Aurora at the Celeste
Address4105 N. Alafay Trail
CityOrlando
Phone407-207-4700
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Frankly, just reading the menu probably won’t stir any hopes of good food. Skirt steak, grilled salmon, a burger, shrimp and grits (is it a law now that every restaurant must have shrimp and grits on its menu?) – don’t foretell great things to come. But come in, have a seat – there are plenty available most evenings – and let the kitchen, led by chef Mike Trudnak, change your mind.... Read more
Boheme
Address325 S. Orange Ave.
Grand Bohemian Hotel
CityOrlando
Phone407-581-4700
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

The Boheme has grown into a more consistent fine dining experience but now is trying to position itself as more accessible. Try the Kessler calamari, a silly name for a delicious appetizer, and follow with the lamb duet or the Chilean sea bass. The kitchen also has a way with scallops.

A special treat about dinner here is that most nights there is entertainment in the rotunda just outside the dining room, and the music easily wafts in. If you arrive early, have a seat in the lounge, listen to the music, and enjoy the stories of the affable bartenders.

It should also be noted that the Boheme (and by the way it's pronounced boh-HEEM and not like the name of the Puccini opera) also serves a very nice Sunday jazz brunch.

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Bonsai Sushi
Address5174 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-292-0333
Price$$
Scott's Review

Just a small mom-and-pop sushi place with good (if not traditionally authentic) sushi. Nigirizushi is expertly prepared. Be sure to try the Dr. Phillips roll (note: does not contain Dr. Phillips).

 

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Cafe Margaux
Address220 Brevard Ave.
CityCocoa
Phone321-639-8343
Price$$$

Cafe Margaux, a French restaurant in Cocoa, is an odd little place with delicious food. It wants to be an elegant restaurant, but it isn't, at least not one along the lines of a Victoria & Albert's or a Venetian Room. Let's just say its chic on a shoestring. But if the decor is a bit florid, the food is decidedly upscale, not really classic French, but with French tones that enhance a creative style. The best of the entrees was the melange of fresh fish, offered each evening as a sampler of the three fish specials. When I visited, the chef had prepared poached salmon, snapper with a potato crust and blackened dolphin. My guest liked the dolphin best because the blackening seasonings were perfectly balanced with the mild taste of the fish, giving just a bit of cayenne spiciness. I liked the crispiness of the shredded potato crust on the snapper. This is the sister restaurant to Ulysses' Steakhouse, also wonderful.

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Capital Grille
AddressPointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-370-4392
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

One of Darden Restaurants’ most recent acquisitions, and easily their most upscale. The steaks here are very good, and the service is attentive if not downright solicitous. I had the Delmonico, basically a bone-in ribeye, that was had a flavorful, well-seasoned crust and beautiful red center. The higher fat content of the cut made it juicy and tender.
My companion chose the Kansas City sirloin, offered as a special on the night I visited. Also a bone-in cut, the steak had a characteristically coarser texture but was cooked just as perfectly as the other and was every bit as flavorful.

Atmosphere is clubby and posh.

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Capital Grille Mall at Millenia
Address4200 Conroy Road
Mall at Millenia
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-2210
Price$$$
Scott's Review
But the menu at Millenia is identical to the one that has been so popular at the Pointe. It’s the atmosphere that is different. It’s still sufficiently upscale and appointed with such fineries as crisp white tablecloths and napkins. But whereas the International Drive restaurant has the decidedly masculine feel of a boardroom or exclusive country club the Millenia location is brighter, more modern and less, well, stuffy. Old money versus nouveau riche. The food is the same high quality as other CapGrilles, and service is just as forward.... Read more
Chef & I
Address1412 Alden Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-887-4255
Price$$
Scott's Review
From Nashville, Chef & I offers an intimate dining experience within the Hall on the Yard food hall, including a by-request chef's tasting menu.... Read more
Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen
Address6967 Lake Nona Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-955-4340
Price$$
Scott's Review
Another Lake Nona dining choice from Tavistock. Most items are "small plates" to encourage sharing. The lamb sliders are a standout. Note that service doesn't begin until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.... Read more