Breathe a sigh of relief.
If you were concerned, as I was, that the recent rebranding of the Venetian Room to the Venetian Chop House would mean that Orlando was losing yet another fine dining venue you can relax.
The signature restaurant at the Caribe Royale is still an elegant dining room, the service is still first rate, and, perhaps most importantly, the food is as high quality and well prepared as ever.
Torterilla la Mexicana in Longwood is about as bare bones as you get with a restaurant.
As we’ve been discovering recently, some of the better, more authentic Mexican food can be found being served in small grocery markets in corners set aside as makeshift cafes. Torterilla la Mexicana seems to have started that way. But now the market side of the business is all but vacant, and many of the store shelves look as though Longwood were under threat of a hurricane.
And the dry goods part of the operation hasn’t been downsized to build up the restaurant end. Three card tables with folding chairs comprise the dining room and are set up between the market’s checkout counter and the kitchen window, which is next to a wall with the menu hanging on it.
The Walt Disney World culineers have opened a new full-service restaurant within the gates of the Magic Kingdom, which previously had only a few table service restaurants, including Liberty Tree Tavern, the Plaza, Tony’s Town Square and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Be Our Guest opened three years ago with waiter service only at dinner.
Now comes Jungle Skipper Canteen, or as it’s known by its full name, the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.
It occupies a space that had opened with the theme park as Adventureland Veranda. That restaurant closed years ago, and the space has been used for mainly for administrative offices.
Dexter’s is certainly one of the area’s most enduring concepts. And one of the more adaptable ones, too.
It started with a single location on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, a cramped-quarters operation that was one half wine bar and one half wine shop. It was always my guess that founder Dexter Richardson preferred to focus more on the retail side than the bar side. But the patrons preferred it the other way around, and it became known more as a place for young professionals to hang out. (And make no mistake, no one cared about how tightly packed the bar area was.)
When Dexter’s opened it Thornton Park location, just over 20 years ago (!), it was still keen on being known as a wine retailer. And even more, the Washington Street space attempted to offer produce and some grocery items to the neighborhood, which had no easily accessed grocery store at the time. That didn’t work.