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Showing posts with label Calamari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calamari. Show all posts

Cork & Fork American Grill

5180 S Conway Rd.
Orlando, FL 32812
(407) 250-6763
View Website Here


Over the past few years, Orlando has been been going through a restaurant renaissance of sorts, with no signs of slowing down. As a food blogger, it is both exciting and exhausting at the same time to try and keep up with all of the change. While many of the new restaurants are helmed by celebrity chefs or feature high end cuisine and decor that cater to an upscale clientele, it is very refreshing to see the opening of a more mom and pop type of restaurant.

From local farms to local forks, Central Florida has another new restaurant by the name of Cork & Fork American Grill that is open in the Belle Isle community of southeastern Orange County.

Just because the term mom and pop is used, don't let that fool you into thinking that Cork & Fork is a basic plane jane affair. The restaurant is billing itself as a “Freshtaurant” that features delicious American fare made with farm fresh ingredients and seasonal dishes in a one of a kind casual, homey and relaxed atmosphere with great cocktails, craft beers and local wines.


Cork & Fork’s menu was crafted by Chef Simon Bond and features a wide variety of options from garden fresh salads, soups and appetizing entree selections. Drunken scallops, pork tenderloin, chicken Parmesan and fresh salmon are just a few of the entrees featured. Delectable desserts like the brownie meltdown, vanilla bread pudding and a classic Florida favorite, key lime pie with A cookie crust round out your dessert options.


Putting aside the fork, the menu also features a plethora of handheld savory sandwiches, burgers and wraps made with local ingredients and a smaller “Bites menu” that includes house made ale battered onion rings, spinach and artichoke dip and they even make ketchup in house. By staying true to farm fresh, Cork & Fork allows diners to enjoy a different taste, healthier options and varying daily specials all at family friendly pricing.


Of course a round of cocktails was in order to get the evening started. The “French 65” pictured on the left features triple sec and angostura bitters over ice topped with orange juice and Champagne. The drink on the right is a Strawberry Mojito made with Shellback silver rum. 

The house made Spinach and Artichoke Dip is served warm with pita chips and has water chestnuts added to it for a unique texture and crunch. This stuff was pretty addictive. 

Crispy Calamari is fried crispy with a bit of spice and tossed with cherry peppers and jalapenos. the calamari was good on its own, but the citrus chili dipping sauce was a great addition.

The Ale Battered Onion Rings are house made, hand cut and served with a very delicious creamy lager fondue. Fried Zucchini sticks were pretty exceptional as well with a garlic yogurt dill sauce.

This is hands down one of the best Moscow Mules I have ever had. Even if you are not a big fan of this drink...give it a try at Cork & Fork. New Amsterdam vodka, fresh squeezed lime, simple syrup shaken together and poured over ice and topped with ginger beer will have you coming back for more.

There are plenty of places to get a good burger in Orlando, but sadly most places rely on the toppings for flavor and don't season the ground beef properly. The Cork & Fork Burger with additional bacon and cheese was seasoned to perfection and served on a buttered bun and needed no condiments at all. The beef used here is sourced from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

I love Fish and Chips. That may sound simple and basic, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to find it done properly. The cod is brought in fresh everyday and never frozen at Cork & Fork, and this makes for some of the most flakiest and delicious fish and chips that I have had in quite some time. I usually like to soak my fish in malt vinegar, but that would have been an injustice to this delicious fish.

Steak & Fries consists of local, best available steak prepared your way with French fries, house made ketchup and veggie of the day. This was cooked very well and the fries were crispy as well. Now if I had a brown gravy sauce to go with those fries….

Cauliflower Steak is a great vegetarian option with pan seared cauliflower in garlic, thyme, browned butter and sautéed spinach and shallots served with veggie of the day.

The Chocolate Lava Cake with chocolate ganache and vanilla bean ice cream was just plain stupid good.

