Traveling to Orlando for business what're some good alternatives?
I will be in Orlando for a few days and I'm looking for recommendations for restaurants close to either "Orange County Convention Center" (International Drive) or to hotel (Universal Blvd. near Plaza Luz Road.)
Any cuisine is OK, I will probably have to dine alone some nights so I also need places where eating at the bar is an option. I care most about excellent food (place doesn' t have to have an extensive wine list), and closeness to either location--although a short cab drive is an option too.
Your recommendations for medium to upscale places with a nice atmosphere will be greatly appreciated.
If you search "Orange County Convention Center" on this board, you should find a few good threads. There's nothing really within walking distance, but a short cab ride will get you to Pointe Orlando, which has Maggiano's, BB King's, Tommy Bahama Cafe, and Taverna Opa which is good Greek food. There's also a Cafe Tu Tu Tango near Pointe Orlando.
A little further cab ride will get you to Sand Lake Road which is known as Restaurant Row. It has Antonio's for good Italian, Moonfish for great fish, Cedars for good Middle Eastern, Ruths Chris, and Samba Room for yummy trendy upscale Cuban. There's also a Seasons52 on Sand Lake, but it is the most over-rated restaurant in Orlando, IMO. My rec would be Samba Room and a little place called Vines (which may have moved, actually, not sure, but excellent food and live music).
Good solo dining options (need a cab ride for all....)
Away from disney
Vines Bar and Grill (they have a fabulous Jazz band on Sundays and Thursdays, music every night)
Emerils Tschoup Tschoup
The Ravenous Pig
All of the above have very good to excellent food.
You'd be looking at a pretty steep cab fare to go to Graze or The Ravenous Pig. Same with Disney as well. Vito's chop house on I-Drive has good steaks and has a pretty good bar area for a lone diner. Always full of convention people. I wouldn't go much further than the sand lake road area which has some new happening places along with the places mentioned above. Ocean Prime, and J alexanders are both new.
Forgot to mention my favorite place! On Turkey Lake Road, off of Sand Lake, there is Memories of India, a nondescript Indian restaurant in an outdoor shopping center. I usually go to the one in Lake Mary and it's the best food in town, period. I'm sure the Turkey Lake one is comparable.
Two good spots for solo dining:
Roy's, a Hawaiian-fusion place on Sand Lake Road, has a great food bar overlooking the kitchen.
Hanamizuki, an authentic Japanese restaurant on International Drive, has a sushi bar if you prefer that to a table.
Vine's did indeed move, and to a fab new place at that. The food is outstanding. There's a nice bar in the front (with live jazz at night) and you can eat there or in the dining room.
Near Universal, Emeril's in CityWalk and Emeril's Tchoup Chop in the Loews Polynesian-themed hotels both have food bars facing the kitchen.
Pointe Orlando is a terrific location that's close to where you're going. I'll second the recommendation of Tommy Bahama and also throw out Capital Grille. They've got a lively atmosphere with some mighty tasty food.
And yes, although the drive is long, I'll also recommend The Ravenous Pig. My wife and I went on Saturday and were blown away. Great homemade pastas, good beer and wine selection, great biscuits, fresh fish, and terrific lamb chops that my wife won't stop talking about. My only complaint, however, was the dessert. We ordered some peanut, chocolate ice cream cake concoction that really was quite bad. But other than that, I can't wait to go back.
I don't know when you are going, or have already gone, but my most favorite restaurant is Primo, which is in the Marriott Hotel. The food is fantastic, plus they have a table where I think singles can eat together. I'm not positive about that as it was last year. I went to this site and asked for recommendations, and Primo was recommended meny times, so I'm really surprised that wasn't on anyone's list!