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Orlando/Kissammee Dining Rec's Please -Hungry adults

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staying in Orlando/Kissammee area for 7 days, with a car- all adults, no kids.

Would appreciate any suggestions and greatly appreciate recommendations for:

1/ garlic crabs, seafood
2/ vietnamese
3/ carribean
4/ barbecue ;
also appreciate suggestions for bbq beef rib places.
5/ soul food
6/ authentic "floridian" food- you know, seafood shacks, etc. ; stuff you can't get elsewhere
7/ good pasta place for carb-loading
8/ good steakhouse
9/ cuban
10/ spanish (could be argentinean, etc)
11/ other ethnic
12/ some good places not far from airport as we will be picking up/dropping people at airport on many days.

Need not be fancy - just excellent food.

Would also appreciate menu suggestions at each restaurant (as we all know, sometimes it depends on WHAT you order) , and suggestions as to other things to do in area near restaurant . Much appreciated! (A few years ago, Bob Mervine was kind enough to answer my post and gave some great suggestions. His lost is deeply felt, I know, by all foodies. I am hoping that some kind souls in Orlando will help us.)

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  1. I came on this site too late to get a chance to converse with Bob Mervine, but it actually wasn't until recently that I learned that he had passed in 2007 because I often dig jup post here and use his replies and post as a guide. His words are still good 3 years laters.

    For Vietnamese you should go down to the ViMi district, its Mills Ave that runs between Colonial and Virgina drive. My favorites are

    Pho 88 - http://www.pho88orlando.com

    Ba Le Bakery for a Banh mi - http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/26/300193...

    Vinhs - http://www.yelp.com/biz/vinhs-restaur...

    Other suggestions
    We also liked Ceviche downtown orlando tapas style and is fun for a group.

    If you find youself near Hunters Creek or over that way check out the villages where a few good restaurants have popped up including.

    Padrinos - Cuban
    Nonno's - Italian, I've had the pizza here and it was devine
    Mikado Sushi - Superb quality and freshness, and the plates are as beautiful as they taste.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

      Can't nail them all, but I can certainly offer these local favorites:

      Steakhouse: Del Frisco's is currently #1. Charley's is also a local favorite. If you are feeling adventurous for a serious eating experience and don't mind driving an hour to Tampa, Burns is considered one of the best steakhouses in the Nation. They also have "the world's largest wine list". you can take a tour. They have wine bottles so old, the name is printed on them by hand. Bring your wallet.

      Spanish/Latin: Tu Casa. Excellent local Dominican food. Casual, small, fantastic! On OBT.
      Caribbean: Bahama Breeze. Yes, it is a chain, but still a local favorite with great food, especially the appitizers. For a more local and authentic dive in the "seedier" part of town, try Sunshine Bakery off West 50. (It is Jamaican food, and not just a bakery) You won't see too many tourists here.
      Italian: Ciao Italia - Another local favorite. Near Orange County Convention Center
      Barbeque: Definitely Bubbalous Bodacious Barbeque. This is Orlando's most popular local favorite with a couple locations. It was also featured on Food Network. (I happen to like Cecil's Texas BBQ better) The pulled pork is excellent at both.
      Soul Food- Mamma Nem's on Kirkman. Very high reviews, featured in Orlando Sentinal

      I will also add:

      The Ravenous Pig - Very high marks for this Husband and Wife Chef Team. Menu changes constantly and this is one of Orlando's best.
      Indian Food- Memories of India - off of Turkey Lake Road
      Pizza: Flippers Pizza - Local Favorite with great pizza and awesome lunch specials
      Chinese: Ming Court on International Drive. Great and authentic local food. Upscale atmosphere with excellent food. This is no hole in the wall chinese joint...
      Thai Food: Thai Thani

      Most of these are in the same general area which isn't far from the Airport. Most of these are off of the 528 which is the toll road going to/from the Airport. Some are a little bit of a drive.

      If you are feeling spontaneous, head down to "Restaurant Row". This is a street filled with local and chain restaurants of all types. It is the stretch of Sand Lake road between Turkey Lake, and Apopka Vineland Rd. This is the upscale part of Orlando, towards Tiger Woods house...And MINE!!! well, almost mine :)

      Hope this helps....Happy EATING!!!!!

      1. re: zaz1080p

        thank you for all your suggestions. I have been to bahama breeze and like their drinks. the one on International drive was not great on service though. they had closed off all the sections near windows and when we asked if we could sit near a window (there were many) , as we just got off a plane and wanted some sun, they would not accomodate. Talk about being rigid.
        please keep the suggestions coming. Any spanish besides Dominican? We can get good dominican in nyc but not mexican readily...
        also any seafood places ?

        fish camps nearby?
        thanks much!!!

        1. re: dec111

          How about Lee and Rick's Oyster bar
          5621 Old Winter Garden Rd
          Orlando, FL 32811

          It's a bit of a dive but the seafood is good.

          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

            Lee and Rick's Oyster Bar probably has the best oysters in the area. All from the Gulf and last time I went (last week) they were to die for...plump, salty, cold. Crabcakes are not good but other items on the menu to try are the steamed shrimp and steamed clams...they are the big clams, not the littlenecks. Ask for Paula, she is a great shucker...and if you want oysters by the bucket, you have to sit at the bar. This place is not in the best part of town but well worth the risk. Enjoy!

    2. for vietnamese, i second Pho 88 for their pho, also they have pretty good banh mi dac biet and rice dishes

      try out the newly opened 4Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park for bbq as well, they have been getting rave reviews, they have great beef brisket

      I also second Padrino's for Cuban its right around the Kissimmee / Orlando border hah ( right off of 417 and John Young pkwy), i recommend the vaca frita and their empanadas
      http://tastychomps.blogspot.com/2010/...

      Soul Food - Mama Nem's (its a block away from Lee and Rick's Oyster Bar on Kirkman
      )http://tastychomps.blogspot.com/2009/...

      near idrive for pasta loading i like Maggiano's, which is a chain but they have pretty good food

      other ethnic: for lunch (dinner is expensive and the menu is different) go to hanamizuki for the shio butter ramen and half order of fried rice, it is divine
      http://tastychomps.blogspot.com/2009/...

      if you are in the airport area, near lake rd underhill and semoran there is a argentinean place called choo choo churros, split a mixed grill plate (~24 enough for 2 ppl) and get a empanada its really good tho i havent been back for a while

      good luck and enjoy! hope you have a great stay and let us know how everything goes!