The restaurant occupies an old house, built circa 1921, across the street from the Modernism Museum in the quaint downtown. In partnership with the museum and Main Street Leasing, which is listed as the “presenter” of the museum, 1921 becomes part of the artistic complex that also includes the museum’s shop (every museum has to have a shop), which shares an adjoining patio with the restaurant.
Private dining and banquet space
142 E. 4th Ave.
611 S. Orlando Ave.
When Greg Gentile opened this massive two-story restaurant in a renovated family steakhouse, everyone thought he was crazy and that the place would close in one year. That was about two decades ago. Why did it succeed? Simple: good food, good service and an atmosphere for everyone; fine dining upstairs and a casual deli down.
The best dish I sampled is the anitra con rosmarino all’agrodolce, which I’m sure you know is roast duck. The duck meat, free of bones, was moist and tender. Spit roasting gives it a terrific flavor, but to enhance the taste, there’s a wonderful sauce of balsamic vinegar, rosemary and maple syrup (yes, maple syrup). The syrup isn’t overpowering and the flavors are just meant for each other.
The downstairs deli is a wonderful place for friends to meet. It’s cramped, with tables set up throughout the market area, but it adds to the atmosphere.
Dinner at Bice is not an inexpensive night out. But when you consider cost vs. quality, you’ll find that Bice is not overpriced.Just consider the restaurant’s signature dish, ravioli stuffed with beef short ribs and spinach. The pasta was delicately thin and tender, and the braised meat inside had a rich, fatty mouthfeel that blossomed with the sauce of mushrooms and Marsala wine. Absolute heaven.Or another from the list of primi piatti, big, fat tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta and dressed with a sauce of butter and sage.From the secondi my companion had the scalloppine di vitello, flattened medallions of veal sauteed with a darkly rich mushroom sauce and served with a timbale of potatoes similar to a potatoes Anna dish.I chose a special of the evening that featured sea bass in parchment. Enclosed inside the envelope with zucchini, yellow squash, red and green peppers, and a few salty olives, the fish took on all the vegetable flavors while maintaining a fresh and moist texture. The taste was buttery and absolutely delicious.
Desserts are worth lingering over.
7830 W. Sand Lake Road
Bonefish is one of those restaurants that “gets it.” It offers a good product at a fair price in a pleasant atmosphere. Nothing fancy, nothing overblown but a consistently good dining experience. New location at 5463 Gateway Village Circle, Orlando,FL 32812 Phone: 407-816-6355.
4600 N. World Drive
Lake Buena Vista
After more than a dozen years at the top, literally and figuratively, California Grill is still one the Central Florida’s best restaurants. Much of the concept of California Grill has not changed over the years, and the menu still features, as it has for much of the time, flatbreads and sushi as well as more traditional appetizers. The menu supposedly changes daily, though with three weeks separating my two most recent visits, I noticed most of the changes were in the wording and ranking of ingredients rather than completely different entries.
Service is impeccable and exemplary of the best that Disney can offer. The wine list focuses, as it should, on California and other American cuvees.
The pork tenderloin remains a favorite, but the filet mignon is a contender for best entrée. Sushi from master chef Yoshi is a treat.
Of course the best feature remains the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. And at the appropriate hour the lights dim slightly and the music that accompanies the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks display plays in the restaurant. It’s one of the best shows in town.
One of Darden Restaurants’ most recent acquisitions, and easily their most upscale. The steaks here are very good, and the service is attentive if not downright solicitous. I had the Delmonico, basically a bone-in ribeye, that was had a flavorful, well-seasoned crust and beautiful red center. The higher fat content of the cut made it juicy and tender. My companion chose the Kansas City sirloin, offered as a special on the night I visited. Also a bone-in cut, the steak had a characteristically coarser texture but was cooked just as perfectly as the other and was every bit as flavorful.
Atmosphere is clubby and posh.
729 Lee Road
As those who have lived in the area longer than five years know, Christner’s was originally known as Del Frisco’s Prime Steak & Lobster. It was not part of the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle chain, though both had the same origin. Long story short, now in operation for more than 25 years and one of the best steakhouses in Orlando.
151 Welbourne Ave. E.
It’s refreshing that Cocina 214 doesn’t claim to be authentic Mexican and try to hide its Tex-Mex roots. In fact, it’s right there in its name: the 214 is a reference to the area code of Dallas. (That’s not the city I think of when I think of Tex-Mex, but there you go.) I liked the huevos rancheros I had on a brunch visit, and the carnitas tacos were delicious on a dinner visit. I also like the big open atmosphere. It’s nice to have the Tex-Mex flavor on Park Avenue. (Or just off Park.)
1315 S. Orange Ave.
Part of the new Delaney, a boutique hotel, Delaney’s Tavern is more than a drinking spot. The food, under the direction of chef Anthony Albino, is innovative and expertly executed. The crab beignets and shrimp, scallops & grits (with purple grits) are favorites.
7488 Sand Lake Road
This latest addition to the Darden collection of premium brands is sometimes said to be the seafood equivalent of that company’s Capital Grille steakhouses. But that’s not exactly right because Eddie V’s, which does indeed to excellent seafood, also does a pretty good steak. In fact, Eddie V’s serves prime beef while Capital Grille serves USDA choice. The atmosphere is elegant, like an old-timey Manhattan supper club. It’s pricy, though, so be prepared to pay dearly for the quality.