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16 new Orlando restaurants you need to try in 2016 

State of the plate

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Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

9150 International Drive

International Drive has recently seen a dip in the kind of splashy, upscale "dining experiences" that used to litter the strip. But with last year's return to Orlando of the Del Frisco brand, tourists and locals alike can relax into the luxury of a true high-end steak house. Along with top-quality meat and classic sides like shrimp remoulade and creamed spinach, rising young sommelier Jill Davis will assist you in selecting just the right juice from Del Frisco's 1,200-bottle wine cellar.

click to enlarge Urbain 40 - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Urbain 40

Urbain 40

8000 Via Dellagio Way

Urbain 40 made it into our Top Tables of 2015, despite the fact that we haven't yet officially reviewed it – we noted that the French brasserie with a swing-era vibe is "arguably the most beautiful restaurant space in the city." Owner Jaafar Choufani and his father, noted restaurateur Rashid Choufani, spared no expense in decking out the restaurant – now they just need to lock down the menu and get the front-of-house staff solidly on track. As we said in December, Urbain 40 is just too damned gorgeous to fail.

Herman's Loan Office

22 W. Pine St.

Hanson's Shoe Repair kicked off the speakeasy trend in Orlando, and while the appeal of the cloak-and-dagger password stuff wore off eventually, the skilled hospitality offered by head bartender Rene Nguyen and his crew stayed ever-appealing. So we were pretty thrilled when they opened another cocktail lounge last week in association with the V Group. It's too early to say for sure, but it's a fair bet that Herman's will be just as successful as Hanson's.

Metro Diner

985 N. State Road 434, Altamonte Springs

When Metro Diner opened its ninth Florida location – and its first in Central Florida – in Altamonte Springs, some may have overlooked it as just another chain breakfast joint. That would be a mistake. The restaurant that found fame on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is all about pleasing the people, with extravagant riffs on blue-plate classics like chicken & waffles (theirs comes with half a fried chicken and a hockey puck of strawberry butter), French toast (concocted with pound cake instead of bread), and the Pittsburgh sandwich (a conglomeration of thick-sliced bread and smoked pastrami topped with melted cheese, a fried egg, french fries and cole slaw). We wonder if Guy Fieri will stop by for a meatloaf platter when he's in town next month?

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