click to enlarge bartlettimage-pizza_bruno-7996.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

10 things worth doing in Conway and Belle Isle 

This easygoing neighborhood southeast of downtown has been quietly residential for years, with nearby ’hood Belle Isle as a slightly scruffier and more industrial neighbor. But its long-appreciated small local businesses are gaining wider acclaim (ZaZa, Mediterranean Blue, Johnny’s); its craft-beer scene rivals the one that’s popped up on Virginia Drive; and the newer, higher-profile spots opening apace (ahem, Pizza Bruno) couldn’t be hotter. Conway may be one of the last areas in Orlando you can afford to buy a house, and it’s one of the few where the shopkeepers still know their regulars by name. We’re calling it: Conway is the new College Park.

EAT

Pizza Bruno

3990 Curry Ford Road, pizzabrunofl.com

Guarantee: You have never tasted better Neapolitan-style pizza or garlickier knots. Bruno Zacchini and his crew make their own salumi, ferment their own dough, serve weekend brunch, and somehow still manage to have fun.

ZaZa New Cuban Diner

3500 Curry Ford Road, 407-228-0060, zazacubandiner.com

Breakfast is one of the best things at this restaurant that's expanding across Central Florida. Try the quesitos or the "Carlitos Way" egg platter if you don't believe us.

Mediterranean Blue

435 E. Michigan St., 407-422-2583, mediterraneanblue.net

This Greek restaurant is beloved by Conway residents and "outsiders" alike, partly for its amazing pastitsio and partly because the owners are just about the nicest people ever.

La Fiesta Mexican Grill

3000 Curry Ford Road, 407-985-4340, facebook.com/lafiestagrillandcatering

Aside from its kickass home-style Mexican food, we hear the happy hour is lit at this eatery.

DRINK

Johnny's Fillin' Station and Johnny's Other Side

2631 S. Fern Creek Ave., 407-894-6900, johnnysfillinstation.com

This adjoining family-owned bars have pool tables, darts, a game room and some truly great burgers.

Belle Isle Yacht Pub

7521 S. Orange Ave., 407-850-3491

A compact, cozy spot to get a decent beer or three, watch the game, or maybe take in a band on the tiny stage.

The Gnarly Barley

7431 S. Orange Ave., 407-854-4999, thegnarlybarley.com

Close to Belle Isle, this craft beer and bites hangout has all the makings for a perfect night out. (That back deck!)

Ocean Sun Brewing

3030 Curry Ford Road, 407-745-5551, oceansunbrewing.com

A friendly, accessible taproom and brewery that "brews for pint holders, not stakeholders."

Rogue Pub

3076 Curry Ford Road, 407-985-3778, roguepuborlando.com

Chill craft beer and wine bar in the Crystal Lake Village center is an ideal spot to meet pals and sink a drink.

GO

Fort Gatlin Recreation Complex

2009 Lake Margaret Drive, 407-254-9820, orangecountyfl.net

Come here to enjoy the family swimming pool or the 10 tennis courts.

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