College Park’s food scene, already not too shabby (RusTeak, Outpost, Hubbly Bubbly, Trevi Pasta and more), is about to get a major upgrade, and residents of the 32804 have been bursting at the seams for the chance to, well, burst at the seams. No less than four eateries – Armando’s Cucina Italiana, PR’s Taco Palace, Caliente and Croissant Gourmet – will open in the neighborhood in the coming weeks. Given the lackluster efforts of the now-closed Taste, Juliana’s Fine Tuscan and Hangar Bar & Grill, these new restos can’t open soon enough.
2. First Watch, multiple locations, firstwatch.com
3. The Briarpatch, 252 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-8651, thebriarpatchrestaurant.com
2. Dexter’s, multiple locations, dexwine.com
3. White Wolf Café, 1829 N. Orange Ave., 407-895-9911, whitewolfcafe.com
2. Caribbean Sunshine Bakery, multiple locations, caribbeansunshinebakery.net
3. Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, multiple locations, orlandogoldenkrust.com
2. Tasty Wok, 1246 E. Colonial Drive, 407-896-8988
3. Lam’s Garden, 2505 E. Colonial Drive, 407-896-0370, lamsgardenchineseorlando.com
When you’re in a “mixed marriage” (meat-eater/meat-shunner), it’s the special event meals that are tough: birthdays, anniversaries and the like. Ever on the lookout for an upscale restaurant with a mix of meaty and meatless on the menu, we’ve found in the last year that Soco fills the bill nicely. While one side of the table feasts on crispy oysters and hanger steak, the other can be just as happy with smoked black-eyed pea tortellini and Southern field pea-and- preserved lemon salad. The chef is often happy to improvise as well, shunning the short-sighted anti-vegan bias of some kitchens.
2. Zaza New Cuban Diner, 3500 Curry Ford Road, 407-228-0060; also 380 S. State Road 434, Altamonte Springs, 407-347-6606, zazacubandiner.com
3. Cuban Sandwiches to Go, 1605 Lee Road, 407-578-8888
Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they provide us with the vital ingredient of Earth’s most comforting sandwich: the grilled cheese. And blessed also is Tonda Corrente, aka La Femme du Fromage, whose cheese stall at East End Market is not only capable of launching a killer cheese plate, but also serves up a dreamy grilled cheese sandwich – we’re talking a serious four-cheese blend on Olde Hearth bread, not some Kraft Singles-on-Wonder mess – and from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, they’re $2 off. Go on, ruin your dinner.
2. Chez Vincent Traditional French Cuisine, 533 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-599-2929, chezvincent.com
3. Benjamin French Bakery & Café, 716 E. Washington St., 407-797-2253, benjaminfrenchbakery.com