The Goblin Market

Restaurant Details

"Nay, take a seat with us, Honor and eat with us," They answered grinning; "Our feast is but beginning."

When Christina G. Rossetti wrote those words in "The Goblin Market" in 1862, Dora Ann Drawdy was just settling into the Florida wilderness that would someday bear her name. And Rossetti certainly wasn't thinking about Vince and Janis Guzinski's restaurant when she told of the trials of sisters Laura and Lizzie. But "I ate and ate my fill, Yet my mouth waters still," fits the Goblin Market pretty well.

Not yet five years old, the restaurant is tucked into a side alley that, by the looks of all the new construction, won't be hidden and secluded much longer. Call for directions anyway. Trust me. The building was actually a small warehouse once, now set up as two cozy dining rooms and outdoor seating front and back. What parts of the gray walls that aren't covered in bookshelves are filled with windows, and the place washes with light, particularly in late afternoon when the setting sun streams across the lake.

Unlike the Goblin Men of the poem, the Guzinskis (who courted by reading poetry to each other) do not have cat faces or crawl like snails, but they do inspire some witchery in the kitchen. There's a nice hand with soups with unusual touches, like the French onion served with a crown of deep-fried onion strings, or a thick and flavorful crab bisque that's presented with a small crystal pitcher of sherry so you can season to taste ($5.95 each). A superb bread with a texture almost like pound cake comes to the table with the soup, and it's delicious.

Appetizers are just large enough to, yes, whet your appetite. The crab cakes with a tart cucumber-onion relish are very popular ($8.00), as is the unusual combination of artichoke hearts stuffed with pesto cream cheese and tempura battered ($7.00).

My waiter, Norm, was just attentive enough, apologizing when my entrée arrived in ten minutes instead of the promised five.

Judging by the poem, Lizzie would prefer ordering "Filet Portabella" ($23.00), a tenderloin topped with a portobello cap and melted brie on puff pastry and Béarnaise. Laura, with her passion for "grapes fresh from the vine, Pomegranates full and fine," would probably order "Snapper St. Martin" ($24.00), the filet pan-fried with an orange sauce, kiwi and banana. I was impressed by the flavor and presentation of the Atlantic escolar ($22.00), a firm and buttery-flavored fish that's also called walu -- very trendy right now but very tasty. It's served with a dollop of crab meat and avocado and covered in Chardonnay cream sauce, and quite a pleasure. The shrimp and lobster pasta with lemon cream sauce looked tempting too... maybe next time.

Mt. Dora is about 25 miles north of Orlando, and it's a pleasant drive if you avoid the highway. Open the windows, grab a driving-music CD, and head on up.

Map

Nearby

  • or

Newsletters

Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

The best Indian restaurants in Orlando, according to Reddit

Orlando was once the ‘chain restaurant capital’ of the world, leaving us to choose from a slate of bland restaurants. That has…

By Patricia Tolley

Tamarind Indian Cuisine 
 501 Orlando Ave Suite #149, Winter Park, (321) 207-0760
I ordered something MILD there once and it was so hot that no amount of yogurt helped me choke it down.- u/-HappyLady-
15 slides

Everything we saw at Tacos & Tequila 2022

Tacos & Tequila returned to Cheyenne Saloon for a fifth straight year, bringing fans of agave and tortillas out to party. Check…

By Staff

Everything we saw at Tacos & Tequila 2022
171 slides

This shipping container shed is renting for $900 a month in Orlando

The housing market is out of control in Orlando. In spite of calls from local politicians to declare a state of emergency…

By Alex Galbraith

This shipping container shed is renting for $900 a month in Orlando
6 slides

These are the Orlando restaurants that have closed in 2022

With COVID-19 causing long shutdowns and inflation raising the cost of everything, the restaurant industry has been put through the wringer. Some…

By Patricia Tolley

 Bao’s Castle 
  45 W Crystal Lake St. Suite 180 Orlando, FL 32806  
This castle once held bao buns, Japanese rice bowls and even homemade churros. They closed their doors on July 11, due to not being able to catch up during the pandemic. They even said they should have stopped operating during its first year.
16 slides