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Amare entrance

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin opened its new companion hotel, the Swan Reserve, in November. It’s distinguished from the two larger resorts – it sits separated across Epcot Resort Boulevard – with a more modern glass-and-steel design and the absence of frighteningly large creatures on its roof.

With the new hotel comes another signature restaurant, Amare, to join the likes Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and Shula’s Steak House.

Amare is a Mediterranean restaurant whose name means to love. (It’s the verb form of the word as opposed to the noun. That’s amore.) However, the succinct menu has more of a Greek accent. The restaurant is described on the hotel’s website as casual upscale. I can agree with that. The decor is tastefully casual – it’s a breakfast, lunch and dinner venue – with bare blond wood tables set with blue and white chargers with a spirographic motif, cloth napkins, basket light fixtures, wood flooring and an open kitchen. Large windows from the second floor restaurant look out toward the other hotels.

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Russells OTH drink cu

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe has a pineapple theme because the strip of land it sits on used to be a pineapple farm. So it stands that one of the signature cocktails at the popular restaurant (voted Best New Restaurant in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants) would be a Pineapple Old Fashioned. In the video below, bartender Hannah Downs demonstrates how to make it.

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Foxtail exterior

The Courtesy, a 10-year-old bar on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, will close, probably in May, and relocate to the Foxtail Coffee complex at 1282 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park.

At the same time, Rhys and Alexia Gawlak will move their Swine & Sons from the Local Butcher & Market, also on Orange Avenue, to the same complex, creating a BarSwine concept, though of course bar swine have existed for centuries. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream will also join the pack. All of this is expected to happen this summer.

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Cleaneatz counter

Clean Eatz is the rather clinical sounding name for a new “health restaurant” franchise in SoDo. I almost expected to see a blueberry enema on the menu board behind the ordering counter.

That is if I had been able to read the menu board behind the ordering counter. Teeny tiny print. Maybe they’re just trying to sell more carrots.

Despite its healthful theme, Clean Eatz is not a meat-free restaurant. There’s even a burger category on the menu (which I was finally able to read on one of the paper brochures at the ordering station). There are also wraps, flatbreads, salads, of course, and a build-a-bowl, thankfully the only assemblage option.

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1 cantina

There is a lot going on in and around the Marketplace at Avalon Park, the food hall the opened last fall in the east Orlando community.

The big news is that the Marketplace now has a full service restaurant called The 1 Cantina, which is softly opening now with a grander opening planned for early May. Billed as an urban cantina, it features traditional as well as contemporary Mexican dishes.