Melange

melange

     You can’t go wrong with classic Italian food. A delicious salad bar, garlic knots, pizza and a variety of sandwiches and desserts give plenty of options for the hungry diner who doesn’t wish to wait! What is special is their superb quality pizza and unique choices in salad dressings- including apple fiji and mango chardonnay. 

    I am not a fan of buffets or fast-food, but their fast/buffet options were all described as way above average and very different from the run-of-the-mill restaurants like Cece’s and Panera. I love unique choices so I will definitely be trying one of their fresh salads with a new kind of dressing (I usually stick to Italian vinaigrette), before a few slices of PIZZA. 

    KNOTS

The dough was described by one New Jersey native as on the same level as dough from back home (and that is saying a lot- us East coast natives are VERY picky about our pizza!)… he said it was “airy and fresh”! There is a dessert station which sounds pretty mouth-watering, too, with ice creams and various toppings! It is “all you can eat” for under $10 and after reading all the reviews, I must say I am tempted to go today… for lunch!

Saigon Noodle and Grill

pho

      As someone who loves Vietnamese food, when I see a restaurant rated with 4.5 stars that offers what I’m looking for, I just can’t say no. Saigon is located at  710 S. Goldenrod Rd. in Orlando and it has a healthy amount of reviews on Yelp-  47. They also offer vegetarian offers and soups are their specialty! 

    Well-loved for their peanut dipping sauce, pork summer rolls, and their pho, the establishment is described as clean and spacious, with serving staff that go above and beyond to give you the best dining experience possible. As far as how much money you’ll be spending, their prices are reasonable and serving portions are large- be prepared to share the Saigon platter for a delicious variety of what they have to offer.

     If you’re familiar with Vietnamese coffee, you’ll definitely appreciate theirs- described by one restaurant-goer as “rich, sweet and exceptionally dark and flavorful”- I know I’ll be ending my meal with this! I am a BIG fan of coffee and especially love trying coffee from different cultures and countries.

VIET

The Gnarly Barley

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      Okay, brisket tacos and too many kinds of craft beer to count – this restaurant needs no introduction. In other words, as the saying goes, “you had me at hello.” Located at 7431 South Florida Ave in Orlando, the Gnarly Barley is its own animal- famous for its delicious sandwiches and Tex-Mex themed food. You know those restaurants where the servers and bartenders actually seem to ENJOY their job? Well, this is one of those places. Service with a smile is an understatement-these awesome people are downright happy to be working at such a cool and authentic place. 

     Two special things you’ll find here are the tiger sauce and the habenero relish. The atmosphere is cozy and there are tons of beers to be sampled if you’re not sure what you like. They have $2 taco Tuesday, build your own grilled cheeses, and TV’s outside for those who want to catch the game or the fights. While the outside of the building is rather unassuming and unimpressive, it is a far cry from the quality and awesomeness of the actual restaurant INSIDE. It might look like a flimsy shack but the foundation of the business is STRONG and BOLD. 

     Whether you’re getting together with friends or just want to try a new beer with that special someone, you can do either AND dip into some foods that are definitely more exciting than your average pub offerings. I for one am excited to sample a few of the different beers and take advantage of the specials which vary depending on the day. 

texmex

Border Grill Fresh-Mex

   tac

 

      There is never a bad time for TACO NIGHT. With that being said, Border Grill Fresh-Mex is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Orlando. With a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, and a total of 237 reviews, it’s clear to see they have really established a name for themselves. Start your meal off with some fresh chips and GUAC, paired with a strong drink, then give the shredded beef tacos a try. They are well-loved by many, and just one of the many dishes respectively dubbed “AUTHENTIC MEXICAN” by people from near and far. The fact that so many Californians (who grew up on “real” Mexican food, as it is around every corner in that state) speak so highly of this restaurant is enough to make me want to go there.

   With friendly staff, reasonable prices and lovely outdoor seating – what’s not to love? With so many choices in Spanish food in the area, it’s hard to pick a single place to grab a quick bite for lunch or have a get-together for dinner. Whether you want tacos to go our a night out with the family (or a romantic date night), this is probably your best option. Order me a margarita and some shredded beef tacos and I will be there in a jiffy- thanks!