Raglan Road
Address1640 Buena Vista Drive
Disney Springs
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-938-0300
Price$$$
Scott's Review

You’ll find traditional music, familiar ales and even genuine fittings from old bars in Ireland, but the food is an updated version of Irish classics, some a bit highfalutin.

For example, we started our dinner with a seared scallop on a mint and pea puree. Just saying the words mint and pea puree will get you thrown out of most pubs in Dublin. But it was tasty, as was the potato and asparagus soup, lighter and smoother than you'd expect.

The next course was shepherd's pie, but as I said before, things aren't done in a traditional way at Raglan Road, and this was certainly the oddest shepherd's pie I've seen. Here, the ground meat mixed with gravy was dolloped onto a large spoon with a little mashed potatoes piped on top. It was a little more than one should shove into one's mouth all at once, but there wasn't quite enough to reallly get a feel for the flavor.

Whatever you have for dinner be sure to have the bread pudding for dessert. And the house band, which performs nightly, will make you want to get up and dance without moving your arms.

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Rasa Asian Street Food
Address7730 E. Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-930-0402
Price$$
Scott's Review
Specializing in the popular small-plate street fare trend, Rasa does well with Malaysian dishes, especially the Curry Laksha.... Read more
Ravenous Pig
Address565 W. Fairbanks Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-628-2333
Price$$$
Scott's Review

The Ravenous Pig calls itself “an American gastropub,” gastropub being a British term for a pub that serves more than a basic bar menu. This wonderful restaurant goes way beyond that. Chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis met while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and they obviously learned a lot while there. The menu changes regularly, but everything is worth trying. The Pig’s burger was the winner of Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide’s first Burger War!

Beyond burgers, try the pork belly if it's available, and the steak frites is one of my favorites. As with those served with the award-winning burger, these fries have a spritz of truffle oil. From the pub menu during a lunch visit, I chose lobster tacos, lamb mezze and pork ribs. The tacos were wonderful, three crispy shells with lightly fried chunks of lobster and crunchy hot peppers. The mezze had lamb ribs, tender and aromatic, and lamb meatballs. The pork ribs were one of the few disappointments. They had precious little meat, and what was there was soggy and mealy.

Roasted cod was another good entrée. A beautifully white fillet, flaky and cooked just so, was served with a pure... Read more

Red Wing Restaurant
Address12500 State Road 33
CityGroveland
Phone352-429-2997
Price$$
Scott's Review

If you’re looking for “old Florida,” you can’t get much older than Red Wing Restaurant. For over 60 years the stone building, which at one time was a private home, has served as a meeting place for Lake County growers, farmers, truckers and others. It’s the sort of place where you might find a boothful of grimy construction workers next to a table with a family with children and not far away a couple on a date.

But you will find some obscure menu items. It isn’t often that you see Buffalo fried frog legs. Even less frequently will you hear me say they were really good. The appetizer featured three haunches, each with plenty of meat, deep-fried and tossed with a hot sauce, a la Buffalo wings, except there was more meat on the legs than you’ll ever find on a chicken wing.

And if fried frog legs don’t appeal to you, or even if they do, you might want to try the fried dill pickles. Why this delicacy is seen so seldom I don’t know. But usually they’re served as dill chips. Here they’re long spears with enough surface area to hold the light batters and even substance to give a good, salty crunch.

Fried green tomatoes had a crisp breading with firm fruit inside.... Read more

Rice & Beans Cocina Latina
Address504 N. Alafaya Trail
CityOrlando
Phone407-380-9962
Price$
Scott's Review
There is, of course, a lot more on the menu than grains and legumes. R&B offers an array of mofongos (mofongi?), seafood, beef and pork dishes with Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican touches. You can order from the menu, or you can do as I did and choose a big platter of goodness from the items on display at the counter. For a lunch special of $6.95, you get your choice of rice -- white, mixed with red beans, mixed with black beans, or yellow mixed with vegetables; sweet plantains or boiled yuca; stewed red beans or black beans; and one of the featured meats. I chose two types of rice (with black beans and with red beans), yuca (love my yuca), black beans and the roast pork. All good, and very reasonably priced.
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Roy’s
Address7760 W. Sand Lake Road
(at Dr. Phillips Boulevard)
CityOrlando
Phone407-352-4844
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

Roy’s was one of the first to take up residence on Restaurant Row. In fact, I hadn’t dubbed Sand Lake Road Restaurant Row yet! This is a chain, albeit an upscale one, founded by Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi (but now owned by OSI, the Outback Steakhouse people). It features Yamaguchi’s signature style of Hawaiian fusion cuisine.

The chef/managing partners are given a certain leeway to make changes to the menu, although some items are kept constant and can be found at any of the 33 Roy’s restaurants. These dishes, “Roy’s classics,” were among the best things I sampled on my recent visits.

One was the surfah combo, which combined a macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi with a serving of seared golden sea bass. The mahi mahi was the better of the two, a beautiful fillet, thick and moist, served with a rich lobster butter sauce. The seabass, a little hard-crusted, was paired with a truffled herb pistou, which, my server volunteered without being asked, means pesto.

I also liked the chive seared U-10 sea scallops, sufficiently large, as the U-10 designation would suggest, but soft and buttery with a velvety texture. The scallops were well complemented with a Thai chil... Read more

Royal Thai
Address1202 N. Semoran Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-275-0776
Price$$

I probably hear about this restaurant from more people than any other because for many years they've posted a quote from me on the large sign in front of the restaurant -- Thai food fit for a king, by Scott Joseph -- which, to be honest are actually the words of a Sentinel copy writer who wrote the headline. Whatever, I've never felt compelled to quibble about the accuracy of the quote.

Terrific Thai dishes are presented with great pride by a small staff. Not an elegant restaurant but wonderful food. Try the pad Thai or the lemon fish (but only if you like it really, really hot). Have the tom kha gai soup for a starter. Most dishes are less than $12; very reasonable.

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Sabor del Caribe
Address3020 Lamberton Blvd
CityOrlando
Phone407-757-0578
Price$
Scott's Review
I knew I was going to like this place the moment I walked in and was warmly greeted by a smiling fellow behind the counter. That greeting was reinforced by a coworker who appeared from the kitchen area just off to the back. Why is it so difficult for so many restaurant staffers to express a sincere welcome to the people who have chosen to do business with them? The concept here, as with many other similar Latin American restaurants, is pick and choose counter service. There is a selection of prepared dishes — pork, chicken, stews — in steam table trays behind the glass counter. You simply tell one of the nice folks which of the meats you prefer and whether you want white or yellow rice, then select two side dishes and stand back while the staffer loads up a plate.... Read more