|Address||108 Park Ave. S.|
Bosphorus is a delightful restaurant with stylized Turkish classics.
My favorite from the list of entrees was the hunkar begendi, or sultan’s delight, a classic Ottoman dish. It featured hunks of seasoned beef sauteed with onions and tomatoes in the center of the plate surrounded by a moat of creamy-textured puree of smoked eggplant.
The etli guvec was good too. It was a meat casserole with cubes of lamb mixed with green beans, eggplant,zucchini, potatoes, okra, carrots, bell peppers and tomatoes. It all blended into a wonderful, richly seasoned stew that was served over rice.
The desserts are worth sampling. Winner of the 2007 Foodie Award for Best Middle Eastern.... Read more
|Address||526 Park Ave. S.|
Cafe de France is one of the long mainstays of Park Avenue, lasting through its slump in the '90s and into the avenue's current revival as one of the area's premier dining destinations. Locals love the quintness of its small dining room and the charm of its hostess and owner, Dominique Gutierrez
A renovation a few years ago converted the spot into a sophisticated bistro. The menu is less traditional French, but has some good points. Osso buco (hello? Italian!) was good, but the chef did a better job with the fish of the day. Calamari with fried potatoes was the best starter, and clafoutis a sweet end.... Read more
|Address||151 Welbourne Ave. E.|
|Address||649 Front St.|
Columbia is the oldest restaurant in Florida, but not this location. The original in Tampa's Ybor City has been around since 1903 (although, until recently, it was thought it was established in 1905). The Celebration restaurant has had its high and low moments in the past 15 years; lately it has been doing better. The menu is not as authentically Spanish as they would like you to believe. It's not even all that Cuban. But the creative stylings at least get the spicing right. Try the red snapper Alicante or the scallops Casimiro. Desserts are less satisfying.... Read more
|Address||700 E. Washington St.|
... Read more
|Address||1600 N. Orange Ave.|
It’s Greek, and it’s on the corner; you can’t get more succinct that that. But no corners are cut on the quality. All your Greek favorites are here, served in a small, unassuming space.
I supped on the melitzanosalat, a dip made with roasted eggplant, and followed with a bowl of tangy avgolemeno, the chicken soup thickened with a lemony egg sauce. For my main course I had the moussaka, a big brick of seasoned beef, eggplant and potatoes topped with a fluffy bechamel. Substantial and delicious.
If it’s a warm day – it’s Florida, the odds are in your favor – sit on the patio, across the street from Lake Ivanhoe.... Read more
|Address||565 W. Fairbanks Ave.|
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