Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dining Guide: Orlando

Scenes from Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig
Orlando conjures images of Mickey Mouse, family-friendly hotels, and chain restaurants, but visitors can still savor gourmet bites if they know where to look.

My sister and I recently made the trek to Universal Studios (to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter), but when the sun went down we left the theme parks behind and headed to Winter Park, which is becoming a serious-restaurant hub in the Orlando area. We dined at Cask & Larder, tasting delicious cobia, blacked red fish, and roasted Brussels sprouts topped with chili flakes and sorghum. The cocktails were top-notch at this southern-inspired brewpub, but you'll probably want to have a glass of their beer, brewed in house. The vibe is fun and casual, however, if you're looking for a more impressive gastropub, you can head to their sister restaurant: The Ravenous Pig. Chef-owners James and Julie Petrakis (also 2013 James Bead Award nominees) serve up dishes like Creekstone Ribeye Tartare, a Pork Porterhouse with mustard-tarragon mornay, hand made cavatelli on their seasonally-inspired menu.

If you're ready to head downtown, try K Restaurant in Orlando's College Park neighborhood. You'll find creative American fare, plus some Italian specialties, at this restaurant located in a reputedly haunted 1930s-era bungalow. The Rusty Spoon is another downtown winner, featuring locally-sourced American favorites for locavores and foodies alike.

Bon appetit!

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