Eleven deck

Things are looking up for area restaurants, at least in a physical sense.

There seems to be a renewed interest for top-floor dining. Recently, Hemisphere returned to the top of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. At the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Resort Capa, um, resorted to the highest space. They join California Grill at the Contemporary Resort, and sometime next year, Circo will open on the top deck of an International Drive parking garage.

And there’s the subject of today’s review, Eleven, the restaurant at the Reunion Grande whose name indicates its position at the 11-story hotel.

Hemisphere preview window

The view is about the only thing that hasn’t changed at Hemisphere, the restaurant at the top of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The space, which had been closed for renovations, has been back to serving guests quietly and has its official reopening Thursday.

The $3 million redo pretty much gutted the two-level dining room on the ninth and tenth floors of the hotel inside the airport’s main terminal. I had a chance to see the new decor at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday. Hyatt Regency management and officials from the airport all oohed and aahed over the renovations. Frankly, I found it to be austere and cold.

Mind you, this is not a review of the restaurant — I’ve not yet dined at the new Hemisphere and sampled the menu from executive chef Jeffrey Powell and Jason Moltz, the chef de cuisine. I am looking forward to having dinner there — I’ve liked Hemisphere in the past and considered it one of those local gems, not so much hidden as in full view.

Hemisphere preview longview down

And speaking of views, the two-story glass windows still afford commanding vistas of the runways of MCO. But the space now makes me think of CDG.

Specifically, the Air France lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. It’s not a space I have fond memories of. Every time I visit Paris I’m struck with how unfair it is that the French have a reputation for being rude; that’s never been my experience. And then I head for the Air France lounge before flying home and the staff there tries its best to perpetuate the stereotype.

But it wasn’t the staff at Hemisphere that made me think of the lounge — I’m sure they’re all warm and welcoming — it was the ambience. There are a lot of hard surfaces and I can’t imagine what the noise level will be with a full house.

winebargeorge groundbreaking

George Miliotes conducted an official ground breaking ceremony for Wine Bar George, his Disney Springs wine bar, shop and restaurant that is aiming for a late 2017 opening.

Inside a walled off area behind Raglan Road, Miliotes, his wife, Leanne, and daughter, Anna, turned a couple of golden shovelfuls of dirt for a small contingent of Disney officials and media representatives. It was strictly ceremonial as it was clear that the ground and much of the concrete that had recently sat on top of it had already been broken.

Winebargeorge facade

Colibri interior

I never think about Colibri when I think about Baldwin Park restaurants. Part of the reason is that the Mexican restaurant sits at the end of New Broad Street, apart from most of the other businesses. But it also doesn’t come to mind because its cuisine and the general dining experience are so forgettable.

Unfortunately, Colibri’s new location, in Orlando’s Sodo district, is just as unmemorable. It’s a lovely space — it took over the Egg & I and made it a bright, colorful and comfortable place. But the food just doesn’t excite; it’s remarkably bland. And service on a recent visit was inexplicably slow, even in a mostly empty restaurant.

And what Mexican restaurant worth its salsa runs out of pork before 7 p.m.?

But that sort of thing happens. A better question: Why would anyone put ceviche on top of a tostada?

OceaniareFor our Holiday Supper Club — the final Supper Club of 2016 — we’re going back to an old favorite: Oceanaire Seafood Room.

As those of you who have been reading me for years know, I credit Oceanaire with being among a few fine restaurants that raised the level of seafood quality in Central Florida. And when it comes to hosting a Supper Club, they raise the level there, too.

Our dinner will be on Friday, Dec. 16, with seating in the private dining room at 7 p.m. The special Scott Joseph’s Supper Club price is $98.37 — that’s total, gratuity and tax included. Tickets are now available to everyone; visit the Supper Club page for details and booking.

We are limited to the number of seats available for the dinner, so please purchase your tickets promptly. As always, recipients of my e-letter get first dibs on Supper Clubs and other specials — my way of thanking you for allowing me to stuff an email in your inbox once a week.

Check here for the details of the dinner. It all sounds wonderful, from that delicious seafood I mentioned to the thoughtful pairings.