Orlando Districts: Restaurant RowOrlando is well known for its chain restaurants on International Drive and specialty dining at the local theme parks, but visitors are just discovering the dining districts that locals have enjoyed for years–the newly dubbed Restaurant Row.
Better known by Orlando residents as the Dr. Phillips neighborhood (named for an Orlando founding father who owned large orange groves in this part of Central Florida at the turn of the last century), this stretch of fine dining along Sand Lake Road is only a five minute drive from the carnival atmosphere of I-Drive with a decidedly upscale reputation best reserved for date night outings.
Orlando Restaurant Row Steakhouses
Restaurant row serves up some of the best steak and seafood in Central Florida. Meat lovers will particularly enjoy the offerings at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Morton’s Steakhouse, J. Alexander’s and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Portion sizes are hefty, so come hungry–and don’t forget to make a reservation.
Orlando Restaurant Row Seafood
And since no Florida vacation would be complete without enjoying the local seafood, Restaurant Row also includes some of the top seafood restaurants in the region–Bonefish Grill, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, Anatolia Mediterranean Seafood, Moonfish and Ocean Prime. Unique seafood dishes can be found at plenty of other dining establishments in the immediate vicinity. Timpano’s Italian Chophouse is famous for its romantic atmosphere, fine wine and fresh mussels as an appetizer.
Orlando Restaurant Row Italian
Timpano’s is one of several Italian restaurants located in Restaurant Row, which prides itself on offering cuisine from around the globe. Enjoy fresh pastas and other Italian delights at Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, Fresco Cucina Italiana, and Bravo Cucina Italiana.
Orlando Restaurant Row Sushi
From Italy to Japan, there are also several sushi restaurants to choose from, including Seito Sushi, Nagoya Sushi, and Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi. The Zagat-rated Amura restaurant on Sand Lake Road is considered by some food critics to be the best sushi in Orlando, and is a popular location for date nights, girls’ night out, or any celebratory occasion.
Orlando Restaurant Row Special Dining Experiences
Fine wine is an important part of the dining experiences on Restaurant Row. Le Rouge Wine Bar and Tapas serves up hot and cold Spanish tapas–and half the fun ordering multiple plates of these appetizer sized dishes and being able to share. Enjoying a communal meal with a glass of wine is what brings patrons to The Melting Pot, a nationally known fondue restaurant where a pot of cheese and a set of skewers is a recipe for a delightful evening. Be sure to save room for the chocolate fondue for dessert!
One of the most popular dining establishments on Sand Lake in Restaurant Row is an Orlando original–Seasons 52. Part of the Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, this is the first Seasons 52 location, and like Seasons 52 in other parts of the country, the menu is constantly changing to reflect fresh menu items with surprisingly low calorie counts. The desserts are small in size (usually served in a shot glass) but big on taste.
Whether you call it Dr. Phillips, Sand Lake Road, or Restaurant Row, be sure to point yourself in the direction of some of the best eateries Orlando has to offer, only a short drive from I-Drive, and yet miles away from the tourist crowds.