Going to Orlando, any ideas?

2003/06/29 12:21:25
My parents are heading from Atlanta down to Orlando for several days and my father asked me to post here for him. They will be traveling through Valdosta, GA, Jacksonville, FL and Orlando FL. They tend to like casual dining, but would be open to almost anything.
Junior Burger
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/06/29 22:40:57
Just outside of Orlando, I can highly recommend The Cheesecake Factory. The Chicken Marsala is excellent and they have another chicken dish with asparagus and mushrooms, and a side of smashed potatoes that is outstanding! Also, their Santa Fe Salad is delicious; get the lunch serving because the portions are huge. Prices are moderate, no reservations are taken so you must expect to wait. But it is well worth it!!! And...don't forget the cheesecake. If you can still eat dessert after your meal, get one piece and share it. It, too, is HUGE!!!
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/06/30 15:29:13
If they like BBQ, there is a good place called Bubba's Bodacious BBQ in Maitland on the main drag. It used to be called Barney's, a longtime staple for the area. By the way if they are going to Orlando thru Valdosta, tell them to stay on I-75 and not go thru Jacksonville. That way takes them in a long circular path.
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/06/30 15:39:33
I know that it doesn't exactly qualify as "roadfood", but I ate at Emeril's at Citywalk while in Orlando last week. It was an awesome meal, one of the best I have had for quite a while. I recommend it highly as a fine dining experience.
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/06/30 16:16:03
I have found some good Italian restaurants around Orlando and Kissimmee.
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/06/30 22:22:03
I've been to "The Cheese Cake Factory" in Providence RI...awesome meatloaf on top of mashed potatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unreal!!!!! Also the cheesecake is unreal!!!! If you don't have room take a piece to travel!!! Not cheap but worth EVERY penny!
Do your parents like Thai food? There are several great Thai places. One in particular I can't remember name of but if you post here that they are interested in Thai food I'll find the name! Just let me know! And believe it or not in "Downtown Disney" we had a wonderful meal and lots of fun in the "Rainforest Cafe"!!!!! Good Luck!
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 00:02:34
I have never found anything in Orlando off the "beaten track" that was worth seeking out. Given the nature of the industry that keeps it good it is mostly franchise hell.

With that said one place I like is a pseudo-brewery called Hops. They serve a very respectable, mostly American menu heavy on the red meat and chicken.

For variety you can't beat City Walk, there are numerous places to choose from and the atmosphere is fun. There is a movie theater there that used to offer a package deal (dinner and movie) that was quite reasonable. Please note, that if you to City Walk you will have to pay for parking and you may have to pay a cover charge that will allow you access to all of the clubs and restaurants.
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 08:27:01
If you go to CityWalk after 6, parking is free in the Universal parking ramps.
Junior Burger
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 10:22:30
About 60 miles Northeast of Orlando is a local place called Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, FL. The speciality of the house is Rock Shrimp. They have been serving locals and tourists for over 20 years......they have an interesing history. Check out their website at:


This is a good place to stop by while visiting the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

Have a great trip!
Junior Burger
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 14:11:32
Actually, I just noticed that Jan and Michael Stern did a review for Gourmet magazine for Dixie Crossroads back in 1996......


The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 23:20:18
Mousec -- you didn't find any roadfood off the path in Orlando? You might need a local to show you around a little bit. I live in Melbourne (about an hour east), and get to Orlando often. There are places there that I schedule my visits around!

For breakfast, you can try Nellie Belle's on Orange Avenue (south side of town - sort of near the airport). Check out the biscuits and gravy (believe it or not, Florida is still technically the south). Speaking of...you might also try for breakfast, the Koffee Kup Kafe in St Cloud on 192. Yes, locals do call it the KKK....and St Cloud can be a little redneckish -- usually populated with locals, as it is well out of the way of the touristy side of town, but, from what I understand (I have never been myself...but am told I need to go the next time I am on that side of town around breakfast time), the food is down-home good.

One Florida specialty is certainly Cuban food, and Orlando has it's share of fine establishments. Rolando's is north of the airport on 436 (Semoran Blvd). One thing I like about Cuban restauarants is that they are usually nicely decorated, yet very reasonably priced. They start off your meal with this tasty bread product that is eaither a roll or a biscuit or...well, whatever...they yummy! Arroz con pollo (chicken cooked in yellow rice) is a staple of any good Cuban place, and this does not disappoint. Also a big fan of the sweet plantains. They also have excellent pork dishes. Also, I have a friend that swears by Dom Pepe's (sp?) Cuban Cafe -- also on the north side of town.

Continuing on the topic of slightly more exotic foods, there is a wonderful Colombian place (excellent chicken dishes...and again with the plantains) called Pio Pio on Orange Blosson Train (17-92) on the southwest side of town. It would be near the two newest hotels in Orlando -- the JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton complex. As a bonus, they have two incredibly beautiful sisters that wait tables there. Adds to the ambiance significantly.

I can second the recommendation for Bubba's Bodacious BBQ. If you end up near the downtown area, though, you might try Wildfires. They are in the more trendy Thornton Park neighborhood (near Lake Eola). They have excellent pulled pork and tasty ribs. The pork sandwich with fries is plenty a meal.

If you like steaks, two of the finest steakhouses (significantly more expensive) are Charley's or Vito's. Both have locations on I-Drive...and I think Charley's also has a location up near Disney on 192.

I would also second the love for Dixie Crossroads. It is quite popular, and if you are there on a weekend, expect a wait.

As for the regional chain places, Cheesecake Factory, Hops, and PF Changs (Winter Park) are excellent, as are Toojay's and the Orlando Ale House (both have a couple of locations) chain. There is also a Hooters rip-off (with better food, if you ask me) called the Wing House that has a few locations across town.

Well, that oughta keep you out of the Applebee's, Chili's, Bennigan's, and Cracker Barrells for a couple of days, anyway.

RE: Going to Orlando, any ideas? 2003/07/01 23:24:21
Thanks as always guys (and gals). As I told my dad, you guys always come through. If anyone knows anymore, keep em coming.