Johnny’s Fillin’ Station

Sign

Bacon cheeseburger

Fries

Interior

***** (5 stars)

For at least 20 years Johnny’s has been acclaimed for having the best burger in Orlando (they even have the 1998 plaque on the wall to prove it), and it still is. The secret is a thick, meaty patty perfectly cooked to order served on a bun with some substance. And the bun is grilled on the insides to make sure it doesn’t get soggy as you make your way through the burger. The bacon cheeseburger is the way to go. And it comes with all the fixin’s you’d expect of a fillin’ station.

The fries that come with the burger could be better, as they are steak fries rather than something skinnier, but if you order them crispy they will do.

The atmosphere is also unchanged in at least twenty years: quintessential dive bar. It’s a real dive bar that has earned its designation, not some artificially decorated pretender. The junk on the walls is all there for historical reasons.

Service is not what you’d call attentive, but it is pleasant.

Johnny’s Fillin’ Station
2631 S Fern Creek Ave
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 894-6900
http://www.yelp.com/biz/johnnys-fillin-station-orlando-2

Shakers American Café

Exterior

Interior

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Shakers

Western omelet

***** (5 stars)

Shakers recently won a people’s choice award for best breakfast in Orlando, and I can see why. My Western Omelet was overflowing with fresh vegetables and savory ham. Hash browns were extra crispy, just like I ordered them. And my server’s suggestion to grill my biscuit was pure genius.

I also loved the decor, with unique salt and pepper shakers on every table, and many more lining the walls.

Service was excellent, and all the servers I encountered were very friendly. Indeed, this was the best breakfast I’ve had in a long, long time.

Shakers American Café
1308 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 422-3534
https://www.yelp.com/biz/shakers-american-caf%C3%A9-orlando-2

Taco Norteño

Nachos with ground beef

Tostada Barbacoa, taco pastor

Exterior

Interior

Salsa bar

**** (4 stars)

This neighborhood Mexican restaurant is very popular, probably in part due to the fact that their tacos start at $1.85.

I tried the taco pastor with a soft corn tortilla, the tostada barbacoa, and the nachos with ground beef.

My favorite item was the tostada, which had a nice, crisp, sturdy tortilla and generous slices of avocado. The barbacoa didn’t have a lot of flavor, but the refried beans did.

I didn’t care for the pastor, which was completely dry, with no evidence of marinade or sauce, and didn’t include the somewhat traditional pineapple either.

The nachos were by far the most expensive, but the serving was giant. You have a choice of meat, and indeed they were all about the meat, with very little cheese, and the limited cheese was a thin queso anyway.

The best feature of Norteno is the salsa bar, which offers not only an array of salsas, but also fresh cilantro, onions, jalapenos and limes, so you can deck out your food however you like. There are also free chips to accompany it.

Taco Norteño
12307 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 656-2567
https://www.yelp.com/biz/taco-norte%C3%B1o-winter-garden

Breakfast Club

Club skillet

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is an old style coffee shop that emphasizes breakfast but also serves lunch food.

My “skillet” was actually just a plate, but I liked that I could select every ingredient, including choice of potatoes, veggies, meats and eggs. The hashbrowns were nice and crispy as requested.

The room is bright and airy and the servers are friendly, even when swamped, as they are on Sunday mornings after church.

Breakfast Club
13750 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-9726
https://www.yelp.com/biz/breakfast-club-winter-garden

Haven

Peel and Eat Shrimp

Cheese Monger

Hamachi crudo

Interior

**** (4 stars)

If you are a cheese lover, Haven is a must visit. There are dozens of cheeses on their menu, and the “Cheese Monger” offers a selection of 18(!) of them on one well-organized plate. My only wish was for more variety, as they were almost all cow’s milk, and mostly the same firmness. I’d have liked some more soft ones, and some stinkier ones. But that’s just me.

The menu also offers a nice selection of other small plates. We liked the hamachi crudo. The peel and eat shrimp was okay, but I didn’t care for the harissa flavor of the accompanying remoulade, as it overwhelmed the other flavors.

The interior decor is gorgeous, with reasonable lighting levels and not too noisy, even though there are no soft surfaces except the booths (which offer the quietest place to sit).

The wine list is extensive, and the more expensive wines are actually the better deals.

Service was friendly and efficient.

Haven
2208 W Morrison Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 258-2233
https://www.yelp.com/biz/haven-tampa-3

The Tam O’Shanter

Prime rib English cut

Toad in the hole

Exterior

Bar

Interior

***** (5 stars)

Opened in 1922, Tam O’Shanter is one of LA’s oldest restaurants. Although it is owned by Lawry’s, the atmosphere is quite different, with cozy nooks and fireplaces everywhere throughout the rabbit warren of rooms.

As at Lawry’s, prime rib is a major attraction, but there are many other interesting dishes, some with an Old World history, such as Toad in the Hole, which here is served as a large Yorkshire Pudding filled with stew ingredients.

The wine list at first looks small, but it is simply compact. Extensive selections are available in every category, and pricing is reasonable.

Our server, Mark, was that rare mixture of professional waiter, interesting personality, and gracious host, and he made our evening a delight.

The Tam O’Shanter
2980 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 664-0228
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-tam-o-shanter-los-angeles

Dialog Cafe

Macchiato

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This cute, family owned coffee shop just off the Sunset Strip offers friendly service and excellent coffee drinks. There are also a large number of breakfast items, and tasty croissants. My macchiato was perfect and attractive.

Dialog Cafe
8766 Holloway Dr
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 289-1630
https://www.yelp.com/biz/dialog-cafe-west-hollywood

Mr. Quick

**** (4 stars)

Mr. Quick serves good reliable diner food in an old-fashioned roadside diner setting. If your group can’t decide between breakfast lunch and dinner, Mr. Quick has it covered, as they serve all three at once. The extremely extensive menu offers pretty much every diner food you can think of.

The omelets are interesting because they are served in either flat or fluffy styles, a choice I’ve never been offered before.

Corn beef hash, eggs and hashbrowns were prepared just the way I requested.

The burger was good too.

The staff are definitely into what they’re doing here, in both the front of house and behind the counter, as service was prompt and courteous, and true to its name our assortment of dishes were served pretty darned quick.

Mr. Quick
5615 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32808
(407) 293-0511
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mr-quick-orlando

Keke’s Breakfast Cafe

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the better Keke’s locations, with a nice interior and excellent staff. While I usually go to Keke’s for breakfast, they have a fair variety of lunch items as well.

The Carolina Chicken wrap I tried on this visit combined fried chicken chunks, pecans, bacon, tomato, and lettuce. It was good with the accompanying spicy remoulade, which was really intended for the rather flavorless onion rings.

Keke’s Breakfast Cafe
2433 S Hiawassee Rd
Ste 130
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 298-3684
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kekes-breakfast-cafe-orlando-7