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Orlando From the Tips


(California) Atop the Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando; 407-824-1576. $$$$
High-end dining was never the first thing that came to mind when considering a trip to the Magic Kingdom, but this sprawling room now offers first-rate service and cuisine. You can feel perfectly comfortable bringing the kids, who will appreciate the nightly fireworks show. Adult pleasures include an extensive selection of wines by the glass.

(Creole) 6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando; 407-224-2424. $$$$
As befits a restaurant within Universal CityWalk, chef Legasse's fifth eatery is as heavy on entertainment as on the spices. But the massive open space, with its awe-inspiring wall of wine, is still impressive, and neither the food nor the customers are treated as afterthoughts.

(Fusion) 629 East Central Boulevard, Orlando; 407-849-1800. $$$$
A hub of Orlando's chic Thornton Park Central complex, Hue describes its menu as "progressive American" and calls appetizers "begin," salads "lettuce," lunch "day," dinner "night," and so on. Whatever. The food is quite good, the high-ceilinged room and clientele attractive.

(New World) At the Ritz-Carlton, 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando; 407-393-4333. $$$$
Norman Van Aken's flagship restaurant is in Miami, and the celebrity chef-restaurateur's cuisine, which is called "Floribbean," melds ingredients and cooking traditions of Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the southern United States. Van Aken hones his talent here by devising a five-course tasting menu that changes monthly.

(Hawaiian) 7760 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando; 407-352-4844. $$$
Roy Yamaguchi has forever dashed the stereotype of the "chain" restaurant—other branches were recommended in our Monterrey and Maui/Lanai Golf Guides—with a menu that combines just enough exotica with consistently high quality and a staff that combines conscientiousness with an informal demeanor.

(American) 1801 Maitland Boulevard, Orlando; 407-622-8800. $$
When playing golf is not enough and you need to discuss the subject further, this place will put you in the mood. It's not as steeped in golf memorabilia as the flagship Snead's near Virginia's Homestead resort, but the no-nonsense menu remains as solid as the Slammer's swing.

(Steak, Italian) 7488 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando; 407-248-0429. $$$
Should nouvelle begin to seem effete, give the devil a slap at Timpano, let the martinis and wine flow, and remind yourself of the many benefits of the Atkins diet. Actually, the seafood, including lobster tails, is good, too, as is the pasta. Looking for that intimate night out?With occasional live music, this is not the place.


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