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If you've ever lived south of the East-West Expressway, in the vicinity of Lake Davis, you probably remember El Rincon, a beer-in-a-bag kind of market at the corner of Mills Avenue and Gore Street. If your timing was good and you caught the place when it was open, which was frustratingly rare, you might find a loaf of white bread and a copy of the paper to go with your tallboy. But only the foolhardy would actually order a sandwich from the place.

How things have changed since Jim Ellis and Nick Massoni took over in September. El Rincon is now the 903 Mills Market, and it is the heart of a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. The once-dark grocery with bars on the windows is now brightly lit and inviting. You can have lunch or a beer at one of the outside tables and watch the traffic on Mills whiz by. Or sit inside and chat with neighbors as they come and go.

How things have changed since Jim Ellis and Nick Massoni took over in September. El Rincon is now the 903 Mills Market, and it is the heart of a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. The once-dark grocery with bars on the windows is now brightly lit and inviting. You can have lunch or a beer at one of the outside tables and watch the traffic on Mills whiz by. Or sit inside and chat with neighbors as they come and go.

903 Mills serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the food is worth a stop. I have yet to eat breakfast there, but the sandwiches are creative, tasty and huge (the "Grateful Bread," a combination of turkey, blue cheese, stuffing, onions and cranberry mayo on sourdough is a personal favorite); the dinner blue plates don't disappoint, and there's always a kettle of soup on.

903 Mills serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the food is worth a stop. I have yet to eat breakfast there, but the sandwiches are creative, tasty and huge (the "Grateful Bread," a combination of turkey, blue cheese, stuffing, onions and cranberry mayo on sourdough is a personal favorite); the dinner blue plates don't disappoint, and there's always a kettle of soup on.

Tipplers will appreciate what has to be one of the best beer selections in town. I've never seen He'Brew, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog and White Hawk together in one place before, let alone in a single cooler in a tiny neighborhood store. Wine heads (as distinguished from winos) will dig the monthly tastings.

Tipplers will appreciate what has to be one of the best beer selections in town. I've never seen He'Brew, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog and White Hawk together in one place before, let alone in a single cooler in a tiny neighborhood store. Wine heads (as distinguished from winos) will dig the monthly tastings.

In the age of the 7-Eleven, community grocery stores are a rare and wonderful thing, and this one is a gem.

Sushi and noodles are all the rage at this cool lunch spot. Handsomely presented "torch rolls" with conch, scallops, salmon, tuna and sriracha are luscious, while spicy red tobiko proffer a proper pop. Bento boxes run the gamut and a bonanza of boba awaits tea-totalers.

Picking up sushi for dinner on the way home from work is a fairly daunting proposition in that it usually means stopping by the Japanese deli case near the produce section at your local grocery store. The convenience is nice, but the sushi – while tolerable and far better than a delivery pizza – leaves something to be desired (especially the weird, plastic-looking tuna). If you're one of the approximately 80 billion people who uses East Colonial Drive for the daily trip home, you've no doubt noticed the poster-sized photo of the scrumptious-looking "Sky Tray" of sushi that graces the window of Bikkuri Sushi and wondered: Wouldn't that be great for dinner?

Although there is limited seating inside Bikkuri, the restaurant's specialty is takeout, as the menu is almost completely composed of takeout trays. From the Rose Party (32 pieces, all rolls; $13.29) to the African Violet (80 pieces of rolls, 10 nigiri sushi; $46.59), a variety of sizes and combinations is available and all of them are, surprisingly enough, priced more reasonably than the stuff in the grocery store.

The 72 pieces (and $50 price tag) of the Sky Tray might be a little much for a typical after-work meal, but I had friends coming over and figured it would be a good opportunity to sample Bikkuri's skills. Still, none of us expected Bikkuri's fare to be as fresh as it was. Some of the nigiri wasn't cut to perfection (a tiny piece of bone showed up in some yellowtail), but the fish was excellent and well-chosen, and the rolls were beautiful and bursting with flavor.

It would have been unimaginable a few years ago to think about picking up sushi as easily as picking up a pizza, much less FRESH sushi, but Bikkuri's tray combinations make it easy, and their excellent sushi makes it a pleasure.

Some restaurants try to sell a "dining experience," which usually means "expensive chairs." At Black Hammock Fish Camp in Oviedo the experience you get is "Florida."

Travel down snaking Oviedo roads to Lake Jessup, walk past the camp's live gator cage and you'll see the impressive stats on the ones that've been caught here (14 feet, 1/16 inch is the record). We didn't eat gator, but we were plenty satisfied with the Buffalo shrimp, which had a perfect wing-type spice that goes right to your toes.

