October 23, 2015

26 Orlando restaurants you might not know about but should

Get out of your rut and venture into the great beyond by trying a few new Orlando eateries. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants that might not be on your radar. Be sure to click the links to read the full reviews.

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Pho Curry Ford3334 Curry Ford Road | 407-930-6267Modest joint on Curry Ford Road serves dependable pho soups and other Vietnamese staples. While we weren’t blown away by the bu?n vermicelli bowl with bland grilled pork and shrimp, the hearty beef stew banh mi served with doughy French bread and an aromatic pho tai were both stellar. A decent list of vegetarian items are offered, including fat tofu-filled spring rolls and taro-stuffed egg rolls; no desserts are offered. Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
Pho Curry Ford
3334 Curry Ford Road | 407-930-6267

Modest joint on Curry Ford Road serves dependable pho soups and other Vietnamese staples. While we weren’t blown away by the bu?n vermicelli bowl with bland grilled pork and shrimp, the hearty beef stew banh mi served with doughy French bread and an aromatic pho tai were both stellar. A decent list of vegetarian items are offered, including fat tofu-filled spring rolls and taro-stuffed egg rolls; no desserts are offered.
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
Shish.Co Mezze & Grill118 Lake Ave. | 407-661-1336Parking lots are typically bastions for hoodlums and ruffians, yet the paved parcel at 118 Lake Ave. in Maitland attracts a different sort of character after dusk – the intrepid gastronome. They come for Shish.Co’s Turkish delights – and they’ll gladly perch their bottoms on picnic benches situated in the middle of the crammed lot to sample the late-night kebaberie’s magnificent meats.Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
Shish.Co Mezze & Grill
118 Lake Ave. | 407-661-1336

Parking lots are typically bastions for hoodlums and ruffians, yet the paved parcel at 118 Lake Ave. in Maitland attracts a different sort of character after dusk – the intrepid gastronome. They come for Shish.Co’s Turkish delights – and they’ll gladly perch their bottoms on picnic benches situated in the middle of the crammed lot to sample the late-night kebaberie’s magnificent meats.
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
The Meatball Shoppe7325 Lake Underhill Road | 407-270-6505Small Azalea Park eatery serves up (what else?) meatballs in six different varieties, which can be enjoyed three different ways – on top of a side (consider penne pasta, polenta or white bean ragout), smashed inside a ciabatta roll, or “alone” (over greens). Meatballs, be they traditional Italian, spicy pork or lamb, are moist and juicy, though meals can leave you wanting more, given that just three meatballs come in an order. Local Muse gelato and pricey, albeit tasty, mini cannoli comprise the dessert offerings. Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
The Meatball Shoppe
7325 Lake Underhill Road | 407-270-6505

Small Azalea Park eatery serves up (what else?) meatballs in six different varieties, which can be enjoyed three different ways – on top of a side (consider penne pasta, polenta or white bean ragout), smashed inside a ciabatta roll, or “alone” (over greens). Meatballs, be they traditional Italian, spicy pork or lamb, are moist and juicy, though meals can leave you wanting more, given that just three meatballs come in an order. Local Muse gelato and pricey, albeit tasty, mini cannoli comprise the dessert offerings.
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
Rome's Flavours124 E. Morse Blvd. | 407-951-8039Roman husband and wife bring a small slice of the Eternal City to Winter Park with simple, rustic, full-flavored dishes. Rustic “paddle pizzas” served on floured cutting boards are just as delectable as the hearty potato soup and flank steak served over arugula. The focused menu also features?a variety of salumi and al dente pastas. Whatever you do, sample their gelatos, preferably in the form of an affogato.?Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
Rome's Flavours
124 E. Morse Blvd. | 407-951-8039

Roman husband and wife bring a small slice of the Eternal City to Winter Park with simple, rustic, full-flavored dishes. Rustic “paddle pizzas” served on floured cutting boards are just as delectable as the hearty potato soup and flank steak served over arugula. The focused menu also features?a variety of salumi and al dente pastas. Whatever you do, sample their gelatos, preferably in the form of an affogato.?Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
Trevi Pasta2120 Edgewater Drive | 407-985-2577College Park Italian market serves as a one-stop shop for fresh-made pasta, piadina, gelato and sundry Italian imports (think truffles). Pasta, however, is their prized possession with a variety of cuts, flavors and types from which to choose.  Sauces are expertly fashioned, from simple pomodoro-basilico to creamy numbers with portobello, porcini and prosciutto. The gelato case is always a popular gathering ground for kids and adults alike.Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
Trevi Pasta
2120 Edgewater Drive | 407-985-2577

College Park Italian market serves as a one-stop shop for fresh-made pasta, piadina, gelato and sundry Italian imports (think truffles). Pasta, however, is their prized possession with a variety of cuts, flavors and types from which to choose. Sauces are expertly fashioned, from simple pomodoro-basilico to creamy numbers with portobello, porcini and prosciutto. The gelato case is always a popular gathering ground for kids and adults alike.
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
JJ's Grille2950 Curry Ford Road | 407-802-2947Whether JJ’s brings a Med influence to fresh-Mex, or a Mex influence to fresh-Med, most will agree that the burritos, rice bowls, pita sandwiches and tabbouleh bowls are equally worthy. A gracious and welcoming staff not only make the fast-casual experience tolerable, but enjoyable. Beer and wine served. Open daily.Read more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
JJ's Grille
2950 Curry Ford Road | 407-802-2947

