Located just a few miles north of the City of Orlando, Winter Park’s 30,000 residents enjoy abundant outdoor spaces, a decadent Saturday morning Farmer’s market, and more museums than you would ever expect to see in such a small area. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum displays the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world and the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens was donated by the artist’s wife following the death of this incredible Czech American talent.
The Rollins College Museum of Art attracts both rotating and traveling exhibits and the Winter Park Historical Museum continues to rate highly among locals and tourists alike.
The outdoor fun continues with the Scenic Boat Tour, Florida’s longest continually running attraction which covers three lakes and two canals within this region’s Chain of Lakes. But it’s the shopping on Park Avenue and the restaurants around town that continue to attract return visits week after week, year after year.
Table of Contents
7 Best Winter Park Restaurants
276 S Orlando Avenue //+14075002253
Driving down the busy boulevard, past the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, we came upon a contemporary, box-structured building with lush vegetation and a hedge that matches the clean angles of the building. Stroll beneath the glamour lit awning to view through the porthole into the porch seating area, covered with gently moving fans to stir a cooling breeze in the Florida heat. They know you’re likely to have a wait if you don’t make reservations, as they have a comfy 3-seat bench with “Come sit a spell” invitingly written across the top slat.
Enter the glass front doors, providing the names of Kristy Carlucci, Executive Chef, and Bianca Hinksman, General Manager, offering a cash-free (and smoke-free) environment that will get your weekend off to a lovely start. The typical chaos somehow feels inviting at the entrance, but that’s likely due to the hostess Jasmyn who, upon learning we have a reservation, takes us to the star-studded, velvet-walled booth with a reserved sign on the table.
We walk past displays of season-specific items and look at the glass display cases filled with decadent croissants, pastries, and cakes. Rows of freshly made doughnuts line the walls behind the cash register beneath the menus for brunch and beverages.
While it’d be impossible to miss the long, butcher block table with the rectangular chandelier base and dropped pendant lights that line the entire 12 seat table, it’s easy to miss the glass display in the center of it. Therein lie several the eponymous glass knife in multiple colors. I’ve blown glass and knew how difficult it is to make flatware with precision. Turns out, it’s the imperfections that make them stunning.
Art on the wall provided my first glimpse of what to order for breakfast. Most of my readers know I struggle when traveling to maintain the gluten-free diet required for celiac disease. A lovely hat of macarons on the first picture to the right led to my first question for our server, Carmae. “Do you have macarons?”, I ask. “Yes, of course, multiple flavors, strawberry, lemon, salted caramel, passionfruit, and (a coffee-based concoction).” Sold!
I order three macarons, strawberry, lemon, and ask for suggestions. Carmae recommends the salted caramel. Okay. Stacey and Paula both order the passionfruit. I must say it makes for a colorful dish. The salted caramel is dark and chewy. The ladies declare the passionfruit exquisite. It’s one of Stacey’s favorite flavors. She’s written about the history of the passionfruit and explains to us it was used in Brazil by the Jesuits who came from Spain. They chose the passionfruit to exemplify the Passion of Christ. You just never know when or where you’re going to learn a fascinating new fact.
Menus found on the QR code, our first orders for drinks, black tea, a late they returned with a sweet little heart, and an iced coffee blend allowed us to chat. Accompanying me on this day are Visit Orlando’s Paula Ramirez, who organized the trip, and Stacey Wittig, of Unstoppable Stacey, a travel journalist visiting from Flagstaff, Arizona with an adventurous palate.
Stacey chose a ham and cheese croissant, served with lightly pickled cucumbers, which she declared “utterly delicious.” Paula ordered the quiche, more than an inch high, accompanied by fresh greens and some of the reddest tomatoes I’ve ever seen.
My brunch entrée was the BLT without the bread. It made me really miss bread. Though lovely, the butter lettuce it was served on fell to pieces quickly. It was a mess I couldn’t easily eat with the lettuce wrapped or with a fork and knife, but the bathroom is just around the corner with an outside sink ready for use. The bacon was beautifully prepared, not crisp at all, but layered to grand effect over the lush tomatoes. When I, too, was provided the lightly pickled cucumber thin slices, I added them to my “sandwich.” Just a touch of the garlic aioli was all it needed for that extra kick.