Travel down snaking Oviedo roads to Lake Jessup, walk past the camp's live gator cage and you'll see the impressive stats on the ones that've been caught here (14 feet, 1/16 inch is the record). We didn't eat gator, but we were plenty satisfied with the Buffalo shrimp, which had a perfect wing-type spice that goes right to your toes.

You can't go to a fish camp and try to be healthful. God never meant for an ugly thing like catfish to be cooked in a daintified way – fried, it's wonderful. Go to Black Hammock while the sun is up so you can get a good look at this rare preserve of Florida.

Inviting neighborhood pub with a refreshing lack of pretense takes bar-fare standbys to higher gustatory levels. Delectable mac & cheese-rubbed chicken wings and the 10-ounce Bloodhoung burger will stick to one's ribs, no doubt, while excellent street tacos and friend chicken and biscuits on a stick also stand out. A decent beer selection is offset by indifferently executed dessert options. Live music every day.


Teaser: Inviting neighborhood pub with a refreshing lack of pretense takes bar-fare standbys to higher gustatory levels. Delectable mac & cheese-rubbed chicken wings and the 10-ounce Bloodhoung burger will stick to one's ribs, no doubt, while excellent street tacos and friend chicken and biscuits on a stick also stand out. A decent beer selection is offset by indifferently executed dessert options. Live music every day.

MetroWest taqueria is a real find, and once found, a treature trove of tacos (pibil, chorizo, and grilled chicken are our faves), tortas, gorditas, burritos, and caldos await. Consider starting with fresh-made guac and ending with homemade flan, no matter how stuffed you feel. Homemade salsad can be downright infernal, but Mexican Coca-Cola and various aguas frescas (get the watermelon) prove effective extinguishers. Open daily.


Teaser: MetroWest taqueria is a real find, and once found, a treature trove of tacos (pibil, chorizo, and grilled chicken are our faves), tortas, gorditas, burritos, and caldos await. Consider starting with fresh-made gauc and ending with homemade flan, no matter how stuffed you feel. Homemade salsad can be downright infernal, but Mexican Coca-Cola and various aguas frescas (get the watermelon) prove effective extinguishers. Open daily.
Broadway Café is a quaint bistro and art gallery located in the heart of downtown Kissimmee. Not only a restaurant, the Café also allows you to dine surrounded by art that isn't just restricted to the walls! Every table is a one-of-a-kind painting depicting scenes ranging from the building in the 1920's to beautiful flora and local scenery. We also offers a variety of coffee drinks, homemade desserts and an ice cream bar! The motto of Broadway Café is â??Where the Creation of Good Food is an Art!â?� so if you enjoy the arts, irresistible food made with pride, and a unique dining experience, come visit us in Historic Downtown Kissimmee!

Winter Park burger joint is loud and proud of its all-natural Angus burgers, though flavors can ebb and tide depending on the choice of patty. The double-cheeseburger is stellar; the double prime brisket ultimate burger fell a bit flat; and the quinoa burger will appease vegetarians. Also on the menu: Wagyu beef hot dogs and frozen custard "concretes." Prices are a bit steep, but, hey, rustic-PoMo-industrial décor doesn’t come cheap.


Teaser: Winter Park burger joint is loud and proud of its all-natural Angus burgers, though flavors can ebb and tide depending on the choice of patty. The double-cheeseburger is stellar; the double prime brisket ultimate burger fell a bit flat; and the quinoa burger will appease vegetarians. Also on the menu: Wagyu beef hot dogs and frozen custard 'concretes.� Prices are a bit steep, but, hey, rustic-PoMo-industrial décor doesn't come cheap.

Ah, progress. It seems whenever something new appears (the downtown Mini dealership for example), something old and treasured gets shoved aside. Such was the case with Café Annie, a neighborhood breakfast and lunch staple that occupied the corner spot on Jefferson Street and North Orange Avenue -- spiffy new cars in, gyros for lunch out.

So it was a great pleasure for downtown dwellers to see Café Annie return, displaced one door over. The spot, a cavernous storefront that was occupied by the Tin Can Alley restaurant for about five minutes, affords owner and chef Nazih Sebaali a large space for his Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes ("A bit of everything," he says) that have more to do with flavor than flair.

The food has a feeling of health and simplicity. Baba ghanoush ($2.95), a smooth paste of roast eggplant and garlic, sits on the plate simply adorned with a drizzle of olive oil, imploring you to eat. When you order a roasted chicken ($4.99), that's what you get, a dark or white quarter, oven-brown and juicy, served with two side dishes.

And what side dishes they are. Greek fasolia salad (butter beans stewed with tomato), snappy crisp green beans, or vinegary vegetarian stuffed grape leaves ($1.95 each) share a table with hummus ($2.95) and the best garlic mashed potatoes I've had in ages ($1.75, order extra).

