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Dec 3, 2011 07:21 AM

Need Help from Local Chowhounds to Narrow Down Orlando Options for Visit Next Week

A couple of Torontonians are coming to Orlando for a conference and we would like to experience some local chefs/restaurants. I've reviewed all the previous strings by Yosemite and contributors - great job btw but need some help narrowing down options. We are staying at the Bohemian and will be spending one day at the Gaylord and the remainder at the Marriot World Centre for the conference. I've settled the further away Winter Park options - K Restaurant and the Ravenous Pig (they appear about 20 miles away) but need some help with what should be the top two option closer to the the Bohemiem/Marriot/Gaylord area that we will be spending most of our waking hours at...

So a couple of questions:

Do you agree that K and Ravenous Pig are the two restaurants are worth the drive?

How long would it take us to get there by taxi? (remember we live in downtown Toronto and 20 miles seems like a long way for us, yet I know in Florida it is be different.

What top 2-3 options would you recommend closer to the Marriott/Bohemiem area?

I really appreciate your help.

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  1. Do you mean the Grand Bohemian downtown? That's a gorgeous hotel (where I got married two years ago), and the Boheme restaurant in that hotel is wonderful -- elegant without being stuffy, fancy without being snooty. The food and service are top notch.

    Other than that, the Ravenous Pig is definitely worth the drive. It's my favorite restaurant in town. Just make reservations in advance!

    1. Marriott downtown or Marriott World Center? Because Grand Bohemian and Marriott World Center are nowhere near each other - so wondering if you want recs for downtown and/or Disney area. K is basically downtown so those distances you mentioned are a bit off - plus Ravenous isn't really that far either. If you can - get a little more specific with your locations and I'll post some recs. (BTW Marriott World Center and Gaylord are near each other)

      I'd say K and Ravenous are two of our top 5 overall restaurants so you've chosen well so far. Others in the top 5 IMO are Luma on Park, Chef's Table and La Luce.

      10 Replies
      1. re: YosemiteSam

        The conference that we are at 8 hours a day is at the Marriott World Centre but we are staying at the bohemiem. I'll check out luma, chefs table and la Luce.

        1. re: timpano

          La Luce is very close to the World Center and Gaylord. K is only a 5-10 minute taxi ride from the Grand Bohemian. Another decent option you can walk to from your hotel is the Rusty Spoon (like a 2 minute walk). I think Chef's table is probably too far for you to travel, but if you do and want something less formal check out the Tasting Room by the same chef. Another very short ride from your hotel is our pretty large Vietnamese district - check out Pho 88 or Lac Viet if you don't have good Vietnamese in Toronto. Finally, on Sand Lake Road area you can enjoy great ethnic meals at Nile Ethiopian, Memories of India, Cedar's and Anatolia

          1. re: YosemiteSam

            Thx - we are booked in. Last question. Whats the current reviews for cafe tu tu for fun factor and food.

            1. re: timpano

              Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a lot of fun both in ambiance and in food. Art adorns the walls, dinners usually have some form of entertainment such as belly dancers and artist painting.

              Food is tapas style New American twist.

              1. re: timpano

                Agree with SammieSister - the food is good and the atmosphere is great - not serious gourmet or anything but we take people there all the time and are always happy with it

              2. re: YosemiteSam

                I agree the Rusty Spoon is a great option within walking distance from the Bohemian.

                The Bohemian is a very nice hotel, it's owned by Marriott so you get that great Marriott service that they are so accustom to giving.

                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  So I arrived at the bohemian, the celebration Marriott bohemian. It's been a bit of a surreal experience for a Canadian - fake snow, ice rinks ete. About the strangest place I've ever been. Went to cafe tu tu last night. Great atmospher, ok food. Maybe I ordered to many fried items but it was a bit heavy for a post travel day meal. We are booked at luma, rav pig and k rest. They all seem so faraway...given the desire to have a nice relaxing meal, some wine but know I will Ned to drive 30 min back home. Sorry messing up on the llocation info.


                  1. re: timpano

                    Well, now it all makes more sense why you're staying there. Luma is too far, and K and Ravenous are a hike as well. La Luce is still close, some will recommend the Celebration resties but I find them all mediocre at best. Ordering right at Tu Tu is important, but I'm glad you enjoyed the atmosphere.

                    One idea - since you're at Celebration you could take the 429 Western Beltway up to Winter Garden and do either Chef's Table or the Tasting Room - might be closer than Luma or Ravenous and really just as great - do a Google Map search and check the distance - plus it's in a really cute small Florida town so that's a fun aside for a visitor.