The bathrooms are well appointed with a picture of an old-fashioned, coin-operated public telephone welcoming you into the area.
Carmae returned regularly to answer any questions. The few things she didn’t know, usually historical questions, she found for us quickly. JR, the manager on duty that morning, remained ready to assist.
I took the opportunity to examine the glass knives running the center of the butcher block table. The craftsmanship present offers a pleasing display with shocks of changing color. I’m so glad I thought to ask why the restaurant had that name, so I was led to examine these pieces of art.
The outside space is comfortable and spacious. It’s a great place for families or large families to relax with friendly dogs allowed on leash. They can see through that entry porthole to welcome newcomers.
The row of orchids by the exterior door stands strong against the heat and humidity in Florida this time of year.
Reluctant to depart, it was time for us to get to the docks for our journey across the chain of lakes with Scenic Boat Tours. As the Tour was a great introduction to the region, The Glass Knife is a great introduction to your day.
1000 Holt Avenue //+14076462000
During our Scenic Boat Tour, the Skipper highly recommended two places to eat on Rollins College’s Campus, the Boat House, and the Student Cafeteria. As he put it, “When you pay $70,000 to go to college, they’re not going to drop the ball on the food.” He shared that he’d frequently go to the cafeteria and go to the Boat House for a special occasion.
Parking in a small Visitor parking lot just past a playing field, it was an easy walk down the Walk of Fame (check out the stones for Benjamin Franklin, former presidents, and the Wright Brothers) and, with a quick check of the map or the friendly assistance of a faculty member, find the Cafeteria on the upstairs level and the Boat House downstairs (or inside through the back entrance when the boat dock is secure).
Skillman Dining Hall
Found within the Student Activity Center directly across from the Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, the College’s Cafeteria is spacious, light, inviting and has some of the best views on campus across an Olympic Size Pool over Lake Virginia.
Food stations make it possible to assist large numbers of people at the same time with plenty of seating across the space.
Pay as you enter, for us it was brunch and about $13 per person. To the left, you’ll find fruit, a chef making eggs to order, burgers, or chicken.
To your right from the omelet station (the far-left wall after entering) is a section of breakfast offerings including breakfast potatoes, orange tofu, and fried rice. I later learned this is traditionally the International Food Section where the head chef creates dishes displaying cuisine from where many of Rollins’ students reside.
In front of you, you’ll spy a fiery pizza furnace, ready to provide cheese, pepperoni, or additional items upon request.
After pulling your eyes away from the pizza oven, you’ll see the dessert station to the left. During our visit, they offered dark chocolate cake with white chocolate shavings as garnish, mango and cream, small croissants as well as plain or cranberry muffins. Death by carbs looks mighty appealing here.
To the right of the pizza station is a salad bar that provides calorie information on the “sneeze cover.” Spinach salad zero calories, shredded carrots 20 calories, diced celery 0 calories, diced tomatoes 20 calories, diced cucumber 0 calories, edamame 50 calories. I think it made me enjoy my salad that much more knowing what a low calorie and healthy choice it was. They do offer some calorie-packing salad dressings, though, so use them cautiously. Dressings available include Caesar, Mustard, Balsamic, and Ranch.
A waffle station is partially hidden around the corner on the right and a sandwich station is directly opposite the salad bar on the wall closest to the entrance. It’s not just any waffle maker, though, as it has the Rollins “R” in the center. What fun.
Drinks are available through a Coca-Cola dispensing machine on the left side before the tray return and across the back wall opposite the bank of windows showing the wonderful water view. Coffee and tea, four types of milk, another soda machine with water dispensed through it give you all the options (well, non-alcoholic options) I’d ever wanted as a college student.
As a nod to the times, perhaps, they provide a separate PETA-approved vegan station on the water side of the cafeteria that promises great cuisine for those that make this a lifestyle choice or others who wish to partake.
