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Written By Scott Joseph On August 1, 2023

DoveCote Orlando dining room

I hadn’t been to DoveCote since it underwent major ownership and chef changes, so I figured it was time to stop back in.

I published my first review of DoveCote seven years ago this month. The restaurant debuted in July of 2016, the newest tenant in what was then known as the Bank of America building in the space that for many years had been the popular Harvey’s Bistro. (Harvey’s closed in 2009 and a couple of short-lived concepts had a go at the location before DoveCote took over.)

South Steel SJO March AD copy

DoveCote was much anticipated not just because the downtown dining public was anxious to have a new restaurant in the space but also because of its team’s credentials. Gene Zimmerman, owner of the downtown craft cocktail lounge The Courtesy was a co-owner, and the Ravenous Pig’s James and Julie Petrakis were advisors and investors. And heading the kitchen as executive chef and co-owner was Clay Miller, whose resume included stints at the estimable French Laundry opening executive chef and pastry chef at Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton.

They’ve all flown the coop. Or cote, as it were. 

DoveCote’s “leadership team,” as they’re noted on the website, consists of Rob Tazioli, owner and managing partner, and Chris Granville, listed as hospitality partner. Jason Dixon is listed as the executive chef under the “management team” heading, but it gives no details about him. (Then again, Clay Miller’s name isn’t even mentioned on the website of  Ravenous Pig, where he is currently executive chef, so there’s that.)

I stopped in for brunch one Sunday with some friends. The menu is less French than it used to be, both at brunch and dinner. Arguably the Frenchiest items were the croque madame and French toast, so that’s what we ordered.

DoveCote Orlando croque madame

The croque was an ample stacking of thinly sliced ham and melted gruyere cheese between two slices of toasted bread heavily sauced with mornay. A nicely cooked sunny-side up egg topped it.

DoveCote Orlando  french toast

The French toast, oddly, came pre-syruped, and it was poured with a heavy hand. I found it a bit cloying, but my companion liked it just fine.

DoveCote Orlando chicken and waffles

Another dining guest chose the chicken and waffles, which had a rather small piece of breaded and fried bird on top of a waffle that sported bubbles instead of the familiar iron indents.

DoveCote avocado toast

Avocado toast featured a smear of the fruit that was more of a puree than a mash, spread on a single slice of bread and topped with tomatoes, an egg, sprouts and herbs. Servers could benefit from some training (something perhaps a hospitality partner could look into). Menu knowledge was lacking, and a request for a second cup of coffee was acknowledged but not delivered. 

Back in 2016, I was excited about the major overhaul of the interior, and I still like its mishmashed Miro-like mural and splashy decor. Somewhere along the way, DoveCote seems to have lost its direction. With a renewed focus, it could still become a downtown jewel.

DoveCote is at 390 N. Orange Ave., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily with a brunch menu on weekends. The phone number is 407-930-1700.

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