hotel. I'd be surprised if you a saw a single tourist there, but I'd also be surprised if they'd accept your credit card. If you're interested, I can give you directions.


    8 Replies
    1. re: Noice

      I'm a local and I'd sure be interested in a place like that!

        1. re: mountdorahound

          Bobierto, Coasterphil, Mountdorahound:

          Rancho Latino Cuchifrito Restaurant is on 17-92 just east of Poinciana Blvd. My dad tells me that it is on the south (east) side of 17-92 and that he has almost passed it every time he has visited. A sign with the name of the restaurant may not actually be visible from the road -- instead, you should look for a sign that says "lechonera" or "lechon."

          My dad has told me that the times he has gone there have been older gentlemen playing cuatros and singing traditional Puerto Rican music. When I asked him if they served beer, he rolled his eyes and asked me if I was serious. "It wouldn't be Puerto Rico without the coldest beer on earth," he scoffed.

          In addition to lechon they have all the traditional cuchifritos, which I hear are very tasty and authentic. I have yet to make my way there, but this post is based on very thorough de-briefs and after-action reports with my pops. I hope to hit it up in a couple of weeks.


          p.s. For what it's worth, my (sometimes uptight [she may be reading this post, after all]) step-mom has not gotten out of the car the times my pops insisted on stopping at this place. I don't think it's in a sketchy area, but the outside must not be much to look at (nor the inside, either, perhaps). I include a link here I found on the web with pictures of an awards banquet held there.


          Rancho Latino Cuchifrito Rest
          4000 S Orange Blossom Trl, Kissimmee, FL 34746

          1. re: Noice

            Do I need to speak Spanish or will I be ok without?

            I ask every time an authentic place is mentioned now because I had a bad experience once. Nobody warned me that not a single person in the restaurant spoke English so I ended up making a fool out of myself during that meal with my high school Spanish.

            1. re: coasterphil


              I think you will be OK. Many Puerto Ricans speak very good English, especially those who have made it across the pond.


            2. re: Noice

              Noice! You are the man! I didn't know there were any Lechonera's down Kissimmirico way. I'm there ASAP!

              Thank you, thank you, thank you. See you soon....

              1. re: bkhuna


                You're welcome! I hope to reconnoiter the place before Christmas, and perhaps if folks are interested we can schedule a meet-up off-Chowhound.


                1. re: Noice

                  You've got my email, keep me posted.

      1. that sounds good thanks! I added it to my list