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$$
Scott's Review
The space on Lake Eola now occupied by the curiously named Osphere – previously the home of Spice Modern and, more famously, Lake Eola Yacht Club – has one of the best patios in town, an even more covetous feature in these days of outdoor-preferred dining.... Read more
Oudom
Address100 S Eola Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-849-3739
Price$$
Scott's Review
Oudom, a Thai and sushi restaurant, is the latest to take over the Graze/Prickly Pear/ Lotus/Mingos space in the Sanctuary condominium building in downtown Orlando. Five restaurants in seven years isn't too bad, is it? Maybe Thai will be the magic sauce for this place. Or curry. Or whatever. A restaurant in this location needs to count on frequent vists from neighbors. A menu with a lower price point can help in that regard.... Read more
Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen
Address2603 Edgewater Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-930-6282
Price$$
Scott's Review
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Paddlefish
Address1670 Buena Vista Drive
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-934-2628
Price$$$$
Scott's Review
Paddlefish is the reimagined Fulton’s Crab House (née Empress Lily), on the nonfloating structure made to resemble a vintage paddlewheel river boat. It’s less vintage-y with the recent renovation, which gave it a modern look, both inside and out (though the frozen-in-place paddles remain). This is a huge facility, but it features several smaller dining rooms that keep it from feeling like a large main feeding room on a cruise ship.... Read more
Padrino's Cuban Bistro
Address13586 S. John Young Parkway
CityOrlando
Phone407-251-5107
Price$$$
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.

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Pammie's Sammies
Address121 Boyd St.
CityWinter Garden
Phone407-730-3212
Price$
Scott's Review
Pammie’s Sammies is a rockin’ little sandwich shop a half block off of Plant Street. The rockin’ part (more classic than hard) comes from the musical theme of the decor and overall ambience. The walls are decorated with guitars and band posters mixed among such eclectic miscellanea as wooden chairs nailed upside-down to the ceiling, a bank of unconnected beer taps (also upside down), and sundry works of local art.... Read more
Pannullo's Italian Restaurant
Address216 S. Park Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-629-7270
Price$$
Scott's Review
Quietly, Pannullo's Italian Restaurant is also celebrating its silver anniversary at its Park Avenue address. It's not the oldest along the avenue -- Cafe de France and Briarpatch outdate it -- but its 25-year achievement is worth noting. Also worth noting: It may have been 25 years since I last dined there, or pretty close. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but knowing of the anniversary and needing a place to meet a friend for lunch, I decided to stop in.... Read more