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Five Top Restaurants in Orlando, Florida

While on vacation, you sometimes want to experience a restaurant that is indicative of the area and something that you wouldn?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t get to everyday. (At least I do.) I have put together five excellent choices to choose from in the Orlando area for that night out or, even if you want to take the entire family out for an incredible dining experience.

California Grill

Located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort this restaurant was voted Orlando’s Most Popular restaurant. Its renowned chef Clifford Pleau continually reinvents his “unique seasonal menus”, creating “divine” dishes paired with an “equally eloquent wine list”; add “impeccable” service and “spectacular” views of the park and its fireworks, and the result is truly great, even if it is accompanied by tourists wearing shorts and Mickey Mouse ears! Location: Disney World, Contemporary Hotel, $41

Christini’s

This restaurant has been called “a treasure among restaurants”, and is located in the in the Dr. Phillips area of South Orlando. It is well-known for lavish meals, complimented by a 450-label wine list. The food is served in a romantic setting with strolling musicians giving you the ambience of a night out in Italy. However, the feasting here does not come cheap and the prices are “high” even by “expense-account” standards. South Orlando 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., $52

Hemingways

If you have always loved the mystique of Ernest Hemingway then this is the place to go. The Hemingway-at-Key-West decor (rods and reels, a stuffed marlin, nautical trinkets) at this Lake Buena Vista hotel seafood house makes you feel like you’ve spent the day fishing with Hemingway. Guests describe it as “a nice place to bring clients” or to celebrate “special occasions” and some of the favorite dishes include coconut shrimp and paella. Lake Buena Vista 1 Grand Cypress Blvd. $41

Morton’s The Steakhouse

If price is no object to a good meal then this steakhouse is the place for you. When was the last time you’ve had beef so tender and full of flavor that you have to remark after every bite? While the steakhouse is particularly close to the Central Florida theme parks, it is tucked away in the quaint Doctor Phillips Marketplace, a respite of sorts from nearby tourist hangouts. The clientele is made up of Orlando executives and Orlando business travelers. They are all here to drink martinis and enjoy the juicy porterhouse, sirloin and Maine lobster. As for side dishes, don’t pass up the specialty, potatoes Lyonnaise. Location: 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. $60

Venetian Room

This is a fine-dining restaurant that prides itself on offering an elegant experience of the highest level. The chef de cuisine is Khalid Benghallem, a former sous-chef at Emeril’s and the opening chef at Shula’s Steakhouse in the Dolphin Hotel. The menu is typical for an upscale restaurant in this category and includes foie gras, crab cake, lamb rack, veal chops and other dishes. However, it is the special preparation of these common items that makes this restaurant special. You will, however, have to pay for this unique treat. This is not a cheap restaurant and appetizers range from $14 to $17, and six of the seven entries are more than $30. Location: Caribe Royal Hotel 8101 World Center Drive

Five great restaurant choices in the Orland area when you want to step out for something a little nicer than the burger down the street.

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