Florida Guide > Dining
I always think buffet restaurants offer great value for money especially when you are travelling with young children who are faddy eaters. Unfortunately they don’t always offer particularly good quality food or much in the way of variety. One of the exceptions is a buffet Restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes which can be found on the corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road.
We first discovered this restaurant when we were holidaying with our then teenage daughter who was vegetarian. We had become used to having to trawl menus for the odd vegetarian offering which was usually some form of pasta in a sauce but now she had also discovered that she had a wheat and dairy intolerance which made her usual choices unsuitable. We decided to give Sweet Tomatoes a try after a day’s shopping at the then Beltz Mall (now the Prime outlets) despite the reservations of the men in our party who only eat salad under duress. But even they were pleasantly surprised.
When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a huge salad bar. First there are a selection of tossed salads of various kinds (some of these do contain meat but they are clearly labelled), amongst our favourites are the blue cheese pear and walnut, the chicken wanton with sesame dressing and the Caesar with parmesan shavings. Then there is a huge selection of just about every ingredient you have ever thought to include in a salad and some you probably never even considered. There is also a wide selection of salad dressings and topping such as toasted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, grated cheese, sliced olives etc. You can pile your plate as high as you want or even take two if you wish nobody is going to complain. You then order your drinks, they have the usual soda, tea and coffee which all come with free refills or you can choose from a selection of bottled soft drinks. They usually have a choice of several types of coffee, all for the same price, including some lovely speciality coffees our favourite being the French Vanilla. You then collect your cutlery and pay but don’t think you’ve finished there.
Once you have found a table you can go and take your pick from the bakery area where you will find a good selection of homemade soups, usually 3 or 4 varieties, chilli, freshly cooked pasta in varying sauces, freshly baked pizza slices and garlic bread slices. They also have baked sweet and regular potatoes, home made corn bread, various muffins, freshly baked cookies and hot desserts along with an ice cream bar with all the toppings and a fresh fruit counter. A different times of the year they do have limited edition special menu items such as the strawberry and spinach tossed salad in May or the chicken pot pie soup and the cherry cobbler dessert in the autumn but they always have a good selection to keep most people happy. You can make as many visits to the buffet as you wish and there are cards on the table that you can leave to let the waiting staff know that you will be back or that you have finished and they can clear the table. The staff are constantly removing plates and dishes as you have finished with them so you don’t have to worry that you will be eating amongst dirty plates.
While Sweet Tomatoes does not offer fine dining it certainly offers a good selection of well prepared fresh ingredients at a very reasonable price and I’ll defy anyone to leave hungry.
Author: Steve and Julie Roach (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here
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Page added on: 25 October 2006
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