This Vanilla Bread Pudding with Hennessy cream sauce will have your taste buds spinning. Even if you are not the biggest bread pudding fan, give the one at Cork & Fork a try, you won't regret it. I had some left over and heated it up the next day for an awesome breakfast snack.

With over 30 years of hospitality experience, Cork & Fork Owners Orhan and Sheila Soysal are overjoyed to bring their “Freshtaurant” to the Central Florida community. “We have always loved the idea of the farm-fresh experience, and Cork & Fork allows us to do just that,” says the Soysals. “We are excited to share our passion with Central Florida, and we hope to foster community growth, help improve the local economy and give our guests a truly comfortable and memorable dining experience they return to time and time again.”

Cork & Fork is open Sunday to Thursday from 11am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 12am with nightly happy hour specials.

Cork & Fork American Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Brio Tuscan Grille


11401 N.W. 12th Street
Sweetwater, FL 33172
305- 629-8991


I have always been a fan of Brio Tuscan Grille and I have been to both Central Florida locations. Brio is really good at serving up consistent and authentic Italian food in what the restaurant deems as a “polished casual” atmosphere. Recently on one of my many visits to Miami, which is my second home, by the way, I was invited to check out the newest Florida location of Brio Tuscan Grille at the Dolphin Mall, and of course I couldn't resist.

In case you have not been to a Brio yet or are unfamiliar with the brand, Brio is part of Columbus based BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group (BBRG). Founded in 1992, BBRG currently operates more than 100 restaurants including Bravo Cucina Italiana, Brio Tuscan Grille, and Bon Vie Bistro.

Brio Tuscan Grille serves up authentic northern Italian cuisine with a menu that features oven roasted steaks, chops, seafood, made-to-order pastas, flatbreads and entree salads, similar to what one would find in a ristorante in Tuscany. Brio also offers an ample dessert menu, and a full wine and cocktail list. Brio’s philosophy is “to eat well, is to live well”, and they strive to bring the pleasure of the Tuscan country villa to the American city.

On Sept. 17, Brio Tuscan Grille, opened a location at the newly expanded wing of Dolphin Mall in Miami, Florida. The restaurant is the 14th location in Florida, and provides a “taste of Tuscany” to Miami-Dade’s largest retail shopping center.


The beautiful new 7,500 square-foot Miami restaurant offers indoor seating for 226 guests, and al fresco dining for up to 89 on two Italian-style terraces. A private dining area accommodates groups for up to 40 guests.

BRIO’s villa-like interior features details such as antique hardwood cypress flooring, arched colonnades, hand-crafted Italian mosaics, antique doors, hand crafted walls covered in an antique Venetian plaster, Arabescato marble-imported from Italy, and sizable wrought-iron chandeliers.

I love a good calamari, but it’s hard to find somewhere that does it right. The Calamari Fritto Misto at Brio was Perfetto, as in Perfect. The calamari was a crispy golden brown and served with peperoncini, creamy aioli, and a nice pomodoro sauce for dipping.

Bruschetta Quattro is perfect for sharing,or as a whole meal itself. You really can’t go wrong with a sampling of four housemade bruschettas. You get a Tomato Caprese Bruschetta, Sliced Steak Bruschetta, Roasted Red Pepper and Mozzarella Bruschetta and a Chicken Florentine Bruschetta. All of them were very delicious and quite tasty.

The Pasta Fra Diavolo is composed of campanelle pasta, spicy tomato cream sauce, green onions and your choice of chicken or shrimp. The flavors in this pasta dish were intense and flavorful with the perfect amount of spice for the diavolo or devil in you that likes it hot!

My dish of Chicken Milanese featured two generous portions of crispy Romano chicken, herb pasta and fresh Mozzarella in a housemade Pomodoro sauce. The Chicken Milanese is a rather simple and classic dish, but it is filled with exceptional flavor as the chicken cutlets are battered and fried to perfection.

