House of Blues
Address1490 Buena Vista Drive
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-934-2583
Price$$$
Scott's Review

Its the House of Blues, a boisterous boite that celebrates the diversity and brotherhood of world culture and promotes racial and spiritual harmony through love, peace, truth, righteousness and non-violence. But despite a mission statement that makes it sound like the lunchroom at the United Nations, this is actually a themed restaurant that serves up rhythm, blues and soul and not so incidentally surprisingly good food, most of it rooted in a New Orleans style.

What's surprising about it is that everything is of good quality, prepared and presented with the sort of gourmet flair you'd expect from a fine dining establishment, not a place that is made to look like a juke joint.

Menu highlights include a smoked double-cut pork chop, etouffe and Cajun meat loaf. For appetizers, the Mississippi catfish bites are pretty tasty.

The bread pudding is a must. The Sunday gospel brunch, which features an all-you-can-eat buffet,  is an inspirational treat.

 

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Hungry Pants
Address3421 S. Orange Avenue
CityOrlando
Phone407-412-6300
Price$$
Scott's Review
Quick-serve restaurant for the "plant curious" – many vegetarian/vegan dishes but with options to add animal protein.... Read more
Iron Cow Cafe
Address2438 E. Robinson St.
CityOrlando
Phone
Price$
Scott's Review
Iron Cow is rather a large place that in early evening hours (it opens most days at 6 p.m.) it looks like a big empty warehouse with a bar and kitchen set up on one side. Indeed, the business' own description calls it "a modern industrial warehouse merging food, beverage and music..." (Nothing comes after the ellipses, so I don't know what we're to infer from them.)... Read more
Jack’s Place
Address9700 International Drive
Rosen Plaza Hotel
CityOrlando
Phone407-996-1787
Price$$$
Scott's Review

Chef Michael McMullen has reenergized this upscale dining room with a new menu. Favorites include spicy shrimp and grits, maple horseradish mustard crusted baby rack of lamb, and cedar plank roasted sea bass. Service is among the best in town. The highlight of the dining room is the array of celebrity caricatures that cover the walls. They were done by Jack Rosen, father of hotelier Harris Rosen (hence the name of the restaurant), when he was employed by the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

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Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
AddressCityWalk
Universal Orlando
CityOrlando
Phone407-224-2155
Price$$
As you stand in line at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville to get your beeper, which you'll carry with you as you wait even longer for your table, you might be reminded of the lyrics ``Wastin' away again in Margaritaville .''

No, you definitely will be reminded of those lyrics, because if you spend more than 20 minutes in the restaurant you're sure to hear them. Heck, you could spend 20 minutes just trying to get a drink at the bar.

The theme here is the music of Jimmy Buffett and his parrothead paradise. Sorry, I don't know why his fans are called parrotheads. And I probably missed a lot of the insider jokes and other references to his songs that I'm unfamiliar with. The upstairs bar, for example, is probably called the 12-volt bar for some reason.

I have only a Top-40 knowledge of his songs. I enjoy his music, though two straight hours of it can be a bit much. I do know that many of his songs are either themed on food and drink, or contain references to them. So that part lends itself well to a restaurant theme. And the Key Westiness and island atmosphere of his songs add to the decor.

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Jimmy Hula's
Address2522 Aloma Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-790-7838
Price$
Scott's Review
This new quick-serve concept specializes in fish tacos and burgers. The fish tacos would be really good if they had some fish in them; the burgers are a tad thinnish. The management doesn't quite have a finger on how to take orders efficiently -- lines just to order can be unreasonably long.... Read more
JJ's Fresh from Scratch
Address2950 Curry Ford Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-802-2947
Price$
Scott's Review
As with other assemblage concepts, guests choose the ingredients and direct the staff member behind the sneeze guard who puts it all together into what one hopes will be a conglomeration that doesn't suck. Here you can choose a burrito as your food container, or perhaps a pita pocket, or maybe just a bowl to hold it all. I went with the burrito, choosing a white flour tortilla instead of a whole wheat one, Mexican rice instead of brown or mjedderah (the Lebanese mix of rice and lentils), black beans instead of lentils, and steak as my meat option. It doesn't stop there. One must still choose sauces and other accouterments. It all turned out well, however. My choices all came together into a well-stuffed burrito that was transferred into a well-stuffed diner. The quality of the ingredients — including hormone-free meat — was evident in the taste.... Read more
Jungle Skipper Canteen
Address1180 Seven Seas Drive
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The newest full-service restaurant inside Magic Kingdom is themed on the Jungle River Cruise, which is known for its punacious river pilots. You can expect a lot of corn from the waiters here, too. Try the fish collar and shu mai.... Read more