Paris Bánh Mí Kissimmee

This counter-serve place is light and airy, with nice seating and a great vibe.

My Grilled Pork Banh Mi was as good as any I’ve ever had. The secret to a great banh mi is great bread, and this baguette was fresh, yet crusty, and filled with crisp veggies. The sauce and pork were spot on, and there was plenty of cilantro and jalapeno. Just a terrific sandwich.ánh-mí-kissimmee-kissimmee-2

Kungfu Kitchen

Even though it’s in a tourist area, this is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Central Florida. 

I don’t think I’ve ever had better dim sum, and the extensive, illustrated menu makes it really easy to order from. The seared soup dumplings (Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings) in particular were the best I’ve had.

The scallion pancakes are a bit unusual – more like a toasted flour tortilla than the traditional omelette-like preparation.

The large, airy space is inviting, and not too loud even when it’s busy. 

Service is really good.

Charm Thai and Sushi

It’s about time we got a decent sushi restaurant in this area, and Thai to boot! Excellent service and nice seating make this place a win,

The yellowtail carpaccio was really fresh and tasty, with just the right crunch to the jalapeños. Spicy salmon roll and Philadelphia roll were both good. And while my companion had sushi I had a delicious Yum Nua salad.

Now we don’t have to drive halfway across the county for good Asian food!

Reel Bowls

This poke bowl assemblage concept offers an array of bases, fish, and toppings in a bright, spacious setting. You can choose between two types of rice or mixed greens as your base. Then pick a protein and up to four toppings. 

My companion and I both went with greens and tuna and wasabi dressing. My favorite toppings were the edamame, cucumber, and seaweed salad. I highly recommend the fried onion bits as a garnish.

Service was fast and friendly.

Frontera Cocina

4 Stars

I’ve never been a big fan of Rick Bayless’ Chicago area restaurants, but I enjoyed our visit to this one in Disney Springs. The huge space is probably bigger than all of his Chicago restaurants combined! I’m sure it can get noisy at night, but a Monday lunch was sparsely populated.

The “Half & Half” was a nice combination of guacamole and pumpkin seed hummus, served with chips, jicama, and cucumber, plus red and green salsas.

My wife loved the Smoked Salmon Ceviche Tostadas. Conchinita Pibil was also good.

As with everything at Disney Springs, it’s very expensive. But on the bright side, Margaritas at our Monday lunch were only $5 instead of the usual $19.

Service was good.

Planet Hollywood




Carousel of apps

**** (4 stars)

This complete remodel of Planet Hollywood is a definite improvement. Not only is the volume level now more reasonable, but the space is actually inviting. It’s dominated by giant projections on one half of the dome, although most of the material is not of sufficient resolution, so it is downsized to repeated inset smaller videos. But when the full frame is in use it is quite impressive.

For a tourist restaurant, the food is pretty decent, too. A good choice is the appetizer sampler, served on a metal Ferris wheel. It’s for four, but makes a good complete small plate meal for two.

Service was prompt and pleasant during an unbusy weekday lunch.

Note there is also a small outside dining area overlooking Disney Springs that looks like a good spot to enjoy a more restful experience.

Planet Hollywood
1506 E Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32836
(407) 827-7827

Coral Reef


Chargrilled octopus


Bailey’s and Jack Daniel’s Mousse

*** (3 stars)

When it first opened this was one of the best restaurants at Epcot. They offered a true upscale dining experience and a spectacular view of the fish tank at the Seas Pavilion.

The view of the tank is still there, but the upscale dining experience is long gone. The reason, as with most of the other restaurants at Walt Disney World, is the advent of dining packages. Because guests can now get the food as part of their lodging and admissions packet, it has had a leveling effect on all of the restaurants, where everything is somewhat uniform. It’s not that the food is bad, it’s just very similar, and none of it stands out.

This is particularly apparent at the Coral Reef, which despite its theming isn’t really even a seafood restaurant anymore. Chicken and meat dishes outnumber the few fish dishes on the menu.

I had the chargrilled octopus, which was good, and the scampi, which included a skewer of decent shrimp and scallops over a completely flavorless pile of unsauced spaghetti.

Dinner for four, with a bottle of wine and tip, was over $300. Service was friendly and helpful, and the view is great.

Coral Reef
Walt Disney World Resort
Epcot’s Living Seas Pavilion
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32856
(407) 824-4321

Morimoto Asia

*** (3 stars)

Morimoto occupies a spectacular space within Disney Springs: the old three-story Mannequins building. They’ve taken full advantage of the height, with two floors of dining, and beautiful long lighting fixtures making the space feel like a scene out of Spirited Away.

Unfortunately, as with most restaurants on theme park properties, the food and service don’t measure up to the decorating.

If you’re expecting the food experience you’d get at another Morimoto, you will be disappointed. Here, only the name has been licensed, and the majority of the food is actually Chinese rather than Japanese,

There is a sushi bar upstairs, and sushi is available throughout the restaurant, but it’s expensive and nothing special. They do have a few fish not found at every neighborhood sushi place, including Fluke, Red Snapper, and Yellowtail, although they were out of some selections when we visited. Sashimi pricing was a problem though, with the serving sizes bordering on microscopic. I calculated that the one inch long paper thin slices of Fluke and Red Snapper are going for about $100 a pound. That’s just ridiculous.

Other dishes we tried included:

The five spice chicken wings were very oily inside, and there was no sign of five spices, although the garlic bits and jalapeño that topped them were tasty.

Spare ribs were delicious, very meaty and fall-off-the-bone tender, with a sweet, spicy coating.

Ikura sashimi was very good, served in a hollowed out lime with a shiso leaf.

Hamachi tartare was a small portion literally swimming in a soy broth. Any attempt to pick up some of the tartare, even with the provided miniature spoons resulted in the tartare disintegrating into the broth.

Spicy salmon roll seemed straight out of a sushi bar at central casting. Nothing remarkable here, move on.

Thai fried rice was delicious, with anise leaves, lemon grass and sprouts. This was the best dish we had.

Fried bronzino was the traditional whole fish, carefully deboned and covered in sweet and sour sauces. The fish was excellent as long as you could avoid too much of the sauce. This is a classic presentation, well done.

Our server was well-intentioned, but clearly needed more training and more practice. With about a hundred employees buzzing around a new restaurant, that’s not too surprising. I’m sure things will shake themselves out.

In short, if you’re looking for an Iron Chef experience, forget it. If you’re looking for PF Chang on steroids at twice the price but in a gorgeous building, this is a spectacular choice.

Morimoto Asia
1600 E Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 939-6686