Orlando steak out: prime cuts for serious carnivores
Tourism statistics do not lie: Orlando, the City Beautiful, is among the world’s top travel destinations, hosting more than 65 million visitors annually in recent years. As such, its restaurants–which seem innumerable–must cater to the palates of the many. And not surprisingly, those discriminating palates often crave large hunks of flavorful, aged, high-quality meat available in venues such as the Shula’s Steakhouse, Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster and Kres Chophouse, the latter boasting a decidedly different and altogether “downtown O-Town” location.
Many diners are on vacation, after all, so why not splurge on the sumptuous, all-in, steakhouse-and-sommelier experience? And if you’re truly all-in, don’t forget about dessert. Whether your steakhouse sensibility leans toward the stately, warm and traditional, like the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando’s Bull & Bear or even something casual and off-the-tourist-grid with a devoted local following (not to mention comparatively low sticker shock), like that of the Tap Room at Dubsdread, Orlando has the one you’re looking for. You might like your cut medium-rare or black-and-blue, but regardless, every player on this list gets it “well done.”
At Capital Grille, you can start your meal with a signature cocktail or choose a glass from the massive wine list. Each cut of their dry-aged steak delivers a different experience. Like bold flavors? Try the gorgonzola crusted dry-aged bone-in N.Y. Strip. For something a little milder but equally flavorful, Capital Grille’s signature porcini-rubbed bone-in ribeye with 15-year aged balsamic is a likely palate pleaser. Grab a side or two for sharing; the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese probably has your name on it. Capital Grille’s prime location near the convention center supplies a steady stream of lunch customers, as well.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: With locations throughout the U.S., Capital Grille is a consistently good go-to, whether dining for business or pleasure.
A.D.’s expert tip: A Pointe Orlando location means you won’t have to stray far for after-dinner entertainment. Belly dancing at Taverna Opa begins at 7 p.m. Or check out B.B.King’s Blues Club for a cocktail and live music.
Much like its grandfather, New York’s famed restaurant of the same name, The Palm’s walls showcase the same caricatures and cartoons made famous by its earliest regulars. Unlike its predecessor, however, this venture’s location inside the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando imbues it with an added cool-factor, making it an ideal accompaniment to an evening of live music (the hotel’s monthly “Velvet Sessions” are billed as Orlando’s only rock-n-roll cocktail party). The Palm’s food and service uphold the New York tradition, though, and the restaurant has built a solid local following in addition to the visitors who rave and repeat-visit. Double-cut lamb rib chops and a 36-ounce N.Y. Strip (sliced tableside, serves 2-3) are among the favorites.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: It’s the Palm. The name carries weight because its rep is well deserved.
A.D.’s expert tip: Check the Palm’s website for great rotating promotions that offer value alongside phenomenal fare.
Long lauded a Dr. Phillips-area favorite for steak- and seafood-related special-occasion splurges, Orlando’s Ocean Prime outpost (there are several throughout the country) knows how to handle groups, even the largest of them. Its two private rooms accommodate up to 32 and 64 diners with ease, but smaller parties will enjoy stellar service, as well as some phenomenal 10-layer carrot cake if they are so inclined. Watch for weekly specials such as the Special Sunday menu. It features an 8 oz. filet with your choice of “surf” for $55 per person. Compliment your steak with half-priced bottles of wine from the Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: This is a steakhouse and everything that accompanies it at its finest. Get ready to enjoy a long, leisurely meal.
Michelle’s expert tip: Request one of the two circular booths by the bar for a more intimate experience. Each booth is enclosed in a curtain for private dining experience.
Locals and visitors will find massive portions to add value to their dine-out dollar at this popular I-Drive venue, where the less carnivorous will find plenty to pick from (the portabella mushroom parm app could easily serve as an entrée) and the true meat-eaters can luxuriate in offerings from pork chops to strip sirloin to the come-hungry-or-don’t-come-at-all Delmonico’s Delmonico Steak, a 24-oz. center-cut ribeye that’s served with a pasta side, but isn’t free if you manage to finish it. Even so, one-and-a-half-pounds is still pretty brag-worthy. Our advice? Take a to-go box and sample some cannoli with an after-dinner coffee instead. There’s no shame in that.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: With its largest steak offering under $30 and a load of Italian specialties for the less steak-centric in your party, Delmonico’s offers diversity and value.
A.D.’s expert tip: Share and share alike. Portions here are huge. (Be on the lookout for a new Oviedo location soon, East Orlando!)
