LongHorn Steakhouse

Interior

Exterior

Outlaw Ribeye

***** (5 stars)

I’m still in shock over my visit to this Longhorn Steakhouse. I’d been to another Longhorn, years ago, and it was fine, but I never actually had steak. This time I was in the mood.

Somehow I’d expected the result to be closer to Sizzler than Capital Grille (which Longhorn owned before selling both to concepts Darden).

But I didn’t expect to have the best steak of my life. Better than Capital Grille. better than Mortons, than Flemings, than Ruth’s Chris. Better than I can cook at home. The Outlaw Ribeye was literally the best cooked, most tender, most flavorful and best seasoned steak I’ve ever had anywhere.

The Caesar salad was also right up there with any steakhouse. The bread was okay, but more like Ruby Tuesday’s now gone breadsticks (not a bad thing) rather than genuine steakhouse sourdough.

Of course the wine list is so short it can’t really be called a list, but the choices are fine.

Service was very professional and attentive, and the environment is, frankly, better decorated and cozier than at those high-end places. At about half the price. I’ll be back.

LongHorn Steakhouse
3118 Daniels Rd
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 654-0272
https://www.yelp.com/biz/longhorn-steakhouse-winter-garden

The Whole Enchilada

Exterior

Interior

While enchilada player

**** (4 stars)

This is essentially a boozy version of Tijuana Flats. In addition to counter ordering there is also a full bar. You can order at the counter and they bring the food to your table, or you can sit at the bar or a few booths facing it for full service.

The Whole Enchilada platter I tried was very good, with two enchiladas, rice and choice of black or pinto beans. I had one ground beef enchilada, one shredded pork, and both were good. There’s a salsa bar to spice thing up, but not the array of hot sauces you’ll find elsewhere. Most of the rest of the menu is different burritos with various stuffings.

The house margarita was made to order and very good.

The employees are all enthusiastic, and prices are reasonable.

The interior decor is nice, and they have an upstairs with outdoor seating overlooking charming Winter Garden.

The Whole Enchilada
129 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-9699
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-whole-enchilada-winter-garden-2

4 Locos Tacos

Exterior

Fixings Bar

Interior

Flautas

***** (5 stars)

This is a great little quick serve place opposite Crooked Can. Although the address is on Plant street, it’s actually at the back of the building, where there is ample parking.

They have lots of types of authentic soft tacos, but their specialty is Al Pastor, which happens to be my favorite. Traditional Pastor includes pineapple, but some people don’t like that. They’ve solved the problem by offering the taco with just the meat, and then having an extensive fixins bar that includes a delicious pineapple habanero relish.

I also really like the flautas, which had a perfectly fried and delicate shell with moist, slightly sweet chicken filling.

In addition to soft drinks they offer beer, wine and, surprisingly, margaritas.

4 Locos Tacos
360 West Plant Street
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 554-2312
https://www.yelp.com/biz/4-locos-tacos-winter-garden-2

Avalon Diner

Exterior

Triple Decker club with Cole slaw

**** (4 stars)

Avalon Diner offers classic diner food, but in a modern building that also has a nice outside seating area.

My triple-decker club was very good, with nice crisp lettuce and tomato, and generous mayo. I liked the option of getting ham or beef instead of the classic turkey.

Service was very friendly and attentive.

Avalon Diner
16106 Marsh Rd
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 614-4233
https://www.yelp.com/biz/avalon-diner-winter-garden

Cold Stone Creamery

Exterior

Interior

Counter

*** (3 stars)

This seems like it’s probably not one of the better locations for this chain, based upon the raves I’ve heard about others. When you enter it seems cramped, and there’s no obvious way to get the cups for the frozen yogurt machines, many of which are not operational.

“Stone” appears in the name because the ice cream is frozen to order on a cold marble counter, while being mixed with any desired add-ins. I had a mint and chocolate combination that was just okay. It would have been better without the lumpy brownies that were included as one of the chocolate ingredients. On a reutrn visit I had a coffee lovers combo which I liked much better.

Cold Stone Creamery
3310 Daniels Rd
Ste 112
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 877-3744
https://www.yelp.com/biz/cold-stone-creamery-winter-garden-3

Wings of Winter Garden

Interior

Exterior

interesting Flavors

9 wing lunch combo

**** (4 stars)

This place serves good wings in a counter service style. The building is new, and very clean.

They really have a lot of wing flavors here. I had the hot garlic, which were good. Curly fries were just okay. I didn’t care for the somewhat oily seeming blue cheese dressing at all.

Service is friendly, although the kitchen takes quite a while to prepare orders.

Wings of Winter Garden
12801 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 656-4492
https://www.yelp.com/biz/wings-of-winter-garden-winter-garden

Culver’s

Bacon cheese single burger

Interior

Exterior

Mint and m&m mini custard

**** (4 stars)

My friends from the Midwest were excited about the local arrival of Culver’s, so I was looking forward to checking it out.

The Bacon Cheese Deluxe Single burger I had was good, better than most fast food burgers, and came with all the trimmings I like.

The specialty here is frozen custard, especially “concretes” made by mixing in ingredients. I had vanilla custard with mint flavoring and m&ms added. It was very tasty, fairly indistinguishable from soft serve ice cream.

It’s worth noting that custard is REALLY high in calories compared to alternatives. It’s also worth noting that the serving sizes are really large. I had a “mini” which, when I was a kid, would have been called a large. Between the caloric content of the custard and the size inflation, it would be easy to order a single serving that had over 1000 calories!

Service was very friendly. I was greeted on arrival and departure, and the food is delivered to the tables and the tables are bussed, all nice services not usually found at fast food places.

Culver’s
13649 W Colonial Dr
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 395-2225
https://www.yelp.com/biz/culvers-winter-garden

Bella Italia Ristorante

Exterior

Bar

Interior

Clams Casino

Fettuccine Alfredo

Eggplant Rollatini

***** (5 stars)

Bella Italia is definitely a level above what you’d expect in a strip mall location. The decor, food and service are all top notch.

We started with the Clams Casino, a generous portion with a delicious lemon and garlic broth.

Fettucine Alfredo was equally generous, nigh on to huge. It needed a bit of salt to bring out the flavor, but had plenty of butter, cream and cheese.

Eggplant Rollatini was a nice improvement on Eggplant Parmigiana, with grilled rather than breaded eggplant, stuffed with four kinds of cheese, baked in marinara sauce, and topped with melted mozzarella.  It was delicious. The accompanying spaghetti was fine, but not needed.

All of these dishes were less than $9 at lunch, a great deal. Lunch also came with a basket of fresh bread and an excellent pesto/olive oil mixture for dipping.

Service was friendly and attentive.

Bella Italia Ristorante
13848 Tilden Rd
Ste 192
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-3277
http://www.yelp.com/biz/bella-italia-ristorante-winter-garden

La Perla Deli

Chilequiles

Quesadilla

Nachos con queso

Interior

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

This is a small, well-run restaurant that offers table service food, with a fairly extensive menu of home-cooked classics. Counter service to-go food is also available.

Nachos con queso were served with plenty of jalapenos, but I’d rather they’d left off the refried beans, which I don’t think were mentioned on the menu.

Our favorite item was the chilaquiles, which were served with a very savory green sauce. The house-made chips really made a difference. I also liked the simple but flavorful rice.

Service was friendly, and prices are reasonable.

La Perla Deli
608 S Dillard St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 905-0440
http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-perla-deli-winter-garden

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