                    I know what you mean about Celebration - you expect Truman from the Truman Show movie to say hello to you at every turn. Just an interesting tidbit - the town had it's first homicide EVER last year - that's in like 15 years of existence. It's just a weird place...

                    1. re: YosemiteSam

                      Kept the reservation at luma and ravenous. After my Celebration experience, i needed a sure thing and they did not disappoint. Both outstanding but loved loved loved the ravenous pig. Food and service were spectacular. Likely
                      Luce tomorrow night. Thanks for the help and the celebration giggle.

                    2. re: timpano

                      You could try the Columbia Restaurant in Celebration. The original in Tampa is known as the oldest restaurant in Florida, with Spanish/Cuban cuisine, but I've only ever been to the Celebration one. It is very good, and possibly exotic and different compared to what you could get in Canada.


            2. Orlando Report Back

              A quick report back on my recent culinary adventures in Orlando:

              Cafe Tu Tu - ambience fun and lively. Great belly dancer. Placed filled with people of all ages and types - families, business groups, young adults. The place where any group would feel comfortable. We went to tu tu at the end of a long travel day and I think we may have ordered the wrong types of food for a end of. Travel day. We had dynamite shrimp, chicken egg rolls - both deep fried and pretty heavy. We also had tuna which was seared but refrigerated and served cold which kind of numbs the flavor of a delicate fish. review - ambience & service great, food ok.

              Luma on the Park - pretty location on the park, very cool interior, but get instructions before you use the bathroom - almost needs a manual. A train ran by several times in the evening which was pretty funny. Table of three, we shared everything - 2 great salads, one beet, one honey crisp apple, had butternut soup ( which they kindly split into 3 bowls), great shrimp dish, ravioli and the best desserts of the trip - the lemon dessert which was Devine. Review, service good, food very good.

              Ravenous Pig - where do I start- absolutely spectacular. Extremely warm, knowledgeable warm Harrison, great menu that had just changed that day and out of the ball pRk food. Frigate biscuits perfectly baked, crispy on outside, warm and flaky inside, shrimp tacos - very simple And so so good, crisp cabbage, super light tempura and a strip of guacamole - yummy. Tuna speck so subtly smoked and flavorful with persimmons and beets. Review: outstanding service, outstanding food

              Luce - in a Hilton I have to admits we struggled finding but nice spot to arrive at. Valet parking is free for the restaurant. Does not feel like a hotel, two servers per table. The fried olives were sloop good, you could not stop eating them. Stuffed with anchovies with a very very light tempura(thx for the tip Yosemite). Light eating day - had the silk handkerchiefs - light pasta, gorgonzola, walnuts - hard to go wrong with those flavors. Had the Boston cream pie dessert - would pass on that next time - too heavy but might appeal to someone who really likes the donut of the same name. Review: service good, food very good.

              Thanks for all your help, particularly Yosemite and sandwich sister, you made my trip. Celebration was the weirdest place I've ever stayed and my travelling companion had never been to florida. Your food recs gave her a balanced view of Florida.


              4 Replies
              1. re: timpano

                You may just be the best report back we've ever had. Love this!

                Cafe Tu Tu Tango can be hit and miss, their menu changes often so sometimes it's hard to get a good feel on what they are doing. Usually when I go I get a few hits and a few misses. It's still a fun place.

                I'm really glad you loved Luma and Ravenous Pig those are two of our stand out restaurants in Orlando.

                Also thanks for the review on Luce, I have yet to go there.

                1. re: timpano

                  Timpano, thank you for the report back -- it's invaluable to hear specifics about folks' experiences when coming from out of town. I haven't been to RP in almost a year, and now I know how badly I need to get back there!

                  1. re: timpano

                    Thanks for the report back and I'm happy we steered you in the right direction. It helps so much to validate we're giving good advice when folks from out of market give us feedback so we're confident we're not just in an echo chamber making recs without knowledge of how they are perceived from other cities.

                    By the way, on an unrelated note just got back from a weekend in NYC and had the tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park - by far the best meal of my life and really puts our options here in Orlando in perspective. V&A is great but this was another whole level up - highly recommend if you are in NYC and have recently come into money :)

                    1. re: YosemiteSam

                      NYC is a short plane ride away for me- will be saving my money for next trip and visit to eleven. Best meal I've ever had was at Statlanders farm in singhampton - so if northern Ontario is in the cards for you, you've got a destintion