In relative terms, Central Florida has a dearth of good Chinese restaurants, but there are some gems among the few. One of my favorites -- and the one I think is most authentic -- is Ming’s Bistro. They do traditional dim sum cart service, and it isn’t unusual to find ducks hanging about. (Cooked ones, not live ducks.) I suspect but have never verified that there is are two menus, one for Chinese customers and one for Westerners. If you can, convince your server that you really want to try something traditional. If she mentions anything involving General Tso, just get up and leave, but I doubt that will happen.
I’m also a fan of Eastern Pearl, although the food here tends to blend the traditional with the creative. The surroundings are a bit more upscale than you’ll find at most area restaurants, so it makes a good choice if you want to combine the day’s two celebrations.
Ming Court has been around longer than most area Chinese restaurants. Its presence on International Drive keeps it full of tourists but out of minds of locals. I’ve generally had good food there over the years, though nothing to set off fireworks over.
1-6-8 is another one that has been spotty, but when it’s good, it’s excellent. I think I prefer the one in Bay Hill Plaza on Turkey Lake Road more than the one in Apopka, but go for convenience in your choice.
And Winnie’s Oriental Garden could also be a good choice to combine Valentine’s Day with New Year’s. Owner Winnie Leung says she will be offering a special menu for two.
Do you have another Chinese restaurant favorite? Tell us about it here. And Happy New Year, Valentine.