|Address||11650 Universtiy Blvd.|
|Address||7653 International Drive|
|Address||Walt Disney World Dolphin|
Walt Disney World
|City||Lake Buena Vista|
Todd English, of course, is the charismatic celebrity chef best known for his Olives restaurant. I’m not sure English even knows where this restaurant is -- his name is used in a licensing arrangement -- but the people using his name do their best to keep his reputation intact. Occasionally they succeed. Still, at these prices - $18-$52 – it should be wonderful every time.
English did name the restaurant, or at least his kids did. During a trip to an aquarium one of them commented that it looked like a large blue zoo. Putting the two words together and not capitalizing them was someone else's idea, I'm guessing. One of the restaurant's design elements, which were orchestrated by the estimable Jeffrey Beers, is a circular grill where whole fish are supposed to spin around. English told me he calls it the Dancing Fish. Never seemed to work quite as expected whenever I was there.... Read more
|Address||525 S. Park Ave.|
|Address||Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa|
Walt Disney World
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
|Address||7581 University Blvd.|
|Address||7533 W. Sand Lake Road|
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