There’s a station for oatmeal that I suspect is used for soups later in the day.
Before we finished our meal, we had a row of dishes across our table, and felt as the Skipper described: it’s a good value for the items received. The college students have meal cards that work here, and debit or credit cards are accepted from others.
All trays are bussed to the same side as the burger and chicken station in back before the window bank. There’s a trio of receptacles that helps you determine whether your remaining food and paper items go to compost or trash. With careful planning and trying to keep your eyes from being bigger than your stomach, very little goes into them.
Perhaps obvious for this buffet, no to-go containers are available.
I really enjoyed the staff. From the lady at the register who patiently explained the process, to the chef who confirmed we knew all our options since we happened to arrive 12 minutes before they closed food service, everyone was friendly and smiling.
Recommended so highly by our Scenic Boat Tour skipper, I’d really looked forward to our visit to Dave’s Boathouse. Sadly, Hurricane Ian has wreaked havoc on the space which was under water as Lake Virginia flooded and it is currently unknown when it will re-open. We toured the area; a dark wood finish large bar area greets you as you enter from the lakeside with cozy dining and large tables to fit your party size.
Fall 2022 Menu options listed on a screen (staff unavailable as they were all busy with clean up from the storm) include:
Deli Sandwiches: chicken wrap, turkey club, hot pastrami, and portobello mushroom wrap.
Salads: Vegan Caesar, Vegan Greek, Cole Slaw Side Salad, and Cucumber-Tomato Side Salad.
Sides: Steak Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Onion Rings, Vegetable of the Day, and Curly Fries.
Desserts: Fruit Sorbet, Vegan Ice Cream, Runny Chip Cookie (that’s right, “Runny” chip, served warm, it has an “ooey-gooey Chocolate Lava core”), and Chocolate Souffle Cake.
Beverages: Vegan Milkshake, Frozen Lemonade, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Orange Burst Smoothie, or Fountain Drink. They do serve canned alcoholic beverages (with proper ID) including red wine, sweet white wine, rose wine, and beer.
I’m sorry they were flooded during Hurricane Ian and look forward to returning when they’re open. It’s hard to tell if their menu has been “fine dining” as I’d expected based on the skipper’s comments, but its dark, soothing atmosphere, and lovely view of Lake Virginia, even over her banks, make for a cozy experience.
I do like that they have allergen warnings for everything on the menu so you can easily navigate what you can have based on your own personal needs.
601-B South New York Avenue //+14072283899
This restaurant catches my eye each time I drive down Fairbanks Boulevard. It’s a bit confusing to get in and out of, and with the combination of Orange and Fairbanks just a block above, plan to spend some time driving around well-established tree-lined neighborhoods if you get turned around. I’m so glad we made the time to go back to Winter Park and check it out.
Entering to a wide display of artwork, from the playful to the profound, you can choose to be seated or place a takeaway order behind the hostess station.
I was glad we’d brought our appetites when I found four (!) starters that we’d enjoy. Remember, all of these are vegan (meat and dairy substitutes), and many can be made gluten-free. Their Bruschetta, garlic knots, crispy green beans, and Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes) all made the cut. Their sausage rolls and Healthy Trios, black and green olive tapenade, housemade hummus and tomato mango salsa served with toasted pita triangles, blue corn tortilla chips, and cucumber, carrot, and celery sticks will have to wait for a larger party during a return visit.
They offer a Soup of the Day as well as their standard Black Bean Soup which my favorite daughter describes as a bit more watery than you might expect with an al dente bean.
Salads galore here with five options that you can choose to top with sauteed seitan, grilled tofu, blackened tempeh, or grilled chickun. This was the first place on the menu where I spotted the meat substitute lexicon as it’s easy to forget it’s not “real” meat otherwise.
