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Florida Guide > Dining

Eating Out In Florida

There's so much choice and variety, it's difficult to know where to start! If you've not been to Florida before, you probably think food in the USA is all about burgers, fries and milkshakes but it's a whole lot more than just that.

The portions are usually much bigger and, if you find you can't eat it all, just ask for a container to take it home!

You might find that your biggest problem whilst in Florida is trying to decide which restaurant to visit as there is such a variety and many, many styles of dining!

Of course, half the fun of your holiday (vacation) is trying new things for yourself. If you found somewhere GREAT, let us know on the Orlandovillas.com forum (we like eating out too)!

You'll find all the places mentioned here on Highway 192 apart from those with their locations provided separately after their names.

FAST FOOD

If you want something quick, then you'll find all your favourites, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, etc and some more unusual ones like Wendys, Subway, Popeyes, Steak 'n' Shake, etc.

If you're used to ordering a McDonalds meal, you'll find they're usually called combos in USA and most fast food outlets have a different way of working to the way you might be used to in the UK. Instead of choosing your food, paying and having the same person serve it to you, you'll find that you might be asked to choose and pay for your food and go to another collection point for your food collection. You may also be given a container for your drink and need to use the help yourself facility for ice and your drink (you can have as many refills as you wish). Take away is usually called carry out.

FAMILY EATING

For evening meals, there's a whole heap of choice, but you'll find that the following family restaurants have a fairly varied menu, provide kids' and seniors' meals and good value for money. Try the Perkins, Denny's and Shoneys chains. Oh, and don't forget to try their deserts, if you've still got room!

BUFFET EATING

There are lots of 'all you care to eat' buffet style restaurants. Eat as much as you like of anything you like but you normally pay an additional charge for your beverages (drinks). These restaurants usually have a pay on entry system and you'll be asked to choose your drinks at that time. Refills of coffee, tea or fizzy drinks are usually free but you will probably have to pay for a refill of orange juice, beer, etc. Buffet restaurants include:

  • Shoneys (breakfast and have a named food theme for most nights of the week)
  • Ponderosa (for buffet breakfast plus lunch or dinner steak, chicken, etc)
  • Sizzler (breakfast plus lunch or dinner steak, chicken, etc)
  • Las Vegas (breakfast plus lunch or dinner English - includes roasts - or Chinese dishes)
  • Iron Chef (lunch or dinner Chinese dishes)

STEAK SPECIALISTS

You'll find lots of these, some with a confusing array of different steaks in their selection. You'll normally be quoted an uncooked weight for a steak so that you can judge how large it will be and whether it will fit in with your appetite! Watch out, though, as some places have steaks which go up to a whopping 72 ozs! Try some of the more popular restaurants like Black Angus, Cattlemans or Longhorn Steak House. Ponderosa and Sizzler also do steaks.

FISH

Fancy a change? There are some great seafood restaurants around with fresh fish available. Try specialists such as Red Lobster, Crabby Bill's or Pounders (Central Avenue, Kissimmee). You'll also find at least one fish dish available in most family restaurants.

SNACK ATTACK

If you or the kids fancy a snack, you'll find a whole mass of places just waiting for you! Try:

  • IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
  • Dunkin' Donuts (try the bagels with cream cheese and salmon and a coolatta!)
  • Krispy Kreme (also donuts - you can watch them being made!)
  • Key West at Sea World (for some unusual snacks if you're visiting there)
  • Barnes and Noble bookstore (opposite the entrance to Florida Mall on Orange Blossom Trail) where you can get great snacks and browse the bookstore

You'll also find a café or restaurant in most of the large superstores such as Wal-Mart (McDonalds), Target, K-Mart, etc as well as customer toilet facilities if you have an emergency.

TREATS

For some amazing ice cream treats or deserts, try:

  • Dairy Queen (also serves burgers and fries but don't pass up their ice cream extravaganzas!)
  • Friendlys (family restaurant but with great ice cream treats and ice cream celebration cakes)
  • IHOP (International House of Pancakes)

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

There are some USA foods that you should also give a try:

  • grits (try it for a change from fries)
  • biscuits (similar to savoury scones, sometimes served warm with gravy)
  • pancakes (not quite like the UK ones)
  • French toast (definitely not toast!)
  • waffles
  • meatloaf
  • mashed potato (quite unlike any mash you get in the UK)
  • frozen yoghurt

Always give these at least one try - you never know, you might like it! Note that a jacket potato is called a baked potato in USA and you're unlikely to find roast potatoes.

IF YOU'RE ON A DIET

You'll find that if you're on a diet (low sugar, low fat, etc) or vegetarian and read the menus properly as you'll discover that most restaurants have salad or vegetarian options, low sugar and fat deserts and pies, etc. If you're not sure what is right for you to order, ask your server!

THEME PARK EATING

There are a wealth of eating places in all the main theme parks as well as specialist dining and entertainment areas in the evenings. Prices in general tend to be slightly higher in the parks than dining outside but can provide an unforgettable experience such as the character dining opportunities. Don't forget you can also dine in some of the hotels! Note that you need to book character dining in advance and also in some of the park hotels.

NATIONALITY DINING

There's every nationality you can think of represented with at least one restaurant so if you can't live without Italian, Indian, Chinese, etc food, you're bound to find somewhere to eat which serves it!

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 20 July 2004
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