Restaurant Listings
Vanbarry's Public House
Address4120 S. Orange Ave.
Scott's Review
From the same people who own Finnhenry's in downtown Orlando and Ollie's Public House in College Park, Vanbarry's succeeds because it doesn't overreach. It does not promise to be more restaurant than it can produce, and so expectations aren't elevated. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise because it does do some things quite nicely. The burger, for instance, and the Vanbarry's Bacon Jam Burger in particular. It was a thick and juicy patty served on a kaiser roll (you can have a pretzel roll if you prefer) with a modest leaf of lettuce and a couple of pickles and tomato slice. There were plenty of blue cheese crumbles and the bacon jam, though not as good as actual bacon, gave a nice smoky note. Multiple napkins were necessary in the eating. The burger came with stack of nicely seasoned and meaty fries. The Mac & Cheese Skillet was excellent. The creamy mix included lots of bits of prosciutto for some saltiness. I ate more of it than I really intended to.... Read more
Venetian Chop House
AddressCaribe Royale
8101 World Center Drive (CR 536 at CR 535)
Scott's Review
A favorite of locals for special occasions, the former Venetian Room has become Venetian Chop House and specializes in steaks. But while the menu has been tweaked a bit, this is still very much a fine dining restaurant. The dining room is every bit as elegant as before and the service just as professional. ... Read more
Via Napoli
AddressItaly Pavilion, Epcot
1510 Avenue of the Stars
CityLake Buena Vista
Scott's Review
Patina Restaurant Group, which runs this restaurant as well as Tutto Italia next door, imports the water it uses to mix with its imported flour to make the pizza dough. The flour is from Italy; the water is from Pennsylvania. But, the chef told me, the minerality most closely resembles that of the water in Naples, so they figure it's worth it. I think the pizzas are better simply for the super-hot ovens (also from Italy) which give the pies a quick crisping. Besides pizza, the fritto misto is worth trying.... Read more
Victoria & Albert’s
AddressDisney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Walt Disney World
Scott's Review

Quite simply one of the best restaurants in the Southeast, headed by talented chef Scott Hunnel, winner of the 2008 Sante magazine Culinary Professional of the Year award. This is haute cuisine, and dinner here is a delight. The menu changes frequently but is prix fixe with multiple choices. This may be the last restaurant in Florida to require gentlemen to wear jackets. (Also, children under 10 are not permitted in the dining room -- yes, this is a Disney restaurant.)

V&A recently received its 10th AAA five-diamond rating, that guidebook's highest honor. Only 52 of the 60,000 North American restaurants rated by AAA achieves five-diamond status. Only two other Florida restaurants - l'Escalier and the Restaurant at the Four Seasons, both in Palm Beach -- have the top honor.

For a truly special treat try to snag the chef's table. It's a mulitple course feast (I lost count at 15) that can easily last four and a half hours.

A new offering -- a third option -- is the Queen Victoria Room, features tableside service from a menu separate from the dining room but priced the same as the chef's table, $200 per person plus $95 for the optional wine pairings.  A b... Read more

Victorio's Oyster Bar and Grille
Address1500 Alafaya Trail
Scott's Review
The oysters were nice and cold and a decent medium size -- not too small and not too big as to be intimidating. They weren’t shucked very well, and I had to pull the meat away from the shell with my fork, which resulted in leaving some behind. The shucker has the sharp knife, and after using it to pry open the shell he should slice under the muscle to completely free it. From the list of Italian dinners I had focused on the eggplant parmigiana, and I was happy to see that it was available in an appetizer portion for $7.99. And that was just the right size, too. The eggplant was a bit seedy, but the flavors of the tomato sauce and herbs and gooeyness of the mozzarella cheese were all very pleasant, though that isn't a word I would use to describe the service. There are other locations; check the website.... Read more
Address7581 University Blvd.
CityWinter Park
Scott's Review
Let me just put this right out there at the beginning: Viet-Nomz might just be serving the best Vietnamese food in the area. Those of you who know me know that I don’t make such statements lightly. I put off visiting this small, fast-casual restaurant for a long time because too many other businesses in this spot opened and closed too quickly. I didn’t hold up much hope for another newcomer, especially one with such a cutesy name. But after six months of seeing more cars in front than I ever did for any of the other restaurants that have occupied the University Boulevard space, I decided to pull over and try it myself.... Read more
Vietnam Cuisine
Address1224 E. Colonial Drive
Scott's Review

he menu is less extensive than many of those you’d find in the neighboring restaurants, some of which have over a hundred options. But like those other restaurants, several of the items on the menu are variations of the same dish. For example, of the seven dishes listed under the heading “House Specials,” five were essentially the same dish with a different lead protein. All had fried shrimp, deep-fried  shrimp-and-pork cake wrapped in bean curd skin, shredded pork skin, and grilled shrimp. You could get that with grilled pork, chicken, grilled beef, grilled “ribs of the beef,” or grilled rib.
I chose the latter, which turned out to be a pork chop. And a good one at that, slightly charred but moist inside. The shrimp-and-pork cake was especially tasty with the fried bean curd skin. And the platter was filled out with a large mound of white fluffy rice plus some lettuce, sculptured carrot slices, cucumber and a ring of jalapeno. There was also a dish of sweet and sour vinaigrette to pour over the rice. It was all very good and very filling, even if the two grilled shrimp were, well, shrimpy.

... Read more
Vines Grille & Wine Bar
Address7533 W. Sand Lake Road
Scott's Review

It would be almost enough to go here to sit at the bar, sip a glass of wine and eat strips of bacon while listening to live jazz. (Instead of salty peanuts they put rashers of crispy bacon on the bar here.)

On my first visit to Vines I dined in the main room. I sampled the onion soup, a hearty bowl of beefy broth topped with stringy cheese. For my entree I had the braised beef short rib, oh-so-tender meat that had long given up the bone, served with polenta infused with blue cheese and Brussels sprouts roasted with bacon. (They love bacon in this joint.)

On another visit, I decided to make a feast of a couple of appetizers while sitting at the bar. I selected the steak tartare and seared day boat scallops. The tartare looked as though it were a burger patty ready for the grill. It was surrounded by the usual accouterments, capers, onions, as well as hot sauce drizzled on the plate and a pile of salt. It was topped with a raw quail egg, cracked open and still in the shell. The bartender/server asked if I had ever had the tartare there before and I allowed as to how I had not. She made the suggestion that I blend everything together, the hot sauce and salt included... Read more