Amidst burnished gold walls and soft lighting, Thai Bistro & Sushi's chefs use a palette of ginger, Thai basil, lemongrass, and chilies, painting a bouquet of aromas across the restaurant. Thin or wide rice noodles twine around chicken or shrimp in various sauces, and bamboo shoots and bell peppers float in coconut-milk curries, all perfumed with the range of spices. The spiciness of each dish can be adjusted to suit a palate sensitive to heat or a need to pretend to be crying at a third-grade production of Of Mice and Men. Inside the dining room, pieces of modern art, suspended statues, and images of Buddha punctuate the walls.
Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
El Porton Mexican Restaurant has sated cravings for fresh, healthy ingredients for more than two decades, serving up authentic Mexican lunches and dinners that complement the bar’s array of 85 tequilas. Amid golden walls that evoke a warm afternoon in a tropical cantina, guests kick-start stomachs by watching chefs craft lime-infused guacamole tableside. From the kitchen, beef and shrimp fajitas sizzle, wafting aromas of onion and bell pepper that transform into cartoon hands to lure in noses. Warm days open El Porton's patio, where sunshine heightens the flavors of make-your-own combo platters spread with chile rellenos, tostadas, and burritos, as well as USDA steaks aged a minimum of 21 days. Tequila shots arrive in flights or individually, and customizable margaritas in flavors such as mango and classic lime pour forth from salt-rimmed glasses to accentuate entrees and fuel conversations about Mexico's hidden agave rivers.
Eat Well Sushi & Grill's chefs roll up authentic sushi and provision a well-stocked buffet with modern Japanese morsels. The expansive high-quality buffet allows diners unlimited access to grab everything from prime new york strip steak to lunchtime favorite korean short ribs. The smorgasbord also includes staples such as tempura-crusted softshell crab, yaki soba, fresh sushi, and fresh sashimi. The lunch buffet boasts goodies such as teriyaki chicken, tempura shrimp, and fried rice.
Alternatively, the menu showcases innovative and traditional sushi rolls such as the eight-piece philadelphia roll, in which smoked salmon and avocado embrace cream cheese, or the fruit roll, a mélange of asian fruit and cream cheese crowned with sliced mango, kiwi, and strawberry. Imported Kirin beer or specialty martinis from the full-service bar unparch throats as patrons admire the restaurant's dark-wood interior and large booth-side aquariums, where fish gather around campfires to scare each other by reading passages from Moby-Dick.
In 1975, when The Melting Pot originally opened just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter by the name of Mark Johnston opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, The Melting Pot—now owned by Mark and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as a premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On any given night, groups of dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on fondue appetizers before cooking their steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.