|Address||301 E. Pine St.|
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|Address||310 Park Ave. S.|
Now in its second decade in the address that is also its name, this Park Avenue casual restaurant recently expanded into the space next door (yes, they had permission). They also opened a second location on Central Boulevard across from Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. Oddly, that one is called 310 Lakeside, even though that is not its address. Oh, well, there's only one Saks on Fifth Avenue, too.
The key to its longevity is something of a mystery to me, although I suspect that most of its fans like that its food, though nothing special, is reliable. I guess there's something to be said for that. And to last more than 11 years in Central Florida, a restaurant has to be doing something right. Right?... Read more
|Address||7335 W. Sand Lake Road|
|Address||8849 International Drive|
It will be interesting to see if Darden keeps backing this Islands concept, which for some reason has never quite caught on with the dining public. For the most part, the food is good and the restaurants are attractive and lively, often with entertainment. And they’re a favorite outdoor dining destination for locals.
As for the food, my companion out-ordered me with tortilla soup and a ropa Joe sandwich. The soup had layer upon layer of textures and tastes, with pliant avocado cubes, chicken and strips of tortillas.
The sandwich was, as the name might suggest, a version of the classic ropa vieja specialty of shredded beef served on a Cuban roll. Lots of well-seasoned meat, some cheese, peppers and onions livened it up.
For my starter course, I chose a special of ahi tuna ceviche, which featured tiny cubes of tuna dressed with citrus juices served atop a platform supported by watercress. The watercress was more annoying than helpful. It was wadded onto the plate in long stems, and every time I tried to fork a little watercress with some tuna, a long vine would trail behind.
For my entree, I had another special of... Read more
|Address||118 Park Ave. S.|
A renewed look and branding for Orlando-based Barnie's, CoffeeKitchen has the look of a country kitchen, albeit one with five or six tables. The food, under the direction of former Norman's chef Camilo Velasco, is much more ambitious than your average coffee shop. The menu changes seasonally, but it is always wonderful.... Read more
|Address||1501 International Parkway|
|Address||358 N. Park Ave.|
|Address||325 S. Orange Ave.|
Grand Bohemian Hotel
The Boheme has grown into a more consistent fine dining experience but now is trying to position itself as more accessible. Try the Kessler calamari, a silly name for a delicious appetizer, and follow with the lamb duet or the Chilean sea bass. The kitchen also has a way with scallops.
A special treat about dinner here is that most nights there is entertainment in the rotunda just outside the dining room, and the music easily wafts in. If you arrive early, have a seat in the lounge, listen to the music, and enjoy the stories of the affable bartenders.
It should also be noted that the Boheme (and by the way it's pronounced boh-HEEM and not like the name of the Puccini opera) also serves a very nice Sunday jazz brunch.... Read more