Archive | January, 2011

Just In Time for Valentine’s Day (Guys: Take Note!)

27 Jan

OpenTable Inc. has compiled its new list of Diner’s Choice Awards for Most Romantic Restaurants. There are 50 restaurants that make the cut, from a wide variety of states. The list is being published well ahead of Valentine’s day, so you’ll have plenty of time to scope out one near you and give it a try!

Tell us what you think of OpenTable’s list, and let us know if there are other restaurants you’d like to add. Locals know best!

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OpenTable Diners Reveal the Most Romantic Restaurants in the U.S.

OpenTable Diners Reveal the Most Romantic Restaurants in the U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO  (RestaurantNews.com)  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, OpenTable, Inc. (Nasdaq:OPEN), a leading provider of free online restaurant reservations for diners and guest management solutions for restaurants, today announced the 50 winners of its Diners’ Choice Awards for Most Romantic Restaurants. The list of winners is derived from more than seven million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

French and Italian cuisines are normally closely associated with romance, but in this year’s most romantic list home is where the heart is. American cuisine steals the show with 14 restaurants serving domestic fare around the nation earning high marks in the romantic category. Like last year, chocolate and cheese continue to please couples, with 12 fondue restaurants making the list.

From a regional standpoint, California restaurants cornered the market on romance with 10 restaurants earning top spots. Also noteworthy, New York came in second with four wins and Virginia proves it’s still for lovers with three wins, a distinction shared by Indiana and Ohio.

“There’s no single recipe for romance when you’re dining out,” said Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer. “This year’s results jettison the myths that only certain cuisines – or cities – can be perceived as romantic. Of course, the fact that fondue continues to melt hearts shouldn’t be shocking as sharing adds an element of fun and flirtation to any food!”

Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between January 2010 and December 2010, the following 50 restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, received the highest scores from OpenTable diners. For more information about this list, please visit http://www.opentable.com/romantic.

Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, CA
Alizé at the Top of the Palms Casino Resort- Las Vegas, NV
Bistro Romano – Philadelphia, PA
Boulevard Steakhouse – Oklahoma City, OK
Briarhurst Manor – Manitou Springs, CO
Café Renaissance – Vienna, VA
Capische, Maui, HI
The Cellar – Fullerton, CA
Chez Loma – Coronado, CA
Chez Shea – Seattle, WA
Cite – Chicago, IL
Different Pointe of View – Scottsdale, AZ
Eagle’s Nest: Hyatt Regency Indianapolis – Indianapolis, IN
Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, NV
Erminia Ristorante- New York, NY
The French Room – Dallas, TX
Geja’s Café – Chicago, IL
The Hungry I – Boston, MA
Il Bistro – Seattle, WA
Il Cielo – Beverly Hills, CA
La Caille Restaurant – Salt Lake City, UT
Latitudes Beach Café – Key West, FL
The Little Door – Los Angeles, CA
Log Haven – Salt Lake City, UT
Madrona Manor – Healdsburg, CA
Michel’s at the Colony Surf – Honolulu, HI
The Melting Pot: Castleton – Indianapolis, IN
The Melting Pot – Cincinnati, OH
The Melting Pot – Dayton, OH
The Melting Pot: Greenwood – Indianapolis, IN
The Melting Pot – Kennesaw, GA
The Melting Pot: Midtown Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
The Melting Pot – Myrtle Beach, SC
The Melting Pot – Newport News, VA
The Melting Pot – Richmond, VA
The Melting Pot – Virginia Beach, VA
Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant – Colorado Springs, CO
One if by Land, Two if by Sea – New York, NY
Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, OH
Plume at the Jefferson Hotel – Washington, D.C.
Red Square, Atlantic City, NJ
Ristorante Massimo – Boston, MA
Shadowbrook Restaurant Capitola – Capitola, CA
Sir Winston’s Aboard The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA
The Sky Room – Long Beach, CA
Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch – Santa Barbara, CA
Tredici Steak – New York, NY
Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse – Albuquerque, NM
White Barn Inn – Kennebunkport, ME
Zenkichi – Brooklyn, NY

For diners preparing to make reservations for Valentine’s Day, OpenTable.com provides Diner’s Choice Top Ten Most Romantic Restaurants lists for each metro region and access to specials and menu details for February 14.  For more information, please visit www.opentable.com/valentines. Diners can also find additional information on the Diners’ Choice Most Romantic Restaurants Awards by visiting Potter’s “Dining Check” blog on OpenTable at http://blog.opentable.com/.

About OpenTable, Inc.

