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Feb 16, 2009 01:31 PM

Chowish eats in Orlando?

Hi all,

We're Boston 'hounds coming down to experience Disney w/our daughter in a couple weeks. We're staying off-property in a villa in the neighborhood called "Rolling Hills at Formosa Gardens." We love all kinds of food (love spicy, ethnic, but good American/diner fare too) and would love suggestions for good eats around there. Nothing too fancy - we'll be with our 5-year-old and also tired - so casual and/or hole-in-the-wall places are what we're after.

Also - I think there is a relatively new Whole Foods somewhere in Orlando - any insight into its proximity to this place we're staying? We'll need groceries too!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The new Whole Foods is on Sand Lake road right off the I-4 exit. Probably about a 15 minute drive east on I-4. I don't know much about Kissimmee but if I were you I'd check out some downtown Orlando locations, great Vietnamese cuisine, excellent thai food, Thornton Park area has plenty of good eateries. Not sure how our seafood will stack up for Bostonians but Cityfish is good. For a late-nite ale and some good sausage rolls try Fox & Hounds on 192 in Kissimmee. Smokey bar though not great for kids.

    1. I'm staying in Kissimmee in a development that is fairly close to where you will be staying. Unfortunately, this area is chain restaurant heaven. A couple of places I'd recommend although they are chains, the food is good. One is Carrabba's on Rt. 192. The food is quite good for a chain. I assume you will have transportation. The town of Celebration is fairly close by and has a few nice restaurants. For a casual and family oriented place, please try Market Street Cafe. Celebration has a wonderful farmers market on Sundays from 9 - 1 in the downtown area. I bought some gorgeous tomatoes and strawberries there. Whole Foods has a store that opened 6 months ago that is a wow store. It's best to shop there on your way from the airport since it isn't worth battling traffic to go back that way. You have to get off Route 4 at the Sand Lake Road exit. At the end of the ramp, turn left and proceed 1/2 mile. Whole Foods will be on your left. The best food market near where you will be staying is the Publix in Clermont on Route 192. That means it is the second Publix on your right once you get on 192 from where you are staying.

      1. There's wonderful Cuban cuisine at Padrino's in Hunter's Creek area. And authentic Mexican at Los Generales on John Young Parkway south of the Ritz Carlton. Rwmega gives good advice about the Vietnamese and other restaurants in downtown Orlando, but you can also find good Vietnamese just north of the Whole Foods market (which is wonderful, by the way) at Rice Paper. (It's in the Bay Hill Plaza on Turkey Lake Road just north of Sand Lake Road.) Also in the same strip mall is Memories of India, one of my favorite Indian restaurants.


        1. Thanks so far, everyone - these are great suggestions and good info. re WFM - appreciated!

          Keep 'em coming . . . we are not big Disney people but we ARE big food people, so although this week is all about the park, mama & daddy need some good eats to sustain them thru the princess-palooza . . . .

          3 Replies
          1. re: gansu girl

            Too bad you didn't come during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. That's a Foodie's Delight! Try Garibaldi's for Mexican on 192.

            1. re: gansu girl

              Gansu girl,

              Let me throw out there that being a Disney fan and a foodie are not entirely mutually exclusive. I frequently find that most food people who are unfamiliar with Walt Disney World are pleasantly surprised by all the "Chowish" options available. To be sure, you will see your selection of hot dogs, burgers and chicken fingers in the parks, but there are also some terrific and unique restaurants as well. One of my favorites is Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge very close to where you'll be staying. It has an African inspired/themed menu and the largest selection of South African wines in the U.S. Here's a link to the menu: Other favorites include Artist's Point at the Wilderness Lodge (Pacific Northwest-themed menu --excellent cheese course, cedar planked salmon, and the buffalo short ribs braised in red wine are awesome. Excellent dessert wines and ice wines, too. menu link:, the California Grill atop the Contemporary Hotel (try the seared loin of rabbit or the roast duck beast and leg confit. menu link and Todd English's Blue Zoo at the Dolphin Hotel (menu link:

              It goes without saying that all of the Disney restaurants also have kids menus and are very used to catering to the little princesses and pirates in your group.

              Have a great trip!

              1. re: Goombay3371

                Point taken, Goombay - and I have read great reviews of those places you mention. Maybe we'll make a reservation one night, but knowing our kid, and knowing what we know so far about Disney, we are figuring on eating more casual, smaller-scale meals in the evenings b/c she will be fried. Also dining at home, too. For lunches, I have envisioned counter-service places more than fine dining - for time-saving purposes.

                But thank you! I will keep these in mind!