Eola Wine Company
Address430 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-481-9100
Price$$

It is unique among the downtown businesses – it’s a quiet place with a classy feel that puts the emphasis on good wine. It’s a terrific meeting space or neighborhood hangout without the manic music or big crowds you might find in some the neighboring restaurants and bars. It’s just what downtown needed.

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Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Address601 S. New York Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone407-228-3898
Price$
The menu here is 100 percent vegan. On a recent visit I ordered a cup of spinach and portobello soup and the ironically named healthy trio for starters. The healthy trio was a reference to three dips: hummus, tomato-mango salsa and a tapenade made with black and green olives. They were served with slightly toasted bread that had big hunks of seeds and grains embedded, plus thick blue corn tortilla chips. It was all pretty tasty. Ethos is across from Ivanhoe Lake and has a large covered patio with perhaps more seating than inside. Indoors the walls are covered with works by local artists, and beyond the ordering counter the room wraps around for additional inside seating.... Read more
F&D Kitchen and Bar
Address1541 International Parkway
CityLake Mary
Phone407-915-5687
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Crispy Pig Snacks is the defining dish at F&D Kitchen and Bar. It shows the creative promise that this Lake Mary restaurant could achieve, but it also demonstrates where it falls short. F&D occupies a space that has in fewer than eight years has been home to four restaurants I can name off the top of my head, and I’m pretty sure I might have missed one or two. Some of them, such as Jinja, Shan and Rikka, all had menus with an Asian influence. The menu of the current occupant is mostly anchored in North America, with a decided dedication to Central Florida, at least in terms of sourcing. The chef is Pete Morales, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in South Florida, and an alumnus of the estimable Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, as well as other popular restaurants, including Yardbird Southern Bar & Table and Swine Southern Bar & Table. (How did people come up with restaurant names before the ampersand was invented?) Most of the menu is straightforward, though nothing I would call boring. There were several interesting selections.... Read more
F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen
Address2420 Curry Ford Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-751-5697
Price$$
Though open only four weeks when first reviewed, F&DWIK already has a comfortable homeyness about it. The inside dining area is still too small — about 32 seats — for a profitable business model. But the outdoor patio has been expanded, covered and will eventually have a companion bar to the one inside.... Read more
Financier Bistro & Bar
Address212 N. Park Ave.
CityWinter Park
Phone321-972-2284
Price$$
Scott's Review
A decent approximation of a typical Parisian cafe.... Read more
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Address1562 N. Mills Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-581-9861
Price$$
Scott's Review
Firebirds is a Charlotte, North Carolina, based chain started in 2000 by Dennis L. Thompson, who co-founded Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon. There are 34 locations (over two million dollars in bar inventory!); the Orlando restaurant is the company's first in Florida. The menu features little creativity yet tries to offer something for everyone. You've got your steaks, chicken dishes, various fish, burgers, meatloaf, five salads, distinguished from four others designated "Firebirds Signature Salads." (The "Soups of the Day" section has eight selections, so figure that one out.) Most everything I tasted was just fine, though nothing rose to a level of wonderful.... Read more
FishBones
Address7005 County Road 46A
CityLake Mary
Phone407-581-3474
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

The Lake Mary FishBones impresses first with its size and splashy décor. It is easy to believe the rumors that put the price tag for the new restaurant somewhere around $6.5 million. There are multiple dining rooms as well as a sushi bar, indoor lounge and outdoor bar with tables that feature personal gas fireplaces. There are numerous display aquariums with exotic marine life plus a live fish tank for your dinner selections. Among the upscale decorations and touches of classiness are numerous glass works by Tampa artist Duncan McClellan. Directly behind the host stand is an immense wood-fired grill, which is something of a trademark in various Talk of the Town restaurants.

The sushi selections are listed as bait, an unfortunate pandering to those who think of raw fish only in derogative terms.

This is a second location for a Sand Lake Road restaurant – sort of. The two really are quite different, and I don’t recommend the Sand Lake Road version. The Lake Mary restaurant is big and splashy, and steaks are treated with the same skillful deftness as seafood. Try any of the fresh fish and sample some of the sushi. One dessert will serve four people.

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Francesco’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
Address400 S. Orlando Ave.
CityMaitland
Phone407-960-5533
Price$$
Scott's Review
The chef owner of the restaurant is Francesco Aiello (I love it -- a name that’s two-thirds vowels!), a native of Palermo, Sicily. He is not new to Central Florida kitchens; he’s been cooking here since 1998, most recently at Terra Mia in Lake Mary.... Read more