|Address||Winter Park Village|
436 N. Orlando Ave.
Additional location: Mall at Millenia, 4200 Conroy Road, Orlando; 407-345-2888. I don’t know why I included this restaurant under the Chinese listings – the food is about as far away from authentic Chinese as you can get. But, for some, this is what they want in a Chinese restaurant. And they can have it.
Still, there are some tasty things to be had.
For appetizers the salt & pepper shrimp were a treat. The shrimp, lightly breaded and coated with salt and pepper, are meant to be eaten shell, tail and all. It's an unusual textural experience, but it's one you should try.
The ``soothing lettuce wraps,'' available with chicken or vegetables only, were good too. Here the meat or vegetables were stir-fried with a light sauce and served with whole leaves of iceberg lettuce. To eat, you simply spoon some of the food onto the lettuce and roll it up.
Red sauced wontons featured shrimp and pork steamed inside rather doughy wonton skins. They were sticky and much less pleasant than the other appetizers.
My favorite entree was Chang's spicy chicken, a version of the popular General Tso's chicken found in many Chinese restaurant. The chunks of chicke... Read more
|Address||1670 Buena Vista Drive|
|City||Lake Buena Vista|
|Address||13586 S. John Young Parkway|
I'm prepared to call this the best Cuban restaurant in Central Florida, it's really that good. A family operation out of South Florida, Padrino's features both traditional Cuban dishes and some more stylized "bistro" items, and they're served in a pleasant, bright dining room.
My guest and I started our dinner with the classic empanadas, crisp, flaky pastries filled with a spicy ground beef mixture. They were served with a wonderful guava chutney that I could have eaten by the spoonful.
We also had a selection of tostones topped with ropa vieja, ground beef and chicken. The shredded beef of the ropa vieja was a favorite.
For my entree I chose Mayi’s mahi mahi, a colorful dish of red, green, orange, yellow, golden and white that featured a fresh-tasting fillet topped with fresh mango and pineapple chutney, served with mashed sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables.
The owners are usually at the restaurant tending to the customers and making sure that everything is first-rate. And it usually is.... Read more
|Address||Hard Rock Hotel|
5800 Universal Blvd.
This New York-based chain has shown some improvement in recent years and can now hold its own among the area’s high-end steakhouses. The meat is masterfully prepared -- my New York strip was perfect. Whatever you have as your main course, be sure to get the au gratin potatoes for a side dish. These are so gooey and thick you may not notice there are potatoes included.... Read more
|Address||216 S. Park Ave.|
|Address||1590 Buena Vista Drive|
|City||Lake Buena Vista|
The lastest from E-Brands group (Timpano, Samba Room) and the newest in Downtown Disney, Paradiso 37 neither thrills nor disappoints. If you're an aficionado of tequilas, the towering bar with 50 brands might impress you.
For my appetizer I chose the Central American crazy corn because I was in a wild and Central American kind of mood. This featured fire-roasted corn-on-the-cob coated with melted cheese and drizzled with a slightly peppery hot sauce. I sort of liked it, though my companion found it more than a little crazy. What I didn’t like was the four small, half-ears for that price. At $7.50 I’m guessing there’s a profit of around seven bucks on that one.
For my entree I chose the tres tacos. There were, as the name implies, three of them, but together they barely amounted to one regular sized taco. The mini corn tortillas were firm, but the meats -- your choice from among chicken, pork, grilled steak, mahi mahi or, for a vegetarian option, roasted mushrooms -- were underseasoned and under proportioned. The tacos were further dwarfed by a large mound of green cilantro rice and a puddle of black beans. Both side dishes were fine, though again nothing ste... Read more