Bull & Bear, the fine dining steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, has been voted 2018 Best Restaurant Overall in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Two restaurants — Victoria & Albert’s and Kadence — tied for second place. Osprey Tavern came in fourth.
Of Bull & Bear, Richard E. Brown wrote, “Great Food and the staff is top notch, all under the directions of chef Richard.”
Victoria & Albert’s was a winner in this category last year, as well. Kadence, the nine-seat sushi restaurant in Orlando, is new on the list.
Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine has been voted the Best New Restaurant of 2018. Wine Bar George takes second place and Winter Park’s The Glass Knife is third.
Many of the people who voted for Selam took the time to leave lengthy comments supporting their choice. “We've traveled and visited many restaurants across the state,” wrote RealVision Enterprises. “However this one deserves our review after a great experience with excellent food, excellent drink, fantastic staff/customer service and an excellent manager running the show. Definitely worth many more visits in the future.”
Apparently, I haven’t dined at Pisces Rising in Mount Dora since the middle of 2004. At least that’s the date on a yellowed framed copy of a review I wrote in June of that year. Since then, I’ve learned, there have been at least a couple of ownership changes, so I figured it was time to check it out again.
Not only ownership changes, the concept is different, too. Originally a seafood centric restaurant — Pisces, after all — its menu is decidedly less fishy in its current iteration.
Actually, I’d be hard pressed to put my finger on a central menu theme. Dishes jump from region to region and event to different countries. But a general goal, it seems, is to Floridate them with a local twist using ingredients from nearby farms.
It’s been nearly two years since we first visted The Pie, the plainly named pizza seller in College Park, and nearly one year since word came that the original owner was closing and a new owner was taking over. I’m not sure when the new management moved in — recently a young fellow working there said it had only been a few months — but it still has the feel of a place that hasn’t quite found its niche.
And I don’t know why that should be because the food is actually quite good, though the pies of The Pie might not be the pizzas most people imagine when the topic comes up.
Big Fin, of course, is the popular restaurant on Restaurant Row that is consistently recognized as one of the best places for seafood in Central Florida. It’s a fun space with a top-notch staff. I’m pleased to make this the first Supper Club of the year and I’m looking forward to enjoying it with you.
It’s been a busy year for Central Florida restaurants, with dozens of openings, not as many closings and all sorts of newsy tids and bits. The flog published 425 articles this year, more than 100 of them restaurant reviews. Here are some highlights:
Notable Openings Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway, The Edison, Terralina Crafted Italian, Chicken Guy and Wine Bar George all helped to keep Disney Springs the center of high-profile restaurant openings. The Hangry Bison — New Winter Park Villager with killer burgers and cocktails.
As we start a new year here at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, I want to take a moment to thank the people who make it possible.
David Clow is the site manager and coding genius. He keeps things running smoothly and jumps in when things get wonky. Websites are always wonky.
And Nicole Spooner of Mpact Orlando, the sole approved representative for advertising on the site. Nicole and her team, including newcomers Gary Appelsies and Amie Hardin. And a thanks to Tiffany Hartmann for all her work in the past year.
Nicole and Mpact handle the requests from restaurants, hotels and other businesses that would like to advertise on these pages. They also manage the social media and eletter placements that are part of an advertiser’s package.
And speaking of advertisers, they allow us to keep the site free and accessible without the need for a subscription model or paywall. As you know if you’ve read my policy about advertisers, we accept only those businesses who maintain a certain level of quality. As Nicole could tell you, I’ve rejected a number of restaurants that have contacted her about advertising in these pages, and we’ve also dropped one or two over the years when their quality flagged.
So you can be assured that the advertisers you see throughout the site — and gathered here below — are worthy of your dining dollars. And I hope that when you visit them you’ll tell them that you saw their ad and thank them for supporting us.