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Food & Drink

Best of Orlando 2010:Food & Drink 

Food & Drink Bakery - Breakfast/Brunch - Burger - Caribbean - Chinese - Coffeehouse - Diner - Dive Bar - Doughnuts - French - Greek - Happy Hour - Hook-up Bar - Ice Cream Shop - Indian - Irish - Italian - Latin - Lesbian Bar - Mexican - Middle Eastern - Pizza - Pub - Smoothies - Southern Food - Sports Bar - Steakhouse - Subs - Sushi - Thai - Teahouse - Vegetarian/Vegan - Vietnamese - Wine Bar - Wings - Late Night - Barbecue - Gay Bar

Best Bakery
1st: Charlie's Gourmet Pastries
3213 Curry Ford Road

2nd: Publix Bakery
Multiple locations

3rd: Raphsodic Cooperative Company
710 N. Mills Ave.

Best Lesbian Bar
1st: Revolution Nightclub
375 S. Bumby Ave.

2nd: Pulse
1912 S. Orange Ave.

3rd: Sip
724 Virginia Drive

Best Breakfast/Brunch
1st: First Watch
Multiple locations

2nd: Ethos Vegan Kitchen
1235 N. Orange Ave.

3rd: White Wolf Cafe
1829 N. Orange Ave.

Best Mexican
1st:Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant
929 N. Semoran Blvd.

2nd: El Potro Mexican Restaurant and Catering
Multiple locations

3rd: Tijuana Flats
Multiple locations

Best Burger
1st: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Multiple locations

2nd: Graffiti Junktion
900 E. Washington St.

3rd: Johnny's Fillin' Station
2631 S. Ferncreek Ave.

Best Middle Eastern
1st: Tony's Deli
1323 N. Mills Ave.

2nd: Bosphorus Restaurant
108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park

3rd: Cedar's Restaurant of Orlando
7732 W. Sand Lake Road

Best Caribbean
1st: Bahama Breeze
Multiple locations

2nd: Mama Millie's Jamaican Cafe
12273 University Blvd.

3rd: Waitiki Retro Tiki Lounge
26 Wall St.

Best Pizza
1st: Mellow Mushroom
11680 E. Colonial Drive
2015 Aloma Ave., Winter Park

2nd: Anthony's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant
Multiple locations

3rd: Planet Pizza
14 W. Washington St.

Best Chinese
1st: P.F. Chang's China Bistro
436 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park
4200 Conroy Road

2nd: Panda Bistro
12014 E. Colonial Drive, No. 190

3rd: Pei Wei Asian Diner
Multiple locations

Best Pub
1st: Will's Pub
1042 N. Mills Ave.

2nd: Fiddler's Green
544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park

3rd: Redlight Redlight
745 Bennett Road

Best Coffeehouse
1st: Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 E. Winter Park Road

2nd: Starbucks Coffee
Multiple locations

3rd: Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar
444 N. Bumby Ave.

Best Smoothies
1st: Planet Smoothie
Multiple locations

2nd: Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Multiple locations

3rd: Smoothie King
Multiple locations

Best Diner
1st: Junior's Diner
2920 Corrine Drive

2nd: Christo's Cafe
1815 Edgewater Drive

3rd: 5 & Diner
12286 E. Colonial Drive

Best Southern Food
1st: Mama Nems'
805 S. Kirkman Road

2nd: Johnson's Diner
595 W. Church St.

3rd: Crooked Bayou
50 E. Central Blvd.

Best Dive Bar
1st: Wally's Mills Avenue Liquors
1001 N. Mills Ave.

2nd: Bar-BQ-Bar
64 N. Orange Ave.

3rd: Redlight Redlight
745 Bennett Road 407-893-9832

Best Sports Bar
1st: Miller's Ale House
Multiple locations

2nd: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
Multiple locations

3rd: Sportstown Billiards
2414 E. Robinson St.

Best Doughnuts
1st: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Multiple locations

2nd: Dunkin' Donuts
Multiple locations

3rd: Bakery Plus
915 E. Michigan St.

Best Steakhouse
1st: Del Frisco's
729 Lee Road

2nd: Ruth's Chris Steak House
Multiple locations

3rd: Linda's La Cantina Steak House
4721 E. Colonial Drive

Best French
1st: Le Coq Au Vin
4800 S. Orange Ave.

