2017 Best Sushi Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Nagoya sashimi

Nagoya Sushi is the winner of the 2017 Foodster Award for Best Sushi.

Second place goes to Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi on Restaurant Row and third place to Baldwin Park’s Seito Sushi.

Nagoya has two locations: 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando; and 5661 Red Bug Lake Road, Winter Springs.

In casting her vote, Gabriella Serralles said: “Nagoya sushi has the tastiest, most beautifully prepared sushi and sashimi I've ever had, both in Orlando, and anywhere else in the world! They also boast an amazing non-sushi menu, and the friendliest most helpful staff ever. They make coming back time and time again a real treat.”

Polls Now Open for Best Hotel Restaurant

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Foodster

Voting is now live for the Foodster Award for Best Hotel Restaurant. 

It wasn’t that long ago that hotel restaurants weren’t anyplace a proper food lover would deign to visit. For years, they were little more than glorified coffee shops that existed only for the hotel guests who were too tired, rushed or intimidated to venture outside the hotel’s front door to find a proper place to eat.

But that’s changed. Now some of the area’s finest restaurants can be found inside the many hotels and resorts that serve Central Florida. And hotel guests find themselves competing with locals for choice reservations.

The list of nominees below was complied by SJO staff and includes restaurants known for their fine quality and their reputation within the culinary community.

Write-in candidates are allowed. However, please verify that the restaurant is not a chain and that the name isn’t already included in the original list. Restaurants with more than three locations worldwide and duplicates will be eliminated from the ballot.

Also please note: You may vote only once. If you've voted in this category previously, the VOTE button will not appear.

And be sure to leave a comment telling us why you voted for your selection -- I might quote you when the winner is announced (be sure to say which restaurant you voted for in your comment or we won't know who you're talking about). Click this link to go to the Foodster Awards page.

Seven Seas Food Festival at Sea World

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Seven seas sign

Sea World Orlando is stepping up its culinary event game with this year’s Seven Seas Food Festival, going on now through May 13. It still doesn’t approach the scope of the several food festivii of that other theme park down the road, but for Sea World it’s quite a big step.

One of the biggest changes is that executive Hector Colon and his team have increased the number of food-vending kiosks to 11 and moved them beyond the confines of the area around the Ports of Call event space. Now you’ll find Food Festival kiosks not only at Ports of Call but all around Sea World’s main walkway.

And even though it’s called the Seven Seas Food Festival, the food opportunities include items not necessarily found in water — barbecue ribs and pork dumplings, for instance. Also despite the name, not all seven seas are represented (you’d think they’d find some Arctic Char just to round things out).

And the 2017 Best Pizza Foodster Award Goes To...

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pardiso PizzaThe winner of the 2017 Foodster Award for Best Pizza goes to Paradiso Pizza. Papa Joe’s got the second most votes for its pies and third place is awarded to Tornatore’s.

Paradiso Pizza has two Orlando locations, one at 707 N. Goldenrod Road and a newer one at 1502 N. Semoran Blvd. I reviewed the latter last year and I have no problem with the readers choice.

Although Paradiso got the most votes, Papa Joe’s received the most passionate comments from its fans. Massimo Vincenzo Brown was torn between two of the nominees but eventually “Papa Joe’s won my stomach.”

And Victor Montalvo wrote, “Papa Joe's is the most authentic New York Pizza in town! It's perfectly thin, crispy, with a flavorful sauce. I'm a pizza snob, these guys won me over!”

Of the third place winner, Benjamin Barbosa wrote with his vote, “Tornatore's Pizza Hands Down! Have had their pizza for many years and highly recommed it to anyone who wants a piece of heaven!”

Scott Joseph’s Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants celebrate culinary excellence among Central Florida restaurants with three or fewer locations. (Papa Joe’s eked by with the maximum number.)

Foodster categories are introduced throughout the year. Votes are currently being taken for Best Irish Pub, Best Sushi and Best Breakfast. This link will take you to the Foodster Awards page.