Any of their seven sandwiches are served with your choice of side: tomato-mango salsa blue tortilla chips, Cole slaw, or fresh fruit. Their chickun can be served smothered in jerk sauce or tossed in a buffalo sauce or as part of a refreshing Bruschetta sandwich. Their coconut curry (spinach) wrap, BBQ Pork, or Samson Burger (black bean patty) may be the more expected vegan options, but the one that cracks me up the most is their “hippie wrap,” made with a house made hummus with sprouts, banana peppers, tomato and lettuce, and cucumbers, it’s wrapped in a spinach tortilla.
Entrees available include a sheep pie, Bay Cakes (their rendition of crab cakes), blackened tempeh, chicken marsala, lasagna, and pasta Primavera. The five layers of lasagna noodles with ricotta and marinara sauce with hearty vegetables, including zucchini, squash, spinach, and onions and smothered with their vegan mozzarella cheese. And is fire-baked, which is different than anyway I’ve experienced it previously, typically baking it in an oven.
They do offer a 10-inch pizza, pie or calzone with pizza toppings that include artichokes, banana peppers, black olives, broccoli, chicken, garlic, green peppers, green olives, ham, mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, red Peppers, ricotta, sausage, Satan, spinach, squash, tempeh, tofu, tomatoes, zucchini. There are so many options… and the flavor profiles are very similar to the meat that I grew up with.
Their side dishes include mashed potatoes and gravy, spinach or mixed vegetables, tortilla chips and salsa or hummus, black beans and rice, or a side salad.
For the children who visit, they offer mac and cheese and peas, a Big Dipper, or a little dipper, which includes a single dip of either hummus or ranch for dipping, or pizza bread, which is 1/2 of a French loaf topped with marinara and mozzarella and one pizza topping. They also have a kid’s pasta Primavera if you’d like to continue to expand your child’s palette with broccoli, zucchini, squash, peas, and carrots.
I appreciate their explanation of their proteins: tofu and tempeh and seitan, which I had not been familiar with before this restaurant visit. Seitan, according to them, is a gluten or wheat protein, so not for the gluten-sensitive or intolerant or celiac, but it is free from cholesterol and saturated fats, originating with the Buddhist monks in 7th century China.
Their dessert menu includes a chocolate amaretto mousse. Which? Was flavorful, but. A very heavy pour of the Amaretto so was best for us once frozen. With. A very small spoonful at a time, the ethos Sunday, and ice cream. Float, milkshake, cafe affogato, cake flavor of the day dusted with powdered sugar, or cookies. The cookies are on display at the takeaway counter and look delicious.
They offer Boylan fountain drinks, brewed iced tea, Bottled yerba mate, Juice, soy or almond milk, bottomless coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, cold brew, hot tea, bottled water, and bottled Perrier.
We filled up on the starters and struggled to finish the entrees. The good news: they keep well in the refrigerator and can be warmed in the oven to be even tastier than microwaved.
For those interested in alcoholic beverages, they do serve six draft beers, six bottled and canned beverages, champagne, mimosa, six types of white wine, and five types of red wine.
For those of you that can’t choose, they offer a beer flight. You pick four of the selections from the beer menu and receive 4-ounce tasters. And a wine flight, from which you pick four from the wine menu and receive 2-ounce tasters.
It’s a fun festive atmosphere and it’s easy to envision yourself staying for a couple of hours.
223 W Fairbanks Avenue //+13213164936
Searching for more great places to eat in Winter Park, we happened on Tin & Taco. Hurricane Ian had taken out certain aspects, but the friendly staff still made it a fun visit. Voted the best Kraft Taco in Orlando, their burritos and rice bowls offer proof positive that they deserve the award. It’s hard to believe they have 150 different craft beers in such a small area as well as Marguerite is in sangria, but we are assured it is true.
We met manager Asajt Thomas who tells us he enjoys working at Tin & Taco because the food is always very good, but the people are great. When asked what he’d like people to know, he said, “There’s always a great vibe when you visit and talk with the employees. There’s usually great music playing, and the energy is always awesome. So don’t order online. C’mon in.”