2nd: Chez Vincent
533 W. New England Ave., Winter Park

3rd: Paris Bistro
216 N. Park Ave., Winter Park

Best Subs
1st: Publix
Multiple locations

2nd: Jimmy John's
Multiple locations

3rd: Firehouse Subs
Multiple locations

Best Greek
1st: The Greek Corner
1600 N. Orange Ave.

2nd: Taverna Opa
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive

3rd: Cypriana Restaurant
505 Semoran Blvd., Casselberry
12309 E. Colonial Drive

Best Sushi
1st: Amura
Multiple locations

2nd: Seito Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Multiple locations

3rd: Fuji Sushi & Teppan
1449 Lee Road, Winter Park
3899 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary

Best Happy Hour
1st: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
Multiple locations

2nd: Chili's Grill & Bar
Multiple locations

3rd: Antigua
41 W. Church St.

Best Thai
1st: Royal Thai
1202 N. Semoran Blvd.

2nd: Napasorn Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar
56 E. Pine St.

3rd: Sea Thai Restaurant
3812 E. Colonial Drive

Best Hook-up Bar
1st: Bar-BQ-Bar
64 N. Orange Ave.

2nd: Independent Bar
70 N. Orange Ave.

3rd: The Lodge
49 N. Orange Ave.

Best Teahouse
1st: Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria
67 N. Bumby Ave.
12275 University Blvd.

2nd: Infusion Tea
1600 Edgewater Drive

3rd: Dandelion Communitea Cafe
618 N. Thornton Ave.

Best Ice Cream Shop
1st: Cold Stone Creamery
Multiple locations

2nd: Jeremiah's Italian Ice
Multiple locations

3rd: Mochi Frozen Yogurt
145 S. Orange Ave.

Best Vegetarian/Vegan
1st: Ethos Vegan Kitchen
1235 N. Orange Ave.

2nd: Dandelion Communitea Cafe
618 N. Thornton Ave.

3rd: Loving Hut
2101 E. Colonial Drive

Best Indian
1st: Woodlands Indian Cuisine
6040 S. Orange Blossom Trail

2nd: Memories of India
7625 Turkey Lake Road
3895 Lake Emma Road, Lake Mary

3rd: Kohinoor Indian Restaurant
249 W. State Road 436, Altamonte Springs

Best Vietnamese
1st: Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant
730 N. Mills Ave.

2nd: Viet Garden
1237-1239 E. Colonial Drive

3rd: Lac Viet Bistro
2021 E. Colonial Drive

Best Irish
1st: Fiddler's Green Irish Pub & Eatery
544 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park

2nd: The Harp & Celt Restaurant and Irish Pub
25 S. Magnolia Ave.

3rd: (tie): Raglan Road Irish Pub
1640 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista

3rd: (tie) Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub
4308 Curry Ford Road

Best Wine Bar
1st: Eola Wine Company
500 E. Central Blvd.
136 S. Park Ave., Winter Park

2nd: The Wine Room on Park Avenue
270 S. Park Ave., Winter Park

3rd: Funky Monkey Wine Company
912 N. Mills Ave.

Best Italian
1st: Il Pescatore
651 N. Primrose Drive

2nd: Antonio's
611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
7559 W. Sand Lake Road

3rd: Carrabbas Italian Grill
multiple locations

Best Wings
1st: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
Multiple locations

2nd: Gator's Dockside
Multiple locations

3rd: Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill
Multiple locations

Best Latin
1st: Black Bean Deli
325 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park

2nd: Numero Uno Restaurant
2499 S. Orange Ave.

3rd: Pollo Pio Pio
Multiple locations

Best Late Night
1st: Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria
67 N. Bumby Ave.
12275 University Blvd.

2nd: Steak 'n Shake
Multiple locations

3rd: Denny's
Multiple locations

Best Gay Bar
1st: Parliament House 1st: Parliament House
410 N. Orange Blossom Trail
407-425-7571 407-425-7571

2nd: Pulse
1912 S. Orange Ave. 1912 S. Orange Ave.

