Ataj Indian Restaurant
There’s no reason for us to get into a discussion of preconceived notions for restaurants in this part of town. Let’s just say that a disappointing number of businesses seem to ascribe to the theory that they don’t really need to try very hard to impress customers because, being in a tourist-dominated area, a new wave of customers comes in every week. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
Happily, I did not get that feeling from Ataj. The place was fresh, clean and comfortable, and the staff were all welcoming....
|Address||2901 Parkway Blvd.|
Charley's Steak House
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....
|Address||8255 International Drive|
MOOR is inside the Gaylord Palms Resort in the space that previously was Sunset Sam’s. There have been subtle changes to the decor, but the main scenery element — a tall ship “floating” in a waterway inside the resort’s massive terrarium of a lobby — remains.
Seafood is a forte here, and it's all done well.
In fact, the restaurant’s new name is inspired by the connection that ties boat to land, although the menu also suggests an acronym that celebrates the regional cuisine: Mindful Of Our Resources.
Whatever, I’ll have some MOOR, please....
|Address||6000 W Osceola Parkway|
Old Hickory Steakhouse
The setting is a large shack, perhaps in the Everglades, but since you're really inside the atrium of the Gaylord Palms you don't have to worry about mosquitos. Although it is primarily a steakhouse (make that prime-arily) and prepares steaks with a beautiful charred crust, Old Hickory is positioning itself to be an all-around restaurant, with very good seafood selections as well. Be sure to experience the cheese cart at the end of the meal. Or at the beginning, because you may be too stuffed after....
|Address||6000 W. Osceola Parkway|
Most of the menu is -- this won’t surprise you -- burgers, from basic to fancy. There are a couple of other options, most notably the Shula Steak Sandwich, but when the name of the place is Shula Burger, you're best to stick with that.
And in fact I chose the one called the Shula Burger, a very basic patty with a slice of American cheese (a substance that always makes me swell with patriotic pride -- at least I think that’s what causes the swelling), lettuce and tomato. I requested, without being asked, that the burger be cooked medium-rare. The fellow taking the order winced a bit and said he could only do medium or medium-well. I asked why, preparing myself for the “it’s a state law” boondoggle, but the man answered quite honestly -- the patties are too thin to cook medium-rare....
|Address||8124 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway|