Manny's Original Chophouse (10.4 miles:- 17 mins)
We had this restaurant recommended to us by friends in the UK. Manny’s was always on our hit list to try out and after a busy day we decided to call in for a nice juicy steak. 6.00pm seemed a good time to ‘get there for an early dinner’ ….. well it was for us …and also for about 20-30 other people outside too!! The restaurant inside was already heaving. The smells were divine! We entered and asked the courteous staff what the chances were for a table ….. 'table available in about 90 minutes' …we looked at each other and decided to come back the next evening instead and take their advice which was to phone ahead and book. By booking ahead you generally still have to wait for your table when you get there, which is a testament to how popular Manny's is. However, the wait greatly reduced to about 30 minutes which was fine as we were able to enjoy a drink beforehand and take advantage of the happy hour. Their 'Happy Hour' 2 for 1 drinks does in fact stretch from 4.00 pm until 7.00 pm! Our barman delivered up my beer in a two pint glass that made us both laugh and we stood outside listening to the banter of the locals.
When called to our table (they give diners an electronic device which vibrates when their table is available) we were well looked after and had a brilliant meal of breads, salads and steaks. We can honestly say we were absolutely ‘pogged’ and the ‘people watching’ was second to none. It’s a brilliant place for couples and families alike. Children are given crayons to decorate the table cloth!
Our suggestions for visiting are:
(1) Phone ahead to be put on the list for a table reservation. You’ll still have to wait for a while but probably about half the length of time you would have to wait if you just turn up without phoning in advance.
(2) The salads and rolls are delicious …be careful not to fill up on them!
Chef John's ( 15.4 miles ; 23 minutes)
We had our first meal at Chef John's Place last night after seeing on Trip Adviser that it is rated as one of the best restaurants in Kissimmee so we were keen to try it for ourselves. We were definitely not disappointed!
On arrival, from the outside the restaurant did not look anything special and is typical of so many restaurants in the Orlando area being situated on a retail outlet. However when we stepped inside we were very pleasantly surprised as the restaurant was quite small with a friendly ambience and unusually for restaurants here there was no music playing in the background which actually made a nice change.
The restaurant is a Southern-American seafood eatery of a surf 'n' turf nature, large side dishes plus weekly jazz on the patio although there was no jazz when we were here on a Friday night.
There were so many things that we would happily have chosen off the menu as everything sounded lovely but finally I chose a cup of chicken soup for starter and Richard went for the fried okra. Both were really good. I have learned from experience to have a cup of soup rather than the bowl option as it is easy to be filled up just on the soup!
For our main courses I chose the 2 meat combo which came with corn bread and the choice of two sides. I had a 1/4 smoked chicken, three pork ribs and my sides were mac and cheese and coleslaw. A BBQ sauce was served with the meal. Richard went for Mahi Mahi, which was a delicious Cajun style fish meal served elegantly with rice and asparagus. Both meals were excellent to the point that Richard announced it was the nicest meal he has had in America so far! The bottle of white wine too was the best we have had with a meal in Florida (Sauvignon Blanc Brancott, $26). We finished with a fried peach pie, whipped cream and ice cream which we shared between us. All in all a really wonderful meal and the service was excellent too and we will definitely return to Chef John's Place. Total cost for two of us was $78.92 plus a tip.
We would highly recommend booking in advance as they were turning people away.
Address: 3753 Pleasant Hill Rd, Kissimmee, FL 34746
International Drive (22.9 miles: 28 minutes)
International Drive (or I-Drive) has an abundance of places to choose from to dine out. This link is worth a read though as it showcases 5 restaurants (one being MacDonalds!). Some of them sound a lot of fun though in terms of the entertainment and the food sounds good too. Not eaten at any of these yet ourselves but could also check out their reviews on Tripadviser if you are interested.
Longhorn Steak House (15.9 miles: 21 minutes)
There are numerous outlets of Longhorn Steak House in and around Orlando, although we have so far only eaten at the one based on 5351 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746, as it is the nearest one to our villa being just 21 minutes drive away.