3rd: Revolution Nightclub
375 S. Bumby Ave.
407-228-9900 407-228-9900

Best Barbecue
1st: 4 Rivers Smokehouse
2103 W. Fairbanks Ave.,
Winter Park
407-474-8377 407-474-8377

2nd: Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ
multiple locations

3rd: Sonny's Real Pit B-B-Q
multiple locations

Writer's Picks

Best beer evangelist

Mike Smith

You've surely noticed that the beer selection at your local public house has gotten considerably better over the last few years. One of the people you can thank for that is Mike Smith. As the public face of Florida Micro Beverage Distributors, Smith is the guy who's getting that Hoppin' Frog IPA, Left Hand Milk Stout and Shipyard BlueFin Stout into bars that a half-decade ago thought they were catering to beer snobs by serving Michelob AmberBock. Firmly in the camp of small-scale craft brewers, Smith is on the good side of the beer wars, putting on events like the Beer Bomb Bike Tour, beer dinners and even beer golf in order to get people to think past the Bud/Miller/Coors conglomerates when it comes to drinking.

Best do-it-yourself coffee

Mysore coffee at Udipi Café
1275 S. Highway 17-92, Longwood

It's worth the first-degree burns to your fingers just to sip the chicory-tinged Mysore coffee at Udipi Café. That's because its full flavor is attained by repeatedly high-pouring the scalding brew by hand in long arcs from a tumbler to a metal bowl to aerate and produce the beverage's characteristic milky froth. The coffee is brewed using a slow-drip extraction process similar to Vietnamese coffee but with beans picked from India's Blue Mountains and roasted and ground in the Garden State. Jerseylicious.

State. Jerseylicious.

Finest example of British imperial decadence on a plate

Sticky toffee pudding at
Best of British Pub
8324 International Drive

Just a taste of the incredible toffee sauce slathered over a square of buttery sponge cake helps one appreciate the once-mighty British Empire's much-maligned culinary tradition. Offer heartfelt (literally) apologies to your arteries, then revel in this post-fish-and-chips indulgence. A pool of divine English cream and an ample side of custard guarantee you'll be weighed down by a few not-so-sterling British pounds.

Best festival fillers

Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival

For some people, the best reason to attend the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is for the food court set up on the "Green Lawn of Fabulousness" in Loch Haven Park. This year's menu was particularly tempting: The Loving Hut tent sold $1 slices of watermelon in addition to robust vegan dinners. Raphsodic Cooperative Company provided fresh-baked vegan goodies, such as the "toasted almond rosewater sammie." Elite Soul Food's fried catfish with sides of macaroni and cheese, collard greens and corn bread was worth the cooked-to-order wait time. On the greasy side, fried peanut-butter-and-jelly "clouds" at Pete and Peg's Roadhouse Grill were a killer complement to the healthier fare.

Best hot chef

Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant
103 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand

You might make a case for the Ravenous Pig's Julie Petrakis, but Cress Restaurant's Hari Pulapaka is the, ahem, whole package. He's got book smarts, cook smarts and he looks smart — female patrons often turn to mush in his presence. His charming and humble disposition, brilliant smile, facial scruff and smoldering brown eyes spark an innate sizzle that parlays to the plate. What can we say? The man's a dish — and a hot one at that.

Best lunchtime sanctuary

Fiorella's Cucina Toscana at the Westin Imagine
9501 Universal Blvd.

A hotel restaurant that's quiet, serene and calming? In Orlando? Off I-Drive? Lunacy! Yet there Fiorella's sits, in all its tranquil glory, on the sweet-scented ground floor of the Westin Imagine Hotel. The restaurant is a haven, particularly during lunchtime hours, when nary a conventioneer graces the restaurant's beautifully modern dining room decorated with glass works by local artist Charles Keila. Upside: a slew of rustic Tuscan lunch specials for $9.99. Downside: the secret's out.

Best catch

"Bruce Gore" wild coho salmon at Winter Park Fish Co.
761 Orange Ave., Winter Park

Caught by hook and line, then stunned, bled, cleaned and frozen at sea within 15 minutes, the "Bruce Gore" wild coho at the Winter Park Fish Company offers an unparalleled option for eco-conscious seafood lovers. The appellation is a reference to the famed fisherman whose Triad Fisheries has set the standard for sustainable, humane and hygienic fishing practices. Simply put, this grilled salmon is the finest catch in town.

Best down-home dessert

Sweet potato pie at Lowe's Good Eaton Soul Food
429 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville


Pecan pie may be Paula Deen's pick, banana pudding a downright Southern bonne bouche and red velvet cake a sugary showstopper, but, dagnabbit, if sweet potato pie ain't the finest in the land! Lowe's pastry trumps them all, thanks to an even-handed use of nutmeg and cinnamon. An extra splash of vanilla results in a pie so lip-smacking good that, in the words of owner Shea Lowe, "It'll make you wanna slap yo' momma upside the head."