OpenTable is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants. The OpenTable network delivers the convenience of online restaurant reservations to diners and the operational benefits of a computerized reservation book to restaurants. OpenTable has more than 15,000 restaurant customers, and, since its inception in 1998, has seated more than 175 million diners around the world. The Company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and the OpenTable service is available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. OpenTable also owns and operates toptable.com, a leading restaurant reservation site in the United Kingdom.

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Top 20 Restaurants in Orlando

20 Jan

Here is one rating and review site’s “top 2o” restaurant picks for Orando, FL.

Locals: Is this list a good representation? What would you add or take off the list? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

Top 20 Best Restaurants in Orlando

From Orlandoescape.com

  • CRAVE offers fresh and innovative cuisine with an impeccable wine selection brought to life in a chic, casual atmosphere. The diverse menu features a variety of items ranging from a full sushi bar to Certified Angus Beef steaks. It also includes fresh seafood, roasted meats, fire baked pizzas, pastas and salads. Join us for our daily Happy Hour Special ranging from $3.00 – $5.00 on selected food and drink items. Also join us every Sunday morning for an All You Can Eat Brunch for just $15.95 or evenings for an All You Can Eat Prime Rib and Crab Legs for just $29.95. CRAVE offers two private dining rooms which are available for private parties, corporate meetings and other celebrations. Phone: 407-345-8788.
  • TChoup Chop Restaurant by Emeril Lagasse – Kick up your weekend at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop with a new three-course Sunday Brunch menu served from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm.  The prix-fixe menu price is determined by the guest’s entrée selection  ($22.00 – $28.00). Choose from a wide selection of delicious items such as Crispy “Quiche” Eggrolls, House Made Granola and Vanilla Yogurt, or Wasabi Cured Gravlox.   For the main course dishes include the Brioche French Toast with fresh berries and passion fruit coulis, an Asian twist on Eggs Benedict, plus a Hawaiian island favorite “Loko Moko”.  Also featuring is a selection of signature soups and salads.   Reservations recommended:  Phone:  407-503-2467
  • Waldorf Astoria Restaurants – Enjoy an exceptional dining experience at one of seven premium dining options at Orlando’s Waldorf Astoria Resort. Dine at the renowned Bull & Bear Steakhouse offering signature Prime steaks and seafood.  Savor delicious appetizers, wines, and micro-brewery beers at Oscar’s. Grab a quick bite at Peacock Alley, featuring an irresistible menu of small-plates and cocktails or visit The Clubhouse Grille offering refreshing drinks and traditional clubhouse dining. Other great dining options include Sir Harry’s Lounge and Aquamarine. For dining information call: 407.597.5500.
  • Hilton Bonnet Creek Restaurants – Treat yourself to succulent dishes and delicious desserts expertly prepared in our exceptional restaurants near Walt Disney World.  Dine at La Luce, exquisite Italian restaurant serving thin crust pizzas, family-style pastas and Mediterranean-inspired drinks.  Experience Harvest Bistro, (Kids Eat Free) featuring simply prepared American classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Enjoy the open-air, Latin-influenced Beech Restaurant with upbeat atmosphere and free-flowing mojitos or just grab a drink at Zeta Bar.  Other great restaurants at the Hilton include: Sena Bar and Muse.  For more information call: Phone: 407-597-3600
  • Benihana Chef’s Special: Experience Japanese Hibachi Cuisine at it’s best!  Special of the month: Hibachi Shrimp & Chicken For Two Only $36.00 Now through January 31st. 12690 International Dr S, Orlando, FL
  • Capital Grille – Serving an impressive menu of nationally renowned dry aged steaks and outstanding selection of seafood.  Featuring an award-winning wine list of more than 5,000 bottles that will awaken your inner sommelier. Gracious and knowledgeable servers will delight you with their uncanny ability to anticipate your every need.  The American Culinary Federation recently honored them with the “Achievement of Excellence Award.”
    Phone: (407) 370-4392
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Authentic Italian Restaurant in Orlando featuring outstanding Italian recipes of more than four generations. As a starter we recommend their exquisite shrimp scampi sautéed with garlic, white wine, herbs and lemon butter, served with garlic toast for dipping, as a main course enjoy their exquisite Chicken Marsala made with the world class Lombardo Marsala wine imported from Sicily… a must have! And to finalize your dinner enjoy the “Little kisses,” small, guilt-free versions of our favorite desserts, made fresh daily. Featuring 6 unique varieties.
  • Vines Grille & Wine Bar – Our motto speak for itself * Passion for Food * Obsession with Wine * Love for Music. Come and enjoy exquisite dining in an intimate and chic atmosphere. Featuring the very best ingredients from around the world. Offering dry-aged Prime Beef, American and Japanese Kobe, wild caught fresh fish and outstanding seafood. Located in the heart of Orlando’s “Restaurant Row,” (Sand Lake Road) just a few minutes from the Convention Center and major hotels. Phone: 407-351-1227.