Whether JJ’s brings a Med influence to fresh-Mex, or a Mex influence to fresh-Med, most will agree that the burritos, rice bowls, pita sandwiches and tabbouleh bowls are equally worthy. A gracious and welcoming staff not only make the fast-casual experience tolerable, but enjoyable. Beer and wine served. Open daily.
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
Pharmacy8060 Via Dellagio Way | 407-985-2972
When the trio of Loren Falsone, Tyler Brassil and Dominick Tardugno wowed diners with the Table – their fashionably exclusive 22-seat, weekend-only resto in Dr. Phillips – you got the sense the concept was just too small to contain their talents. An expansion of sorts was in order, and soon was born the Pharmacy next door. The modern-day boîte disguised as a 1920s-era speakeasy disguised as an apothecary retains the Table's aura of exclusivity – if not by virtue of its theme, then certainly by the lines clamoring to get past the lemon-squeezer (for all you young folk out there, that's an elevator). -Faiyaz KaraRead more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
Pharmacy
8060 Via Dellagio Way | 407-985-2972

When the trio of Loren Falsone, Tyler Brassil and Dominick Tardugno wowed diners with the Table – their fashionably exclusive 22-seat, weekend-only resto in Dr. Phillips – you got the sense the concept was just too small to contain their talents. An expansion of sorts was in order, and soon was born the Pharmacy next door. The modern-day boîte disguised as a 1920s-era speakeasy disguised as an apothecary retains the Table's aura of exclusivity – if not by virtue of its theme, then certainly by the lines clamoring to get past the lemon-squeezer (for all you young folk out there, that's an elevator). -Faiyaz Kara
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
Third Wave Café & Wine Bar204 Flagler Ave. | 386-402-7864Flagler Avenue's offerings are growing by leaps and bounds, but this spot stands out. Though a hot pour-over might not sound like ideal après-beach fare, maybe a scoop of ice-cold gelato or a craft brew from the tap would do the trick? Stick around for dinner under the bistro lights on the patio and order kielbasa-spiced hanger steak with sweet mustard, fresh-crunchy kale salad or a charcuterie board to share. Maybe after dinner, with the drive home ahead of you, ordering that coffee will seem like the thing to do. -Holly V. KapherrRead more herePhoto by Aldrin Capulong
Third Wave Café & Wine Bar
204 Flagler Ave. | 386-402-7864

Flagler Avenue's offerings are growing by leaps and bounds, but this spot stands out. Though a hot pour-over might not sound like ideal après-beach fare, maybe a scoop of ice-cold gelato or a craft brew from the tap would do the trick? Stick around for dinner under the bistro lights on the patio and order kielbasa-spiced hanger steak with sweet mustard, fresh-crunchy kale salad or a charcuterie board to share. Maybe after dinner, with the drive home ahead of you, ordering that coffee will seem like the thing to do. -Holly V. Kapherr
Read more here

Photo by Aldrin Capulong
The Crooked Spoon200 Citrus Tower Blvd. | 352-404-7808Formerly a food truck famous for the "420 Burger" and helmed by the well-loved chef Steve Saelg, who passed away last year, devotees of that gut-buster now have to travel to the outer edges of Clermont to get one at this gastropub in the Citrus Tower's shadow. Sample innovative dishes like duck consommé ramen, coconut-crusted chicken over cardamom-spiced waffles with garam masala maple syrup, and probably the best homemade potato chips we've ever had. The customer service is as friendly and unctuous as the lobster grilled-cheese sandwich. -Holly V. KapherrRead more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
The Crooked Spoon
200 Citrus Tower Blvd. | 352-404-7808

Formerly a food truck famous for the "420 Burger" and helmed by the well-loved chef Steve Saelg, who passed away last year, devotees of that gut-buster now have to travel to the outer edges of Clermont to get one at this gastropub in the Citrus Tower's shadow. Sample innovative dishes like duck consommé ramen, coconut-crusted chicken over cardamom-spiced waffles with garam masala maple syrup, and probably the best homemade potato chips we've ever had. The customer service is as friendly and unctuous as the lobster grilled-cheese sandwich. -Holly V. Kapherr
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett
El Patron Mexican Restaurant & Cantina12167 S. Apopka Vineland Road | 407-238-5300Chef Norberto Herrera, a Peruvian, clearly has a notion to up the Tex-Mex ante by serving dishes slightly outside the norm. I'm not talking Rick Bayless caliber here, but when was the last time you had a mole poblano with duck confit in this town? It didn't exactly blow us away – the duck was a bit dry – but we appreciated the effort. Juicy duck al pastor tacos with grilled pineapple and duck chicharrones fared a whole lot better, but cheesy alambre tacos with grilled skirt steak and bacon were our favorite.-Faiyaz KaraRead more herePhoto by Rob Bartlett
El Patron Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
12167 S. Apopka Vineland Road | 407-238-5300

Chef Norberto Herrera, a Peruvian, clearly has a notion to up the Tex-Mex ante by serving dishes slightly outside the norm. I'm not talking Rick Bayless caliber here, but when was the last time you had a mole poblano with duck confit in this town? It didn't exactly blow us away – the duck was a bit dry – but we appreciated the effort. Juicy duck al pastor tacos with grilled pineapple and duck chicharrones fared a whole lot better, but cheesy alambre tacos with grilled skirt steak and bacon were our favorite.-Faiyaz Kara
Read more here

Photo by Rob Bartlett