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Jul 2, 2010 09:21 AM

Relocating to Orlando and a huge foodie

Hi - I am relocating from Tampa to Orlando and am looking for restaurants to dine at in and around downtown Orlando.

We live downtown by Thornton Park and know about all the popular restaurants in the area - Ravenous Pig, Kres, Citrus, Shari, Dexters, Logans, K, Taste, Shin, Napasorn, Cityfish, 310, Rare Olive, etc...I am looking/hoping to hear about unique finds I wouldnt see on the 10 top restaurant sites.

I would like to stay away from the touristy section, but if there are outstanding restaurants that locals normally go to, I am interested in hearing. The only cuisine I cannot eat is Chinese, but absolutely love Japanese, German, mexican, good salads, great steaks, fresh seafood, southern cuisine, and cuban/spanish.

I look forward to hearing about all your responses!!

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  1. If you look below these posts you'll see links in the FLORIDA BOARD DISCUSSIONS section that begin with ORLANDO VISITOR'S DINING GUIDE - check those out for a start on your questions - all recommendations within exclude national chains and touristy places

    1. try pom pom sandwich shop and cafe 118 in winter park

      2 Replies
      1. re: askdrtodd

        I saw 'porn porn sandwich shop'...
        What's it mean doc?

        1. re: Mild Bill

          POM POM, not "porn porn."

          Good sandwiches, but I think they are pricey for the small size. The teas are great, though.

      2. Anatolia - Turkish is excellent. While I haven't been to Bosphoreus in Winter Park, a friend of mine liked Anatolia better.

        For Sushi my heart belongs to Mikado Sushi in the villages at Hunters Creek South Orlando., its just amazingly fresh, well presented plates and delicious. Also in the villages there is Padrinos which is cuban, and quite delicious as well.

        I'm still a fan of Girabaldi's mexican resturants, They have expanded and some say they lost a little of the smaller type charm but I think they are still very good. Sandlake and semoran locations.

        Of course everyone has been raving about 4 rivers BBQ in winter park. It's great, and a well needed addition to that area but parking sucks.

        Fine Dining - My pick is still Normans in the Ritz Carlton off of central florida parkway and john young, near seaword.

        We don't have very many german restuarants. I'd like to know the best in the area as well.

        Lee and Ricks for Oysters, I've never had their hot meals, but their Oysters are great, and the last time I went I had a really good shucker.

        Hot Dog Heaven for Chicago style hotdogs

        Cubans on the Run - It's in Cassleberry which is a drive for me but I love their cuban sandwiches.

        Press 101 - Dr. Phillips - is a great place for a fun lunch date, wine and sandwiches outside in nice weather is always a great time.

        Ceviche - downtown - I loved our last meal here, but I've heard complaints from friends about service for large groups which is a shame, but still a great place to try.

        The other tapas place in town is off Idrive - Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I love this place, but some of the dishes are hits, and some are misses. and portion size varies, great for a group, a fun time, or people who love art, the walls are decorated in local art.

        Hot Dog Heaven
        5355 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32807

        Cafe Tu Tu Tango
        8625 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

        Press 101
        7600 Dr Phillips Blvd Ste 22, Orlando, FL 32819

        Mikado Sushi
        13586 Village Park Dr, Orlando, FL 32837

        12 Replies
        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

          My fave downtown spots are these:

          - Urban Flats, flatbread
          - Shin, upscale sushi
          - Bento Cafe, quick-serve but delicious sushi
          - Dexter's, bistro
          - Roho Cafe, Cuban
          - Panchero's, cheap Mexican
          - CityFish, seafood
          - Napasorn, Thai
          - ANY of the Vietnamese restaurants along Colonial Drive
          - Kres Chophouse, amazing soups and salads
          - Pita Pit, quick-serve Mediterranean
          - Johnson's Diner, soul food

          As for German, if you don't mind driving about a half-hour outside of downtown, Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe in Sanford is awesome:


          Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
          205 E 1st St Ste D, Sanford, FL 32771

          Johnson's Diner
          595 W Church St Ste E, Orlando, FL 32805

          Urban Flats
          330 A1A N, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

          1. re: afluker

            Thank you for these suggestions - I will definitely make a point to try them all. Keep sending if others come to mind :)

            I did try Bento this weekend and loved it - was in and out in an hour, and the quality was not skimped at all!

            Napasorn, however I had the other night as well for takeout and was not that impressed. I ordered the phad thai and it was flavorless to me - but the meal my boyfriend ordered, he was very pleased with - I believe it was the spicy beef and vegetables.

            We went to Del Frisco's on Friday night with a large party and I have to say - the steaks there have gotten better than I remembered! The renovation to the place looked great and the steaks were cooked perfect! The broccoli and cheese was the best side dish we had and the crab cakes had no breading and were so flavorful!

            1. re: afluker

              Some of your choices are a little confusing to me.

