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Nine days in Orlando at Marriott World Center

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Hi all, I am currently located in Oregon -- I''ll be in Orlando next week for a conference and will be staying at the Marriott World Center for 9 days. I've been skimming the threads and love the "Best of Orlando" one from January, but unfortunately I don't know where my hotel is located in relation to the lists and could use more guidance. Any hidden gems nearby?

I would love recs on a variety of places all times of the day, accessible by taxi and near-ish to the hotel area. I'll be with groups of folks who won't want to stray too far. Good value or cheap eats are a plus, but not necessary.

However, I'll have one weekday free (9am-5pm) to venture out further for good eats. I also plan to sneak away for a couple of dinners or late night meals, if I can narrow down a short list. All places will still need to be accessible by taxi.

Edited to say, based on the other searches I did, I only found this thread to be somewhat similar, since the OP was staying at the same hotel: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/840485.
Thanks in advance! I plan to report back after (and/or during) the trip :)

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  1. Here are a couple of places I've been scouting (based on the "Best of" thread) that aren't looking unreasonably far away via cab:
    Pio Pio
    Nile Ethiopian
    Cafe Tu Tu Tango
    Copper Canyon Grill
    Hot & Juicy Crawfish
    Hanamizuki

    Any thoughts?

    I am really just looking to get away from eating nine days' worth of meals at the convention center/downtown Disney!

    2 Replies
    1. re: calmossimo

      The main issue is that the hotel you are in in smack dab in the tourist area, so nothing good is really close. The one's you indicated above are in the International Drive area which is not too far of a taxi ride away, so you are on target there. The one on your list I persoanlly would drop is Copper Canyon since to me it is a bit generic and chain-like. If you want to eat at Pointe Orlando one evening make it on a weekend so you can enjoy the local crowds at Cuba Libre, BB King's etc. In that complex I'd eat at Taverna Opa or Funky Monkey or perhaps The Pub.

      To your list, depending on your budget, I'd consider adding the following for closer meals

      * La Luce
      * Bull & Bear Steakhouse
      * Dragonfly
      * The Pharmacy (haven't been but the owner's other restaurant is fantastic)
      * Memories of India and/or Cedar's if you don't have great Indian or Lebanese in your hometown
      * Big Fin
      * Border Grill (cheap eat)

      If you want a special meal see if you can get into The Table on a Friday or Saturday - but it's pricey

      Finally for your excursion day I'd recommend lunch in the Mills Ave. Vietnamese District (I like Pho 88 and Lac Viet but Hawkers is also supposed to be good for Pan Asian) or perhaps 4 Rivers if you love BBQ - walk and shop Park Avenue in Winter Park, and then do dinner at either Ravenous Pig, K, Luma on Park, Prato or Cask & Larder. Those are the best options in town and one of those will really show off what we have to offer in Orlando

      1. re: YosemiteSam

        Thanks for the response! I will look up the places you listed and run them by some colleagues. Hopefully I get the chance to make it to plenty of chow-worthy places while I'm in town.

    2. I ended up getting a chance to take a long, expensive taxi ride out to The Ravenous Pig and enjoyed a delicious lunch there. I had a half portion of the gatherer's salad (baby lettuce, beets, pistachios, radishes, goat cheese -- all some of my faves) and Berkshire pork cheeks with gnudi. My dining companion had the deviled eggs and the rock shrimp tacos. We both loved our food. The pork cheeks were tender and tasteful, and the rock shrimp was perfectly breaded and fried. We strolled around Park Ave for a bit after that, digesting our food, ducking into random shops, and enjoying the sun.

      I went to Cafe Tu Tu Tango with a group of 10 and the atmosphere was wonderful -- lively, artsy, and loud. I thought the food was just okay. I tried the shrimp and kielbasa skewers and the alligator jambalaya. I thought they were decent, but very salty for my taste and I'm not usually one to say things are too salty. I really liked the desserts -- our group tried the banana pizza and the rocky road cookie pizza. I especially liked the banana pizza; although it didn't look too appetizing, I kept going back for more!

      I had a meal at Copper Canyon Grill (chosen by a group) and it was pretty good. I had filled up on appetizers and bread by the time my food came, so I didn't eat too much of my ginormous entree (ribs and chicken) and ended up giving the leftovers to a friend who had a fridge in her hotel room. The fries were good, but I always like fries.

      I had one late dinner at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Downtown Disney -- it was fun to watch the dancing and listen to the band. Another lively atmosphere. I wasn't a fan of the calamari appetizer, but my friend got the pork schnitzel and I really liked that. I had the shepherd's pie, which was a huge portion and pretty good -- but that could have been enhanced by overwhelming pangs of hunger.

      Most of my other meals were on site at the convention center -- Mikado steakhouse at the hotel was overpriced hibachi, but pretty tasty nonetheless. I had the Solaris breakfast buffet included in my hotel rate for the first several days and it was very, very good. I drank copious amounts of freshly squeezed orange juice and even got some to go before going to my conference in the mornings. I really enjoyed the corned beef hash and freshly cut fruit. Most of the other food I had at the hotel was pretty decent, although overpriced and fairly pedestrian. I had a lot of burgers, fries, and cold sandwiches from various places in the hotel... they kept me fed, at the very least.