Cala Bella
AddressRosen Shingle Creek Resort
9939 Universal Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-996-9939
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

The food here is deliciously good, and the atmosphere is grandiloquent. But the prices are a bit steep, apparently geared toward the expense-accounted business traveler.

Seafood pescatore features a saffron seasoned fish stock tinged with tomato, with an abundance of seafood, including an Australian lobster tail, two impressively plump scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels. Under it all was a nest of fresh pappardelle pasta.

The al dente ribbons were part of my companion’s entrée of pappardelle ai bistecche, which was listed under the menu’s pasta heading, though in truth this was a steak dish. It featured 10 ounces of New York strip from Harris Ranch, cooked to a perfect medium-rare and sliced, the noodles piled on top with a sauce of mushrooms and tomato ragout. Quite nice.

We had started our meal with the mozzarella stuffed Bella meatballs, three bocce ball-sized orbs of moist ground meat braised in Barolo wine. The meatballs were more enjoyable than the calamari fritte, which was a little too damp.

Service was exceptional.

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Capital Grille
AddressPointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-370-4392
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

One of Darden Restaurants’ most recent acquisitions, and easily their most upscale. The steaks here are very good, and the service is attentive if not downright solicitous. I had the Delmonico, basically a bone-in ribeye, that was had a flavorful, well-seasoned crust and beautiful red center. The higher fat content of the cut made it juicy and tender.
My companion chose the Kansas City sirloin, offered as a special on the night I visited. Also a bone-in cut, the steak had a characteristically coarser texture but was cooked just as perfectly as the other and was every bit as flavorful.

Atmosphere is clubby and posh.

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Charley's Steak House
Address8255 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-363-0228
Price$
Scott's Review
From local restaurant group Talk of the Town, Charley's is a longtime steakhouse that specializes in fine cuts of meat cooked over hardwood fires. Very popular with the tourists, most locals know that it can be hit or miss. When it's on the mark, it's very good. Besides this location, there is a Charley's on South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando and another in Kissimmee.... Read more
Copper Canyon Grill
Address9101 International Drive
Pointe Orlando
CityOrlando
Phone407-363-3933
Price$$
Scott's Review

I also don't quite get the Copper Canyon bit. If it is meant to be a theme, it's pretty subtle.

Still, I have to say that a lot of the food I had here was pretty good. I still don't think the rotisserie chicken is anything special, even though the restaurant considers it to be its forte, but I had plenty of other things that I considered quite tasty.

And it's not that there was anything wrong with the chicken, which is good, because besides being available as a stand-alone item, it is included in several other dishes.

I sampled the rotisserie chicken as part of a combination the menu annoyingly lists as cluck-n-oink. The bird was paired with pork ribs. If you don't know which is which, ask a 4-year-old to give you a refresher course on "Old McDonald's Farm."

It may also be mentioned here that the chicken is sometimes paired with steak, thereby known as cluck-n-moo, and at times the chicken is left out of the equation, and the ribs and steak are offered together. You'll be expected to order the moink.

I ordered the chicken and ribs. "You mean the cluck-n-oink?" asked the server. No, I told her, the chicken and ribs.

T... Read more

Cuba Libre
AddressPointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-226-1600
Price$$$
Scott's Review

It's big and splashy, but early indications are that more effort was put into the ambience than into the food, which is under the direction of James Beard Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot. It would seem the vibrant flavors of Cuban cuisine have been dumbed down for the tourist trade. Even the drinks are disappointing. It's bad enough that they can't seem to make a decent mojito, but you'd think they could at least have a stellar Cuba Libre.

We started with a salad of watercress with crumbles of Cabrales, the tangy blue cheese of Spain. Fresh, but indistinguished.

A fish course followed comprised of sea bass a la plancha a Chino-Cubano. Yes, a Chinese version of a Cuban dish, complete with fried rice and a sesame sauce. I found it rather strange, although the quality of the fish was good.

The meat course had grilled skirt steak on a sugar cane skewer paired with roast pork stuffed mofongo -- not an ingredient in the bunch that I don't love. Yet it was all almost flavorless, without any seasoning. It looks like this will be another Latin restaurant that's afraid of offending the delicate palates of tourists. That's a shame.

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Curry Mantra
Address6127 Westwood Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-233-4636
Price$$
The young man who greeted us and showed us to the lunch buffet at Curry Mantra, a new Indian restaurant, seemed genuinely interested in making sure my lunch guest and I were pleased with the food. Unfortunately, we weren't. ... Read more
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
Address9150 International Drive
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-5074
Price$$$$
Scott's Review
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House has come into the area in a big way, with an emphasis on the big. The new restaurant on International Drive is huge. Of course, the main event here is meat -- big, expensive hunks of it, nicely broiled and juicy.... Read more
Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse
Address6115 Westwood Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-226-2662
Price$$
Scott's Review
Even though this is a restaurant out of New York, don't confuse it with the legendary Manhattan steakhouse. Not that you would once you stepped inside this casual yet boisterous place. The signature item here is the same-named cut of meat.

I must say it was an impressive looking steak, a beautiful 24-ouncer that had been cooked perfectly to the requested medium-rare. And with the exception of the first bite, which was all gristle, the meat was quite tender, and at $19.99 for such a large steak, it seemed to be quite a deal.

So would it have been too much to ask that the steak have some flavor? It had none. It was ultimately just a big slab of meat that could substantially fill an empty stomach without offering much in the way of enjoyment. It was served with a side of penne with a passable red sauce.

Unfortunately, management seems to think that anyone coming in through the door is a tourist. They're not treated poorly, they're just not treated as though they're coming back again. There are dozens of places on International Drive that are better than Delmonico's.

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