Hillstone (formerly Houston's)
Address215 S. Orlando Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-740-4005
Price$$$
Scott's Review

For some reason, the parent company has decided to rename the restaurant Hillstone. Go figure. Hillstone/Houston's menu might be described as minimalistic. There are no appetizers to speak of, except for a couple of items under a category labeled this and that, which also includes side items. I did try the Chicago style spinach and artichoke dip, your basic dip served with tortilla chips. Although it is not listed on the menu, an appetizer portion of the barbecued ribs entree is also available. This included a half-slab of tender ribs with a slightly sweet barbecue sauce served on top of a mound of fries.

Most entrees include a salad, and the salads were huge. The basic salad featured a large plate of fresh, crisp greens topped with chopped eggs, grated cheese and big bits of crumbled bacon. The mustard honey house dressing was wonderful.

I also sampled a salad of seared tuna and field greens, which could easily serve as an entree. The sushi-grade tuna was seared on the outside and raw inside. The bite-size cubes were placed alongside a pile of exotic greens, which also included fresh avocado, drizzled with a cilantro-ginger vinaigrette.

The b... Read more

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.

 

... Read more
Illume
Address14900 Chelonia Parkway`
CityOrlando
Phone407-919-6376
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Beautiful rooftop venue at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek. Excellent cocktails and expertly prepared foods. Plus a commanding view of the Disney fireworks.... 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
Johnny's Fillin' Station
Address2631 S. Fern Creek Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-894-6900
Price$

This is a bar -- a loud, no-apologies-for-our-raucousness kind of bar. But they have the ability to make a damn fine burger, one that has won multiple Foodie Awards over the years. The award comes and goes because consistency is a problem, but if you catch them on a good day, you'll see why the place is packed.

The Buffalo wings are another good choice for those so inclined. One nice thing about Johnny's: although it is a primarily a bar, it sells so much food that it does not qualify for the nonsmoking exemption that the State of Florida so ridiculously allows to freestanding bars. So you have the experience of the barroom experience without the need to burn your clothes the next day.

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Kaizen Izakaya
Address54 W. Church St.
CityOrlando
Phone407-316-8500
Price$$
Scott's Review
Formerly known as Amura, Kaizen Izakaya has very good sushi (especially the nigiri). An izakaya is supposed to be a Japanese pub or tavern where friends hang out. But the dank atmosphere won't make you want to linger.... Read more
La Luce by Donna Scala
AddressHilton Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
CityOrlando
Phone407-597-3600
Price$$$
Napa Valley chef Donna Scala oversees this Italian restaurant in the new Hilton next to the Waldorf Astoria. The decor is white with splashes of color in the art work (some of which is done in chalk and changes from time to time). The menu features pizzas from a brick oven, pastas and secondi -- the lamb shank is a standout. Scala is often on hand to oversee her restaurant, and she proves to be a gracious host.... Read more
Loading...Gastrobrunch
Address1023 New York Ave.
CitySt. Cloud
Phone407-593-0233
Price$$
Scott's Review
Cozy little spot in historic downtown St. Cloud with inventive food.... Read more