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Nov 5, 2009 09:33 AM

Orlando Lake Buena - how to escape the chains. DC hound needs help

Hopefully you Orlando hounds can help me out. I am here on business and at Lake Buena near DT Disney. What's the closest place to go where I can get some awesome food that isn't from a chain ?

I like small places with a good bar and a low key atmosphere. The food can be asian, fusion, american, or just about any region or ethnicity, as long as it is good. I'd need to cab it, so that's why I am looking for close to Downtown Disney.

I asked a local and they suggested Sand Lake Road but from what I can see online, that's just a strip of chains as well...

Suggestions appreciated.

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  1. Sand Lake Road has both chains and independents. Depending on your budget, you might do well at Vine's, Chatham's ... I'm sure there are others, but those are nice and I can't come up with others right now. Not sure if Chatham's has a bar. Both are pricy. It's a chain, but the Morton's bar has a quiet vibe and decent bar foods. In Celebration, about the same distance, you can get good not-fancy seafood at Celebration Town Tavern and decent Italian and Cafe d'Antonio. Lake Buena Vista is a bust, but there is a decent Southern Indian restaurant right in the Crossroads shopping center. Johnnie's Hideaway has a nice quiet bar but it is very expensive.

    Celebration Town Tavern
    721 Front St Ste 110, Kissimmee, FL 34747

    Town Tavern
    2605 N Dixie Hwy, Pompano Beach, FL 33064

    Johnnie's Hideaway
    12551 State Road 535, Orlando, FL 32836

    1. Oy, I hate to disappoint, but you'll be hard pressed to find something decent. Three of my favorites, which aren't technically chains, but are associated with the hotels are:
      1. The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Saratoga Springs, Dowtown Disney
      2. The Vineyard Grill in the Ritz Carlton (John Young Parkway)
      3. Celebration Hotel restaurant - excellent food and close to you.

      If you're really looking for an amazing dining experience from an independent restaurant, you'll have to venture into Winter Park.

      The Vineyard Grill
      4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL 32837

      1. Plenty of nice restaurants on Disney property - Sa'naa is an African restaurant with an amazing view in the Animal Kingdom Lodge area. Or cab it to Sand Lake and enjoy Vines - great restaurant/bar with live jazz and great food & wine.

        1. I think that you should try La Luce in the new Hilton Bonnett Creek.

          Also, how about Christini's on Sand Lake

          2 Replies
          1. re: horvath42

            The Christini's owner used to manage the Four Seasons. It has some of the best food in Florida. Everyone that I have taken to Christini's raves about it years later. You cannot go wrong. Be sure to make reservations well in advance.

            Four Seasons Restaurant
            5298 Hwy 27, Frostproof, FL 33843

            1. re: Onative

              try the sushi at the hyatt regency. its a small selection but very fresh