Florida Guide > Dining
A friend of mine had just arrived from Scotland and was staying with us for two weeks. To keep him out of mischief, I gave him the computer to play with and brought up the Orlando Guide Dining page on VillasFlorida. com. After he had perused for twenty minutes or so, he asked me what my favourite restaurant was. Carrabbas? Tony Roma' s? Red Lobster? Golden Coral? I had been to and enjoyed my meals in all of them but I was amazed that my all time favourite, The Outback Steakhouse did not get a mention.
I' ve only ever eaten at one Outback, our local at Formosa Gardens off the 192 at Mile Marker 4 so I can' t promote the chain as the best but I can advise anybody who is anywhere near Formosa Gardens to make the effort to get to this one. It opens its' doors at four in the afternoon and it is almost a cast iron certainty to have customers entering within minutes or sitting at the tables outside when the weather is warm enough. This is more often than not but not guaranteed - the weather, I mean. I wouldn' t bet my shirt on it but it wouldn' t surprise me if, per square foot, this isn' t one of the busiest restaurants in the Kissimmee area. I would even put it up there with Manny' s Chophouse on the 27 at Haines City. Praise indeed.
I have been fortunate to dine at both locations on several occasions and find it almost impossible to pick a favourite but The Outback probably shades it due to its' proximity.
The Outback Steakhouse was formed in 1988, apparently inspired by the adventurous sprit of Australia with the sole intention of serving innovative and tasty meals at a reasonable price in pleasant surroundings. With an average size of 6, 000 square feet and seating for approximately two hundred, the business has evidently done something right for there are, just over twenty years later, almost one hundred Outback Steakhouses. . . . . in Florida! They are everywhere, including seven in Hawaii and even one in Alaska.
So, what are they doing right?
From the moment you walk through the doors there is a warmth in the premises with the walls decorated with authentic art and imagery depicting Australia' s heritage. A good size bar serves meals at it if you so desire and the booths are roomy and comfortable. As per the norm, the service is fast, efficient and friendly but it' s the food that turns a visit into an experience. In June 2009, it was voted the best steak in a survey of National Restaurant Chains and more recently, in August 2009, it was voted the Best Steakhouse by the Restaurants and Institutions Magazine. Not a bad achievement for a bunch of Aussies over a mere twenty years.
What of their menu? Their Bloomin' Onion is probably their most famous appetizer, cooked till golden brown and served with a spicy sauce. Far too much for one person, two or three can share. There are plenty of other delicious starters, soups and salads, but be careful not to pig out before your main meal of chicken, ribs, lamb chops or steaks, done to perfection. Sirloin, fillet, Rib-eye, New York Strip, porterhouse, tenderloin and prime rib - the choice is yours and you wont be disappointed. Combinations, burgers and sandwiches or salmon, tilapia, shrimp and lobster tail from the sea only add to the dilemma. What to have?
And to wash it all down?
A full bar serves cocktails, beers, wines and spirits. My husband is a simple soul and enjoys his beer, two of his favourites being Amberbock and Yuengling, both available on draught.
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