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Florida Guide > Dining



I am delighted to recommend Applebees Neighbourhood Bar & Grill. The restaurants are not located in tourist areas but in local neighbourhoods used by local people. Each individual restaurant reflects its locality by displaying photographs and memorabilia of local history, heroes, schools, fire departments and police. Because the restaurant is catering for local people the prices are very reasonable and the food excellent.

Since we first found an Applebees when we were staying in Hudson on the Gulf Coast we made enquiries and found that they were part of a chain so we always check the internet to find one wherever we travel in the USA. We have dined at Applebees in Fort Lauderdale, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Toronto and several times in Florida. We have never been disappointed with our meals. The one we mainly use in Florida is in Winter Haven, but we have also used the one near the Lakeland Mall and Maitland. I list directions to the three restaurants at the end of this recommendation. If you are visiting Cypress Gardens you could dine at Applebees before returning home to Kissimmee.

The menu is pretty varied and the meals mouth-watering. For an appetizer we nearly always have the Appetizer Sampler between us. If you eat too much it will spoil your meal but if you have a hearty appetite some examples are: Honey BBQ Boneless Wings, Onion Peels, Nachos Nuevos, Soup and Tortilla Chicken Melt. There is an excellent choice of Entrees from Steak to Chicken, from Ribs to Fish, from Pasta to Salads and also from Burgers to Sandwiches.

I have two particular favourites, my first favourite is: Madeira Steak Tips which are pepper seasoned, seared and tossed in a Madeira Mushroom Sauce with red onions and peppers. My second without doubt is Applebees famous Riblets which are basted with your own choice of sauce (either their signature BBQ Sauce or their Honey BBQ Sauce, the riblets served with fries and barbequed beans and is a veritable feast.

For the weight conscious there is a Weight Watchers menu which is under license to Weight Watchers – you can choose a 3 course meal and the points are listed for each course. If you are happy to throw ‘caution to the wind’ then make sure you leave room for the wonderful desserts. We have tried most of the desserts on the menu and believe me they are well worth tasting.

If you are only a little hungry get one dessert between two and ask for two spoons. You will need to do this particularly with the Apple pie as it’s huge. My favourite dessert is the Apple Chimicheesecake which is absolutely gorgeous and a little bit lighter than the other desserts. Other examples are: Berry Lemon Cheesecake, Maple Butter Blondie and Triple Chocolate Meltdown. Applebees have an excellent selection of Drinks such as Margaritas, Martinis, Specialty drinks, Coffee Drinks, Wines, Beers, Soft Drinks and Non-Alcoholic drinks for Children. Many times at the Winter Haven restaurant they offer two drinks for one. The one thing I can say without doubt is that you will go back.

201 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Winter Haven

Tel No 863 294 7777

Directions from Kissimmee:

Take Highway 192 West up to the 27. Then go South on the 27 until you reach Highway 17:92. Go West on 17:92 until Winter Haven sign post. Then go South on the 17 until the road splits. Take left bend onto 540 which is Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Applebees is on the left through 2 sets of lights.

230 Arteva Drive, Lakeland

Tel 863 853 8400

Directions from Kissimmee:

Take I4 West (Tampa) until Exit 33. At this exit turn right into Lakeland Harbour Loop. Then turn right onto 582 (N Socrum Loop Road). Applebees on left.

298 Southall Lane, Maitland

Tel 407 838 3585

Directions from Kissimmee:

Take I4 East (Orlando) until exit 90B. Exit West at 90B, this takes a full loop under the I4. At traffic lights do not take right hand lanes because you will not be able to turn left at the next set of lights. Take the lane for straight ahead but turn right, then you are able to turn left at the next set of lights. This is Southall Lane and Applebees is 200 yards on the left.

Author: Norma Burke (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 3 December 2004
Viewed 7722 times since 1 September 2008.

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