Café D’Antonio
Address691 Front St.
CityCelebration
Phone407-566-2233
Price$$$

A smaller version of Greg Gentile’s flagship restaurant, Antonio’s La Fiamma, Café d’Antonio is the consistently good restaurant for residents and visitors in Celebration.

My dining guest and I started the evening with the antipasti assortito for two, which featured an array of delicacies including bruschetta alla Romana, smoked salmon, sliced prosciutto, salami and cheese, and insalata ai frutti di mare.

The bruschetta was also quite good, toasted bread rounds topped with bright red chopped tomatoes seasoned with olive oil, garlic and sweet basil.

Its hard to say which of the entrees was my favorite; I enjoyed them all. But I especially liked the zuppa di pesce, a bountiful bowl of fish, squid, shrimp, scallops and lobster in a light broth served over linguine.

... Read more
Cala Bella
AddressRosen Shingle Creek Resort
9939 Universal Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-996-9939
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

The food here is deliciously good, and the atmosphere is grandiloquent. But the prices are a bit steep, apparently geared toward the expense-accounted business traveler.

Seafood pescatore features a saffron seasoned fish stock tinged with tomato, with an abundance of seafood, including an Australian lobster tail, two impressively plump scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels. Under it all was a nest of fresh pappardelle pasta.

The al dente ribbons were part of my companion’s entrée of pappardelle ai bistecche, which was listed under the menu’s pasta heading, though in truth this was a steak dish. It featured 10 ounces of New York strip from Harris Ranch, cooked to a perfect medium-rare and sliced, the noodles piled on top with a sauce of mushrooms and tomato ragout. Quite nice.

We had started our meal with the mozzarella stuffed Bella meatballs, three bocce ball-sized orbs of moist ground meat braised in Barolo wine. The meatballs were more enjoyable than the calamari fritte, which was a little too damp.

Service was exceptional.

... Read more
Canvas
Address13615 Sachs Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-313-7800
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Lakeside dining from the Tavistock Restaurant Group. Most people head to the outdoor deck, but there's a much better dining experience to be had at the food counter overlooking the cooks at the grill.... Read more
Capital Grille
AddressPointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-370-4392
Price$$$$
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.

... Read more
Capone's Coal Fired Pizza
Address3216 Margaritaville Blvd.
CityKissimmee
Phone407-893-2625
Price$$
Scott's Review
Part of the Promenade at Sunset Walk entertainment and dining complex, Capone's is a second location of a Ft. Myers restaurant. Pizza is definitely a must here, though the meatball appetizer is pretty good, too.... Read more
Chef & I
Address1412 Alden Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-887-4255
Price$$
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
Chez Vincent
Address533 W. New England Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-599-2929
Price$$$
Scott's Review

Chez Vincent continues to serve classic French dishes in pleasant, if slightly worn, surroundings. Chef/owner Vincent Gagliano is a master with soup, and the coquille St. Jacques is one of the better seafood entrees. Steak au poivre is a good choice for a meat dish.

Chez Vincent’s waiters are mature and professional. I mention the maturity because it’s a welcome change from the working-my-way-through-college servers who seem to dominate the Winter Park restaurant scene. The waiters here allow the guests to dictate the pace of the meal.

If Chez Vincent has survived over the years it’s because there is an appreciation among Central Florida diners for a quiet place to enjoy a good, classically prepared meal.

If that’s true, there’s hope for aspiring restaurateurs out there, and, not incidentally, for all of us who will support them.

... Read more
Chianti's Pizza & Pasta
Address685 Towne Center Blvd.
CitySanford
Phone407-878-5900
Price$$
Scott's Review
There's nothing special about the atmosphere, but the food is very good, and the service is sincere. I liked my lobster ravioli, and the "Big Meat" pizza was good, too, although it could have used a bit more of the big meats. There is a second location in Longwood.... Read more