Brio means “lively” or “full of life” and that is certainly what you will find at any Brio Tuscan Grille location. As I said earlier, I really enjoy the Central Florida locations and Brio has proven to be very consistent across the board at every location I have been to. Of course it goes without saying, that in many parts of Miami and the surrounding areas, they have a reputation for being glitzy, glamorous, playful, and very stylish. The Dolphin Mall location certainly lives up to that billing, as it is everything you would expect from Brio, with a touch of Miami spice.

Brio at Dolphin Mall is open seven days a week Sunday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to Midnight.


They also feature a weekend Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Reservations and call-ahead seating will be accepted and walk-ins welcomed. For reservations, please call (305) 629-8991

Brio Tuscan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Eleven at Reunion Resort

7593 Gathering Drive
Kissimmee, FL 34747
(407-662-1000)

One of the many great things about Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, is that it also includes a great deal called Magical Nights at some of the finest resorts and hotels in Orlando. There are over seventy restaurants participating this year and over twenty hotels are participating in the Magical Nights program.

Magical Dining Month is the month long program from the folks at Visit Orlando where participating restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinners at the exceptional value of $33 per person. Magical Nights offers guests the opportunity to make the magical dining experience a truly memorable occasion by turning it into an overnight stay.

Many of the Magical Dining restaurants are located in area hotels and resorts, and are offering a special stay and dine package that includes hotel accommodations and a Magical Dining dinner for two. This year Reunion Resort and their beautiful indoor / outdoor restaurant that goes by the name of Eleven is participating in the program.

Eleven, as you may have guessed is on the eleventh floor of the Reunion Grande, the resorts most luxurious one and two bedroom villas. The restaurant is very chic and upscale and features an outdoor roof top lounge that offers stunning views of the skyline and the nightly fireworks display from Disney's Magic Kingdom. The menu at Eleven is full of handcrafted cocktails and steakhouse favorites that showcases prime cuts of beef with rubs, sauces, and other enhancements available to add to your selection.

The Magical Dining Menu goes as follows:


The first of two appetizer choices is a very refreshing Strawberry & Mandarin Orange Salad made with mixed greens, caramelized pecans, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, and raspberry dressing.

If you are not in the mood for a salad, the Fried Calamari with
Sun-Dried Tomato and Tarragon Aioli,  is your second choice for an appetizer. The calamari was breaded very delicately and was quite delicious.

There are three different entree selections to choose from.
The Organic Tanglewood Farms Chicken with a citrus braised kale, havarti polenta, and a tomato demi glaze was an excellent dish.

One of my favorites was the Bourbon Glazed Salmon with a sweet corn and bacon sauté. The glaze was not overly sweet, and went really well with the Norwegian salmon.


For you steak lovers, the Grilled Hanger Steak with whipped potatoes, haricot verts, and chimichurri will not disappoint. Very tender slices of steak packed with flavor in every bite.

If you want to end your meal on a lighter note, I would suggest choosing one of the Vanilla, Chocolate, Mango, or Blackberry Gelato selections for desert. All flavors were fresh and delicious. 


If you want a traditional desert, go with the Crème Brulee. Simple, yet elegant and creamy.





The Reunion resort is a spectacular place to visit, even if its just for dinner. As mentioned earlier, at around 9:00 pm or so, if you are at Eleven restaurant, you do not want to miss the wonderful fireworks display from the neighboring Magic Kingdom.

Magical dining, magical food and magical fireworks are sure to impress just about anyone, but for a real special treat, book the Magical Night package. For just $225.00 per night you and a guest will enjoy one night in a 1 bedroom deluxe suite and dinner for two at Eleven Restaurant, and that will be a night not soon forgotten.

Reunion Resort features three signature golf courses designed by golf’s greatest legends: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer and they are the only resort in America with an ANNIKA Academy facility on site. The resort also boasts 10 swimming pools and a water park as well, so you can spend the day splashing around the water park, or play tennis on one of the six lighted tennis courts.

Eleven on Urbanspoon
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