Umi Japanese Restaurant
Address525 S. Park Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-960-3993
Price$$
Scott's Review
Umi has a pleasant vibe. The menu features not only the expected sushi selections but also kitchen foods that include robata grilled meats and a couple of ramen soups. Everything is delicious and prettily presented, to boot.... Read more
Vanbarry's Public House
Address4120 S. Orange Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-704-8881
Price
Scott's Review
From the same people who own Finnhenry's in downtown Orlando and Ollie's Public House in College Park, Vanbarry's succeeds because it doesn't overreach. It does not promise to be more restaurant than it can produce, and so expectations aren't elevated. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise because it does do some things quite nicely. The burger, for instance, and the Vanbarry's Bacon Jam Burger in particular. It was a thick and juicy patty served on a kaiser roll (you can have a pretzel roll if you prefer) with a modest leaf of lettuce and a couple of pickles and tomato slice. There were plenty of blue cheese crumbles and the bacon jam, though not as good as actual bacon, gave a nice smoky note. Multiple napkins were necessary in the eating. The burger came with stack of nicely seasoned and meaty fries. The Mac & Cheese Skillet was excellent. The creamy mix included lots of bits of prosciutto for some saltiness. I ate more of it than I really intended to.... Read more
Victoria & Albert’s
AddressDisney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Walt Disney World
CityOrlando
Phone407-939-3862
Price$$$$$
Scott's Review

Quite simply one of the best restaurants in the Southeast, headed by talented chef Scott Hunnel, winner of the 2008 Sante magazine Culinary Professional of the Year award. This is haute cuisine, and dinner here is a delight. The menu changes frequently but is prix fixe with multiple choices. This may be the last restaurant in Florida to require gentlemen to wear jackets. (Also, children under 10 are not permitted in the dining room -- yes, this is a Disney restaurant.)

V&A recently received its 10th AAA five-diamond rating, that guidebook's highest honor. Only 52 of the 60,000 North American restaurants rated by AAA achieves five-diamond status. Only two other Florida restaurants - l'Escalier and the Restaurant at the Four Seasons, both in Palm Beach -- have the top honor.

For a truly special treat try to snag the chef's table. It's a mulitple course feast (I lost count at 15) that can easily last four and a half hours.

A new offering -- a third option -- is the Queen Victoria Room, features tableside service from a menu separate from the dining room but priced the same as the chef's table, $200 per person plus $95 for the optional wine pairings.  A b... Read more

Viet-Nomz
Address7581 University Blvd.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-636-6069
Price$
Scott's Review
Let me just put this right out there at the beginning: Viet-Nomz might just be serving the best Vietnamese food in the area. Those of you who know me know that I don’t make such statements lightly. I put off visiting this small, fast-casual restaurant for a long time because too many other businesses in this spot opened and closed too quickly. I didn’t hold up much hope for another newcomer, especially one with such a cutesy name. But after six months of seeing more cars in front than I ever did for any of the other restaurants that have occupied the University Boulevard space, I decided to pull over and try it myself.... Read more
Vines Grille & Wine Bar
Address7533 W. Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-1227
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

It would be almost enough to go here to sit at the bar, sip a glass of wine and eat strips of bacon while listening to live jazz. (Instead of salty peanuts they put rashers of crispy bacon on the bar here.)

On my first visit to Vines I dined in the main room. I sampled the onion soup, a hearty bowl of beefy broth topped with stringy cheese. For my entree I had the braised beef short rib, oh-so-tender meat that had long given up the bone, served with polenta infused with blue cheese and Brussels sprouts roasted with bacon. (They love bacon in this joint.)

On another visit, I decided to make a feast of a couple of appetizers while sitting at the bar. I selected the steak tartare and seared day boat scallops. The tartare looked as though it were a burger patty ready for the grill. It was surrounded by the usual accouterments, capers, onions, as well as hot sauce drizzled on the plate and a pile of salt. It was topped with a raw quail egg, cracked open and still in the shell. The bartender/server asked if I had ever had the tartare there before and I allowed as to how I had not. She made the suggestion that I blend everything together, the hot sauce and salt included... Read more

Vito's Chop House
Address8633 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-354-2467
Price$$$$
Vito's Chop House is a first-rate operation, a highend steakhouse with a touch of Tuscany. The atmosphere is masculine but comfortable, the service is practiced and sure, and the steaks are of the finest quality and an omigod size that will have you requesting a takeout container before they're even placed in front of you.... Read more
Whiskey
Address7563 W Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-930-6517
Price$$
Scott's Review
The space that held Cricketers Arms didn’t sit empty too long after that British pub closed. It’s now called The Whiskey, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that any place with such a name is more about the drink than about the food. But based on my recent visit, that isn’t the case at all. Oh, it’s very serious about the drink part, especially with cocktails featuring the eponymous liquid. There is an interesting craft cocktail menu with some intriguing entries. ... Read more
Whisper Creek Farms: The Kitchen
Address4040 Central Florida Parkway
CityOrlando
Phone407-393-4755
Price$$
Scott's Review
The folks at the JW Marriott recently opened two new entities, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen and Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery. You’ll notice The Kitchen as soon as you walk through the front door of the hotel. It’s just off the lobby, to the right. The Brewery is a little harder to spot. In fact, you’d need a staff person to escort you through the warren of corridors and passageways to the kitchen office where the vats, tanks and necessary gauges have been set up in a corner. It’s definitely not a show brewery such as the one at Cask & Larder. But the Kitchen is on full display, and what it’s churning out is surprisingly ambitious. I say surprisingly because when it was first announced it was downplayed somewhat, as though it would be more of a bar-menu venue. But while portions are meant to be more of the small plate size — or, reasonable portions, as I like to think of them — the items are well above the ranks of bar snacks.... Read more