              Bento Sushi, I found not to be as good as Shari.
              Pita Pit is your Mediterranean choice? really? I love pita pit but wouldn't categorize it as "Mediterranean.

              Lastly...Urban Flats downtown is NOT GOOD. Way tooo overpriced, food is mediocore at best and service isn't good. I generally don't complain or dislike many places but this place is a definate pass...

              Of course this is just my opinion.

              1. re: VealChop

                I'd still check out Mikado sushi - hunters creek location
                or Nagoya sushi Sand lake

                Med - I would go Anatolia or Cedars

            2. re: Sandwich_Sister


              Fine Dining - My pick is still Normans in the Ritz Carlton off of central florida parkway and john young, near seaword.

              Are you going to the eight anniversary dinner at Normans?

              1. re: herbert1

                when is it, My husband is out of town working until decemeber but comes up sometimes

                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  Join Chef Norman Van Aken and some of
                  Orlando’s finest chefs and sommeliers
                  Saturday, August 20th at 6 pm
                  Norman’s at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

                  Who's Cooking?
                  Chef Brandon McGlamery:  Luma
                  Chef Scott Hunnel:  Victoria & Albert's
                  Chef James Petrakis:  The Ravenous Pig
                  Chef Camilo Velasco & Fernando Enriquez:  NORMAN'S
                  Chef Sean Woods & Chef Stephane Cheramy:  The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando

                  Who's Pouring?
                  Master Sommelier:  Brian Koziol
                  Master Sommelier:  Laura DePasquale
                  Advanced Sommelier:  Luis Reyneri
                  Sommelier:  Yusuf Yildiz

                  Live Music
                  Scotch and Bourbon Bar on terrace and Hand Rolled Cigars
                  Call Restaurant for menu detail

                  $175 per person all inclusive
                  Reservations required (407) 393-4333

                  Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
                  4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837

                  1. re: herbert1

                    This sounds Amazing. I wish is on a weekend my husband was coming up from Miami. I don't know if I could get anyone else to go with me that would want to splurge on this.

              2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                I'm planning our menu at Cafe Tu Tu Tango for a work dinner in March during a convention. Any suggestions on must-haves? Which dishes are hits? Thanks in advance!

                1. re: drfoodie

                  Menu changes a lot, so it's hard to recommend, but we always get the Oriental marinated steak skewers, dynamite shrimp, the chocolate covered cheescake lollipops and for drinks either the sangria or the Matisse Margarita

                2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  I also think Cafe Tu Tu Tango is worth going to. It's never been outrageously busy when I've been there. Everyone can find something to enjoy. I've liked all the takes on spare ribs that I've had as well as a couple of good flat breads and terrines. Alligator gumbo (I know, sounds uber touristy) was a choice last time I was there and it was good. Nice beer list with local options. The entertainment isn't too intrusive, even the belly dancers. Their routine is short and the noise level is far below what one might experience in many other restaurants, especially in that neighborhood.

                  1. re: YvonneChristine

                    I've always found some lovely dishes there but also a few misses which keeps it interesting for me.

                3. The best German food around is the Willow Tree Cafe in Sanford. They now have a grocery/deli open on Magnolia Square- about 1/2 block from the restaurant.

                  Yalaha Bakery is opening a store in Orlando. It is on Orange Avenue, across from Lake Ivanhoe and about 4 doors down from Tim's Wine Store, the best wine store in Orlando

                  Yalaha Bakery
                  8210 CR 48, Yalaha, FL 34797

                  1. Cuban - black bean deli on 17/92 in winter park
                    Thai villa - goldenrod at aloma near winter park. Very small and cozy. Good food. Near it is boston Fish House. They fly their seafood daily fromNew England and is very authentic.
                    Not quite a restaurant but try croissant gourmet for baguettes and French pastries. Owners spent months bringing different yeasts from France to get the baguettes right in our weather. Park avenue and morse in winter park. Across morse is the Cuban cafe, another very good choice for cuban.
                    These are rather winter park centric since I used to live there
                    Downtown I am a fan of Dexter's. Next to it is Aroma. Good wine decent food. A little pricey.
                    For upscale Mexican I fell in love with Paxia in College Park. Very very good upscale take on Mexican.
                    Try Shine neighborhood kitchen just outside Thornton park. All my friends love it. Sadly have not had a chance to try it.
                    Bosphorus on park avenue is good turkish. Mi tomatina and El bodegon in winter park are both good choices for Spanish.
                    I will think of more and repost. Sadly right now I can only think of the great ones that have closed (Amira's kosher deli anyone?).
                    And pancheros? Really? I would have never thought of eating there. Anyone have any thoughts on it?
                    I did get suckered into Chicos dirty tacos downtown And surprisingly they have tongue tacos. And surprisingly the tongue was well prepared. Pleasant enough for me to consider going back even if everything around the tongue was awful. And the chicken taco wasnt worth a dime. And while on the subject of bad Mexican downtown, go to mucho tequila for the ambiance, don't even bother with the food

                    2611 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804