Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe
Address1414 N. Orange Ave.
CityOrlando
Phone407-601-3508
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The menu does not read as French but there is classic Frenchness in its execution, as you might expect from executive chef Emmanuel Clement.... Read more
Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill
Address14900 Chelonia Parkway
CityOrlando
Phone407-919-6300
Price$$$
Seemingly out of nowhere, a big new JW Marriott has appeared and along with it a pretty darned good restaurant, Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill. The hotel is a new neighbor of other large hotels like the Waldorf Astoria, Hilton and Wyndham in the area known as Bonnet Creek. In fact, if you sit on the restaurant’s comfortably spacious veranda, as I did on my recent visit, you’ll have a view of the actual creek and its woody banks just below. As you might deduce from the clever name, Sear + Sea is a steak and seafood restaurant, which might sound a bit ho-hum at first. But the menu, under the direction of chef de cuisine Alex Pyser, is creative and appealing.... Read more
Soco
Address629 E. Central Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-849-1800
Price$$$
Scott's Review
The latest buzz generator in downtown Orlando restaurants is Soco, the first "from scratch" restaurant from Thornton Park Restaurant Group. The menu is Southern contemporary (which is why it's called Soco) and highlights include a stylized vesrion of chicken and dumplings and a three-meat-blend meatloaf on lobster mashed potatoes.... Read more
Toledo -- Tapas, Steak & Seafood
Address1000 Buena Vista Dr.
CityLake Buena Vista
Phone407-939-3463
Price$$$
Scott's Review
Disney's newest top-tier restaurant on the top floor of the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. It's a Spanish-inspired menu with a special emphasis on seafood.... Read more
Venetian Chop House
AddressCaribe Royale
8101 World Center Drive (CR 536 at CR 535)
CityOrlando
Phone407-238-8060
Price$$$$
Scott's Review
A favorite of locals for special occasions, the former Venetian Room has become Venetian Chop House and specializes in steaks. But while the menu has been tweaked a bit, this is still very much a fine dining restaurant. The dining room is every bit as elegant as before and the service just as professional. ... Read more
Victoria & Albert’s
AddressDisney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Walt Disney World
CityOrlando
Phone407-939-3862
Price$$$$$
Scott's Review

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

Vines Grille & Wine Bar
Address7533 W. Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-1227
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

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

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