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Feb 25, 2009 08:06 PM

Flying to your choice of Orlando, Tampa, or Ft. Lauderdale just for lunch - which city/restaurant do you choose?

So here's the deal - I have some unused airline value that I need to expend very soon or it disappears. I can't transfer it to anyone else and don't have any travel plans. So I'm thinking about burning it by flying to one of these cities for the day, having lunch, and flying back in the early evening.

So basically, I'm asking among these three areas, which would you choose and where would you eat lunch? I'll be renting a car so mobility isn't an issue.

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  1. For Tampa, The Colombia in Ybor City is great: Cuban, Spanish Food.
    Also Bern's Steakhouse is the best! We once had a reservation for 1:30 AM because it was the only one available. The steaks are to die for!


    2 Replies
    1. re: multilngl

      ahh yes, I've been to Colombia before...about 20 years ago for dinner. It was unforgettable and I'm glad they're still around.

      Didn't realize Bern's was open for lunch. I'll have to check that out.

      1. re: mikeh

        I don't know if Bern's IS open for lunch, but you almost always need a reservation. So call before you go!

    2. I would fly in to Tampa and take a 5 minute cab to Ocean Prime which is open for lunch. Their menu is on their website. I would choose Tampa because we have the higher rated airport.

      1. Bern's is not open for lunch; dinner service begings at 5:00. However, Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach does lunch Tues. through Saturday, 11:30 to 2:00. About an hour drive from Lauderdale airport. If you're going that far for a lunch, you might as well make a memory out of it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Are they still offering that lunch deal? (Joe's) Don't recall the exact details but think it was stone crabs, creamed spinach, hash browns and key lime for $20 or close

          1. re: The Chowfather

            3 large claws, slaw, 1/2 order spinach, 1/2 order hash browns, pie, coffee. 30 bucks. Poster is coming from somewhere in the Carolinas so he may want to kick it up a notch.

        2. If I were going to fly to town just for lunch, I'd want to combine it with a little ambience. The Columbia in Ybor City is a good choice; I especially enjoy whiling the afternoon away in the sunny central atrium with a pitcher of sangria Cava and their 1905 salad.

          If the weather's nice, head to the beach to enjoy good food with great views. I love Guppy's outdoor deck (in Indian Rocks Beach), and the restaurant at Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach serves a nice lunch with great views and lots of good people-watching. If you decide to hit the beach, try to get a late flight back so you can stick around for the sunset.

          A non-beachy good choice in Clearwater is Cafe Ponte, one of my area faves. I'll admit that I've never been there for lunch, but their dinner offerings are top shelf.

          1. You should come on down to Orlando, and go to Mimi's cafe off of Millenia BLVD. It is a nice layed back place with awesome service and food. And if you would like to kill some time after lunch -- Universal Studios is just 5 minutes away.

            2 Replies
              1. re: mello07

                Yeah, since I have a Mimi's Cafe like 10 miles from where I live, I don't think that would make too much sense.

                But I like a lot of the recs. in this thread so far. keep 'em coming!