Tip Jar 

A round-up of local restaurant news

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One of Central Florida's finest chefs (and one of our personal faves), Hari Pulapaka of DeLand's Cress Restaurant, is developing the menu at Raga, a restaurant/bar/lounge slated to open this summer (late July or early August, we're told) in the former Antonio's Ristorante space on West Sand Lake Road in Dr. Phillips. In collaboration with chef Dominic Sarkar (Le Meridien Hotel New Delhi, Hilton Hotel Dubai, Karma Restaurant & Bar in Philadelphia), Pulapaka will have a hand in everything from plating to sourcing local ingredients to staff training, and will even appear in Raga's kitchen on occasion. I'm told the cuisine will focus on regional Indian fare using as many local and artisanal/high-grade ingredients as possible, and will also encompass dishes from South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. So forget seekh kebabs and chicken tikka masala – the caliber of Indian cuisine in Orlando is about to get a much-needed boost.

Say so long to Singh's Restaurant & Bar and hello to Santos Brazilian Restaurant. The same hex that led former tenants of 7000 S. Kirkman Road Flavours of India, KC's Pub and Maggie O'Malley's to shut their doors struck the four-month-old branch of Singh's relatively quickly. Good news is they're still serving roti, doubles, curry goat and all your Windies faves at their original Old Winter Garden Road location.

Mi Tomatina in Winter Park's Hannibal Square celebrates National Macaroni Day, July 7, with a buy-one-get-one-free special on its manchego-laden Spanish-style mac & cheese.

Giuseppe Fiorentino, owner of the primo All Italian Market & Deli in Hunter's Creek, plans to start cooking classes in late July, with his mother as primary instructor. Mama Fiorentino recently moved here from Calabria; most of the recipes Giuseppe uses are his mother's, so having her pass down her kitchen smarts seems like a no-brainer.

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