  • Jack’s Place Restaurant – Featuring an outstanding gourmet menu of prime steaks, fresh seafood and a wide selection of appetizers, and desserts in a whimsical atmosphere featuring the world’s largest collection of autographed star caricatures.  Conveniently located on International Drive in Orlando Florida.  Phone: 407-996-1787.
  • Oceanaire Restaurant – Sample the best seafood flown daily from around the world at this Orlando restaurant. Appetizers include a luscious selection of caviar, shrimps an ever-changing selection of fresh Atlantic and Pacific Coast Oysters. Specialties vary by season providing you with a great variety of choices.  The Oceanaire is not only the perfect place for a relaxing or romantic meal, but also has quiet and comfortable private dining facilities for event dining and special functions.  For reservations call 407- 363-4801
  • Bergamo’s – Bergamo’s Italian Restaurant provides the best of Central Florida fine dining in an elegant and exotic atmosphere.  Enjoy Broadway show-tunes, classical opera, authentic Neapolitan folk songs and more—these are not your typical singing waiters.  One of Orlando’s best restaurants on International Drive. Phone: 407-352-3805.
  • Napasorn Thai Restaurant and Saké Bar – Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine in a fun and friendly atmosphere.  Serving a great selection of Thai dishes, Japanese Sushi, and an assortment of imported Asian Beers.  Located in heart of Downtown Orlando’s Entertainment District is a great place to kick back, enjoy some drinks and meet new friends. Phone: 407-245-8088
  • Sora – Serving traditional sushi selections such as Nigiri, Maki and Sashimi, Sora offers the customized Omakase platter, a multi-course tasting inspired by each day’s arrivals. There are a variety of specialty rolls to choose from and a selection of Bao Bun Sandwiches on the lunch menu. The lunch menu is available 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and dinner is served 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Bar hours are 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. Menus are subject to change. Phone: 407-586-1190.
  • Banshoo Sushi Bar – Offering an inventive selection of specialty sushi rolls, fresh sashimi and inventive signature seafood dishes as well as distinct cocktails, wines and sake.  Banshoo is fueled by the masterful culinary skills of 20-year sushi expert, Chef Tadayoshi “Yoshi” Kohazame.  Located at the Rosen Centre Hotel.  Phone: 407.996.9840
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp at Universal Orlando – Guests looking to enjoy a fun, family atmosphere with a great tasting menu, based on the blockbuster film “Forrest Gump,” Loacated in Universal CityWalk. Phone: 407-903-0044
  • Seasons 52 – Come enjoy the pleasures of outstanding food expertly prepared, great wines and the company of good friends at Season’s 52 Restaurant featuring highly flavored meals according to each season. Our meals offer exceptional taste with fewer calories than other restaurants in Orlando. To complete your meal we offer and outstanding wine list of more than 100 wines, with 60 available by the glass. Located in Plaza Venezia – Sand Lake Road.  Phone:407-354-5212.
  • Wolfgang Puck Grand Café in Orlando – This comfortable, relaxed setting is perfect for a casual meal, business meeting or family dining. This restaurant features selections inspired by many of Wolfgang’s classic dishes along with contemporary offerings and seasonal specials. Highlights include fresh-made soups, hand-crafted sandwiches, fish, salad and signature pizza prepared with the finest, freshest ingredients. Also features an outstanding Sushi Bar for all Sushi lovers.  Located in Downtown Disney at West Side.  Tel.407.948.9653
  • Amura’s – Featuring “Hi-Definition” sushi, fresh seafood and outstanding steaks. At Amura’s you will be absolutely impressed not only for their signature dishes but also for their excellent service. Offering an extensive wine list to compliment your dining experience. Voted #1 Sushi in Orlando 4 years in a row. Located in Sand Lake Road. Ph: 407-370-0007
  • Rainforest Cafe – It’s a Jungle in Here! Dine in the most realistic indoor rain forest ever created. Complete your journey in our Retail Village which is overflowing with souvenirs of your adventure. Two great locations Downtown Disney / Marketplace and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park: Phone: (07)827-8500 | Animal Kingdom: (407)938-9100
  • Roy’s Restaurant in Orlando – Nowhere else will you find a culinary experience quite like the flavors, textures and colors found in Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. Combining the freshest local ingredients with European sauces and bold Asian spices, each creation leaves you with the feeling that you’ve just found paradise. Established by the well recognized chef Roy Yamaguchi. Located in 7760 Sand Lake Road * Phone: 407-352-4844 – Reviewed by Tasters Guild Orlando.
  • Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar – Orlando’s Best Latin Restaurant. Enjoy exotic, flavorful and tantalizing Cuban American cuisine in a casual atmosphere. The moment you enter this Cuban hacienda, you will fill the Latin warmth, flavor and splendor of Old Havana, Cuba of the 1940s. On Saturday nights, enjoy excellent entertainment with Cuban percussionists, singers & salsa dancers. Located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive. Phone: 407.226.1600

Calling All Dining Enthusiasts!

