First of all, many thanks from a Seattle area hound for all of your posts on chow in Florida. I was recently in Orlando with spouse & toddler in tow & thought I'd post a quick report:
Our favorite recommendation: El Bohio. We had a midafternoon lunch there on the day we were leaving town. Took us a bit of work to find it, but it was worth it. We had the pork special for lunch (several slices of pork with sauteed onions & peppers, black beans & yellow rice) -- a bit on the greasy side, but very tasty overall. The black beans were deeply flavorful. Cuban sandwich was good, but not too exciting. Corn fritters were crisp and slightly sweet - great! Our toddler loved the tres leches cake for dessert. Most of all, we were amazed to find that our lunch, with two iced teas, cost $16! Service was pretty slow & somewhat uneven, but for the price we did not mind.
Our other choices:
Wildfire, now called Wild--something else. Waiter said the name change was due to a lawsuit by Wildfire's of Chicago? In any event, we had a couple of excellent amber ales and were happy, but not completely happy, with the BBQ. One of us had a pork sandwich, the other beef. On both, the meat was dry. We ended up adding extra BBQ sauce, which was tasty. My sandwich came with a very nice mixed greens salad but my spouse's slaw side was just your average slaw. The real reason to go to this place is that it's a good meal in a great location - one block from beautiful Lake Eola. We had a really lovely walk around part of the lake after dinner -- quiet & glittering at night - it felt like we were not in the middle of a city. I noticed that there is a very nice playground on the edge of the lake (off the street from the restaurant to the lake) that would be great for parents who need to let their little ones run off some steam before, after (or during) a meal. There were families there with kids at 9 p.m.
Tu tu Tango: a tapas-type place that provides artists working near your table (painting, making music, etc.) Appears to be a regional chain that would be very fun for going out with friends & having some drinks/hanging out. The food was just okay - a "Spanish antipasto" appetizer was particularly disappointing, with ham that did not resemble any ham I ever had in Spain, & greasy buttered flatbread on the side. We had some tender, tasty scallops from the specials menu, but overall were not terribly impressed with the food. And, the noise level in the restaurant is deafening -- as the parent of a toddler, I actually like some noise in a restaurant most of the time, so that others are not bothered if our child is a little noisy, This place was so noisy, with the music cranked so loud, that I had to take our toddler out of there because she was scared by it - and it hurt my ears as well.
Shark Encounter restaurant at Sea World. Yep, the food was overpriced and okay, but not that great. But this is a great place to take a child & we had lots of fun watching the fish & Sharks through the big floor to ceiling windows. Don't go if you don't have kids (but you're probably not at Sea World if you don't have kids, anyway).
Thanks again FL hounds.
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