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Spotlight: Orlando's Top New Restaurants For The New Year

My table at the end of my meal at Guy Savoy, overlooking the Seine River, just across from the Louvre.
My table at the end of my meal at Guy Savoy, overlooking the Seine River, just across from the Louvre.

Before we go on to 2016, let’s look back on the best of last year.

Top New Restaurants of 2015

Urbain 40: Excellent cuisine from chef Jean-Stephane Poinard in an atmosphere that is classically French at the Dellagio Plaza on Restaurant Row.

Tabla Indian Chinese Thai: Not so much new as it is a revitalization, presenting a new menu in a much more stylish atmosphere.

North Quarter Tavern: They may not tell you, but chef Matt Wall and crew make almost everything served in this pub from scratch.

Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar: A bit of the Big Easy in an odd North Quarter space.

Tapa Toro: A fun tapas concept from the Taverna Opa folks.

Osprey Tavern: Can it be that Baldwin Park finally has a decent restaurant?

The Whiskey: Surprisingly good food, including a killer burger, at the Restaurant Rower.


Other Notable Openings:

MOOR — Terrific rebranding of a Gaylord Palms venue.

Parkview — New ownership of Eola Wine Company location with a stepped up menu to go with the terrific wine list.

Market on South — Earnest vegan food from a culinary consortium.

Smiling Bison Sanford — Now with real napkins!

Bistro Le Coq Au Vin Dr. Phillips: A Restaurant Row outpost for one of Orlando’s longtime favorites.

Morimoto Asia: A huge and beautiful new restaurant from the Patina Group at Disney Springs.

Slate: An American bistro that is starting to find its way.

DeVine Wine & Grill: Something unchainy for the Oviedo crowd.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House: Big, very big.

Urban Tide: Really just a renaming for the former Napa at the renamed Hyatt Regency Orlando (Peabody Orlando).

Metro Diner: Food Network favorite from Jacksonville takes Altamonte Springs by storm.

Daya: Upscale plant-based cusine.

Swine & Sons Provisions: A grab-and-go sort of place from the Cask & Larder folks.

And what am I looking forward to 2016?

Norman’s 1921 — Norman Van Aken’s newest will open in Mount Dora.

STK — Next big restaurant slated for Disney Springs.

Flying Fish Cafe — Closing this month and then reopening late summer with a new interior.

Dovecote — Clayton Miller, James and Julie Petrakis, and Gene Zimmerman team up for what may be downtown Orlando’s most promising new restaurant.

Canvas — American eatery in restaurant-starved Lake Nona.

Cask & Larder OIA — The Petrakises open an outpost at Orlando International Airport.