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Solo convention dining in Orlando, blah blah blah (but with lunch, I hope)

DavisSquare Nov 5, 2010 09:21 AM

Ok, so it comes up all the time, but we answer too where I'm from (Boston). I'm conventioneering (is that a word) at the Hilton near Seaworld and have had enough bad food experiences in Orlando to want to repeat that (can anyone say Medieval Times). I'll have a car, so for my three dinners I'm looking at:

Ravenous Pig
Lac Viet
Lee & Rick's

Editorial comments? Are all three ok for a solo diner? Other, better options?

I'm kinda bummed to miss out on Cuban and sushi, so I'm hoping to sneak out for lunch at least once or twice. Any suggestions for real lunch nearby (for sufficiently loose values of nearby)? Bonus points for good Cuban or sushi.

Finally, I have an evening flight out. Anywhere even remotely on the way to the airport where I could get takeout for the plane?

Thanks everyone and I appreciate all the advice that's gone before...

  1. b
    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 5, 2010 09:38 AM

    I've not been to Lee & Rick's, but everyone around here loves it, and it seems like such a quintessential Florida food experience for a Northerner that it's a great choice. I have nothing but good experiences at the Pig and Lac Viet (where I took my wife on our first date), so I think you have three excellent dinners planned.

    1. Sandwich_Sister Nov 6, 2010 06:47 AM

      Lee and Ricks I've only had the oysters there and there were wonderful. The place is kind of a dive though. It's an Orlando instution in my book but I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone.

      Cuban and Sushi, If you take Central Florida Parkway down to John Young Park way and head towards Hunters Creek you will see the villiages at hunters creek plaza.

      There is Mikado Sushi my favorite place to get sushi, and a cuban place Padrinos which is also wonderful.

      -----
      Mikado Sushi
      13586 Village Park Dr, Orlando, FL 32837

      1. e
        eimac Nov 8, 2010 05:58 AM

        Orlando might be in Florida, but it is not a Cuban food destination. If you are out and about at lunchtime and see a Pollo Tropical you might try that., It is a chain that does decent Cuban-- grilled chicken, roast pork, plantains, yucca etc. If I need a Cuban fix, I go there since the sit down Cuban places here are nothing like the restaurants that flourish in South Florida.

        1. t
          TheOtherJen Nov 8, 2010 10:07 AM

          There are quite a few new restaurants close to where you are along International Drive. "Napa" at the Peabody just opened and the popular Funky Monkey Wine Co. at Pointe Orlando is locally owned and the second location of the original Funky Monkey in downtown Orlando.

          For sushi, and maybe a good option for take-out before your flight, is Wa restaurant near Universal. Here's a great review by Scott Joseph, a local, well-respected dining writer: http://www.scottjosephorlando.com/reviews/62-japanese/827-wa-restaurant

          For more ideas on what's new, check out this list: http://www.orlandoinfo.com/media/meet...

          1. DavisSquare Nov 13, 2010 06:11 PM

            Thanks so much for the input, at least there are no objections to my dinner plans. Sushi is indeed a great idea for taking on the plane as it's pretty self-contained and not smelly. I'll check out one of those places. Any suggestions for other takout that's not too far from the airport?

            Thanks again all, and think, you're keeping me out of Medieval Times...

            1 Reply
            1. re: DavisSquare
              b
              Big Bad Voodoo Lou Nov 13, 2010 10:44 PM

              The airport is surrounded by typical chain restaurants and not much else. The only place I would recommend that's nearby is High Tide Harry's, a divey seafood joint that I loved in its old location, near my job. They moved over the summer, and I haven't been to the new place yet, but I'm sure it is still good.

              You're from Boston so you probably know from good seafood, but I don't know if you guys have access to delicious fried softshell crabs, garlic crabs, raw oysters, conch fritters, fried gator, or frog legs up there. And I don't know if it would travel that well either.

              http://www.hightideharrys.com/

            2. DavisSquare Nov 19, 2010 06:50 AM

              Thanks everyone for the advice. This trip to Orlando was much better, food-wise, than any I've had in the past.

              The first night I stuffed myself at Lac Viet. Fantastic! A mango and sea-creature salad was delicious and enough for a meal, but did I stop there? Need you ask? The Lac Viet Pho was sublime; the tendon bits are the best and the broth is incredibly rich. Fantastic. After the salad, I was utterly defeated by half a bowl. The other half was one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.

              The second night I was the Ravenous Pig and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. Very attentive service at the bar, but the drink I had, something with gin and honey, was timid and wan. Also, the candy corn bar snack is overly sweet and tends to kill the taste of everything else. Unfortunately, it's also impossible to stop eating. I had a classic pear and blue cheese salad which was all out of balance: the pears were bland and the big chunks of blue cheese really overpowered everything else. The mussels were, however, the worst part of the experience. The broth had odd notes of chemical-ey orange flavor, and the mussels themselves were hopelessly overcooked. I didn't finish them. Excellent fries, though, very crispy down to the bottom of the cup with just the right amount of salt.

              Lee & Ricks was just as advertised, although the place was hopping on a Wednesday night. Oysters were good, not the best, but good and the shrimp pretty lacking in flavor. A good time despite the wait.

              Finally, I went back to Lac Viet for one more bowl of Pho "on the way" to the airport. I would have gotten takeout, but you can't take the soup on the plane (no soup for you!). Delicious.

              Thanks again everyone and please come and ask when you come up North.

              1. c
                cloudship Feb 10, 2011 07:09 PM

                How is the Capital Grill for a solo diner? I know it's a chain, but I am craving raw beef, and they serve carpaccio, I believe.

                1. k
                  kinghamilton Feb 11, 2011 01:24 PM

                  Unfortunately that is the M.O. of Orlando. Inconsistency!!!! one night good the next not so good. Thank God I am a Chef myself and I much prefer food at home then going out here. I understand when you travel it's not easy to make your own. When I travel I love to hit the "locals" spots and soak up the local color...as it were. especially the attraction area doesn't have much in the way of exciting eateries.

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