Burntwood Tavern

Exterior
Interior
Bar
Exterior
Impossible burger

**** (4 stars)

It’s nice to see a new place in the old Stonewood building. The decor has been brightened and opened up, and it is distinctly more casual now, more like sports bar food than fine dining. The new floor plan makes better use of the outside dining area, which is quite pleasant.

Service in the weeks after opening was fairly good, and will probably get better. The menu is basic burgers and salads. They have the Impossible Burger, and it was nicely cooked.

The manager seemed to be very engaged, which is a good sign.

Burntwood Tavern
5078 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL
32819
(407) 776-9991
https://www.yelp.com/biz/burntwood-tavern-orlando-2

Kabooki Sushi

Entry
Interior
Chef Henry Moso
Sushi bar
Sushi bar
Interior
Interior
Bar
Menu
Flounder, kanpachi, hamachi
Octopus tempura with squid ink sauce
Lobster
A5 Wagyu and hot rock
Dessert sampler
Private wine lockers

***** (5 stars)

For years I’ve been saying that Kabooki Sushi on Colonial is the best restaurant in Orlando, even surpassing Disney’s super upscale Victoria and Alberts. With this new location near Sand Lake Road’s restaurant row, Chef Henry Moso has even upped the ante.

We’ve had sushi at Nobus and Morimotos all over the world, and none of them comes close to what is happening at Kabooki Sushi. The complexity of the sashimi preparations and the extreme attention to detail, especially on the omakase are simply unsurpassed.

This new location also lets Chef Henry demonstrate his interior design skills, with a build-out that is beautiful, trendy, upscale and welcoming all at once.

We attended a soft opening and already the service is at peak levels, with everything running like clockwork in a packed restaurant on only its third day.

This place is going to be the biggest hit Orlando has seen in a long time, for both tourists and locals, so make sure you have a reservation, because word has already spread.

Kabooki Sushi
7705 Turkey Lake Rd
Orlando, FL
32819
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kabooki-sushi-orlando-3

Applebee’s Grill + Bar

Exterior
Interior
BBQ Ribs and Chicken combo

*** (3 stars)

I really like the interior decor at Applebee’s. It’s a lot more like an intimate bar and grill than a coffee shop. The food is good (if typical) sports bar food, and the service is decent. I’d rank it as one of the better chains of this type, at least at this location.

Applebee’s Grill + Bar
2503 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL
32811
(407) 704-6750
https://www.yelp.com/biz/applebees-grill-bar-orlando-2

Bahama Breeze

Goat curry bowl (small)
Rum Raid
Rum Raid
Island hopper combo
Interior
Exterior

**** (4 stars)

For a chain restaurant, there are some surprisingly authentic Carribean dishes in the Bahama Breeze menu. I visited the original location when they first opened and thought it was just okay, but a recent visit to this larger venue was more impressive.

There are standard sports bar-like items, of course, including an appetizer sampler that had some nicely fried coconut shrimp and onion rings. But there are also authentically seasoned items such as the goat curry bowl, which I thought was excellent. Best of all, unlike traditional goat curry, there were no bones!

My favorite item was a drink sampler that included 8 different tropical and tiki-style drinks. They were large enough that the assortment is intended for more than one person. Since I’ve recently been researching tiki drinks at some of the country’s top tiki bars, I wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they were. There were excellent examples of a Zombie, Painkiller, and Dark and Stormy, among others. At about $26 it was a good deal.

Service late at night seemed a bit harried, but was friendly. The restaurant is very large, nicely decorated, and there is a large outside dining area with live music.

Bahama Breeze
8735 Vineland Ave
Orlando, FL
32821
+1-407-938-9010
https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/bahama-breeze-orlando-3

Aku Aku Tiki Bar

Exterior
Interior
Interior
Eric at the bar

 

***** (5 stars)

This is Orlando’s best real tiki bar, with an excellent selection of rums, and a nice variety of traditional and modern tiki drinks. The Sunday bartender, Eric, is particularly passionate about all things tiki, and can give you an amazing guided tour of the science of making a great tiki cocktail.

The intimate size and eclectic historic tiki decor make this a very cool place for tiki aficionados to hang out and experience the real thing.

Aku Aku Tiki Bar
431 E Central Blvd
Orlando, FL
32801
(407) 839-0080
https://www.yelp.com/biz/aku-aku-tiki-bar-orlando

Susuru

Susuru chashu gohan

Chicken breast yakitori, brussel sprouts yasai, short rib kushiyaki

Okonomiyaki

Exterior

Interior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

What a great place! This is an authentic Japanese Izakaya, just like you’d find in Tokyo. There’s no other place in Central Florida like this.

Choose yakitori skewers from a full menu, or have a delicious okonomiyaki. The mini rice bowls are also delicious.

There’s a fairly extensive sake and sochu list as well.

Service is friendly and prices are very reasonable.

Susuru
8548 Palm Pkwy
Orlando, FL
32836
(407) 778-4813
https://www.yelp.com/biz/susuru-orlando-2

Papa D Pizza

Calzone

Interior

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

A lot of pizza restaurants think they know how to make calzones, but they basically just fold their pizzas in half. Not at Papa D! This is a real calzone, with a light, crisp, paper-thin crust filled with the best ingredients. I had pepperoni, red peppers, and ricotta, in addition to the standard mozzarella. It’s served with a bowl of fresh marinara. It was easily the best calzone I’ve had anywhere.

Papa D Pizza
5106 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL
32819
(407) 299-0033
https://www.yelp.com/biz/papa-d-pizza-orlando

The Tasting Room

Interior

***** (5 stars)

The Tasting Room is the best small plates restaurant in Central Florida. It’s run by Laurie and Kevin Tarter, who are famous for The Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, one of Central Florida’s top fine dining restaurants, and perpetual winner of most romantic restaurant. In fact, The Tasting Room is right in front of The Chef’s Table, and they share a kitchen which explains the extraordinarily high quality of the food.

Highlights include the duck fat fries, smoked fish dip, and interesting salads.

In addition, there is a terrific bar, with a vast collection of interesting spirits and original cocktails, plus a well-curated wine and beer list.

Live music adds to the great ambiance several nights a week. Plus it’s located in historic Winter Garden, a truly charming town that is a great exemplar of how amazing Central Florida can be just a short drive from the theme parks.

The Tasting Room
99 W Plant StSte 5
Winter Garden, FL
34787
(407) 230-4837
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-tasting-room-winter-garden-3

Uno Pizzeria & Grill

*** (3 stars)

This is an open, clean and nicely designed Uno location. Of course it offers the standard chain menu, but that’s okay, because it’s fairly interesting, with much more than just pizza.

Service is friendly, and the lunch specials are a good deal.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill
3167 Daniels Road
Winter Garden, FL
34787
(407) 877-6510
https://www.yelp.com/biz/uno-pizzeria-and-grill-winter-garden

Waffle House

All star breakfast

Interior

Exterior

*** (3.5 stars)

You know what? Waffle House has good food.

I know, I know, they’re kind of low-brow, old fashioned, tacky, but that can be fun. And I would put their All-Star breakfast up against Denny’s, Keke’s or First Watch any day.

My over easy eggs were perfectly cooked, the super crispy bacon was full of flavor–as was the waffle–and the hashbrowns were well done as I requested. Coffee was decent and the service was attentive. What more can you ask?

Waffle
6990 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL
32818
(407) 293-8048
https://www.yelp.com/biz/waffle-house-orlando