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Apr 13, 2008 04:18 PM

Short stay in Longwood, need recommendations.

We are visiting my mother-in-law next week for 5 days. She lives in Longwood and we would like to find some places to take her for dinner or lunch. She can't ride for too long, so we prefer to stay close to where she lives {Chambrel}.

Italian; fish; french; greek; bbq; steak; deli - are all okay - no mexican and we'd prefer no chain restaurants.


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  1. How long of a ride is your maximum?

    Greek: Mykonos in Longwood - its on 434 west past I4
    Steak: I've never been but there is a Colorado Steakhouse on 17/92 (heading toward Lake Mary from 434) (note this is not the fondue place)
    Italian: Again never been but there is one in Winter Springs plaza and another at the Times plaza both are on 434 heading east from Chambrel. .

    There is also Journey's and the Calypso grill both near I4, again never been.
    I don't think there is a french restaurant nearby.
    Also no chains is that National or local chains?
    I'd recommend Stonewood Grill in Heathrow. If local chains are ok.

    1. If you like Greek, you'll like Middle Eastern. Ali Baba is a great restaurant on 434 in Longwood, with an all-you-can-eat buffet of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties, as well as a menu you can order from. I like the place a lot.
      Warning: the website plays music!

      I have not eaten at Mykonos in Longwood, but apparently it's really good for Greek food around these parts:

      The closest deli is Toojay's in Altamonte Springs, right near the Altamonte Mall on 436. It's a chain, but I think they are only in Florida. If you're from New York City, you might not be blown away, but for around here they're pretty good:

      My favorite barbecue around here is Sonny's, another Florida-based chain. None of them are in Longwood, but you have one on the edge of Winter Park and another in Oviedo -- depending on where you are, neither one would be more than 20 or 25 minutes away:

      Do you have any interest in Cuban food? Habana Grill is in Altamonte Springs also, on 436 not far from 434, and they are fantastic. If you're not familiar, don't worry -- it is nothing like Mexican food:

      Would you eat Polish food? There's a relatively new Polish restaurant right in Longwood, on 17-92 right near 434, Polonia. I tried them once and liked them a lot, and keep meaning to go back:

      1. These are great recommendations, thanks so much! Cuban is terrific idea, hadn't thought about Polish. We know Toojays {we are originally from NY but now in SW -- so almost any deli is good since we have none here}.

        How about Seasons52? Saw it on opentable and then some positive things here.

        Local chains would be okay, just not national.

        Thanks again,

        3 Replies
        1. re: DebitNM

          Debit, Seasons 52 is a wonderful restaurant from the folks at Darden (Red Lobster, Olive Garden) and although it's a chain (albeit a small one, I think there are less than a dozen), you will love your meal, I promise! Look at the menu online and if you decide to go, book a ressie NOW since they fill up weeks in advance for weekends (you might be able to get a week night table if you try now).

          I'll also agree with Lou on Habana Grill and Polonia -- Habana will give you more of a taste of Florida with some great Cuban fare -- and Polonia is excellent, just not quite so special for atmosphere.

          1. re: bcodom

            We tend to eat dinner early with MIL so will going at 5:30 on a weeknight need a reservation at Seasons52? What about lunch at these places?

            I know "Early bird" is quite popular further south in FL; is it as big an issue in this area?


            1. re: DebitNM

              You will probably be OK at that hour during the week. Also, Seasons leaves the tables around the bar open for walk-ins and you won't have any problem snagging a bar area table during the week at 5:30. And it's a nice place to dine; as nice as the main dining room IMO.

              As for "early bird" around Central FL, we do not have as many retirees as South Florida so you don't see as many early bird specials. Straubs Seafood (down the road from Seasons 52 on 436 in Altamonte) has early bird specials that are pretty good. I can't think of any other restaurants off hand in the Altamonte/Longwood area that offer early birds; maybe other Hounds have some ideas ...Seasons definitely does not offer any early bird special. But I really urge you to try Seasons 52 while you're in town....

              As for lunch, you probably won't need a ressie at Seasons unless you go on Friday...but I'd still get there a few minutes before noon any day since sometimes they get big groups in from area businesses and will fill up.

        2. Hi again Deb-

          Hope your trip to FLL went well.

          There are some good suggestions here. I'll only comment on the ones I have actually been to before. My comments are therefore based on first hand experience.

          Seasons 52 and Journeys are superb, although less is probably known about journeys.
          Read what Scott Joseph, Orlando Sentinel's restaurant critic has to say about each <>. Reservations are a good idea, but then I've never dined at Seasons 52 at 5:30. They were certainly needed the other 3 times we have gone there. This is a VERY popular restaurant. Each is probably what I'd call a "special occasion" restaurant.

          Habana Grill is one of our favorites. It is in Altamonte Springs, near the intersection of SR 436 & SR 434. It's hard to beat for value and quality.

          Straubs Seafood on SR 436 just east of I-4 is always a good choice, and they have an excellent early bird menu. They are also open for lunch. Just be sure to call ahead for dinner reservations, as the early bird dinners are very popular. There is also a bonus worth mentioning. Straubs is a participating restaurant in;s program. You can "buy" a $25 certificate for $10, but this is reduced to $5 if you use the current (until April 20) discount code: "TASTE".

          Happy dining, and let us (and Fodors) know how it all worked out.