Orlando Restaurants & Eats

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by krusty, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. krusty
    Original Member

    krusty Silver Member

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    I have visited this city enough to check out a wide range of fare. The nicer, well-traveled places are easy to find, but here are some that are not. In general, I would characterize these as tasty, tiny, family-owned, and trading ambiance for value. So, in no particular order...

    1. Teriyaki House
    You can't tell by the name, but this is a Taiwanese restaurant. The menu has a side in English and a side in Chinese. However, the Chinese menu is more diverse, and special items are posted on signs with pictures - only in Chinese. Use your eyes and point to order. The couple that own/run this place speak broken English at best.
    Don't miss: 3-layer pork belly, garlic fried eggplant w/ground pork, salt pepper fried pork/chicken

    2. Arepas And More
    The family operators are Colombian, speaking broken English. Of the 3 places I tried in town that supposedly specialize in empanadas, this was the best. Obviously, try the arepas.
    Don't miss: daily stew special, maduros

    3. Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar
    This place is on the tourist radar. Oysters are the only seafood item they source themselves. Contrast these oysters with those served at - say - High Tide Harry's (which is great overall, too), and you'll notice the difference in size and freshness. A staff member will shuck at the pace you are willing to eat. I recommend a bucket, which is ~$19 (less at lunch) and includes >3 dozen tasty oysters. If raw is not your fancy, they can be cooked to order.

    4. Boston Bakery
    The operator/owner is Vietnamese, the only one there who can speak English, and personally oversees baking the incredible bread for his bahn mi - all day, every day. There are 10 bahn mi options, 12 boba smoothie flavors, and assorted takeaway items (e.g. desserts). Notable:
    • Everything is between $2 and $3.50!
    • The owner said he sells 1000 of the #1 bahn mi on Sundays, 300 #1's on other days. Remember, there are still options #2-#10!
    • Why "Boston"? Owner said he simply kept the name of the last business that left. :p

    5. Soong Thai
    I have been to Thailand for 3 weeks, been taken to the best Thai places in Chicago by Thai's, been to Lotus of Siam in LAS, and can easily say that this place ranks highly. Unlike the other 4 mentions above, this place has ambiance, and you will pay more for it. But the value is still there when you taste the food, and experience the service. Each vegetable component - no matter how small - was cooked perfectly.
    Don't miss: Penang Duck, Hurricane Shrimp

    Can't wait for my next opportunity.

    PS - If you're wondering why not include more pictures: I have reached the limit per post. Time for a trip to the suggestion thread...
    cockpitvisit likes this.
  2. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    A couple non-touristy places I like:

    Thai Thani
    11025 International Dr,
    Orlando, FL 32821
    Phone: (407) 239-9733

    For Spanish/Cuban I've enjoyed Columubia restaurants on the Gulf Coast and it looks like they've got a location in Celebration near Orlando: http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/locations.asp

    I did find some good ethnic spots on Orange Blossom Trail, south of Sand Lake (this is the intersection that is just NorthWest of the Florida Mall. A review of some of them is below.

    At at Pio Pio first, The Rotisserie Chicken was VERY moist and the two sauces (garlic and a creamy chimmichurri that went with the chicken and the yucca were excellent.
    Pio Pio Restaurant
    (407) 438-5677
    11236 S Orange Blossom Trl
    Orlando, FL 32837

    In the same strip mall is a bakery opening up soon called Jamaica Bakery.
    Jamaica Bakery
    11352 S Orange Blossom Trl
    (407) 580-7303

    Also in the same mall is Andy’s Nice House which had a good looking menu (lots of different Chinese cuisines) posted in the window but I did not have time to eat there.

    A bit further south of the restaurants above on the West side of Orange Blossom is a place called Caridad, El Ray Mofongo. I did not eat here as I had enjoyed some terrific mofongo at:

    10910 S Trial Circle
    Orlando, FL 32837
    Tropifongo is actually located in the B & M Food Store which sells both beer and my favorite, coconut juice to go with the meals one can order at Tropifongo which is the restaurant w/in the B & M convienience store. A buddy and I shared a combo dish of mofongo. The mofongo is not mixed with your choice of meat but instead the meat is served on the side. Normally in Puerto Rico, all mofongos I’ve had the protein has been mixed in. I actually preferred this as we were able to split the mofongo, the two meats we had with were roast pork and garlic shrimp. Pork was SOOOOO moist and good. Shrimps were precooked and simply reheated in the butter/garlic but darn good none the less. Tropifongo was some of the best mofongo I’ve ever had. There is also a “buffet” hot line where many folks were ordering rice, beans, plaintains, pork chops, meatballs, fish.

    On the East side of Orange Blossom Trail (around 12355 ish) was another place due to open shortly that may be promising. Ono La’au Hawaiian Restaurant/Bake Shop.

    Further up Orange Blossom Trail on the East side is also Real New York Pizza (11741B S. Orange Blossom Trl), NOT GOOD.

    Next door to this pizza place was a Cuban/Latin fast food place called Roberto Parrilla which looked pretty good but I didn’t have anything as I had spied the Middle East Market & Deli (located 8100 S Orange Blossom Trl) and I had a hankering for some shwarma. The Middle East Deli did not disappoint, on a spit was real beef/lamb that was carved and served in a wrapped pita bread that was actually put in foil and then pressed to create a crispy exterior. A VERY good sandwich. The baba gannouj was quite smoky and good. Middle East Deli is open 9am-8pm. This would be a good place to grab some items for a picnic somewhere. They also served chicken shwarma and the old standby gyros if one wanted.
    lin821 and cockpitvisit like this.
  3. Art234
    Original Member

    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    This is probably touristy, but I like Charley's Steakhouses....I usually go to the one on International Drive, but I am only there when there is a trade show....

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