It is located on the edge of a large retail park which is also the location of a TJ Max so we tend to “walk off” our meal with a browse round TJ Max afterwards and look for some great bargains!
We have eaten here 3 times now over the past year. Once as just a couple and twice with my elderly parents and our grown up sons. Each time we have had to sit and wait for a table for around 15 minutes or so. However, you can get a drink and sit at the bar and the food and experience make the wait worthwhile.
The service, ambience and decor are all very good and the food across a range of different choices is excellent. It is of course a steak house and choosing one of their steaks will certainly leave you very happy with your selection as they are cooked to perfection. The menu does offer a wide range of dishes though, not just steak, and from what we have seen and tried, they have all been very good.
5351 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL, 34746
Portofino Bay Hotel (34 miles: 47 minutes)
Portofino Bay Hotel near to Universal Studios was recommended to us by a local as a nice place to go for a meal in the evening as it is really quite a unique place. When you arrive at the hotel parking is in a large multi storey car park but if you buy any food at one of the hotel’s restaurants they will validate your car parking ticket so that it is free to exit.
When you get to the entrance of the hotel you walk down some steps and find yourself in a large Italian piazza overlooking a lake. Various restaurants and bars surround the piazza. On the evening that we were there which was in May 2016 it was surprisingly very quiet especially bearing in mind that it is a popular hotel for people to stay who want to go to Universal Studios and a small ferry for hotel guests runs from a jetty on the lake to the theme park . It is a lovely place to sit out in the square and enjoy a drink especially as each evening there is free entertainment in the form of a couple of opera singers who come out onto a balcony of the hotel and give a 20 minute or so performance to the audience in the piazza. The time may vary slightly when the do this but when we were there they came out and performed at 8.30pm.
Afterwards we had dinner in the Italian restaurant called Mama Della’s Ristorante (see link above). It was busy despite the area being quiet so we were glad we reserved a table an hour before we wanted to eat. The meal was nice but in my personal opinion nothing special and more expensive and not as good a somewhere like the chain restaurant Olive Garden. However Mama Della’s is not a chain which makes a nice change and the location was very nice.
We will definitely return to Portofino Bay Hotel in the future to spend an evening there again but next time we will try the Thirsty Fish Restaurant which is next to the edge of the lake and was in fact where we had been given the recommendation to eat but we went for the Italian option instead on this occasion.
We would recommend an evening here as it is just so different to other venues and in the evening when it gets dark it is very pretty with the lights reflecting off the lake
Ovation Bistro and Bar (10.5 miles:- 17 minutes)
Not yet visited Ovation Bistro and Bar ourselves but will be doing so next time we are over in the villa. The reviews on Trip Adviser are excellent with glowing reports for both the food (which is made there from scratch) and the service. type of food is BBQ, ribs and chicken as well as serving cocktails. It is currently, as at 2nd December 2016 rated on Trip Adviser as number 1 out of 93 restaurants in Davenport.Wednesday Night is Wine Night when they offer $10 off any bottle of premium wine.
Would suggest booking ahead for a table. Tel: +1 863-354-6967
Monday- Thursday 11 am - 10 pm
Friday - Saturday 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday- 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ponderosa Steak House (10.4 miles: 18 minutes)
We went to Ponderosa Steak House for the first time this week after chatting to a man recently who had been there in the evening with his family for steak and salads and he told us how pleasantly suprised they had been by both the quality and price as well as the food being very fresh and healthy.
We decided to try their breakfast as Tripadvisor reviews said it is very good for breakfast. We thought it was very good value in terms of quality and quantity of food. It is a buffet from which you can eat as much as you want and it ranges from fruit, yogurt, cereals, cooked breakfast and then waffles and pancakes.
I had an omlette which is cooked in front of you and tailor made to what you want inside it. It was very nice. Afterwards I tried a waffle and a pancake with maple syrup. Richard had grapefruit followed by a full cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages, beans and hash browns. We also had two cups of coffee.
Service was good and the total bill was around $20.