On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Chile relleno

Exterior

Interior

*** (3 stars)

This is a pretty good Tex Mex chain. The menu is quite extensive, and there should be something to please almost everyone, as long as you’re not looking for authentic Mexican food.

The trick is to order items done on the mesquite grill, as they are very nicely flavored. I had the shrimp tacos (I ordered the fish tacos, but that’s another story). My companion had the chile relleno, and didn’t care for the clumsy breading and flavorless stuffing. But the accompanying brisket enchilada was pretty good.

Our favorite item was actually the queso cheese dip. It’s not something I would normally order, but it was a Yelp freebie, and it was excellent, a large serving, filled with lightly spiced peppers. It went well with the complimentary chips and salsa.

Also included in each meal are unlimited black beans and yellow rice. The rice is nicely seasoned and was much better than typical chain restaurant Mexican rice.

Our server was well trained but not a good listener.

The interior build-out is quite nice. It’s hard to imagine that this space the plaza was once occupied by card stores and sunglasses shops.

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
12517 State Rd 535
Orlando, FL 32836
(321) 329-3188
https://www.yelp.com/biz/on-the-border-mexican-grill-and-cantina-orlando-4

Gallettos Wine Bar & Grill

Exterior

Lunch Salad bar

Lunch buffet

*** (3 stars)

Gallettos offers a well-tended buffet at lunch time. While the food on the menu is Spanish and Portuguese, there was little evidence of this on the buffet. I’m pretty sure neither stroganoff or Chicken Milanese are from either of those countries!

The salad bar is somewhat limited by has very fresh ingredients for making a Caesar salad or a simple green salad. There are several soups available, too.

The main course buffet offerings are more extensive, wth two types of rice, two types of beans and several types of chicken. There were also ribs.

There were also a couple of dessert offerings.

The price of lunch was a very reasonable $9.95.

Everyone working there was friendly and attentive, but there were more employees than diners on the day we went. I would have liked to try the Portuguese specialties from the menu, but many were over $23, which was too much for lunch time. Perhaps I’ll go back for dinner.

Gallettos Wine Bar & Grill
3875 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811
(407) 295-3146
https://www.yelp.com/biz/gallettos-wine-bar-and-grill-orlando

Nine Spices Hot Pot

Interior

Veggies

Table

Sauces

Conveyor

**** (4 stars)

This is a fun and healthy place for dinner, or for lunch if your budget will handle it. The idea is to use a pot of boiling broth to cook your own vegetables and meats at your table. At lunch you can select vegetarian, which is reasonably priced, or one meat, which is rather pricey, or all you can eat, which is definitely dinner pricing.

The fun thing about the all you can eat option is that you then select your ingredients as they pass by on a conveyor belt that makes its way around the whole restaurant. This seemed to be what most customers were doing. Note that there is an advantage to being “upstream” on the conveyor, as you have first choice of ingredients.

I went with the vegetarian lunch and the “original” broth. This was a good choice, because the “spicy” broth was pretty spicy, and there is a condiment bar where you can add your own desired degree of spiciness and other flavors.

My favorite ingredients were the corn on the cob and the rather spicy “pickles” on the condiment bar. I also used lots of fresh cilantro.

I won’t say it was my favorite lunch of all time, but it was a fun experience, and I’ll probably go back someday.

Nine Spices Hot Pot
5320 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(321) 270-0830
https://www.yelp.com/biz/nine-spices-hot-pot-orlando

Bulla Gastrobar

Exterior

Interior

Gazpacho

Ceviche

Flatbread

Salmon rillettes

Burger

**** (4 stars)

I love the interior design of this place, which has cool lighting and excellent acoustics. It is a Spanish tapas restaurant, but at least at brunch I found the selections to be more modern American that authentic Spanish tapas.

My companion had the gazpacho, which was excellent, although unusual in that it seemed to include cream. She also had the ceviche, which included a very generous portion of cooked shrimp, but wasn’t really what she was looking for in an authentic Spanish ceviche.

I had the brunch, which allows you to choose three plates for $27. While that might sound steep, they are very large servings and quite shareable.

I had the flatbread with Mah├│n cheese, sunny side up quail eggs, caramelized onions, oyster mushrooms and bacon. It was one of the best flatbreads I’ve had, with a thin, crisp crust, charred around the edges, and the eggs and bacon perfectly cooked. The sweetness of the caramelized onions went perfectly with the savoriness of the other ingredients.

My second plate was supposed to be the salmon crostini, slices of salmon on crostini. Due to confusion in the kitchen (or a mistake our waiter was unwilling to admit to) they actually brought me the Salmon Rillettes, which was a spread. It’s actually not a selection on the brunch tasting menu, but I liked it fine, despite my confusion.

My third plate was the least successful. The Bulla Burger was a generous serviing of 45 day dry-aged beef, topped by cheese, sauteed onions and a single pepper. The meat was, in fact far too generous, more of a baseball than a patty. As a result the “medium” I ordered ended up charred on the outside but completely raw throughout the middle. I also felt the burger needed some condiments, as the ingredients didn’t really have that much flavor. However at this point I’d had so much food it didn’t really matter that this course went largely uneaten. I will say the accompanying “truffle fries” (which were actually rosemary flavored diced potatoes) were well cooked and tasty.

I’m not a big brunch fan, so I appreciated the wide varieties of non-brunchy offerings at Bulla. Service was friendly, and I’d definitely go back.

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave
Ste 7
Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 594-4175
http://www.yelp.com/biz/bulla-gastrobar-winter-park-2