This is a nice local public house serving elevated pub food. We went for Sunday and ordered off the regular and brunch menus.
The BLT dip was primarily creamed spinach, topped with some diced tomato and bacon crumbles, and served with excellent seasoned crostinis. Not a very large serving, but a nice starter.
My wife enjoyed the Odd Bird, a tender chicken breast sandwich with a fairly spicy buffalo sauce.
I had the Smoked Ham and Sausage Benedict, which was exactly as you’d expect from the name. Perfectly cooked poached eggs, and a good Hollandaise sauce, but I didn’t care for the flavor of what the English muffins had been grilled in or spread with. The accompanying home fries were delicious.
This is an entertaining place to get okay sushi. It’s quite fun being able to select your items from the conveyor belt. Even more fun is ordering from the touchscreen and having your dish delivered right to your table on the upper conveyor. Even the drinks are delivered by robot (although they aren’t exactly foolproof, and beer is still delivered by hand).
You’re not going to have the best sushi of your life here, but the prices are reasonable for a tourist area, and it is entertaining.
This is a really nice upscale setting for sushi. The presentation is lovely, and the service was welcoming. There is a very limited assortment of fish: tuna, salmon, whitefish, and octopus, but the quality and preparations are excellent. There are also some creative dishes, such as the Brie Djo: rice wrapped in strips of seared salmon, cream cheese, brie cheese, and fleur de sel.
Creative cocktails and wine are available. Shout-out for the excellent wine glassware.
Mediocre is the word that kept springing to mind throughout this meal. I really wanted to like this place, but I just couldn’t. From the moment you look at the menu and see that they charge for chips, and that tacos come on flour tortillas, you know you are in a tourist restaurant, not a Mexican restaurant. And with drink prices ranging up to $32 a drink, the pricing verifies that. But let’s give all that a pass.
The house Margarita, which is a mere $10, is one of the best house Margaritas I’ve had anywhere. If only everything else were as good.
The antojitos platter includes okay taquitos, a very, very thin queso dip, and weird beef empanadas. The empanadas were edible, but had clearly been prepared in advanced and then spent only seconds in a deep frier. As a result they were pale white, and the insides were still at refrigerator temperature. Surely this was a mistake?
The Chill Platter was a combination of a fairly tasty shrimp cocktail, an oddly spiced white fish ceviche that was okay, and a tuna tartare that seemed iffy.
Service was largely missing, even though we were there at lunch on a slow Saturday. Let’s just say the glass of chardonnay ordered before the meal was delivered as dessert.
I think a lot of us in Orlando were stunned when the first Michelin awards came out, and the stars went to two sushi counters and two hotel steak houses. This is the last of the four I have dined at, and it is the first one I think is close to a Michelin star. I started out skeptical, but the food won me over.
The room is similar to when it was Norman’s and is still challenged by the domed ceiling that reflects and concentrates all the noise, despite the weird grassy mound in the middle of the space. Noise level was fine the weeknight we were there, but the restaurant was only about 25% occupied.
The menu presents a bit of sticker shock, but when you realize most of the steaks are big enough to share, it’s actually reasonable for a Ritz Carlton dining room.
We started with oysters for half our party and hamachi crudos for the other half. The oysters were excellent, but the hamachi crude was stunning. This dish, which has become a bit of a staple in high-end Orlando restaurants, was easily the best I’ve had, combining caviar and spice in a glorious way, and the serving was generous enough to be satisfying.
For entrees I shared a ribeye, and it was also wonderful. A Japanese guest in our party said it was the best beef she had ever tasted, and she is used to having Wagu. I agree, it was the perfect balance of tender, fatty, charred and juicy. Others in our party had the scallops and the gnocchi, and thought they were excellent. Shout out to the best steakhouse spinach ever, elevated by cream and kimchi!
Desserts were beautiful, but perhaps not at the level of the rest of the meal–beautiful but not remarkable. But the starting fruit juice amuse bouche, intermezzo sorbet, and mignardises served at the end of the meal were all terrific.
Service was very good, including the wine service. I took a couple of rare old bottles, and the staff seemed genuinely grateful to have the opportunity to experience them. $50 corkage per bottle is fine for a restaurant at this level that provides such excellent glassware and service.
We were graciously thanked on our way out, and I found myself already anticipating my next visit. It’s fun to be pleasantly surprised.
