Restaurant Row located on Sand Lake Rd. in Dr. Phillips has become a popular gathering place for residents of Southwest Orlando. Much of the tourist traffic remains near Disney and International Dr. so this area has a much more local flavor. The Dr. Phillips Marketplace, The Fountains at Bay Hill, and Plaza Venezia are the three main shopping centers that make up Restaurant Row. Restaurants of all types and flavors can be found here.
The more established and long standing restaurants are located in The Dr. Phillips Marketplace since it was the only center in the area until about a decade ago. Some of the long standing favorites here are Morton’s Steakhouse, Carreiras, and Christini’s but there’s also some new blood here which include Press 101, Einstein’s Bagel, Five Guys, and of course Starbucks. Morton’s has the best steaks in town as far as I’m concerned. Everything is a la carte so it can get expensive. Carreira’s has great pizza and pasta dishes and a more casual affair. Every Italian I’ve spoken with says the food at Christini’s is the closest you can find to the meals back home in Italy.
My favorites in The Fountains include Vines, Antonio’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and Moonfish. The Vines has great live jazz band playing most of the time and surprisingly the food is superb. Antonio’s is a well known Italian restaurant and Ruth Chris a fine steakhouse. I’d have to say that the Marketplace offerings of Christini’s and Morton’s definitely have this combo beat. Moe’s is great for a cheap burrito but it does seem the food is a bit on the salty side. Moonfish has great fresh seafood but can get a bit pricey.
Timpano, Samba Room, Amura, Roy’s, Bonefish, and Season’s 52 are my favorites in Plaza Venezia. Timpano is an Italian Chophouse and the best place to listen to Frank Sinatra impersonators. I love the flatbread here. Samba Room has great Cuban cuisine. The best place for some sushi and sake is Amura. Season’s 52 is the best looking restaurant and the outdoor dining is really nice during the winter months but can also be a miserable steam bath during the summer. The food to me is a little bland but everyone else seems to like it. I think they’re being fooled by the ambiance. The sashimi at Bonefish is one of the best and the apple desert at Roy’s a Hawaiian fusion restaurant is a great surprise.
Dellagio where you’ll find Fleming’s Steakhouse, Cantina Laredo, and Bravo. There’s already a bunch of great Italian places here and personally don’t think Bravo adds a whole lot to the scene here. Cantina Laredo on the other hand is a gourmet Mexican restaurant. My idea of Mexican has been cheap tacos, some Dos Equis or Coronas with a lime, and some shots of Cabo Wabo, but it really is fine dining at Cantina Laredo. I’m liking the gourmet Mexican. Who says tacos can’t be fancy. Then there’s Fleming’s, it’s becoming one of my favorite steakhouses. The steaks are up there with the finest place in town.
The newest restaurants can be found at the Rialto. Ocean Prime offers some of the finest seafood in town and J. Alexander’s offers fine american cuisine. There’s also a neat frozen yogurt place called Menchies.
There’s no shortage of choices here and little something for every mood and occasion. You may also want to check out the Best of SW Orlando page on this blog.