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Jan 1, 2011 01:09 PM

Help! How do I feed a family of 7 dinner around Orlando.

Hi Everybody,

I'm trying to get a plan together. Our family of 7, kids 3,6,6,7,8 are going to Disney in June for 3 or 4 days. We are looking for dinner (breakfast and lunch are taken care of already) spots that are unique, kid friendly, non-franchise, not too expensive. Getting out of Orlando would be great, but we wouldn't want to miss out on a gem in Orlando either.
I was hoping for a diner that overlooks an alligator farm, the best Cuban food outside of Miami, a killer roadside seafood shack...that kind of thing. Where will a local foodie take a family for a time to never forget?
We were thinking that anything within an hour of Orlando would work for us. What do you think?

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  1. Wow this is a hard one based on the ages of the kids, how many people, and no chains.

    We have a few little cuban joints around but they are very small and perhaps not all that kid friendly. That said the one that sticks out is Padrino's It's in the villages of hunters creek, is not to expensive and should have something for everyone.

    If you are going to Disney there are a few options. I think the Biergarten at Epcot is fun for the whole family. Little kids will love the show and so will the adults. It's buffet german food but have plenty of options for the kids, like chicken shnitzel and mac and cheese.

    Also I was trying to think of this idea you had for the alligator farm and couldn't think of anything but remembers Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge has an amazing view of the African Serengeti like area. Roaming Zebras and the like.

    I'm going to try and think of some more places for you. but that is all I have at the moment.

    1. Alligator farm? Cuban food? Roadside seafood shack? Sounds like you should've gone to Miami-Dade. If you want to see alligators then there is Gatorland but I have no idea about the food there. If you want to EAT alligator there are a few places around that serve it - a place on International Drive called Everglades might be your best bet. There are some Cuban places but the Cubans didn't really make it to Orlando - sort of ceded it to the Puerto Ricans :) If you want authentic ethnic here I recommend Puerto Rican, Indian, Lebanese and especially Vietnamese as we have thriving communities of each of these groups. The roadside seafood shack is always a disappointment around here - if you want to drive you can try Dixie Crossroads in Titusville or JBs Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach, but it's not really what you are looking for. Lee & Ricks is probably the closest but they recently had a "challenging" health inspection so I'm steering folks clear of it for awhile. Other options for your group (while not authentic) that serve local seafood are either Big Fin or Winter Park Fish Co.

      So where should you go with a group that size? I'd second Sanaa above, also try Boma in that same hotel for a buffet that's kid friendly but also features some authentic African food. Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a good bet as is Cedar's for Lebanese and Memories of India. Finally, if you haven't had a lot of Vietnamese head downtown to the ViMi District and eat at Lac Viet or Pho 88 - kids love the soups and the boba tea.

      Dixie Crossroads
      1475 Garden St, Titusville, FL 32796

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

      Memories of India
      7625 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

      1. Great cuban right outside of Disney property, Havana's Cuban Cafe, We've been there with kids before and they're great. The food is delish, the owners are very nice and I've never disappointed any of my out of town foodie guests. I would agree that BOMA is also a great option, a view of the Serengeti and a wide selection of great food that even the kids will love. I also agree with heading downtown for some vietnamese food, the kids do love the big bowls of noodle soup and it's very family friendly.
        I can't agree at all with you heading to JB's Fish Camp (I've been there and although the food is good, it's a very long drive and with 5 kids it might not be the best time).
        Enjoy your visit.

        Havana's Cuban Cafe
        8544 Palm Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32836

        4 Replies
        1. re: VWRobin

          Thanks for the ideas guys. My wife and I had our own restaurant for 10 years and we like to support the Mom and Pop places as much as possible. The real hope is that wherever we end up our kids will have some real great memories. We were thinking of a day trip to the gator zoo in St. Augustine, so any help along that way would help too. It looks like taking 19 through the Ocala forest could be good chance to see some wild life. Anyway, thanks again and Happy New Year.

          1. re: LukeTC

            hmmm what about Saltwater Cowboys in St. Augustine? I havent been in years but it sounds like something you may be interested in.


          2. re: VWRobin

            Robin, Isn't Boma the african buffet at the animal kingdom lodge? I've never eaten there, I'm guessing they have the same views as Sanaa?

            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

              Boma is the African buffet - although you might not get a view from the restaurant, there are so many wonderful vantage points at the hotel and right out back - and any and all hotel guests (room or restaurant) are welcome to enjoy them.