The chicken kebab ($5.95) is charred and slightly lemony, and is available pressed in a pita, as is the gyro, a broiled beef and lamb combination with tomato, lettuce and a yogurt dressing ($4.25).

Specials change day to day; that afternoon it was richly seasoned lasagna and a salad for $5.50. How can you beat that? The point should be clear by now that if you don't like garlic, this might not be a good destination, but the thick roasted-garlic and tomato soup, loaded with savory chunks of tomato and rice, was worthy of nearby high-priced restaurants, and only $1.95 for the cup.

Breakfast starts at 7 a.m.; eggs, bacon, sausage, croissant sandwiches are joined by "Annie's eggpita" ($4.25) a dense Mediterranean omelet in pita bread.

Sebaali came to Orlando as an engineering student 25 years ago. When asked why he got into the restaurant business, he replied, "I don't really know how to answer that question." But despite his uncertainty, the previous home of Café Annie (named after his wife) stayed in business for 13 years. The revamped cafe opens for dinner starting this weekend, serving the same menu plus lamb kebabs, steak and seafood, with table service. I'll be going. How about you?

Captain's Cove is a hidden treasure! We are located at a marina that overlooks the beautiful St. John's River. We are now offering an extensive frozen drink menu and tasty selections from our outside grill.

I have a secret to tell you, one that might shake up everything you think you know. We did not invent good food. The concept of interesting flavors and combinations of ingredients did not appear full blown with our generation, or the one before us.

We have become so accustomed to "the next great thing", so enamored of trends, that we overlook cuisines that have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Often they are the products of hardship and necessity, but they've survived – and this is a pretty radical notion – because they are good.

We have become so accustomed to "the next great thing", so enamored of trends, that we overlook cuisines that have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Often they are the products of hardship and necessity, but they've survived – and this is a pretty radical notion – because they are good.

Shame on those monolithic tourist-trap facades claiming to be restaurants, with blazing microwaves and lowered opinions of their guests, able to provide neither the steak nor the sizzle. I would challenge any nouveau-cuisine kitchen Wunderkind who slaps a truffle on a shrimp and calls it "fusion" to dine at Chef Henry's Café and say afterwards that they can prepare a more satisfying dinner.

Shame on those monolithic tourist-trap facades claiming to be restaurants, with blazing microwaves and lowered opinions of their guests, able to provide neither the steak nor the sizzle. I would challenge any nouveau-cuisine kitchen Wunderkind who slaps a truffle on a shrimp and calls it "fusion" to dine at Chef Henry's Café and say afterwards that they can prepare a more satisfying dinner.

The Café itself is unpretentious, harbored in a strip mall just past the point where you figure you must have passed it, there's nothing out here, when there it is next to the 7-11. A storefront establishment, the simple decor done up in sherbet colors of salmon and green does nothing to distract from the quality of the food. This is Henrich Brestowski's other place, a scant 2-1/2 miles down Howell Branch Road from the Tip-Top Bistro, where he updates classic European dishes with great results. Here Brestowksi barely swerves from tradition, making flour spaetzel dumplings by hand and slow-simmering split pea soup.

The Café itself is unpretentious, harbored in a strip mall just past the point where you figure you must have passed it, there's nothing out here, when there it is next to the 7-11. A storefront establishment, the simple decor done up in sherbet colors of salmon and green does nothing to distract from the quality of the food. This is Henrich Brestowski's other place, a scant 2-1/2 miles down Howell Branch Road from the Tip-Top Bistro, where he updates classic European dishes with great results. Here Brestowksi barely swerves from tradition, making flour spaetzel dumplings by hand and slow-simmering split pea soup.

Hungarian and Bohemian specialties like golubky – cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and pork and served with sauerkraut – or veal bratwurst cooked in mustard sauce (both $9.95) are prepared faithfully to tradition. This is a restaurant that is proud of the food it makes; nobody would stew dark chicken meat for the chicken paprikash ($11.95) until it falls apart at the touch of a fork unless they truly wanted people to enjoy it. The Café focuses on schnitzel, either pork or veal pounded thin and quickly sautéed, by serving it several different ways. Depending on the accompaniment, cream or wine sauce, simply breaded or topped with cheese, the meat takes on totally different flavors (the dishes range from $10.95 to $13.95).

