Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
May 26, 2011 09:57 AM

Orlando's most under-rated restaurant

We all hear about the most popular restaurants, but what is your pick for the most under-rated?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ok Sister, this is an interesting question, as underrated (to me) means that people are aware of it (otherwise it would be classified a "hidden gem") but that general consensus is that it's either nothing special or not good. So if most folks think it's good then it can't be underrated.

    With this criteria in mind, here are my nominees:

    - Luma on Park (one of the top 5 local restaurants but rarely gets mentioned or recommended on here)

    - La Luce (might classify as a hidden gem, but anything on Disney property in a Hilton can't be too hidden. Another top 5 overall restaurant in Orlando)

    - Charley's Steakhouse on South OBT (the original that just features great meat and great service - no reason to go to a national high-end chain with this place in town)

    - Tchoup Chop (suffers among foodie snobs from the theme park hotel location and the Emeril name, but it is a beautiful space and fine well-executed menu)

    - Cafe Tu Tu Tango (I-Drive location and heavy tourist clientele can't take away from the fact it is the best group dinner location in town and has suprisingly good food - also the best option for a meal with kids that doesn't involve characters, game rooms or nuggets)

    - Chatham's Place (been in the Restaurant Row area since before there was a Restaurtant Row, and though its buzz has faded due to all the new and snazzier options, still one of the best meals in town and hands down the most romantic place to eat in all of Central Florida)

    So that I'm not accused of failing to pick a single winner for most underrated, from the above list I think I'll go with Chatham's Place with La Luce a close second.

    Chatham's Place Restaurant
    7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819

    Luma on Park
    290 S. Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

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

    5 Replies
    1. re: YosemiteSam

      Oh yes, I should have clarified, maybe I should do another post about hidden gems.

      I agree with you though. Luma gets over shadowed often by other places in the winter park area mainly RP.

      Location of Tu Tu Tango makes people gasp - a restaurant on I-drive? lol. and sure foodies want to dismiss the Tchoup Chop just for the Bam! factor and the location as well.

      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

        I haven't been to Tchoup Chop since the new chef arrived, but to me there just weren't enough interesting things on the menu. I can have dumplings, spring rolls, and the like at any Colonial Dr. restaurant.

        I've heard its improved since then though, so maybe its time for another visit.

        I agree with Luma though. Along with RP, its my favorite restaurant in Orlando.

      2. re: YosemiteSam

        Response to Charlie's Steakhouse comment ... while I like Charley's, especially for the price, it certainly doesn't compare to Shula's or The Palm, etc.

        I think Sanaa, at Animal Kingdom Villa's is a really unappreciated locale.

        1. re: Keysmickey

          Charlies and Shula's are both chains, and since ~08 are tasting more and more so. Del Friscos (also a chain) has had some of the better dead cow I've had in mouseland (at a steak-specific joint), with K Restaurant being at the top of the list too.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            Being a chain in the steak arena is not a negative IMO. While I've had great steak at Berns (in Tampa) and a place called Folkes Folley (in Memphis) was probably the best restaurant steak I've ever had, the fact is the chains like Morton's, Ruth's, The Palm, Flemings, etc. etc. are where it's at for great steak, there just aren't enough competitive options. Additionally Shula's Orlando has upped their total experience over the past couple of year (not declined) although they (Orlando) doesn't compare to the Miami Lakes location (the original).

      3. Maraya at Sabrina's
        This restaurant is definately a hidden gem in Orlando. Great food, great people, nice restaurant. When ever I visit Orlando, I make it a point to stop in for lunch or dinner and have never been disappointed. Wish I lived closer!

        7 Replies
        1. re: schoenick

          My vote goes to Il Pescatore downtown Orlando. Best Italian food I have ever had. My gf and I no longer eat Italian anywhere but here. Maybe cause I am new to the board but doesn't seem to get mentioned a lot on here.

          Il Pescatore
          651 N Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

          1. re: VealChop

            North Italian? South? Sicilian? Best what, pasta dishes? (please say no) Need more info.

            1. re: askdrtodd

              Not sure what part of Italy the family/food is from sorry. I usually go for more of the meat dishes rather than pasta (although the stuffed pastas are good). The Vitello Alla Pizzaiola and Pollo Di Stefano are my 2 favorites so far.

              1. re: VealChop

                Its definitely Italian-American. Mostly traditional red sauces. Its good for Italian-American in Orlando, but its not mind blowing or anything in my opinion.

                I'd say Rocco's and Enzo's are both better, but again, neither of those is mind blowing either. Just good, solid Italian for Orlando.

                1. re: Corporate_40

                  Its my favorite, Enzos is expensive and Roccos is more stuffy (i feel). Il Pescatore is laid back more with a more homey feel to it and good eats at a good price (plus its downtown by my apartment).

                  Il Pescatore
                  651 N Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

                  1. re: VealChop

                    It's a bit hard to assess what is under/over-rated from the other side of the I-4, but I have to say I had a deeply satisfying meal at Cedars a week or two ago. It was just a quick stop in on the way to Timucua, but the falafel, hummus, kibbeh, Lebanese salad, and semolina cheese cake dessert were all superb. If Cedars were in Tampa, I would eat there several times a month for sure.

                    1. re: CFishman

                      It took me awhile to appreciate Cedars - mainly because I go for lunch and have only ate off the lunch specials.

                      But I've taken to it more now. I love the Lebanese Salad, Hummus, Babaganoush, etc.

                      I think it is a bit under appreciated / under rated.