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Dec 5, 2012 03:24 PM

Visiting Orlando from California

We are visiting Orlando in mid- January. Looking for great cheap eats.

Out here in California, we get a lot of Asian-- chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese mostly so we are looking for Florida specialties that we cannot find at home unless there is a really unique fare that must be had.

We were last in Orlando about 20 years ago so I'll bet there is a lot there that we did not get to try on our last visit. We are staying for four days and will have a rental car. Looking for great lunch and dinner recommendations.

Haven't decided where to stay yet; we will be visiting Epcot and probably the Kennedy Space Center but was going to try to pick lodging near great eats. Please share your recommendations with your Calfornia chow cousin! Thank you.

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  1. We were in Orlando for a week in July and stayed at the Ritz/JW Marriott and as a native San Diegan, hadn't been in years.
    Cuban foods rock and the bakeries are lovely.
    We went to Padrinos.

    If your going to Cocoa Beach, you must hit up Jazzy's Mainely (guys are from Maine) for one of the best seafood shack resto's...packed and fantastic seafood...could eat here everyday!
    Grouper sandwich is off the chain..grouper is everywhere and its like our sea bass but way better..near Space center.

    Millers Ale House was quite good for a chain and their Asian chicken zingers were and good.
    Orlando board was so helpful and such a great group.

    If you get a chance to head over to the gulf, loved Siesta Key, next to Sarasota...we could see ourselves for a month or two hanging, eating and drinking with one of the prettiest beaches.

    Make sure you don't go to ocean to watch the sunset..ha ha

    1. Start with this thread and see if it helps

      By the way, what do you mean by cheap eats? There are some places that are a great value but not cheap (Ravenous Pig for example) But with cocktails you won't get out of there for less than $100 for 2 but it's totally worth $100

      2 Replies
      1. re: YosemiteSam

        Good value is good. Thank you. We'll add Ravenous Pig to our list.

        1. re: dimsumgirl

          Also if you get a chance add Cask and Larder it's by the same Husband and Wife Chef team as Ravenous Pig.

          Also Rusty Spoon, downtown is focused on farm to table. Norman's from Chef Norman Van Aken is "Florribean" style

          Memories of India or Saffron for Indian food

      2. Rock shrimp. The machinery to process this tough crustacean was invented in Titusville, next to the Cape. Before this, it was shoveled over the side as trash.

        So head to Dixie Crossroads in Titusville for broiled rock shrimp. If you get the Captain's platter or anything else, you have wasted the trip. Broiled rock shrimp.

        Smoked mullet is also a local favorite, but hard to find. Too many food safety laws to make it viable anymore.

        1. just epcot? staying on disney property? or have you decided where to stay yet?

          and i assume you will be renting a car?

          2 Replies
          1. re: srsone

            Yes, staying near Disney at the Embassy Suites. We will have a rental car although I haven't rented it yet.

            1. re: dimsumgirl

              What were you looking to do, work your way around the world showcase eating smaller bites, or scheduling a meal at one of the restaurants

          2. We ended up eating at Miller's Ale House for our late night meal and enjoyed ourselves so much that we ate there a couple of times afterwards too.

            Had hubby's birthday dinner at Ravenous Pig. I was surprised at the amount of traffic on the road. It took us quite a drive to get there.

            I really wanted to get the pork porterhouse but when they said they would not cook it medium rare for me, I declined and got the venison instead. it was okay; husband liked his short rib dinner.

            We had several other places on our list to try but Miller's was so darn convenient being less than a mile from our hotel and with good food and reasonable prices that we did not make it to the other places.

            Thanks to all for your recommendations! We enjoyed our short visit to Orlando!

            5 Replies
            1. re: dimsumgirl

              'We ended up eating at Miller's Ale House for our late night meal and enjoyed ourselves so much that we ate there a couple of times afterwards too'...LOL

              I wish there was a Miller's Ale House in So.Cal area..they just opened one in Vegas.
              I found the food to be surprisingly really good, service was great and prices were reasonable.

              Glad you and your husband enjoyed your trip and thanks for reporting back!

              1. re: Beach Chick

                So glad to find out that I am not the only one who sticks with a good place when traveling.

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Miller's was a great surprise! I really like to try different places and we rarely stick to one place when we travel but this was so good we couldn't figure out why not go back. BTW, BC, the server says that he loves the zingers (we didn't try them) but he said the secret is the hand breading of the chicken.

                  Did you try the pork shank ossobucco? My favorite item from the three dinners we had there.

                  1. re: dimsumgirl

                    Hi Dim..
                    We stayed at the Grande Lakes Ritz/JW Marriott where a Miller's Ale House along with Padrino's which was about a mile down the road and I found out about it after leaving Padrino's for Cuban and we were with friends and we all couldn't believe that Miller's at 10pm was packed with a line out of the door!

                    So, we looked online and decided to try it and we all were quite surprised how good it was.
                    I don't eat meat and chicken is iffy for me unless its cooked and panko upped pretty good..chicken fingers is my speed.

                    Zingers are excellent and the Thai sauce is off the chain good.

                    We travel all over and like you, we rarely stick to one place but I've gotta say that MIller's was perfect for all of us..

                    When I suggested Miller's to you and then someone said it was a TGIF, I thought, dang, I hope she listens to me and not him!

                    I did not try the pork shank but saw it at a table and they were raving about it..

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      That area you are talking seems to be expanding a bit.

                      Over by Padrino's is Mikado Sushi which is absolutely delicious.

                      There is also All Italian Market which is party italian store and part restaurant. I've had their cheese ravioli and their paninis are excellent.

                      Also if you go down Town Center right near the Padrinos there is a small place called Orlando Snack Cafe. It's Venezuelan lunch food. Great beef dishes, plantains, black beans, empanadas. Menu is in English and service is friendly and helpful.

                      Down John Young Park way while on your way to Padrinos is Fortuna Bakery. It's menu is all in Spanish but they are helpful. They offer baked items, cakes, coffee, espresso and a breakfast, lunch menu.

                      There is also a Thai place opening up soon and I can't wait to try it.

                      I've sent a few people to Ale house because there are a lot of out of towners that want to try gulf oysters, shrimp etc. The ale house serves that. For a bit they had to stop due to the oil spill but now things are better and I haven't had any problem with the gulf oysters.

                      My friends who just moved to DC were happy the Ale house was expanding and now they have one there. I think they are expanding at least to the east coast, maybe even out west but not sure.