The Big Easy – Windermere

Interior

Seafood sampler

Cajun crab dip

Cajun shrimp salad

Shrimp etoufee

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

I’ve always enjoyed the original Big Easy near Stoneybrook, so I was looking forward to this new location. It occupies the spot that was previously several failed Italian restaurants, and so far it seems much more successful. I was pleased to see they’ve fixed many of the lighting and layout problems of the previous occupants.

The food seems pretty much the same as at the other location. We enjoyed everything we tried, including the crab dip, seafood sampler appetizer, etoufee and cajun shrimp salad.

For non-Cajun enthusiasts there are also plenty of other choices.

We were originally seated next to an obnoxious woman and her bratty kids, so we moved outside to the delightful, large patio.

There’s a nice cocktail list.

Service was very good.

The Big Easy – Windermere
7782 Winter Garden Vineland Rd
Ste 140
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 347-3688
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-big-easy-windermere-windermere

Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Interior

Interior

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

Even though open only a short time, this Hawkers is very well run, and during a packed lunch hour service and food were excellent, living up to the standards set by the original location.

Unfortunately, the beautiful interior design is an acoustic nightmare, with brick walls and tile walls everywhere, making it fairly unpleasant. It’s certainly not a place for a business discussion or intimate conversation.

Highlights of the menu include Roti Canai (Malaysian flatbread served with curry sauce), Lettuce Wraps (fill them yourself with wok-seared shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots, bean curd, garlic, and ginger; the best version uses beef bulgogi), and Mee Goreng (egg noodles, tofu, shrimp, eggs, spring onions, napa, bean sprouts, onions, carrots, potatoes, roasted peanuts, and lime).

The beer list seems more limited than at the original Hawkers; maybe it’s just the way it’s printed.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
9100 Conroy Windermere Rd
Ste 110
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 583-6334
https://www.yelp.com/biz/hawkers-asian-street-fare-windermere

Toasted Windermere

Interior

Exterior

Periodic table of cheese

**** (4 stars)

I need to return here to try the grilled cheese sandwichs, as they look good, but we tried the burgers, which are half their offerings.

In particular I wanted an Impossible Burger, the meatless patty that is–when correctly prepared–just as good or even better than meat. It’s best with a nice crust on the outside and a thin patty. Toasted’s version was actually a bit too thick and a bit too big, with pieces falling off around the edges, but it was nicely crusted.

I like my burgers fully dressed, with a slice of onion, pickles or relish, mayo, mustard, and so on. Not sure if they can do that, but the default isn’t the case.

At $12 including fries the Impossible Burger seemed a bit pricey, but I suppose it is because it is exclusive.

We also tried the Southern Burger, which is basically a BBQ bacon cheese burger plus mac and cheese on the burger. The meat in this burger was definitely inferior to the Impossible Burger, and I wouldn’t order it again. We also didn’t think the mac and cheese added anything.

Both burgers came on a nicely grilled bun.

I probably wouldn’t order burgers here again, but I would go back to try the grilled cheese. The employees were all great, very enthusiastic, and the place has a nice ambiance.

Toasted Windermere
6506 Old Brick Rd
Ste 100
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 217-5485
https://www.yelp.com/biz/toasted-windermere-windermere

Flippers Pizzeria

Counter

Exterior

Interior

Lunch calzone

**** (4 stars)

Nice new location of flippers with a bright, clean interior. All the usual Flipper’s offerings. The lunch deals are excellent. I had my usual pepperoni and green pepper calzone, and it was nicely prepared.

The service was excellent. The only thing I didn’t like about the place was the manager didn’t seem to be treating the servers very well. I realize the place just opened and he wanted it to go well, but they were doing a fine job without all the shouting.

Flippers Pizzeria
6526 Old Brick Rd
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 877-1717
https://www.yelp.com/biz/flippers-pizzeria-windermere

Gator’s Dockside

Interior

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

I always enjoy Gator’s Dockside, and this newest location is no exception. It has a bit less of a sports bar feel than a few of the others, but there are still a lot of TVs, and the menus are the same.

My favorite item is the grilled wings. Grilling removes a lot of the fat, and lets the sauce shine through. My choice is hot garlic. There’s a lunch special weekdays until 4pm that includes fries. On my visit I thought both the fries and wings could have been cooked a bit longer, to crisp the fries and char the wings; I’ll request that next time.

The place must be well-managed, because even though it had only been open a few days and was very busy, service was running smoothly.

Gator’s Dockside
6516 Old Brick Rd
Windermere, FL 34786

https://www.yelp.com/biz/gators-dockside-windermere

Allen’s Creamery & Coffee House

Interior

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

I’ve driven past this places a thousand times and never thought of stopping. Finally did, and was surprised it was more than just the window facing the street. Inside it’s like an old fashioned ice cream shop.

Carrot cake ice cream was very interesting.

Friendly service.

Allen’s Creamery & Coffee House
523 Main St
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 876-3558
https://www.yelp.com/biz/allens-creamery-and-coffee-house-windermere

Spoleto

Exterior

Interior

Sauté

Oven

Fettuccine

Flatbread

***** (5 stars)

I really like the concept and execution of this place. Like many counter serve salad places, you pick your ingredients and they are combined while you are in line. But the twist here is that in addition to salads, they offer pastas or flatbreads.

I had fettuccine with Bolognese sauce, and the ingredients I selected were combined and sauteed while the pasta cooked. The result was a delicious combination (if I do say so myself) on perfectly prepared al dente pasta.

Service was fast and efficient, and the place has an airy, open feeling, with lots of outdoor seating as well.

Spoleto
4750 The Grove Dr
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 217-2756
https://www.yelp.com/biz/spoleto-windermere-2

33 & Melt

The Melt

Exterior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

When you specialize in one type of sandwich you’d better be good at it, and indeed 33 & Melt is very good at grilled cheese sandwiches. Many varieties are available with various additions, but I went with The Melt. The combination of cheeses was perfect, and the bread was grilled to a lovely deep golden brown.

The sandwich came with a small cup of homemade tomato soup for dipping, but I just sipped that by itself. Delicious. There was also a mixed green dressed in a vinaigrette, but I thought it was a bit salty. Fries might have been a better option. It all came for one reasonable price.

There’s an inside counter and a few tables, plus several nicely shaded outside tables. I liked the classic rock soundtrack. Service was quick and friendly.

33 & Melt
13790 Bridgewater Crossings Blvd
Ste 1000
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 614-3843
https://www.yelp.com/biz/33-and-melt-windermere

Pizza Hut

Counter

Side Caesar

Hand Tossed Pepperoni Lover's Pizza

Hand Tossed Pepperoni Lover’s Pizza

 

**** (4 stars)

This is a counter service location with a small dine in area that includes a bar. There is the obligatory wall of sports-bar-like TV monitors.

Service was efficient, even on a bustling Saturday night. The side Caesar salad is a great deal at $2.50, and the individual hand tossed pepperoni lovers pizza was served piping hot from the oven and had plenty of toppings.

Pizza Hut
7970 Winter Garden Vineland Rd
Ste 100
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 909-4327
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-hut-windermere-2