Restaurants & Bars 126

Orlando area top 10 - February 2012

YosemiteSam | Feb 1, 201207:00 AM

While I know there's only like 5 people who post here regularly (tangent - where do all the Orlando foodies correspond online? I think they're all bloggers rather than message boarders - though that seems navel-gazing to me), I still thought it might be fun to name each of our current top 10 favs in the Orlando area based on whatever criteria you want to use - food, decor, value, trendy, scene, etc

Just list your 10 with a few comments to support each.
Here's mine:

1) Ravenous Pig - great food, full of flavor without getting pretentious, awesome bar and cocktail program, too damn hard to get into on weekends
2) Tasting Room - hidden gem with great food on an ever-changing menu, also a great cocktail program, worth the drive
3) K - stick to the rotating new menu options and you'll get a meal on par with any in a bigger city - had my best dish of the last year here of gnocchi with pig head ragu
4) Luma on Park - great, fresh seasonal food in a scene-y but beautiful space - chef is the best in town with seafood but great with everything else too
5) La Luce - hard to believe there is something this great in a hotel on Disney property - there will be kids around but with food this good and a great staff you must find a way to try this place
6) Chef's Table - sister restaurant tot he Tasting Room above - prix fixe only place with simply prepared but deceptively complex flavors - great spot for a date night
7) Memories of India - just great traditional Indian food with a range of flavors in a simple strip mall setting - this holds my ethnic slot on the list, but also considered here were Pho 88, Hanamizuki, Cedar's Lebanese, Nile Ethiopian, Beewon Korean and Anatolia
8) Pio Pio - a Colombian chicken joint that's my top value pick in town - the chicken is amazing but the rest of the food is great too - other value choices that almost made the cut were Yellow Dog Eats, Press 101, Kona Dog, and Beefy King
9) Chatham's Place - old school standby tucked away in the sea of glitzy chains on Restaurant Row - the best choice in town for a quiet special occasion meal. Other option is Victoria & Albert's but the WDW location gives me pause
10) Big Wheel Provisions - had to include the best food truck as this trend has really taken off this year - you also won't go wrong with the Crooked Spoon

You see how I managed to get in more than ten? :) That said the main ten I listed are really my best choices for any type of occasion, though I would have loved to find a place for the others I mentioned above as well as some that didn't make the cut but are also wonderful (or pefect for certain situations) like the Rusty Spoon, Nagoya, Dragonfly, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Le Coq Au Vin, Hollerbach's Willow Tree, Funky Monkey Downtown and Lac Viet

One final thought - there are a few categories of cuisine missing that I wanted to mention and bemoan our state of here in Central Florida - no seafood places (a true tragedy considering our location), no steakhouses (all interchageable) and finally no entries for my personal favorite cuisine: BBQ - we are ok here but I find 4 Rivers a bit overrated by locals (and I prefer southern pork-based BBQ and 4 Rivers is Texas beef-based) and Bubbalou's is OK but ultimately average - if I had to choose I'd go with Harry and Larry's in Winter Garden.

Now what are your lists? I reserve the right to alter mine if one of you jogs my memory of a place I forgot

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