Hungarian and Bohemian specialties like golubky – cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and pork and served with sauerkraut – or veal bratwurst cooked in mustard sauce (both $9.95) are prepared faithfully to tradition. This is a restaurant that is proud of the food it makes; nobody would stew dark chicken meat for the chicken paprikash ($11.95) until it falls apart at the touch of a fork unless they truly wanted people to enjoy it. The Café focuses on schnitzel, either pork or veal pounded thin and quickly sautéed, by serving it several different ways. Depending on the accompaniment, cream or wine sauce, simply breaded or topped with cheese, the meat takes on totally different flavors (the dishes range from $10.95 to $13.95).

If you enjoy fine cooking, you will be pleased enormously by these dishes. If you have any Slavic blood deep in your heritage, this food will nourish your psyche like mothers milk. The tang of sour cream and the mellow taste of paprika will stir some genetic memory of evenings in Prague or Lubin, places you've barely heard of. Your great-grandmother's voice from the Vast Beyond will resonate in your brain and ask if Estera Brestowski's apple strudel is better than hers, and with regrets but deep satisfaction, you will have to answer yes.

When Brennan's of Houston started the whole chef's table phenomenon back in 1985, the thought was that a little cook-diner interaction in the kitchen (and not the kind doled out at the local Benihana) would offer patrons a glimpse into the world of the culinary artist, while providing a testing ground for the chef's creativity. Since then, the concept has been watered down, as happens to trends, though that hasn't prevented the local foodie trail from passing through Winter Garden, where the Chef's Table sits within the historically quaint walls of the Edgewater Hotel.

Chef's Tables, plural, might be a more apropos moniker for Kevin and Laurie Tarter's restaurant. The intimate dining room has about 10 tables, all in full or partial view of the kitchen where Kevin and sous-chef Crystal Womelsdorf, both alumni of Disney's California Grill, ply their craft. But intimate as it is, don't expect any cozy confabs with the chef, though a small window of banter opportunity does exist if Tarter serves a course at your table himself. On my visit, it was Womelsdorf serving the appetizer course, but the flourishes emerging from her kitchen were impressive nevertheless.

A three-course prix fixe menu ($46.99) puts the focus on quality, the proof being in the pudding that came in the form of a luscious foie gras crème brûlée. Green apples and goat cheese complete the flavor trifecta of this decadently creamy delicacy. Simplicity is a virtue in the torte; the earthy wild mushrooms and assertive gruyère cheese give weight to this flaky first course. A mushroom reduction and beurre blanc sauce validates Womelsdorf's ascension in the kitchen, temporary though it may have been.

Mains are also superbly, and confidently, executed. Two fat medallions of sesame-crusted, sushi-grade tuna were perfectly seared and elegantly propped on a bed of Asian slaw and noodles that lent a pleasant crunch to the dish. (You may find yourself asking for more wasabi mayonnaise.) Fire-grilled New York strip was lent flair by a blue cheese'red wine emulsion and well-whipped mashed potatoes. The Tarters are both budding sommeliers, so it's no surprise that wine pairings (an optional three-glass offering, $21.99) are thoughtfully listed for every dish. A fresh, delicate glass of Leon Beyer pinot blanc ($8) with the fish and a hearty Langhorne Crossing shiraz-cabernet ($8) with the steak proved ideal complements.

For the final course, berries sauté consist of an irresistible mix of blue-, black-, straw- and raspberries floating in a Grand Marnier sauce, along with a sweet biscuit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I didn't care much for the biscuit ' I would've preferred a spongy cake of some sort. The thick peanut butter crème anglaise made the chocolate soufflé a too-substantial meal-ender. If you fancy a savory fromage rather than a sweet finale, a modest five-cheese tasting course ($14.99) is also offered for your post-meal pleasure.

And pleasure is central at the Chef's Table. Kitchen creations aside, the wood floors and beautiful stained glass enhance the aesthetic gratification, and if you happen to dine here as the sun sets, you'll find yourself awash in a warm, luminescent glow ' although, sun or no sun, that's sure to happen anyway.

More than 30 organic loose-leaf teas are offered at this socially conscious teahouse that's become a gathering ground for nonconformists, neo-cons and everyone in between. A predominantly vegan menu of wraps, salads and an outstandingly hearty chili will satisfy even the most ravenous of carnivores. Start with hummus with hemp seeds, and finish with the fluffernutter sandwich - a sweet proposition.


Teaser: More than 30 organic loose-leaf teas are offered at this socially conscious teahouse that's become a gathering ground for nonconformists, neo-cons and everyone in between. A predominantly vegan menu of wraps, salads and an outstandingly hearty chili will satisfy even the most ravenous of carnivores. Start with hummus with hemp seeds, and finish with the fluffernutter sandwich ' a sweet proposition.
With an attractive wait staff, eclectic art and 30-plus wines and champagnes, Dexter's makes you feel cool even if you're not. The unique selection of international beers is popular at this wine bar and café; the concrete floor means it can get noisy as hell.
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