Asajt was a master at maneuvering the menu to fit my needs for a midday meal and even the drinks. With canned and draft beverages available, he offered taste tests for the draft Stubborn sodas we might like to try. While I immediately enjoyed the Cream Soda, the Black Cherry wasn’t right for my meal.
Their typical offerings include meals around their seasoned ground beef, hickory smoked pork, honey Chipotle chicken, chorizo, grilled steak, sushi grade ahi tuna, vegetarian dishes and all available as tacos, rice bowls, grilled, burritos, mixed green salad, “in the bag,” mex fries, or tin nachos.
As always, we enjoyed fun names like the “Taconator,” Taco Bomb, the “boom,” and the notorious P.I.G. The “trailer park” included Moonshine Barbeque, which took me back to some visits to the Appalachians, the “pig daddy” just made me laugh with its chorizo and smoked bacon, fresh jalapeno, cotija cheese and moonshine barbeque with cilantro to add even more flavor.
Ordering the Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Bowl, Asajt made a show of the creation, rice, lettuce, like a combination of a taco more than the rice bowls we’d grown accustomed to… Their chicken is always honey chipotle.
The flavor profile is strong when you mix the Honey Chipotle chicken with the bacon and ranch and a heavily spiced rice bowl. If you enjoy tons of flavor, this is the perfect place for you to have lunch.
They serve Stubborn Craft sodas and, as described above, I chose the Stubborn Craft Agave Vanilla Cream Soda, after being offered a taste to confirm I liked it first. It tastes great. While I preferred it colder than the tap provided, so worked well over ice, and enjoyed well through my meal.
Their sides include craft beer queso and chips, fresh guacamole and chips, salsa roja, French fries, or white cheddar Mac and cheese. Something for everyone.
544 West Fairbanks Avenue //+14076452050
Visiting an Irish pub has become a habit in my travels across the United States and I really enjoyed my visit to Fiddler’s Green here in Winter Park. It’s October, and I’m greeted by a leprechaun in Saint Patrick’s Day Festive gear. As I’m drawn back to the dark wood bar with stools inviting locals and visitors alike to sit a spell, I appreciate the humor, under the Jameson Irish whiskey sign that Fiddler’s Green is:
“Winter Park’s oldest husband daycare center.
If you need time for yourself, leave your husband with us.
Packages, one, 2, 3 pints available.”
Their bill of fare contains only two pages but is jam-packed with flavor and fun.
Appetizers include Irish egg rolls (spring rolls of corned beef and cabbage with thousand island sauce for dipping), Scotch eggs, smoked fish dip, sliced smoked salmon, Wexford wings, Chicken tenders, chips and salsa, spinach and cheese dip, loaded potato wedges, and boxty potato pancakes offered with the traditional sour cream and chives or melted cheddar or smoked salmon or cheddar, salmon, and sour cream.
“Sides and such” include potato wedges, chili chips, champ, which is the Belfast recipe for mashed potatoes with chives, fresh vegetables, Colcannon, applesauce, sauteed mushrooms, soups by the cup or bowl, the soup of the day or potato and leek.
Traditional Irish fare includes fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, or steak tips.
They offer three types of burgers. Choose from Leinster, Ulster, or Connaught. I must stick with my Dublin region of Leinster, without the cheese, and the barman barely blinked when I ask for it to be well done.
Sandwiches include a flagstone chicken, bookmaker sandwich, Irish Rueben, Fids fish sandwich which is an Atlantic cod, corned beef sandwich, or Buffalo chicken. Each of these is served with a side of the famous potato wedges.
Their salads include a house or Caesar to which you can add grilled chicken, fried chicken, blackened cod, or smoked salmon.
For dessert, you can enjoy their Jack Daniels chocolate cake or bread pudding.
I appreciate how socially responsible they are having the telephone number for a cab right on the menu and providing the address to make it easy for those who may have imbibed to be picked up at the proper spot. Or the recommendation to sign up for an Uber.
