Feeding the Southern Soul
In the past few years, our celebrity chefs and locally owned eateries have embraced the farm-to-table movement, and with that, Orlando’s Southern roots. You’ll find an array of down-home, comfort food with a modern, Florida twist and fresh ingredients from places like Soco, Cask & Larder, Emeril’s and the COOP. Hotels are also servin’ up some Southern goodness with the B Resort’s American Q, the Ritz-Carlton’s Highball & Harvest and the Four Seasons’ PB&G. Y’all go sample those shrimp ‘n grits, chicken and waffles, boiled peanuts and turnip greens.
BOHEMIAN BAR AND GRILL‒ American. Angus burgers and steaks are countered with chopped salads and flat breads. Start with a fresh, specialty cocktail. Open daily for B, L, D. www.celebrationhotel.com. Bohemian Hotel, 700 Bloom St., 407.566.6000. CELEBRATION TOWN TAVERN‒ American. Specializes in New England-style foods such as fish and chips. Sit outside for a relaxed vibe on the lakefront Open daily for L,D. www.thecelebrationtowntavern.com. 721 Front St., 407.566.2526. COLUMBIA RESTAURANT‒ Spanish. Paella and beef round stuffed with chorizo are staples of this upscale chain that debuted in Tampa’s Ybor City more than 100 years ago. You’ll dine in Mediterranean style, surrounded by hand-painted Spanish tiles and family photographs. Open daily for L, D. www.columbiarestaurant.com. 649 Front St., 407.566.1505. FUEGO ‒ Spanish. Spanish tapas are the specialty, but the diverse menu offers Peruvian and other Latin cuisine along with a large wine list and specialty cocktails. www.melia.com. Meliã Orlando Hotel, 225 Celebration Place, 407.964.7000.
AMERICAN Q ‒ Barbecue. Peel-and-eat shrimp and a huge salad bar are served from the flatbed of a vintage truck. Barbecue favorites inspired from Carolina to Kansas City are carved tableside. www. bhotelsandresorts.com. B Resort & Spa, 1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd., 407.828.2828. BENIHANA‒ Japanese. Chefs entertain as they prepare steak, chicken, lobster, scallops and shrimp at your table. Teppanyaki-style cooking. Open daily for L, D. www.benihana.com. Hilton Hotel, 1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd., 407.827.4865. BONGOS CUBAN CAFÉ‒ Latin. Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s award-winning restaurant is the go-to place for authentic Cuban cuisine and mojitos. Live music starts nightly at 6 pm. Open daily for L, D. www. bongoscubancafe.com. Downtown Disney, 1498 E. Buena Vista Drive, 407.828.0999. BULL & BEAR STEAKHOUSE‒ Steak. Hide away in a posh, club-like setting and tuck into hearty portions of Angus beef, grilled wild salmon, or a double-rib Colorado lamb chop. Choose from an impeccable wine list or sip on a single-malt scotch. Open for D. www.bullandbearorlando.com. 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, 407.597.5500. CAPA‒ Spanish. This 17th-floor rooftop steakhouse and bar offers a range of cuisine with a Spanish twist. The restaurant features an open kitchen, wood-burning grill and outdoor seating for views of Disney fireworks. D. www.fourseasonsorlando.com. Four Seasons, 10100 Dream Tree Blvd., 407.313.7777. CHEF MICKEY’S‒ Character Dining. Breakfast features Chef Mickey, Minnie, Chip ’n’ Dale and Goofy. Donald Duck joins the lineup at dinner. Bring your autograph books. Open daily for B, D. Reservations required. www.disneyworld.com. Disney’s Contemporary Hotel, 4600 N. World, Drive, 407.939.3463. DEEP BLU SEAFOOD GRILLE‒ Seafood. Expert chefs prepare dinners of fresh seafood, sushi and more in an open kitchen. Private dining available upon request for special occasions. www.wyndhamgrandorlando.com. Wyndham Grand Orlando, Bonnet Creek, 14651 Chelonia Parkway, 407.390.2300. HEMINGWAY’S‒ Latin/Latin American. The culture and cuisine of Ernest Hemingway’s travels are the inspiration for many of the dishes here. Save room for the key lime pie. www.grandcypress.hyatt.com. 1 Grand Cypress Blvd., 407.239.3854.
Pork belly buttermilk biscuits with jalapeño jelly at