Pyrmont Bridge Hotel

Caesar salad

Interior

*** (3 stars)

This is a classic pub with good food located conveniently to the Lyric Theatre. If you don’t want to get into the mad crush in the food court before the show, eat hear and then walk two blocks to the theatre.

The salads we had were fresh, with tasty ingredients and excellent dressing. Service was friendly and efficient.

Pyrmont Bridge Hotel
96 Union St
Pyrmont, New South Wales 2009
+61 2 9660 6996
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pyrmont-bridge-hotel-pyrmont-2

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

La Fiesta Mexican Grill

Chilequiles

Chili replenish and quesadilla

Exterior

Interior

*** (3 stars)

While the rave reviews got me excited about La Fiesta, we didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about the place. The best thing we had by far was the sangria, which wasn’t too sweet and has lots of fruit chunks.

Cheese nachos were pretty bland, consisting of good chips covered with a liquid white cheese and nothing else, no jalapenos.

The relleno was pretty weird, although the waiter did warn us that it was stuffed with mashed potatoes. We should have followed his suggestion to substitute some kind of meat. The quesadilla was nicely grilled, and filled with cheese and chicken. It was okay, not great, as were the fairly bland rice and beans.

The best entree was the chilaquiles, which seems to be available only at lunch. The green sauce had a lot of flavor, and the shredded chicken and fried egg were good. The chips didn’t really stand up to the sauce, though, and quickly dissolved.

The decor of the restaurant is nice, but overhead fluorescent light aren’t in keeping with the restaurant ambiance.

Service was excellent.

La Fiesta Mexican Grill
3000 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 985-4340
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-fiesta-mexican-grill-orlando

Crooked Can Brewing Company

cc1 cc2

***** (5 stars)

What an array of options this place offers! Regardless of the style of beer you like best, they’re likely to offer a very well-made version of it at Crooked Can. The menu is on the wall behind the bar, and offers great explanations of what’s on offer, and how it is made.

Aside from the beers, though, it’s the environment that makes this place special. The concept they had for a new building to house their showcase brewery and synergistic businesses has been perfectly executed. The long counter lets you sip and enjoy your brew while admiring the stainless steel complexity behind the glass was. Or, if you prefer a table inside or out, that’s available, too.

A variety of tasty noshes are available just down the hall, from burgers to pizzas and all sorts of sweet treats. The whole of Plant Street Market is a great place to stop in after work, or enjoy after visiting the nearby Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

Crooked Can is a great addition to the town of Winter Garden.

Crooked Can Brewing Company
426 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 395-9520
http://www.yelp.com/biz/crooked-can-brewing-company-winter-garden

Graffiti Junktion

**** (4 stars)

This is the third Graffiti Junktion location I’ve been to, and it is nicer than Thornton or College Park. There’s a large outside dining area that is well covered and gets a breeze.

The menu is the same as other locations, The attraction, of course, is the burgers, which are a reasonable size and available with lots of toppings. I like the Lone Star burger, which comes with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and a tasty barbecue sauce.

I’d say the burgers are as good or better than most of the gourmet burger places in town such as Burger 21 and Burger Fi, but not as good as at Dubsdread. The burgers and fries are both definitely better than Five Guys.

Service is friendly, and prices are reasonable for a non-counter-service restaurant.

Graffiti Junktion
7625 Turkey Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 270-8846
http://www.yelp.com/biz/graffiti-junktion-orlando-5

Siena Tavern

**** (4 stars)

Despite its name, Siena Tavern doesn’t really come across as either Italian or a tavern. True, there is a list of pizzas, and they serve drinks, but it seems more like  a Hillstone concept to me.

The decor is open and modern, with a few too many hard surfaces to control the noise level when it’s busy (which seems to be most of the time).

We went for Sunday brunch/lunch, and I was pleased to find that while there were some very tasty looking brunch items, there were also lots of non-breakfast choices.

The chopped salad was an interesting conglomeration of vegetables, cheese and meat, and had enough juice from the artichoke hearts and other veggies that it didn’t really need the accompanying honey mustard dressing, so I’m glad I had that on the side.

The “burnt crust” pepperoni pizza wasn’t quite as charred as I would have liked, but it did have a very thin crust and good flavor.

Service was efficient, a necessity given how busy they were.

I’m not sure what would draw me back for a revisit (maybe some of the breakfast items, which looked really delicious and really bad for you) but my visit was fine.

Siena Tavern
51 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 595-1322
http://www.yelp.com/biz/siena-tavern-chicago

Dewey’s Indoor Golf & Sports Grill

*** (3 stars)

Dewey’s is an interesting combination of golf practice center and restaurant/bar. I’m not really much of a golfer, but I did accept their free swing for a chance to win $1000. I landed in the water.

But I was there for the food, and it was pretty good. They offer the usual sports bar combination of burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza and a few pasta dishes and salads. We tried the Lime shrimp, which has a nice lime flavor, and the veggie burger, an excellent, crusty black bean burger that came with some nicely crisped battered fries.

Other guests has the beer brat (a hot dog served with sautéed peppers) and the turkey club, which was huge. The all enjoyed their choices.

The atmosphere is pretty neat, a fairly dark space with strategic spotlights, surrounded by computer-generated golf course images from the golf games. The price for the golf games ranges up to $72 per hour, which seems absurdly high to me, but the food prices are reasonable.

Dewey’s Indoor Golf & Sports Grill
7720 Turkey Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 279-3311
http://www.yelp.com/biz/deweys-indoor-golf-and-sports-grill-orlando

Miller’s Ale House Restaurants

**** (4 stars)

I’m not completely in tune with the whole sports bar thing, probably because I’m not a sport fan. But Miller’s Ale House is certainly the most successful chain of them in Orlando. This location, on Kirkman, is packed every day, and the food is good (just don’t check the calorie counts on their website).

Burgers and salads are good bets here, and I also like the chicken fajitas, one of the healthier choices (they are lower in calories than many of the salads).

Service is decent, but it’s pretty much impossible to have lunch here in less than an hour, so don’t go if you’re tight on time.

Miller’s Ale House Restaurants
5573 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-0000
http://www.yelp.com/biz/millers-ale-house-restaurants-orlando-6

Kings Bowl Orlando

***** (5 stars)

This is a really nice bowling center with amazingly good food, certainly as good as any sports bar in town. Their wine and beer selections are also very well thought out.

It’s especially a great place for groups, as they will close off a section of lanes with a curtain and you can have a wonderful private party for the whole evening.

You don’t need to be even mediocre at bowling in order to enjoy this place, which in my case is a very fortunate thing indeed.

Kings Bowl Orlando
8255 S International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 363-0200
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kings-bowl-orlando-orlando