For this visit, I chose the Leinster Burger and Boxty potato pancakes but swapped applesauce in for the sour cream and chives. I really didn’t need any more food than the potato wedges (they’re right, they should be famous for them), but didn’t want to wait until my return to Winter Park to try the potato pancakes. You can tell an area has Irish immigrants by the potato pancakes they make, and Fiddler’s Green’s potato pancakes are delightful.
211 West Fairbanks Avenue //+12039860989
In the remaining vestiges of Hurricane Ian, we returned to Winter Park to investigate more restaurants for this article. When Rollins College was closed, we returned to town and happened on The Bagel Shop. While we were there a little late for the full supply, only egg or cinnamon raisin bagels remained, the options from the menu were visible and it’s a great place to stop in for a quick bite.
Menu options include hot or iced, their special brews made fresh from flavored beans, including The Bagel Shop blend or decaf, dark roast, Milky Wey, French vanilla, snickerdoodle, white chocolate chip, toasted almond, hazelnut, or vanilla hazelnut.
Their specialties include a mix of brews with mocha or syrup. They tell me the most popular are the peanut buttercup and the Girl Scout mocha. They offer twelve specialty blends. Since I’m a tea drinker, not a coffee fan, I was happy with a straightforward black tea.
While we were there, bagel options were limited due to our late arrival. Typical options include plain bagels, everything, sesame, Asiago, jalapeno, cheddar, pumpernickel, French toast, egg, onion, cinnamon, Raisin, and whole wheat. They have plain cream cheese but specialize in bacon chive, chive, garlic, herb, honey, almond, jalapeno, veggie, or butter cream cheese.
Their breakfast sandwiches include “The Regular,” egg and your choice of cheese, or “the Regular and Protein,” which is egg, cheese, and your choice of meat. Their “Walk of Shame” is egg, cheese, sausage, and bacon. The “Hangover” is egg, cheese, sausage, bacon, peppers, and onions. The “No Regrets” contains egg, cheese, ham, sausage, and bacon. The “Hotty Dotty” is egg, cheese, chorizo, hot sauce, and siracha. I feel like we should be incorporating some of these names at home…
The “Veg Out” contains egg whites, cheese, peppers, onions, and tomato. The “Nova” is lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion which was very popular based on what I saw those around me eating. The “Super Nova” contains lox, cream cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, and cucumber. You can also build your own. They proclaim, “You pick it, we make it!”
The lunch sandwiches include the Favorite, which is turkey, cheese, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion. The “chunky chick,” which is a chicken salad, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, which was my first choice, but they had already run out. The BLT, the Blazin’ Buffalo, which was a Buffalo chicken salad, the BLAT, which is bacon, avocado, lettuce, and tomato, the “wicked tuna,” or a crispy chicken BLT.
The cinnamon raisin bagel is served warm with a honey butter. The additional sweet matches the toasted bagel well, though it can be messy so it’s nice to have the sink nearby. While I’d enjoyed a blueberry BLT north of Houston on my last visit, I didn’t think the cinnamon raisin would translate as well and the staff agreed.
I ultimately chose the BLT on an egg bagel. They warmed the bacon and added it to a sliced tomato and fresh piece of iceberg lettuce. Served in aluminum foil, sliced in half, it was easy to eat and not too messy. The bagel was egg-y and chewy just the way I expected them when I still lived in New York.
With all the options available, it’s easy to think of many return visits.
565 W Fairbanks Avenue //+14076282333
James Beard nominated chefs James and Julie Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig make Winter Park, Florida their home with their second rendition of their restaurant, now in its 15th year, according to our server, Charles, with an expansion to the beer garden. It’s a long wait, even with reservations, and impossible to get a seat without them on the busy weekends. Great coverage from the rain can be found in the bar area during the rainy season.
Once seated, allergies are relayed, and Charles invited us to peruse the menu as a sampling is prepared for our enjoyment. As the inquisitive travel writer, I must ask what we’ll receive, but he wants it to be a surprise. On offer, cheese and charcuterie, s’mores French toast, pimento cheese fries, biscuits & gravy, wings, pork ribs, shrimp tacos and patatas bravas (an especially popular dish in this section of Florida.
