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Aug 5, 2008 09:54 AM

Orlando: Ethnic w/o throngs of tourists?

Hi there--

Will be in Orlando for a birthday search of low-key places, laid back, ethnic, hole in the wall type spots...we are open to most anything, esp. Indian and Thai and pizza--would love to avoid chains. We will be staying at JW Marriott Grande Lakes, at Central Florida Parkway and 423...

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Costa Del Sol almost right across the street from you used to be quite good with tapas an other spanish dishes. I haven't been in a while so maybe some others can confirm. I would recommend Rice Paper over on Turkey Lake for a Vietnamese/fusion type of food.

    1. Memories of India on Turkey Lake Road (in shopping center)
      Le Coq au Vin (French) on South Orange Avenue

      A little further:

      Tasty Thai on Curry Ford Road
      Italian Pie & Pasta House on Crystal Lake Road

      1. Not a hole in the wall, but our favorite place in Orlando is in your hotel, Primo. Incredibley fresh seafood & organic veggies. Even have their on garden on site.We eat there every time we are in town.

        3 Replies
        1. re: beteez

          You want ethnic hole in the walls ok,, but be prepaired!!!
          Singhs Roti shop on old winter garden road. Take the rental car stickers off and put away the mouse ears and lock your doors. Then be prepaired for some of the best carribean cuisine this side of miami. Real Roti skins stuffed with crushed chick peas made on the premisis. Trinidad in orlando.
          Not quite so gutsy? Take a ride down church street to johnson's diner. This is orlando's most popular soul food joint. fried everything with gravy and greens and corn bread! YUM!
          Latin food seems to be the most consistantly good. I like Don pepes and Rolando's in casselberry. I sure some one here might be able to mention a latin place that is closer.

          1. re: mountdorahound

            Don Pepe's (are you thinking of the place on 436 in Altamonte Springs?) is now called Habana Grill, but it's exactly the same. The Don Pepe's on Aloma in Winter Park closed a year or two back. I like it a lot, and Rolando's as well, but both are specifically Cuban restaurants.

          2. re: beteez

            I agree! I live in the Daytona Beach area and spent the weekend at the Ritz. I had dinner at Primos the first night and reservations at Norman's for the next night. Primos was such an incredible dining experience. Every single item I tasted was delicious and the service was out of this world (ask for Michelle!). It was so good that...I cancelled my reservation at Norman's and went to Primos again (though I did have a glass of wine and the mini duck burger for an appetizer at Normans - DELISH). There aren't many restaurants like Primo in the area - serving ingredients so fresh that they picked them earlier in the day.

          3. Not sure about local pizza restaurants, but the best of what you mentioned in the area are:

            Thai - Napasorn in Downtown Orlando. The finesse and complexity of the flavors are amazing as they do all of their sauces from scratch. We've eaten at quite a few Thai restaurants (probably double digits in number as it's our favorite cuisine) and Napasorn is the best.

            Indian - Memories of India. By far the best restaurant in the area in my opinion. This restaurant got me hooked on Indian cuisine after years of eating Indian food. The flavors are amazing and is a must try when in the area in my opinion. Get the chicken kada masala and the garlic nan. You will be impressed.

            Pizza - What the heck, I'll throw out a few...although these are chains, we like Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park and Red Brick Pizza. Good crust, not too greasy and alcohol is served. What else do you need?

            1. Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful and helpful answers. We are looking forward to trying some of these this weekend!