Pisces Rising
Address239 4th Ave.
CityMount Dora
Phone352-385-2669
Price$$
Apparently, I haven’t dined at Pisces Rising in Mount Dora since the middle of 2004. At least that’s the date on a yellowed framed copy of a review I wrote in June of that year. Since then, I’ve learned, there have been at least a couple of ownership changes, so I figured it was time to check it out again. Not only ownership changes, the concept is different, too. Originally a seafood centric restaurant — Pisces, after all — its menu is decidedly less fishy in its current iteration. Actually, I’d be hard pressed to put my finger on a central menu theme. Dishes jump from region to region and even to different countries. But a general goal, it seems, is to Floridate them with a local twist using ingredients from nearby farms.... Read more
Planet Hollywood
AddressDisney Springs
Walt Disney World
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-827-7827
Price$$$
Scott's Review
After a year-long renovation, Planet Hollywood has been refurbished to resemble a large observatory to better fit in with the Disney Springs backstory. (Never mind that it's really a planetarium.) Inside, it's a little like dining in an IMAX theater, with massive projections of music videos that stretch the three-story auditorium/dining room. Food Network star Guy Fieri contributed to the new menu. Food is impressive mostly in the size of the portion.... Read more
Porch
Address643 N. Orange Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-571-9101
Price$$
Scott's Review
Let's face it, the Porch is a bar that serves food. And you should also know that there isn't actually a porch; The Garage would have been a better name and indicator of decor. But there are a couple of things worth eating to help soak up the alcohol. Try the slicers (with the onion rings).... Read more
Porch South Orange
Address4757 S. Orange Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-203-2707
Price$$
Scott's Review
The Porch South Orange is an outpost of the original Porch bar and restaurant in Winter Park (on North Orange) .... Read more
Provisions & Buzz Co.
Address4868 New Broad St.
CityOrlando
Phone407-896-2688
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Provisions & Buzz Co. is a better restaurant than those that preceeded it. ... Read more
Rainforest Cafe
Address1800 Buena Vista Drive
Disney Springs
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-827-8500
Price$$$
Other location at Disney's Animal Kingdom. For a hint about the food, take a look at the slogan: A Wild Place To Shop and Eat. Notice that shopping gets top billing? The food is mediocre here at best. The Animal Kingdom Rainforest Cafe is similar to the Downtown Disney one, except AK's is immense. No, it's a little bigger than immense. It seats about 575 in what is essentially one large room, the ceiling of which is covered with fake limbs and leaves to make you think you're in a real rain forest, albeit one made of silk. As if the fake plants overhead weren't enough, each table has a fake orchid in a vase.... Read more
Ravenous Pig
Address565 W. Fairbanks Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-628-2333
Price$$$
Scott's Review

The Ravenous Pig calls itself “an American gastropub,” gastropub being a British term for a pub that serves more than a basic bar menu. This wonderful restaurant goes way beyond that. Chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis met while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and they obviously learned a lot while there. The menu changes regularly, but everything is worth trying. The Pig’s burger was the winner of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide’s first Burger War!

Beyond burgers, try the pork belly if it's available, and the steak frites is one of my favorites. As with those served with the award-winning burger, these fries have a spritz of truffle oil. From the pub menu during a lunch visit, I chose lobster tacos, lamb mezze and pork ribs. The tacos were wonderful, three crispy shells with lightly fried chunks of lobster and crunchy hot peppers. The mezze had lamb ribs, tender and aromatic, and lamb meatballs. The pork ribs were one of the few disappointments. They had precious little meat, and what was there was soggy and mealy.

Roasted cod was another good entrée. A beautifully white fillet, flaky and cooked just so, was served with a pure... Read more

Red Wing Restaurant
Address12500 State Road 33
CityGroveland
Phone352-429-2997
Price$$
Scott's Review

If you’re looking for “old Florida,” you can’t get much older than Red Wing Restaurant. For over 60 years the stone building, which at one time was a private home, has served as a meeting place for Lake County growers, farmers, truckers and others. It’s the sort of place where you might find a boothful of grimy construction workers next to a table with a family with children and not far away a couple on a date.

But you will find some obscure menu items. It isn’t often that you see Buffalo fried frog legs. Even less frequently will you hear me say they were really good. The appetizer featured three haunches, each with plenty of meat, deep-fried and tossed with a hot sauce, a la Buffalo wings, except there was more meat on the legs than you’ll ever find on a chicken wing.

And if fried frog legs don’t appeal to you, or even if they do, you might want to try the fried dill pickles. Why this delicacy is seen so seldom I don’t know. But usually they’re served as dill chips. Here they’re long spears with enough surface area to hold the light batters and even substance to give a good, salty crunch.

Fried green tomatoes had a crisp breading with firm fruit inside.... Read more