What opened as Del Frisco’s Prime Steak and Lobster back in the 90s via an agreement that permitted them to use the Del Frisco’s name for two decades, this Orlando icon is today known as Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster and is still owned and operated by the Christner family. Ask the locals and visitors alike and you’ll hear that the quality of the steaks and service remains top-notch. Designed to reflect the Christner family’s rich history of exceptional quality and meticulous service, the award-winning menu features only the finest USDA Prime steaks, fresh seafood and a wine portfolio of over 4,500 bottles, in addition to imported and locally-crafted whiskeys, spirits and beer. Boasting two unique lounges, nine private dining rooms and an intimate main dining room, guests enjoy an elegant fine dining experience complemented by celebrated live entertainment.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Sure, it’s decadent. But when you go to Christner’s for a high-end steak/seafood splurge, you’ll walk away satisfied. And stuffed.
A.D.’s expert tip: Three words: potatoes au gratin. At Christner’s Del Frisco’s they are as indulgent as any dessert.
Many of the items, from steaks to beers, are fresh from local farms. You even have a chance to sample a Florida friend, alligator, if your palate is adventurous enough. While dining on your entrée, whether it’s gator, filet mignon or lobster mac and cheese, you’ll have a peaceful, serene view of the Shingle Creek. The gateway to the Everglades boarders the Rosen Shingle Creek, which houses A Land Remembered. Treat your date and yourself to the Chateaubriand for two, a 20 oz. center-cut filet carved tableside accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, organic wild mushrooms and a béarnaise sauce. The dress is ‘evening resort.’
Recommended for Steakhouses because: A Land Remembered is the signature steakhouse of Rosen Shingle Creek. The steaks are fresh from Harris Ranch, named for the hotel’s owner, Harris Rosen.
Michelle’s expert tip: Fans of Patrick Smith’s best-selling novel of the same name, will appreciate the nods throughout the restaurant to the book.
The ’72 Dolphins may have gone undefeated, but your hunger will be down for the count before halftime, particularly if you partake in Coach Don’s massive 48-ounce Porterhouse. Despite this lauded restaurant’s NFL connection, its atmosphere is decidedly traditional. Team photos are displayed in grand, formal frames befitting a steakhouse, though the menu is printed on the side of a football, a playful touch for a beloved team. Located inside the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Shula’s earns high marks from discriminating diners and critics.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Finish the signature 48-ounce porterhouse steak ($107) and you get to join Shula’s 48oz Club. which has over 35,000 members.
A.D.’s expert tip: No reservation? Shula’s Lounge, connected to the restaurant, is first-come,first-served and offers the same exact menu in less formal digs.
This is the Four Season Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort’s signature steakhouse and its Spanish-inspired cuisine is elevated – literally and figuratively. From on high, guests here can take in superb cuisine, creative cocktail and phenomenally romantic fireworks views from the expansive balcony (heaters will be going on chilly nights, so don’t let that put you off). Inspired small plates are a wonderful way to experience the many flavors on tap here, but entrees from the duck breast to the lamb to the porterhouse for two are mouthwatering and on point. Truthfully, it would be easy for a planned glass of Argentine malbec to turn into a multi-course dinner here. This isn’t a venue you’ll leave easy. It’s a space in which you’ll want to linger.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Begin with cocktails and salted Marcona almonds, end with a cheese board (or perhaps chocolate mousse?). Regardless, you’ll enjoy phenomenal food, service and views.
A.D.’s expert tip: Time your visit with the parks’ fireworks displays and enjoy a balcony toast while doing so. Could spark fireworks of your own.
It’s slick and red, chic and modern with a little vintage essence. It’s also downtown which makes it altogether unique on this list, but Kres Chophouse isn’t just a pretty face, it offers quality dining the opportunistic carnivore will pair with a show at the nearby Amway Center, live music or dancing at a nearby nightclub (perhaps some flamenco at nearby Ceviche) or even a slow stroll around Lake Eola, which bolsters romance as well as digestion. The Elk and Filet Mixed Grill at Kres -Bucatini Pasta, Asparagus, Roasted Red Peppers, Morel Au Poivre Sauce – makes for a generous sampler entree.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Kres’ menu more than matches its rich atmosphere. Try the ribeye (18- or 24-oz.!).Oh, the marbling…!
A.D.’s expert tip: Headed downtown for a night of b-ball with the Magic? Kres makes for a great pre-game dinner spot.
Living up to its New York namesake’s reputation, Orlando’s version of Bull & Bear pulls out the stops with attentive service and a traditional, club-like steakhouse atmosphere with contemporary touches. Portions are hearty, beef is top-quality and the menu offers both traditional favorites and refreshing surprises; sometimes a melding of the two. Popular favorites include the Bull & Bear Shellfish Platter for two (the crab cocktail is a standout) and the formidable, Fred Flintstone-sized Tomahawk, a blockbuster, bone-in, 38-ounce cut of dry-aged Certified Angus Beef that is carved tableside and dressed with the velvety drippings of a beef-tallow candle.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: That Tomahawk is reason enough to put Bull & Bear on this list, but truly: if an ultimate steakhouse experience is what you crave, come.
A.D.’s expert tip: If you really want to put the “up” in “upscale,” considerordering Bull & Bear’s impeccable food and service right to your hotel room.