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Self Catering in Florida - What did you eat?

(36 Posts)
Perriwinkle Mon 01-Apr-13 18:10:24

I was just wondering whether everyone really only ever ended up eating all you can eat for $5 plates of burgers, pizzas, hotdogs, fried chicken, burritos, tacos and ice cream, followed by more burgers, pizzas, hotdogs, fried chicken, burritos, tacos and ice cream?

What did you end up eating most days you were there when you went self catering and is it true that vegetables really are as scarce in restaurants as I've been reading they are?

What did you find the eating out experience to be like, choice, portion and cost wise?

What about supermarkets too? Did you manage to find most things in supermarkets that you are used to having at home and how were the prices? Were things like pre packed sandwiches, fruit, drinks etc for day trips fairly cheap?

suebfg Sat 20-Apr-13 19:34:30

Only ate out once in Orlando and it was very poor so we didn't do it again.

Food in the parks is expensive but what is also overlooked is the length of the queues. Take your own picnics in and you will save lots of time and money.

suebfg Sat 20-Apr-13 19:32:42

We found the supermarkets to be well stocked but expensive for healthier items such as fruit and veg. We went to Florida a couple of years ago and it was reasonable but went again more recently and prices were through the roof.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 20-Apr-13 16:48:02


I would also recommend you try Hanamazuki on I Drive (its south of Sandlake Road at the shopping plaza where Goodings supermarket was located).

MOSagain Sat 20-Apr-13 12:14:17

Sizzler great for breakfast lunch and dinner, good prices and lots of choice for fussy kids. Ponderosa similar but we prefer sizzler. Look for coupons in magazines (free outside most supermarkets). If you take back your receipt next trip you get discount.

Outback great but get there early as it gets busy.

Kobe is exceptional, our favourite restaurant. A very nice Japanese in celebration too which is a nice place to go in the evenings.

A good supermarket is marketplace at Formosa gardens and there is also a good Italian restaurant there as well as the outback.

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 09-Apr-13 16:50:57

Of course Americans eat at Olive Garden and other chain restaurants. We live in a non-touristy part of Florida, and all of these chains are busy with local patrons.

theoriginalandbestrookie Tue 09-Apr-13 12:53:31

Strange how I heard US voices at Olive Garden then - perhaps they were not naice Americans .

Look i am not saying it was a gourmet experience but its within walking distance to our hotel , childrens menu comes with broccoli to DSs disgust and adult meals come with fresh salad. Oh and the house wine is drinkable. Kobe japanese steakhouse is somewhere else we liked.

I would avoid eating in the parks food is v expensive and a very rushed experience although characters made it worthwhile for us.

I guess food is very personal and everyone has a different focus.

Bartlebee Tue 09-Apr-13 04:01:43

I'm in Florida and I'd avoid Olive Garden or places of that ilk. Cheap does not necessarily equal good, sadly.

Steer clear of chain places - they might be a fun experience once but probably not to be repeated.

We tried iHop once - ridiculous quantities of really quite unpleasant, processed crap. Interesting as an experience, but the thought of 2 weeks of eating at most of these places makes me bilious. Likewise Denny's.

The only cheapo place I'm happy(ish) to go to is the Crabshack. If you're careful with the menu, you can get a good, cheap meal that doesn't involve batter or chips.

4 of us had dinner there last week, we all had fresh crab with broccoli or asparagus and it was only about $80.

janji Tue 09-Apr-13 03:40:56

When not eating out we bought lots of salad and cold cuts etc with wraps and sort if dud a bit of a buffet style pick & mix.

TheCatInTheHairnet Tue 09-Apr-13 03:37:59


TheCatInTheHairnet Tue 09-Apr-13 03:37:11

Ok, having read the whole thread, if you're not going to cook for yourself,the food is all shit. It's entirely marketed to people who will never go back. No one who lives in the US would ever recommend the Olive Garden, Outback or Applebee's as a place to eat. In fact, I'd probably judge you if you did.

There is a Walmart in Kissimmee that has just enough fresh food to get by. Or don't. But, fgs, don't presume that's his Americans eat.

TheCatInTheHairnet Tue 09-Apr-13 03:20:20

theoriginal Sorry, but LOL at holding up the Olive Garden as a good place to eat, compared to buying fresh at Walmart!!

theoriginalandbestrookie Tue 09-Apr-13 02:56:31

We are in Kissimmee at the minute staying in a condo. Usually eat breakfast in although we went to Cracker Barrel this morning and its true their pancakes are awesome.
DH had a bad experience at Wal-Mart as could not find fresh produce or bread without glucose syrup added but we found Public supermarkets and they have everything you need and loads of fresh fruit and veg.
We have been to the olive garden three times so far and actually think it's good as you get salad thrown in with your meal. Worst experience so far was Boston Lobster and that was more to do with the buffet style and layout of the restaurant.
The thing I like is that even upmarket restaurants have a children's menu and they contain sophisticated choices like crabs legs and steak although our son sticks to the pizza . Johnnie hideaway is our fave so far excellent fillet mignon not cheap but top quality and nice vibe.
Portions are bigger than at home - I will be cutting back when I get home sadly but it is possible to get your five a day.

GingerPCatt Sun 07-Apr-13 14:40:39

If you can add Popeyes to your fast food list. Good fried chicken and try the red beans and rice.
Americans tend to be friendly. Ask a local near where you're staying to recommend somewhere. If you can find a non-chain restaurant, they tend to be good. If you want a nice night out, try the Colombian. It's upmarket Cuban food and they do the best coffee. In fact any Cuban place will do coffee better and probably cheaper than Starbucks.

AnnoyingOrange Sun 07-Apr-13 12:51:49

We found Publix very good. You can buy fresh meat and veg and cook whatever you want to cook. We had a Sunday roast one Sunday smile

Sometimes we would stop off on the way home and pick up deli bits and a cooked chicken to make a fast and simple dinner

2fedup Sun 07-Apr-13 12:42:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Madamecastafiore Sun 07-Apr-13 12:40:48

Thought the food was pretty rough when eating out, especially if you wanted lots of veg. We did hotel the first week and by the second week when we moved and went self catering I craved steamed veg, plain veg not with some sweet crap shaken over it or dripping in dressing!

2fedup Sun 07-Apr-13 12:39:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Groovee Sun 07-Apr-13 12:33:09

I plan to do IHOP for pancakes, but have also been recommended Cracker Barrel for pancakes too.

Bob evans looks fab too. I plan to do chilli's and Applebee's as they will be near our villa.

This is the list I have compiled from reading food reviews on The Dibb

Golden Coral
Sweet Tomatoes
Manny's Chop House
Panda Express
Bob Evans
Copper Canyon Grill
The Melting Pot

Would have liked to have tried 5 guys but they cook their fries in peanut oil and ds is allergic.

Bartlebee Fri 05-Apr-13 22:35:40

We took the kids to Denny's here the other night as they had never been. It was (just about) edible and they had bacon ice cream.

noisytoys Fri 05-Apr-13 22:29:27

IHOP, tgi's, Denny's, mc Donald's. bought bits from Walgreens and 7-eleven. Don't think we saw a vegetable for 2 weeks grin

MisterUdagawa Fri 05-Apr-13 22:21:26

It's like finding milk in France

SorrelForbes Fri 05-Apr-13 22:19:16

We did two supermarket shops in the two weeks we were there (Walmart and Publix) and bought staples (milk, bread, cheese etc), lots of salad, veg, steaks, mince (to make burgers) and chicken. We ate at the parks some days, took sandwiches/wraps to the beach on others and bbq'd most evenings.

TBH, if you watch the dressings and portion sizes then it doesn't have to be any more unhealthy than eating over here during our summer.

We like Joe's Crab Shack, Salt Rock Grill (Clearwater), Three Fishermen (Fort Myers). Outback and Longhorn are good for steaks but share starters as they are huge!

Suzieismyname Fri 05-Apr-13 22:01:12

Only thing that annoyed me about the supermarkets was that I couldn't find any free range eggs!

Bartlebee Fri 05-Apr-13 22:00:25

Gallicgirl - we did just that a couple of days ago. We had gravy for breakfast. It looked like vomit with bits of sausage in, but tasted great! The biscuits - not so good.

MisterUdagawa Fri 05-Apr-13 21:57:19

I found veg over boiled

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