Old Hickory Steakhouse
Address6000 W. Osceola Parkway
Gaylord Palms
CityKissimmee
Phone407-586-1600
Price$$$$
Scott's Review
The setting is a large shack, perhaps in the Everglades, but since you're really inside the atrium of the Gaylord Palms you don't have to worry about mosquitos. Although it is primarily a steakhouse (make that prime-arily) and prepares steaks with a beautiful charred crust, Old Hickory is positioning itself to be an all-around restaurant, with very good seafood selections as well. Be sure to experience the cheese cart at the end of the meal. Or at the beginning, because you may be too stuffed after.... Read more
Old Jailhouse
Address113 S. Palmetto Ave.
CitySanford
Phone407-548-6964
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The Old Jailhouse is legitimately housed in a small building that was the Seminole County Jail from 1914 until 1959. Before that, it was a blacksmith and wagon shop from 1890, the year it was constructed, until 1895, and it was the E.E. Brady Livery Feed and Sales Stables from 1910 until it became the jail. More recently it was home to Sanford Dry Cleaners and, here’s irony for you, the Seminole County Health Department. Old Jailhouse’s opening represents the return of Bram Fowler to the local restaurant scene. Fowler made his mark at Journeys in the Longwood Village Shopping Center. Here, Fowler serves as the director of operations and executive chef.... Read more
Oley’s Kitchen and Bar-b-que
Address2700 S Rio Grande Ave
CityOrlando
Phone407-422-7288
Price$
Scott's Review
Pleasant place with a good blend of Southern/Soul and Caribbean style cuisine.... Read more
Ootoya Sushi Lounge
Address621 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-930-2002
Price$$
Scott's Review
Ootoya doesn’t present anything that would distinguish it above the other sushi restaurants that are opening or that have established themselves, though what I sampled on a recent visit was enjoyable.... Read more
Orchid Thai
Address305 Park Ave. N.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-331-1400
Price$$$
Scott's Review

A splashy and elegant restaurant with a hip vibe that befits its Park Avenue milieu. Short rib massamam featured a large beef short rib, braised and then sautéed with potatoes and small pieces of sweet bell peppers with a chili sauce and a bit of roasted peanuts. That the meat was not the most tender hunk of rib I’ve had – a bit more braising might have helped – does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the dish.

And part of the enjoyment of this entrée, and indeed most every dish served here, was the elegant presentation, which almost invariably included luminous purple orchid blooms as plate garnish. (Yes, orchid petals are edible, but frankly I enjoy looking at them much more than ingesting them.)Short rib massamam and yellow curry with chicken are a couple of menu highlights.

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Osphere
Address407 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone
Price$$
Scott's Review
The space on Lake Eola now occupied by the curiously named Osphere – previously the home of Spice Modern and, more famously, Lake Eola Yacht Club – has one of the best patios in town, an even more covetous feature in these days of outdoor-preferred dining.... Read more
Paddlefish
Address1670 Buena Vista Drive
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-934-2628
Price$$$$
Scott's Review
Paddlefish is the reimagined Fulton’s Crab House (née Empress Lily), on the nonfloating structure made to resemble a vintage paddlewheel river boat. It’s less vintage-y with the recent renovation, which gave it a modern look, both inside and out (though the frozen-in-place paddles remain). This is a huge facility, but it features several smaller dining rooms that keep it from feeling like a large main feeding room on a cruise ship.... Read more
Padrino's Cuban Bistro
Address13586 S. John Young Parkway
CityOrlando
Phone407-251-5107
Price$$$
Scott's Review

I'm prepared to call this the best Cuban restaurant in Central Florida, it's really that good. A family operation out of South Florida, Padrino's features both traditional Cuban dishes and some more stylized "bistro" items, and they're served in a pleasant, bright dining room.

My guest and I started our dinner with the classic empanadas, crisp, flaky pastries filled with a spicy ground beef mixture. They were served with a wonderful guava chutney that I could have eaten by the spoonful.

We also had a selection of tostones topped with ropa vieja, ground beef and chicken. The shredded beef of the ropa vieja was a favorite.

For my entree I chose Mayi’s mahi mahi, a colorful dish of red, green, orange, yellow, golden and white that featured a fresh-tasting fillet topped with fresh mango and pineapple chutney, served with mashed sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables.

The owners are usually at the restaurant tending to the customers and making sure that everything is first-rate. And it usually is.

... Read more