17 Jan

Dear fellow foodies and local dining enthusiasts:

We know you all have favorite local dining spots, and we just have to know what they are! As DineLocal continues to grow in many different states, we are excited to learn about all the local neighborhood places you frequent so we can share your top ‘eats’ with everyone else. No one knows the dining scene better than a native, and that’s where you come in:
The next time you order dinner from a favorite restaurant, enjoy sipping cocktails at a bar that holds a special place in your heart, or splurge on a delicious dessert from a pastry place you’ve come to know and love: grab some photos of the surroundings and your food or drinks, write up a short review (a few menu recommendations always appreciated!), and email everything to us: dinelocalusa01@gmail.com.

Don’t be shy – you don’t have to be a professional writer (we will spellcheck and grammar-check all entries, and leave everything else as-is) and we welcome reviews from all local dining spots.

And remember, if you don’t feel comfortable writing your own review, you’re still invited! Be sure to check back at our blog to comment on other reviews as they come in!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The DineLocal-USA Team

Eddie Eats Out – And So Can You.

12 Jan
Hello, readers!
Today we’ve chosen a selection of reviews from a charming website called Eddie Eats Out“The only Restaurant Review Site for Dogs.” The writer of the blog takes her dog with her to local New York City restaurants, grabs pics with the staff, and writes reviews about the food and environment. We love the tone and humor, and we’ve posted a selection of reviews below – been to any of these places? We’d love to hear about your experience!
Bonus tip: If you haven’t tried something creative for your restaurant, and are planning ahead for the warmer months, consider a program similar to the one this writer recently sponsored on her Facebook page, called “Dog Restaurant Week.” Take a look at the posts and pics – it really got a ton of different communities involved, and even received coverage from the Huffington Post! Pets are a great way to encourage business, and with social media so accessible, advertising and networking is easier than ever. Eddie Eats Out also has a twitter account set up for the site and used a #hashtag -#drw2010 – to get everyone organized during the Dog Restaurant Week event. A good example of creative thinking, catering to what interests your customers, and making it happen using social media.
Enjoy the reviews!
-The DineLocal-USA Team

Dog friendly restaurant
Sophie’s
New York, NY
509 E 5th St
212-228-5680
Service
Water Bowl
Food
Overall

I got to go inside because it was chilly out. This bar kind of a dive, but the bartender was great and a dog lover. The service was fast and the drinks were cheap. The bartender gave me a chicken strip doggy treat and a real water bowl! As a dog, I got served before my human friends, which is the way it should be. I also got lots of pets from the staff. My mommy said that the bathrooms were nice and clean despite the fact that the bar was a little dirty.

B Side
New York, NY
204 Ave B
(212) 475-4600
Service
Water Bowl
Food
Overall

This is a little dive-ish but not too dirty. It is a sports bar with TVs to watch the game. I was allowed inside the bar, as there is no kitchen.

Customers are allowed to bring in outside food (we brought in pizza). I loved the atmosphere here because I got lots of attention! As the only dog at the bar, people were taking turns spending time with me and giving me tidbits of food… (I got French fries and a bite of a burger. YUM) I made lots of new human friends at B Side and I can’t wait to go again!!

La Bottega – The Maritime Hotel
New York, NY
88 9th Avenue
(212) 243 8400
Service
Water Bowl
Food
Overall

Mommy and I went to La Bottega, which is the Italian restaurant at the Maritime Hotel. There is lots of outdoor seating, some of which is covered, so it’s great for a hot day when you don’t want to sit in the sun! On that day, it was really hot out, so we got drinks first. I got a ceramic yellow water bowl…. and they even put ice in it! Mommy had a cocktail, and she said it was really good.

The waiter came over several times to check on how I was doing. I was having a great time because I got to meet lots of other dogs. We finally decided to order a Margherita pizza. It was so yummy! I kept begging for more

Regional Thai
New York, NY
208 7th Ave
(212)-807-9872
Service
Water Bowl
Food
Overall

The other day we went for Thai food in Chelsea. We ate outside, and the waiter immediately gave me a bowl of water in a take-out plastic container. They even put ice in it. The guy at the table next to me let me have some of his calamari…. I had never had calamari before, but I loved it.

My sister had Regional Thai Ginger Chicken…. She thought it was great, but a little spicy for me.

Overall I really had fun at this restaurant, and was glad I was able to try some new food.