Camille is now in its new, permanent location in Baldwin Park, and what a knockout it is! We had a fabulous meal at the old pop-up in East End Market, and weren’t sure how it could be topped, but it was.
The space is intimate yet spacious, with seating for eight at the counter, plus just four tables, and an elegant glassed-in private dining room for six. It’s easily the most beautiful restaurant in Orlando, and one of the most striking restaurant designs anywhere.
Chef Tung Phan oversees a staff of highly practiced chefs who assemble the complex twelve-course (with actually closer to twenty dishes) menu in front of you. Most courses contain an element of Vietnamese cuisine, but I would not call any specific dish Vietnamese. It’s modern fine dining, with many elements unique to Chef Phan.
We happened to attend on the first night they were doing table service, and although we sat at the counter, it appeared that table service also progressed like they’d been doing it forever. (As of our visit on August 1, 2023 they are not yet doing private dining.)
It’s hard to pick a favorite course given so many astonishingly beautiful and tasty items, and since the menu changes regularly there is no point in my providing a complete run-down. Just feast your eyes on my photos! But I will call out two favorites my companion and I both agreed on in the hopes they will stay on the menu forever: Spiny Florida lobster served with passionfruit, hearts of palm, and various greens was an amazing salad. And the assortment of sorbets including watermelon sprinkled with birds eye chili was a remarkable palate cleanser and pre-dessert.
Two wine pairings are offered, and it is worth getting both if you are a couple, as every one of the selections was thoughtful, matched the food, and contrasted with each other in very interesting ways. Beverage Director Derrick Goodman is very personable, and had interesting comments about each of the wines.
Orlando suddenly has an embarrassment of fine-dining restaurants, and I would place Camille at or near the top of that list.
It had been seven years since I'd been to Nona Blue–long enough that I'd forgotten I was ever there. In all fairness, we live far away, but it is convenient to Orlando International, so a great place to go after picking someone up.
In my earlier review we went for lunch, and I characterized it as a sports bar, but this time it was dinner, and the vibe was quite different. True, there are TV's around the central bar, but the lighting is romantically dim, and the noise level is reasonable, so it has more of an intimate club atmosphere, which we really liked.
We must be creatures of habit, because we ordered the same smoked salmon dip as last time, and enjoyed it just as much–again, the warning that there is a fair amount of egg white in it, which I liked, but my wife not so much.
The Caesar salad is one of the most authentic in town, with plenty of garlic and anchovy flavor in the dressing, which isn't too heavy.
She had the steak frites, and it had a great smoky flavor. Not that if you want it authentic you need to substitute steak fries for traditional ones.
I had the prime rib, which was a hefty serving accompanied by a delicious horseradish sauce and a Matterhorn of mashed potatoes.
There's a nice wine and cocktail list.
Service by Claire was very professional and friendly.
Nona Blue Modern Tavern 9685 Lake Nona Village Pl Orlando, FL 32827
This place makes a good Vietnamese Bún chả Hà Nội bowl, although their fish sauce is a bit sweet for my taste. They have the advantage of being open Wednesday, when the other place in this plaza isn't. Note that they no longer offer Bánh mì.
Nam Giao Deli 5274 W Colonial Dr Orlando, FL 32808
This is a wonderful little fine dining venue in the heart of an unlikely residential area in Winter Haven. We know the chef’s former restaurant in California, as it was one of our favorites when we lived there, so it was fun to try this place that he owns.
We had lunch, where they serve a limited menu of salads and sandwiches. Everything we tried was delicious. We were particularly impressed with the number of house-made ingredients, including the sauces, sorbets, and ice creams.
Service was extremely friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with the chef. We will definitely come back here to try their dinner menu.
This is a great place for Caribbean and soul food. You order at a counter, and then there are two long tables inside, or you can get your food to go. The menu is very extensive. It's remarkable about all the different items coming out of the small kitchen.
We tried three different types of chicken, and they were all good: fried chicken, jerk chicken, and lemon pepper chicken. My favorite was the jerk chicken, which was unusual in that in addition to the jerk seasoning it also had a spicy sort of barbecue sauce.
Each dish comes with your choice of rice (the rice and peas was great) and two sides. Excellent potato salad.
I'm looking forward to returning and exploring more of the menu.