Whenever you tell anyone that you're visiting the US one of the first things that they tend to comment on is the amount of food that you are probably going to consume whilst you're there and how glorious the American portion sizes are. So today's Travel Tips post is dedicated to some of my favourite eats in the US of A. And as these are chain restaurants, it means that you should be able to find them throughout the US instead of just in Orlando alone.
A lot of the time, we as a family, do tend to frequent the fast food chains (expect a blog post on this very topic at a later date) but when you feel like giving them a break or heading out for a sit down meal, there's nothing better than taking a seat at the following four restaurants, for us. All of these eateries can be found right in the heart of Orlando as well as throughout the state and the US more generally. All four are within walking distance of one another on International Drive which is a great thing for those of you who will be staying in and around that area.
So here they are, my favourite four restaurants (not including fast food establishments) in Orlando, Florida;
Having driven past Longhorn Steakhouse several times during our travels to Orlando in the past, we finally made a point of going in and trying it for the first time on our visit last year. As soon as the food arrived we realised the error in our ways for not trying it out sooner, as the food was so amazing. I went for the hand breaded chicken tenders which were really moist and packed full of flavour, something that can't be said for all chicken dishes. The fries were also incredible. I may be salivating just thinking about them right now...
The restaurant itself has a Western/Texan theme to it without it being too theme-centric and we certainly enjoyed the atmosphere there. I look forward to visiting again in the future.
For a full list of Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants in the Orlando area (click here).
I already briefly mentioned this incredible dining experience in the first of my Orlando, Florida Travel Tips blog posts (link here) as there is a fantastic branch situated in the Mall at Millenia, right in the heart of Orlando. This is American diner food at it's very best! So if you've ever wanted to try French fries topped with chilli, cheese, bacon or a combination of the three, then you need to take a trip to Johnny Rockets.
Some of our absolute favourite picks are the Philly and Chicken Philly Cheese Steaks, the Hot Dogs and Chilli Dogs and the onion rings (oh god the onion rings are good!) And you seriously haven't lived until you've tried one of their milkshakes. The strawberry one really is just the tastiest treat!
The experience of dining at Johnny Rockets really is just so much fun and you certainly feel like you've been transported back in time to the 1950's.
There are little coin operated jukeboxes on every table, meaning you can choose the music that will be played in the restaurant, which is always a fun aspect of dining at Johnny Rockets. And at some locations, the one on International Drive certainly does it, the wait staff will sing and dance every half hour or so. We definitely make a point of visiting Johnny Rockets while we're on vacation as the food and the restaurant itself make us smile so much.
There are two Johnny Rockets in the Orlando area, as I've mentioned, as well as one in nearby Kissimmee.
When it comes to value for money, Applebee's is definitely hard to beat. It's all about the 2 for $20 menu for us when we visit. For $20 you get one appetizer (starter) and two full size entrees (mains). As a family of four, we can all be fed for $40, which is really rather impressive and of course the portion sizes are unlike anything you could ever wish to receive here in the UK.
The appetizers (starters) include crunchy onion rings, mozzarella sticks, boneless wings, spinach and artichoke dip and two side salads. We always order the boneless wings, without fail, especially as you get to choose which glaze your wings are smothered in.
And the entrees (mains) offer something for everyone, particularly if you're a big fan of chicken, like I am. There's fiesta lime chicken, three-cheese chicken penne, cedar grilled lemon chicken, oriental chicken salad and the chicken tenders basket (my favourite). And for carnivores there's a 7 Oz. house sirloin and Applebee's riblet basket. The rest of the Applebee's menu has such a great selection of dishes and the atmosphere is really relaxed and perfect for enjoying a meal, instead of just grabbing a quite bite to eat like we do when we stop at a fast food restaurant.
For a list of Applebee's restaurants in the Orlando area (click here).
Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen
However and this may shock you, I actually don't eat pizza. *Pause for shock and horror to wear off* This tends to get me some rather worrying looks when I reveal it to people for the first time. Don't judge me! Hehe. I have been known to eat some Villa pizza crusts in my time but the rest of my family sure make up for my lack of pizza eating. They certainly endorse the Neapolitan selection of pizzas and if like me, you're a food maverick who doesn't eat pizza, there are plenty of other dishes that should take your fancy. Their meatballs and stromboli's are pretty top notch and they give you enough fuel to take on even more shops, as Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen's tend to pop up most in malls.
So what do you think of my choices? What restaurants do you tend to visit the most when you've been in the US? And have you been to any of the restaurants that I've included in this particular post? If so, what was your favourite and which dishes did you try?
Next month's Orlando, Florida Travel Tips post will be all about Disney's Magic Kingdom. It will follow the same format as last month's Universal Studios blog post (link here). I can't wait to share my top five attractions at the Magic Kingdom as well as some of the tips that I've picked up whilst I've been there.