I have been here in Orlando for a bit and have taken the advice of many hounds and here are some thoughts
Jackamo's (cajun/creole) - Decent - Great Po'Boys - Adequate at best sides
sides items (red beans & rice) (gumbo) (rice & gravy)
My wife and I had a crawfish po'boy and a roast beef po'boy - both were fantastic - we moved here from Louisiana and are foodies so we feel we are pretty stong critics of south louisiana food. I get irritated that most cajun joints have way to many purely new orleans and mardi gras stuff all over - outside of louisiana you rarely hear cajun or zydeco music at a louisiana style restaraunt - back home you are much more likely to hear that brand of music rather than jazz or blues - all in all - jackamo's is adequate but i wouldn't put it as one of the city's best spots
moonfish - if you can afford it - it is great - the bamboo steamer basket is great - the fillet was great - i have been twice and was definitely impressed both times - but man are they proud of their food - the prices were absurd - there is just no reason to charge 45 bucks for a piece of fish - sorry
Goodfellas Pizza (we live in east orlando) - we really like goodfellas - new york style pizza - great sausage and pepper sub
Dixie Crossroads (titusville) - love the white shrimp and the rock shrimp - definitely a florida treasure
PR's Taco Palace - great dive type atmosphere - basically my wife and i love one item - the tuna fajitas - otherwise ehh - but man those fajitas are great
5 guys burgers - yeah it's a chain - but what a glorious chain it is
bubalou's - great pig sandwich - solid sides - i still haven't had the brisket or ribs which is how i really judge a bbq joint - but the pig sandwich is strong
The Catfish Place (st.cloud) - we were really disapointed - i feel we should try this place again - great recomendations - the place just felt right - but the fried catfish wasn't remotely crispy or crunchy - we will try it again but our first trip wasn't all we had hoped - and we are definitely catfish eaters
falafel cafe - great hidden treasure on the east side - just a small greek place over by ucf in a strip mall - it is great - not just a gyro joint
cuban sandwiches to go - the cubans were great - now if it just didn't take me a good hour round trip i would eat there more often - i can't find a good cuban place over here on the east side - there is a cuban bakery close but it's cuban sandwiches suck - their black bean and rice are great however
the grill (port canaveral) - solid - i love the clams and the fish is nice - the fish they usually have isn't my favorite however (file fish/mahi mahi/yellofin tuna) they have some drink calle the double o that jimi buffet must have been speaking about in his song boat drinks - i really like those double o's
let me know if you guys agree with me or think i'm nuts - any other east side suggestions would be great
I'm right there with you. Moved here from NYC and have been eating my way through Hounder's posts.
If you live on the East side. Check out Cheeburger-Cheeburger. Great onion rings drinks and of course burgers. Jackson Hole in NYC is my benchmark for a god burger.
If you like Ox tail try Pollos Mario on Sundays. It's on OBT Southbound side north of 528.
Italian (not just Pizza) Carriera's,321-235-1931, on Narcoose in Lake Nona. There is one in Dr. Phillips, but why drive that far?
Brazas chicken 407-582-0506 on Orange Ave.
Ming's bistro as 212 Woodward for chinese.
keep this going as you find more. Thanks
My fave BBQ place is Fat Boys- as far as I know it's only in Kissimmee, but it beats other places I've tried. I also LOVE Falafel Cafe, and think it's such a hidden treasure in this area. 5 Guys- yes, a chain, but the best burgers around, and if you think you can eat a lot of fries, this will put you to the test!
Falafal is a middle eastern fried chick pea ball. Think of a differently spiced, more crunchy hush puppy. They can be made of field pea flour but chick pea meal is more typical so this restaurant is probably middle eastern. It's eaten with a yoghurt sauce.
If it is middle eastern try the shawarma which is the most amazing barbecue in a good middle eastern restaurant and not good in a bad middle eastern restaurant but it's a good starter dish for someone who hasn't eaten middle eastern food. They usually have it in both beef and chicken. The best we ever had was in Ecuador. They should have tabouli salad which is parsley, tomato, bulgar wheat, a little onion, olive oil and lemon. They should have babaganoush which is roasted eggplant with olive oil and lemon juice with a yoghurt topping.
If they are both Greek and middle Eastern the Greek baked chicken is amazing as is the Greek barbecue which unfortunately is usually sauteed but is still excellent. It is called souvlaki. It is most typically done with pork or chicken, oregano, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. If they do Greek potatoes they are great also. Baked with lemon juice, herbs, olive oil etc.
For dessert there many great choices but the most popular is baklava or baklawa - both similar - filo pastry with honey, nuts, butter and somtimes rosewater or perhaps it's orange blossom water. Anyway it's really good.
So for the beginner - souvlaki, shawarma, Greek chicken, Greek potatos and baklava. Gyros are fine but only really great if they home made the meet. Otherwise it's basically lamb/beef bologna fried and stuffed in a pita with a cucumber yoghurt sauce, onions and sometimes other stuff.
Great food! Enjoy!!
I believe the people who own Falafel Cafe near UCF are Armenian, or at least they have Armenian sausages and some other dishes on the menu. It is definitely more Middle Eastern than Greek. I'm pretty sure they have gyros and baklava, but they offer falafel for sure.
If they have it, try a Vimto soda when you go, too. It may be an anagram for "vomit," but it tastes exotic and sweet, and complements the food nicely.
jridgway, where is the 5 guys burgers place that you reference? I didn't realize we had one already open, although I know a few are coming (Baldwin Park and UCF).
As for other places on the east side, Natura Cafe, in the same shopping center as Falafel Cafe (corner of University and Alafaya, behind Applebee's),has a dozen flavors of bubble tea, my new favorite treat.
Oviedo has one of DH and my favorite, favorite places - Bill's Elbow South. They have a huge bar, live music sometimes, great perogies and green beans, and the best dessert in town, the King Of Oviedo (just trust me on this one). The Queen of Oviedo is pretty good too.
There is also a good breakfast place in Oviedo called the Town & Country. There is always a wait, but it doesn't take too long, and the breakfast is great.
I've been to two Five Guys locations already in Orlando: one in Dr. Phillips right on or near Sand Lake Road, and one in Uptown Altamonte, right on 436 between I-4 and the Altamonte Mall. Both have been open for over a year.
Also, if you like bubble tea, check out Lollicup on 436 and University in Winter Park, right next to A Comic Shop (and across the street from Full Sail). They specialize in dozens of flavors of bubble tea, slushes, smoothies, and more.
Everyone here talking about burgers has compelled me to throw out the one place not mentioned, Johnny's Filling Station in Downtown Orlando. They are one of the few places that will still cook a burger to order, for those of you who prefer your meat more on the pink side. For those who have never been there, don't let Johnny's appearance fool you, the food is great and in past years, their burgers have been rated Best Burger in Orlando.
You are right; Johnny's Filling station makes a good burger, but I refuse to return to a place where the kitchen set-up is so phenominally lacking that we were quoted a two-three hour wait for a burger and fries and an order of fried mushrooms. We waited the two hours because we were told it was the best burger in town, and had figured it would be worth the effort.
Until JFS invests in a real kitchen, I'll happily grab a Five Guys Burger and head for Orlando Brewing for beer and a burger, thanks.
I went there (Chef Henry's Cafe) with a large group of people a few months ago. I had the Split Pea Soup (YUM!), Chicken Paprikash (Good, chicken was a little dry), Dobos Torte (Good but rich!). Service and cooking is done by the owner and kids so don't be in a hurry, LOL! Very nice people though! The owner is halarious. I look forward to going back and trying a different main dish.
Other faves in Orlando
For Middle Eastern Food - I'd suggest Tony's Deli on Mills near Virginia, Lebanese and Syrian style cuisine. Lots of fresh, tasty selections and the price is great.
Greek - Greek Corner is very nice right across the street from Lake Ivanhoe and plenty of outdoor seating.
Pizza - Lil' Anthony's in the Colonial Shopping center on Bumby / Get the best calzone @ Broadway Pizza.
Indian - Spice Cafe
Vietnamese - Pho Hoa
Dim Sum - Ming's Bisto right off of south Mills. They have the authentic Dim Sum carts on the weekends.
Italian - Cafe Italiano they've been around since 1965 and they're still doing it right.
Charley's - For steak this place is great but it's getting more and more expensive... even for birthdays!
I second your thoughts on Five Guys Burgers that place is awesome.
I agree with you on Ming's Bistro and Charley's. Ming's is probably the best dim sum in Orlando A good alternate is Chan's on Colonial.
Middle Eastern - Sultan's Palace on South Kirkman.
Vietnamese - Vietnam Town, Pho 88
Sushi - Amura, Shari Sushi Lounge (Mt. Chau Roll!)
Thai - Cafe Oriental, Napasorn
Soul Food - Johnson's Diner on Church St.
BBQ - Bubbalou's
Pizza - Gino's on Orange St
Ice Cream - Carvel at Millenia Mall. Their soft serve is still the best to me.