Winter Park- Deland-- Tampa- St. Pete
I posted this to another thread on Chowhound (I have no knowledge or opinon of Eckard)
First, Stetson is a far better place for a real college education with real people than Rollins unless you are just looking for a country club (with a chip on its shoulder that it is not in New England) and not a college where people are there to learn.
Cress-- fine dining. Higher aspirations than any other restaurant in town and usually attains them. Expensive and generally worth it.
Norville Barnes -- good steaks and other similar fair. But expensive (more than it seems to need to be) and the burlesque decor is a bit off putting for families. The same owner's Abbey across the street is the place for unique beers and the Stetson intellectuals (and faculty bands), but also quite expensive. The happening place for Stetson people these days is the newly reopend DaVincis, often a student or faculty band performing (but no food there).
Penachos -- the real thing in Mexican food. I actually like this one the best of all because it is authentic, but dont expect it to be like lame chain Mex places. Very inexpensive.
Everything else is OK, not great. Odums=ok Thai, Wasabi=ok Japanese, DeLand Fish House=sort of ok fried fish, Bill & Franks Brick House = ok BBQ (have the pulled pork & sweet potatos). Nobody seems to know how do make memorable BBQ in Florida. But the sweet potatos here are amazing.
DeLand is a funky cool place if you look around. Much more interesting than the overbuilt and commoditized Winter Park. But if you want life to be like a magazine ad it may not be the place for you.
Okay well I had a small writeup of restaurants and it has disappeared....so Ill try this again.
Comparing DeLand to Winter Park isn't very fair. DeLand is in no way a culinary destination however there are some restaurants which are better than others in town. That said I do end up traveling to restaurants outside of DeLand more often than not. Please note that the restaurants I list aren't necessarily "fun."
Main Street Grill--plain American food. Always busy.
Karlings on 17 North of DeLand-- Decent German food.
Belinis-- really cheap Italian food. Always busy, only takes cash.
Odum Thai & Sushi--Stetson students really like this place. Been about two years since I've been there but budget about 2 hours for lunch.
Pitmaster BBQ- cheap, decent BBQ.
Boston Coffee also serves light sandwiches and salads. It is an interesting little place.