Best unexpected condominium cultural casserole

Mucho Tequila and Taco
101 S. Eola Drive

Following a series of short-lived concepts on the first level of outer-Thornton Park's condo-topian ghost town wasn't going to be easy, but the Beacon Hill Group made a go for the slightly raunchy when it opened a loosely Mexican-themed rec room of inexpensive food and hard liquor. It appears to have paid off. Just north of fast food, but just south of what's left of Orlando's flipping money, the balance delivers more on the irony than it does in the service or the food. Blaring '80s metal echoes off a yellowed saloon-wall template, drifting out the door to the jarring juxtaposition of South Beach whiteness. Somewhere in the collision of two worlds you'll find a fair approximation of Orlando.

Best realization that gays would rather drink than eat

Stonewall Neighborhood Bar
741 W. Church St.


Originally opened as Stonewall Bistro with a little help from some city grants, this former restaurant already stood at the bottom of a rather steep cultural hill, thanks to its inauspicious location in the heart of Parramore's blight. Over the past year, though, the Bistro part became increasingly irrelevant. Stonewall, named after the famous gay rebellion, put on its nightlife frock, reworked its interior to a Bewitched living room and grew into the gay bar it was probably always meant to be. Theme nights abound, but a swelling core of displaced regulars has turned the new Stonewall into a great neighborhood bar in a bad neighborhood.

Best icing on a theater experience

Amanda's Cakery cupcakes at the Garden Theatre
304 W. Bay St., Winter Garden

At the Crimes of the Heart production last November at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, in addition to the old-fangled popcorn machine in the lobby, cupcakes were for sale from nearby Amanda and Mary's Bakery. The wholesome taste — the rich vanilla, in particular, topped with a not-too-sweet frosting, delicately dusted with sprinkles — matched the scenery of the quaint theater. The small business that created the cakes has gone through some changes and now does custom orders only — so when calling the Garden Theatre box office, make sure to encourage an encore.

Best Goldilocks sandwiches

Kappy's Subs
501 N. Orlando Ave., Maitland

Let's admit it: Publix subs cost far too much for too little, and Subway just plain doesn't know how to construct the things, "artists" though they be. Since the '70s, walk-up joint Kappy's Subs, conveniently located across from Publix on 17-92 in Maitland, gets it just right. For a few bucks, they provide the perfect, belly-filling amount of tasty sandwich in a reasonable amount of time from behind an actual grill. Not everything they offer is quite so economical — we're looking at you, underwhelming french fries — but who says perfection comes without sacrifice?

Best pasties

Piccadilly cheddar and onion from the British Shoppe
809 N. Mills Ave.


Leave the bangers, beans and mash to Aldous Snow, but when it comes to pasties, there's only one stop you need to make: Club Harem! (We kid.) The Europhiles at the British Shoppe on Mills have what you need when it comes to the British approximation of what the rest of us call "food." Because they're imported directly from the source, most of the UK delectables are frozen, which doesn't matter a lick when it comes to the cheddar-and-onion pasties, which are like calzones but more, you know, proper. The sizable treats run a respectable $4.35 and also come in traditional Cornish beef.

Cornish beef.

Best New Orleans-style dining experience

Crawfish etouffee at The Bistro on Park Avenue
348 N. Park Ave., Winter Park


The enchanting courtyard of the Hidden Gardens encloses classic French Quarter flavor as the Bistro dishes up suppertime Cajun specialties like spicy crawfish etouffee ($25 including salad and yeast rolls) and homemade oyster stew ($8). Tastes like it's straight out of maman's kitchen.

Best artistic display of shrimp

Shrimp-stuffed wonton at Wazzabi Sushi
1408 Gay Road, Winter Park


The tasty masterpiece is so exquisite you almost don't want to eat it — almost. Crispy, crunchy deep-fried wonton on the outside, succulent tender jumbo shrimp and cream cheese on the inside, followed by a tangy zing of Maui onion sauce. The bottom of the martini glass where this burst of culinary inspiration rests is painted with a lethal stroke of wasabi that's sure to clear the sinuses.

clear the sinuses.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)



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