Amura
Address950 Market Promenade Ave.
CityLake Mary
Phone407-936-6001
Price$$$

Amura continues to improve on a good thing with its latest location. Although it wants to be considered a chophouse, this is a sushi spot. If beef is what you want, the Kobe steak may be worth a really big splurge.

But for roughly the same price as the Kobe steak, my guests and I feasted on the Heathrow boat ($87.99), a small yacht decked out with sushi, sashimi and assorted hand rolls. Onboard were an Africa roll with yellowtail and tuna; crab Rangoon with real crab, smoked salmon and cream cheese; electric shock roll with tempura eel, avocado and cream cheese; rainbow roll with salmon and tuna; and nigirizushi nibbles of shrimp, salmon, snapper and tuna. All of the raw fish had a cool taste and a soft, buttery texture and every bit of it was delicious.

From among the kitchen foods, the Chilean sea bass with black bean sauce was a favorite. The fish was a large fillet with white flesh that broke off in big chunks. The sauce of tiny black beans provided subtle spiced notes.

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Bar Louie
Address7335 Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-608-5190
Price$$
Scott's Review

This is one of the best deals in town if your timing is right. During happy hour, which goes until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, drafts are $3, specialty drinks are $5 and glasses of wine only $4. Plus, all appetizers are half price. You can pig out and drink yourself silly and have plenty of money left for a cab ride home. This is more of a bar than a restaurant, so expect an ambiance to match.

I stopped in on an early Friday evening as part of a party of six. We discovered that it was still happy hour, and therefore we could have anything from the appetizer list at half price. (The drink specials were pretty good too.) We decided to make a feast of appetizers and forgo dinner.
We ordered the Szechwan rib bites (regularly $8.99), chicken nachos ($9.99), cheeseburger sliders, ($8.99), crispy calamari ($9.99) and Buffalo wings ($7.99).

The sliders were quite good, greasy enough to be chic but meaty enough to satisfy. And the nachos were sufficiently glopped with grilled chicken, cheese sauce, beans, guacamole and sour cream. The rib bites were not spicy at all, as a Szechuan designation would lead us to believe. And they weren't all that tender, either.

T... Read more

bartaco
Address7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-801-8226
Price$
Scott's Review
Located in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips, bartaco, which insists on being lowercased, offers light bites and “upscale street food” in what it calls a beachy atmosphere, if photo collages of Arnold Palmer and other golfers make you think of catching some waves.... Read more
Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
Address8046 Via Dellagio Way
Dellagio Town Center
CityOrlando
Phone407-615-8888
Price$$$
Scott's Review
There has been a change in ownership, but the original chef, James Slattery, remains. (He's also one of the new owners.) Quality of the seafood is first rate, the atmosphere fun and casual.... Read more
Bonefish Grill
Address7830 W. Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-355-7707
Price$$$
Bonefish is one of those restaurants that "gets it." It offers a good product at a fair price in a pleasant atmosphere. Nothing fancy, nothing overblown but a consistently good dining experience. New location at 5463 Gateway Village Circle, Orlando,FL 32812
Phone: 407-816-6355.... Read more
Bravo! Cucina Italiana
Address7924 Via Dellagio Way
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-5880
Price$$$
Scott's Review

From the people who brought you the two local Brio restaurants. Bravo is similar in look and feel, but instead of focusing on steaks as they do at Brio, Bravo offers more pasta dishes, and is therefore a few dollars cheaper. But it's still a nice environment, and the food is good, especially the lasgna, which could feed a small batallion.

Bravo! features several flatbread pizzas. I liked the chicken, spinach and bacon flatbread, which had creamy spinach dollops and chunks of chicken on top of a crispy crust. A sprinkling of bacon gave it a smoky flavor, applewood smoky, to be exact.

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Cedars
Address7732 Sand Lake Road
CityOrlando
Phone407-351-6000
Price$$$

Cedar’s represents itself as a fine dining restaurant, and indeed the atmosphere is a bit more upscale than you’d find in the average Middle Eastern restaurant. The cuisine is above average, too, with a menu that goes well beyond the basic hummus spreads and falafel sandwiches, even though many of the menu items were unavailable when I visited and some dishes seemed only slight variations on one another.

You can put together a lovely meal with the mouhamara dip, a bowl of lentil soup and the fish tajine entree. Other entrees may seem repetitive, but they are good, especially the lamb. Another past Foodie winner.

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Chatham’s Place
Address7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
CityOrlando
Phone407-345-2992
Price$$$$
Scott's Review

Chatham's Place has gone through some changes, and much more than the fact that there are no members of the Chatham family involved in the restaurant. That's not an issue; Louis Chatham, who served as executive chef, and his mother, Bettye, who ran the dining room in those first years, sold the operation years ago to Chatham's sous chef, Tony Lopez, the maitre d', Maurice Colindres, and a hostess, Carol Conwell. The three of them kept it going as strong as ever, perhaps stronger. It was clear that this was an operation of love for the three of them, and they worked together to make it a continued success.

Many of the dishes that became signatures back in Louis Chatham's days remain on the menu, including the Florida black grouper, which has been one of my favorite Central Florida entrees for many years. It features a fresh fillet, thick and white, lightly sauteed and topped with pecan butter and scallions, dusted with just a soupcon of cayenne pepper. The pecan butter places the dish firmly in the south and the pepper points it towards New Orleans. But with the use of Florida black grouper I think we can just claim this one as one of our native dishes, don't you?

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