Fine dining in Orlando: A checklist for when a hot dog after golf won't work
ORLANDO, Fla. -- For most golfers, the only thing that compares to a great round is a fantastic meal afterward.
With hundreds of restaurants in the sprawling Orlando area, the best advice we can offer is to select a part of town you'd like to eat, then choose a type of food.
Here's a list for golfers seeking fine dining in Orlando near Disney, Universal, the Orange County Convention Center and downtown Orlando.
Orange County Convention Center
If you're staying near the convention center -- or just want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Disney and Universal -- Sand Lake Road has several fantastic fine dining options, the newest of which is seafood and steakhouse Ocean Prime. Service is of utmost importance here, as evidenced by a red carpet entrance and a policy of, "The answer is yes, what is your question?"
Another fantastic fine dining experience along Sand Lake Road is Seasons 52, which has a seasonally inspired menu that emphasizes healthy ingredients and modest portions. Here you'll be able to indulge in a complete dining experience -- from appetizer to dessert -- without feeling like you need to change into elastic band pants.
If your travels take you to the Disney area, Shula's Steak House is a popular spot for football fans -- Miami Dolphins fans, in particular. Though it's definitely a fine dining experience, the former Dolphins head coaching legend keeps the mood light with team memorabilia adorning the walls and a menu that's written on a football and set at the table on a tee. After a round at one of Disney's golf courses, Shula's Steak House can be a great ending to a well-rounded sports day.
Nearby, but at the other end of the fine dining spectrum, is Fulton's Crab House, a unique seafood restaurant that floats on a riverboat in Downtown Disney. This restaurant features more than 50 fresh seafood selections, including Alaskan crab legs and Australian lobster tail. Like any authentic seafood restaurant, the menu at Fulton's Crab House changes daily to ensure that only the freshest products are served.
One of the newest golf experiences in the Orlando area is Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, and it should come as no surprise that the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Orlando is also home to one of the city's finest steakhouses. Bull & Bear features all the trappings of the trendsetting original, which was the first restaurant on the Eastern Seaboard to serve USDA-certified Angus beef, the highest quality grade available in the U.S. Just like the golf course, Bull & Bear has sophistication and character, despite being so new.
If you're in the Universal area, check out The Palm, an authentic New York-style steakhouse. Caricatures of celebrities drawn on the walls serve as reminders of the restaurant's roots in the newspaper district of Manhattan, where famous cartoonists used to draw cartoons in exchange for their meals.
If you're in the mood for some New Orleans flavor, Emeril's Orlando is a sure bet. The Creole-inspired menu includes such delicacies as roasted Texas redfish with homemade andouille crust, fresh Louisiana crawfish and filet mignon au poivre.
If your golf vacation takes you to Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate you'll want to check out Zen, an Asian restaurant. The sushi here is excellent, and the setting is authentic, with privacy screens creating separate dining areas. It's the perfect place to toast Saki after a day on the golf course.
Located 10 minutes north of downtown Orlando, Del Frisco's Prime Steakhouse has earned the acclaim of several national publications -- some even say it's one of the finest steakhouses in America. Opened by a couple from Orlando, Del Frisco's is known for its hospitable environment and generous cuts of meat.
No matter where you play golf in Orlando, you're sure to find a great restaurant nearby.