Sandwiched between Disney World and Universal Orlando lies Sand Lake and the affluent neighborhood of Dr. Phillips. In the '20s and '30s, citrus king Philip Phillips revolutionized the orange-juice business. In the '50s he sold his company to Minute Maid for $50 million, and ultimately the land was developed and named for him. Today, Dr. Phillips is fertile ground for the restaurant business.
Just five miles north of Disney and 1 mile south of Universal, Sand Lake Road has attracted some of the top restaurant names in the country along with acclaimed local eateries—so many in fact the area has been dubbed "Restaurant Row." We'll share a few of our favorites, while leaving the difficult decision-making up to you.
Travel tip: Rather than booking on Open Table, ask your hotel concierge to call the restaurant directly. You'll often get better reservation times, special perks and better service through your hotel's connections.
One of the few locally owned eateries on Restaurant Row, Slate serves Southern comfort foods like pimento-cheese hush puppies, fried green tomatoes and pork chops in a casual-chic atmosphere. A wood-fired grill is the centerpiece of the restaurant and turns out some mighty-fine pizza. Next door, stock up the hotel room at Trader Joe's.
With sea bass that will melt in your mouth, steaks that are to-die-for and scallops that might possibly change your life, Eddie V's is on point every time. Start with a classic cocktail on the pretty patio by the water and then head inside the dimly-lit dining room for some serious eating.
With locations in Brooklyn and South Florida, the Orlando outpost of Rocco's Tacos is an especially popular spot, thanks to its colorful atmosphere and scenic location on Sand Lake. The menu is what you'd expect of good Tex-Mex. Guacamole is made table-side, margaritas are served strong and entrees have just the right amount of kick.
This beautiful spot in the heart of the Dellagio Town Center bills itself as an American Brasserie but Urbain 40's French-born chef puts a European spin on the menu. Soak in the grandiose atmosphere and exquisite fountain view in the main dining room or tuck away to the bar for live jazz music and entertainment from the '40s era.
This locally owned, speakeasy-style restaurant and bar is hard to find, and that's part of the fun. Once you've discovered the hidden main entrance, you're in for a treat inside The Pharmacy with farm-to-table fare, some of the best craft cocktails in town and a glorious throwback to the prohibition days.
Hawaiian Celebrity Chef Roy Yamaguchi started this successful brand of restaurants, and each location offers its own local variation of the menu. Roy's Trio provides a nice range of flavors with the hibachi-grilled salmon, Misoyaki “Butterfish” and the macadamia nut mahi mahi. Visitors and children receive an especially warm welcome here.
The nationally acclaimed steakhouse, Fleming's, never disappoints with its prime, bone-in ribeye with a menu of "companions" like the truffle-poached lobster with béarnaise sauce and caviar, the diablo shrimp with spicy barbecue butter or the jumbo lump crab meat. Seafood lovers will delight in the Atlantic lobster and the Alaskan King Crab.
Created in Chicago in 1978, Morton's has grown to more than 70 outposts across the country. Loyal diners will still find that club-like atmosphere with comfy chairs, classic cocktails, good whiskey and amazing steaks that have made the brand a success for decades.
This Southern brand has grown to become one of the most popular household names when it comes to steak. At Ruth's Chris, you'll find custom-aged, USDA prime steaks served with signature, buttery sizzle. The service and the atmosphere suit a special occasion, whether an important meeting or a celebratory night on the town.
Dragonfly Robata Grill
Known for its sushi, signature cocktails and meat grilled on the robata, Dragonfly is a fun place to gather among friends. A happy hour offered daily features $4 sushi rolls and robata skewers along with $6 signature cocktails like the Sumo Splash with gin, ginger, lime and mint or the Saké Blossom with peach liqueur, cranberry and mint.
Seasons 52 gets its name for its seasonal menu which changes weekly. Orlando-based Darden, known for brands like The Olive Garden, brings a fresh concept to the table with Seasons 52. Choose from innovative flatbreads, hearty salads and tasty entrees under 500 calories. But when it comes to dessert... who's counting anyway?
This interactive restaurant is fun for a first date or a special family dinner, where you actually get to cook at the table. Enjoy your melted cheese, chicken, steak and veggies but save room for the Melting Pot's grand finale: the chocolate fondue with fresh strawberries, blondies, bananas, pineapple, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies.