MyCityEats' 2012 pick for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in Orlando, Pasha Taverna & Lounge seamlessly blends Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisines, serving seasoned tender kebabs alongside plates of stuffed grape leaves and falafel. Hearty fish and lamb-shank tagines arrive in decorative conical dishes with plenty of moroccan bread to soak up the sauce. Sweet, subtle desserts conclude feasts with flaky baklava or the Athenian Chocolate-Lover's Dream, which stacks alternating layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse.
In a dining room that Orlando Weekly described as “seductively decorated,” patrons sip on Moroccan mint tea amid carmine-red walls punctuated with keyhole-style insets and paintings. Textured benches roll along one wall, ending at a photomural that Orlando Weekly reported depicts the Atlas Mountains and Agdal Gardens. As dusk falls outside, the attached hookah lounge begins to fill with tendrils of scented smoke. On Friday and Saturday nights, belly dancers hypnotize guests with their undulations and their habit of holding a pendulum before the eyes of every visitor.
Although Pinkberry boasts more than 170 locations across four continents, every store demonstrates a similar commitment to re-creating the same highly guarded recipe. Beginning with nonfat, hormone-free milk, the frozen-yogurt artisans incorporate live and active cultures into the mixture, creating a frosty kosher treat with a pleasant yet natural tang. This original yogurt is always available, but staffers also concoct new seasonal flavors throughout the year. Additionally, they allow customers to accessorize the tightly swirled servings of yogurt by adding gourmet toppings from the selection of more than 30 possibilities, which includes natural honey-almond granola and italian caramel as well as seasonal fruits, which are cut fresh every day.
CRAVE's eight locations have gained a plethora of press and even an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Each sleek eatery also entices diners with a diverse menu of modern American lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch fare devised by Corporate Executive Chef Bill King and a sushi menu of traditional and creative rolls inspired by Executive Sushi Chef Tony Lam's upbringing in Hawaii. Each menu is then artfully executed using fresh and locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, as well as seafood flown in daily and handcrafted sauces made from authentic Asian recipes. Brick ovens give flatbreads a crisp exterior while the grill keeps steaks, chicken, and burgers juicy.
With meats, seafood, rice, and veggies brought in daily, the master chefs at Urban Hibachi craft a wealth of fresh, authentic Japanese cuisine. Artfully arranged into award-winning presentations, they create traditional maki such as avocado, salmon, and philadelphia rolls. Their more innovative specialties include the Hawaiian roll's blend of coconut shrimp and cream cheese as well as the Ninja roll, which bombards taste receptors with tuna and asparagus without ever being seen. When they aren't crafting rolls, the chefs sear scallops and tofu on the hibachi grill or pack bento box lunches with teriyaki steak and shrimp tempura. To help wash down each meal, staffers keep the bar stocked with boba tea, bonsai wine, and sake.
Inside Boteco Restaurant, cooks recreate the quintessential flavors one might find inside Brazil's botecos—informal hot spots of food, nightlife, and culture that have thrived since the start of the 19th century. Among the restaurant's specialties are salted codfish croquettes, calabresa sausage sautéed with onions, and escondidinho de camarão, a medley of mashed yuca, cheese gratin, and shrimp. Diners can also sink teeth into new york strip steak or filet mignon cut into a snowflake pattern. Bartenders fill glasses with wine and muddle caipirinhas with fresh fruit.