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Recent Reviews and Restaurant News

Written By Scott Joseph On April 21, 2022

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News from the Flog  

Recent Reviews


Amare entrance

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin opened its new companion hotel, the Swan Reserve, in November. It’s distinguished from the two larger resorts – it sits separated across Epcot Resort Boulevard – with a more modern glass-and-steel design and the absence of frighteningly large creatures on its roof.

With the new hotel comes another signature restaurant, Amare, to join the likes Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and Shula’s Steak House.

Amare is a Mediterranean restaurant whose name means to love. (It’s the verb form of the word as opposed to the noun. That’s amore.) However, the succinct menu has more of a Greek accent. The restaurant is described on the hotel’s website as casual upscale. I can agree with that. The decor is tastefully casual – it’s a breakfast, lunch and dinner venue – with bare blond wood tables set with blue and white chargers with a spirographic motif, cloth napkins, basket light fixtures, wood flooring and an open kitchen. Large windows from the second floor restaurant look out toward the other hotels.

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Lale ext

I don’t know why but whenever I consider places to dine on Park Avenue I usually begin my mental restaurant roll call at Lyman Avenue and head north from there. But of course that means I miss some others worth recommending that are on the lower end of the street, such as Cafe de France, which is one of the oldest restaurants on the avenue, Umi Japanese and Grato, a newcomer Italian.

Now add an even newercomer to the list, Lale a Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant that has moved into the compact space next to Umi (they’re so close to each other that it’s difficult to distinguish which sidewalk tables belong to which restaurant).

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Newsy Nuggets

Newsy Nuggets: Juggling Oranges

Foxtail exterior

The Courtesy, a 10-year-old bar on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, will close, probably in May, and relocate to the Foxtail Coffee complex at 1282 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park.

At the same time, Rhys and Alexia Gawlak will move their Swine & Sons from the Local Butcher & Market, also on Orange Avenue, to the same complex, creating a BarSwine concept, though of course bar swine have existed for centuries. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream will also join the pack. All of this is expected to happen this summer.

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Area chefs and restaurateurs set to aid World Central Kitchen’s efforts in Ukraine

WCKPhoto: World Central Kitchen via Facebook

Members of World Central Kitchen, the humanitarian initiative established 12 years ago by chef José Andrés (Jaleo, Disney Springs), were injured Saturday in a missile attack while serving food from a relief kitchen in Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. Four staff members of Yaposhka, a ghost kitchen being used by WCK, were hospitalized with burns, some severe, after the Russian attack. All have since been released and have returned to duties.

WCK has been known for setting up stations to serve food to people in traumatizing situations, usually following natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. It also leapt into action in New York to provide food to first responders following the recent terrorist shooting in the subway. This is the first time it has set up operations in a war zone. It is serving nearly 300,000 meals daily in the war-torn country

Even before Saturday’s attack, several local fundraisers had been planned to benefit WCK’s efforts in Ukraine and the region, including neighboring countries that are taking in refugees. Now, those efforts seem even more urgent.

You can help by participating in one of these fundraising events. You can also make a contribution directly to the organization at World Central Kitchen.

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Other Stuff

On the House: Pineapple Old Fashioned from Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe

Russells OTH drink cu

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe has a pineapple theme because the strip of land it sits on used to be a pineapple farm. So it stands that one of the signature cocktails at the popular restaurant (voted Best New Restaurant in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants) would be a Pineapple Old Fashioned. In the video below, bartender Hannah Downs demonstrates how to make it.


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We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.


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Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide | P.O. Box 568344 | Orlando | FL | 32856



We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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