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CRAVE Orlando

CraveQuingio

CraveExteriorCRAVE is a chain restaurant with eight locations in the U.S., two of which are in Florida.  The Orlando location is located near Mall of Millenia.

CraveInteriorI had heard some pretty good things from some of my friends and decided to check it out.  Their tagline is “Fresh. Vibrant. American.”  It definitely was vibrant in here.  I really was fond of the atmosphere here.  It felt like someone from Pier 1 Imports came in here and decorated this place.  It’s very spacious inside, high ceilings, and warm inviting colors.

The menu had a good variety of food with sushi, salads, burgers, tacos, pasta, flatbreads, etc.  I selected the Kogi Beef Tacos as an appetizer.  The tacos contain beef short rib, kimchee, spicy mayo, green onion, and cilantro.  I found the Kogi Beef Tacos too salty.  Where’s the flavor of the kimchee?  Where’s that pungent smell? I just get a lot of saltiness.

CraveKogiBeefTacos

 

CraveLambBurgerCraveSpicyLambBurger1The only item I was really fond of during my visit here was the spicy lamb burger although I would hardly call it spicy.  I enjoyed the unique flavors and this would be something I’d reorder again.  I always enjoy a good tzatziki sauce and the combination of goat cheese and carmelized onions definitely made this burger.  The french fries were more thin than I had preferred.  The burger is a good portion size.

CraveQuingioThe Quingio is a fruit sushi roll consisting of soy paper, apple, mango, grapes, cream cheese, topped with strawberries & coconut with a blueberry sauce.  It sounded intriguing but unfortunately this is one of those items that sounds way better than it tastes.  The cream cheese was overpowering, it made the roll salty and I did not get enough sweetness from the fruits.  Less rice and less cream cheese would have made this more enjoyable.

 

The service here was fair.  Not impressionable, not terrible, just fair.  The atmosphere is great.  The food was very much a hit or miss in my book. In general, I would find it hard to come back and pay full price.  CRAVE does have some good happy hour specials Sunday through Friday.  I most certainly would not go out of my way to come here.  Being a the location so close to Mall of Millenia, there are plenty of other establishments I would go to first.

http://craveorlando.com

HOURS:
Sun: 10am-10pm
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-10pm
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-11pm

 

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Olive Garden Lake Buena Vista

SeafoodBrodetto

Olive Garden.  Dare I say it?  I’m eating at a chain restaurant.  It’s not that I’m against chain restaurants but when there are so many great restaurants out there, I tend not to go to chain restaurants.  I can’t recall the last time I went to Olive Garden, it’s probably been over 3 years.  My last experience was pretty ‘ehhhhh’ so I wasn’t the keenest on going to Olive Garden.

This Olive Garden is located on the corner of Palm Parkway and South Apopka Vineland (SR 535), close to Downtown Disney.  Oh great, the tourist side of town.  I already had low expectations.  Shame on me, I know.  Unexpectedly, I had a great experience here.  Servers were prompt and friendly, the restaurant was clean, and of course, I had the usual salad and breadsticks.  It’s amazing, I haven’t come to an Olive Garden in years and it’s still just how I remembered it.  (Personally, I don’t get how people are so in love with the breadsticks here.  It’s just breadsticks!)  Well, I’m trying to eat healthy, keyword “TRY” and I saw there was a ‘lighter Italian fare’ section.  Now, the question is, will this ‘lighter fare’ food actually taste good for being under 575 calories?  This section has five different entrees such as Venetian Apricot Chicken and Capellini Pomodoro.  I always enjoy seafood and selected the Seafood Brodetto.  The menu description is “scallops, shrimp and delicate tilapia with spinach and mushrooms simmered in a light white wine and marinara-saffron broth. Served with toasted ciabatta bread.  Yes, please!

SeafoodBrodettoWell, I loved this dish.  Great flavor, seafood was perfectly cooked.  Olive Garden, you surprised me, you really did.  The only thing I would have a concern about is the sodium content of this dish, otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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