As we consider the Gatherer or Arugula salad, and sandwiches from a chimichurri steak, country ham muffin, fried chicken cordon bleu, a pub burger or mahi sandwich with pickled slaw, we wonder if we’ll even have room to eat any more after whatever they have to share.
Brunch menus include shrimp & polenta, a crab cake benedict, and a butternut tagliatelle. Their chicken & waffles, Charles tells us, is a combination of layered flavors with waffles and guava and goat cheese with an espresso milk crumb. Everything here has just a bit of a twist.
Fair warning, if you don’t eat pork or cheese and have gluten issues, your options will be limited. The beef from the pub burger or the mahi without the bread became my only options.
Fortunately, my colleagues had no such issues and were able to share their impressions with me.
As we waited, I checked in with Charles who told me about the desserts available for lunch: apple fritters and chocolate chip cookies. There are other dessert options for dinner, but none are gluten-free.
Charles presents a long board of charcuterie that crosses the entire 5 seat round top table.
“Here we have Soppressata, Saville Road cheddar, Tete de Cochon and the lomo, the toscano and the camembert accompanied by a Spicy IPA mustard as well as date jam, lamash, and salted walnuts.”
It’s impressive, a wine and cheese connoisseur’s dream. Stacey, our wine expert, considered the extensive wine list (equal in size to the entire menu), and chose an Albarino, a medium bodied white wine. She asked Charles once she’d narrowed her options to two. While he agreed her other choice was an excellent wine, he preferred this one as “one of the best.”
She appropriately sniffed, swirled, and tested her wine, she took a proper taste and declared it “very excellent.”
As Paula and Stacey enjoyed the cheeses, “this cheese is amazing,” they found the jam a bit spicy, and the cheddar went quickly.
Shortly thereafter, the most incredible dish appeared, the s’mores French toast. A thick, dark, brioche served with maple syrup, burnished marshmallow, and a dark chocolate mousse looked incredible. They tell me the crust was even more delicious than the center, and it was impressive by the amount of food entirely that it couldn’t be finished. I could smell cinnamon from where I sat. “It’s really good!”
With the French toast came our final starter, their pimento cheese fries. Fried in the same oil as their breaded products, cross-contamination doesn’t allow for celiacs to consume it, but it smells heavenly. The cheese and sauteed green onions with pimento adds moisture to make these sweet fries taste “really good.”
Moving on to our actual lunch order, Stacey asks Charles for his opinion on her two choices, the arugula salad or shrimp & polenta. Charles laughs, “You’re asking the wrong guy to choose a salad.”
I asked Charles’ opinion on the beef patty versus the mahi, and he recommended the mahi. I couldn’t have the fries due to cross-contamination, but they offered a side salad. Their base lettuce, it turns out, is arugula.
Once our entrees arrived, I found the slaw crunchy and salty. The mahi was properly cooked and made a nice trio with avocado, slaw, and cucumber.
Stacey’s polenta and shrimp arrived with some fanfare. It’s a colorful dish and she relished the depths of flavor. She tells me there’s not as much texture as she traditionally expects. She wondered if it was cheese or cream or eggs, maybe even cream cheese. It remains a Ravenous Pig secret… and will keep us guessing. It can also lead to her experimenting more at home.
Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:
- 9 Must-Try Marco Island Restaurants
- 13 Fun Things To Do In San Marco Island
- The 9 Best Amelia Island Restaurants & 9 Fun Things To Do In Amelia Island
- 7 Best Kissimmee Restaurants
- 7 Must-Try Clearwater Florida Restaurants
- 7 Best Celebration FL Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Cape Coral Restaurants
- 9 Must-Try Madison FL Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Palm Beach Florida
- 13 Best Disney Springs Restaurants
- 9 Best Things To Do In Vero Beach Florida
Gail Clifford, MD, a physician for more than 25 years, has traveled to five continents and all 50 United States. An avid traveler, she happily goes on new adventures, especially on birthdays. Multi-generational travel remains a treasured pastime. She divides her time between Ireland and the U.S. You can find her on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.