Restaurants & Eating Out

A1villa.com

Indian Wells

Ribs, Steaks, Burgers, Salads & Key Lime Pie

American restaurants have a reputation - portions are not just big - they're huge!

Whether it is a rack of baby-back ribs, a triple-stack beefburger, a plate of pancakes or cajun Caesar salad which makes your mouth water, the vast range of restaurants accommodate all tastes and budgets.  

Many restaurants in the Walt Disney World area cater well for tourists and "Eat-All-You-Can" buffets and themed dinner shows are common place.  Always, look out for coupon booklets (e.g. WalMart), as these have money-off vouchers for restaurants.

We are always visiting new places to eat, which allows us to give an unbiased view on many of the restaurants and eateries in the area.  Feel free to contact us if you are looking for somewhere special to eat.

Hard Rock Cafe - Universal Studios, Citywalk
Hard Rock Cafe - Universal Studios, Citywalk

An average evening meal with drinks is between US$15 and US$35 per head at a typical restaurant.  Unlike many places, should the meal beat you, it is quite acceptable to ask for 'a box' to take it away.  For a special occasion, restaurants such as the Texas de Brazil steakhouse are in excess of US$60 per head - but well worth it.

Eating Out in Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee

Below are some restaurants in the Lake Buena Vista area which we visit.  Click on the links for their menus and where they have multiple locations, just enter the Indian Wells zip code of 34746.  With the exception of restaurants on International Drive, the  local restaurants, diners and bars should be no more than a 10 minute drive.  Furthermore, to give you an idea of an price (e.g. appetizer, entree and an alcoholic drink) we have included a guide price per head: ($) under US$20, ($$) US$20 - US$25, ($$$) US$25 - US$40, ($$$$) US$40+.

Some of Our Personal Favourites

  • Logan's Roadhouse ($$) - Opposite Old Town and also in The Loop complex.  With peanuts at the table and hot warm bread, this all American roadhouse grill serves up excellent food and can get very busy at dinner time (and weekends at Old Town).  With great meals, great deals and a great roadhouse atmosphere.

  • Olive Garden ($$) - Highway US192, just down from the junction with Polynesian Isles Blvd.  Very popular Italian restaurants and bar within 5 minutes of Indian Wells, offering fantastic food and true Italian ambience.  To-go service also available.

  • Red Lobster ($$) - Fresh seafood, pasta and steak is the order of the day at this popular restaurant and bar located next to  Old Town and on highway US192 towards Kissimmee.  With good prices and great food, you may need to wait during early evening.  Just one thing - the live lobsters in the fish tanks are not just for decoration!

  • Perkins ($) - At the junction of Poinciana Blvd and highway US192.  Great value home cooking and fantastic baked deserts  at this very popular diner-come-restaurant.

  • The Knife ($$$) - Great cuts of meat cooked as you like them at this Argentian steakhouse, fresh salad and soup bar and free wine!  If this sounds like an ideal evening, head to this great restaurant at Crossroads (opposite Hotel Blvd) on highway 535.  Go hungry.

  • Sweet Tomatoes ($) - Salad, pasta and soup buffet at Cross Roads - just opposite the entrance to Disney Springs.  With a 55ft salad bar, fresh soups, pasta and deserts, this bargain priced buffet offers a welcome change to steaks and burgers.

  • Twistee Treat ($) - Not a restaurant, but a fantastic place for after meal treats.  Great ice creams, floats and sundaes from the giant swirly ice-cream shaped building.  The nearest is opposite Smokey Bones at the junction of highway 192 and 535.

More Restaurants, Diners and Bars

  • Smokey Bones ($$$) - Great restaurant that always has major (American) sporting events on big TVs situated around the central bar.  Serves fantastic ribs and a Tex-Mex menu, with countless domestic and imported beers on tap.  Find the local restaurant at Poinciana Place, which is next to Publix supermarket at the junction of highway SR535 and US192.  To-go service available.

  • Chillis ($$) - American Bar and grill opposite the junction of highway US192 and Polynesian Isles Blvd.  If you are looking for Tex-Mex or great finger-food then head for the bar area or sit down and relax in the restaurant section.  It is non-pretentious, excellent value and ideal when you want something to share.  Al so draft beer is 2-for-1 all day!  To-go service available.

  • Planet Hollywood ($$$) - Disney Springs.  Well known movie-themed restaurant, with film props and memorabilia adorning the walls in the big blue globe (with the revolving dinosaur).  Food is very much Tex-Mex, with burgers a big favourite.  Expect to wait during busy times.

  • International House Of Pancakes (IHOP) ($) - Look for the blue roof on highway US192 near to junction with Poinciana Blvd.  This is more a diner (than restaurant) which serves great pancakes, omelettes and home-cooked food.  That said, if you want a wholesome food at a great price, this is the place for you.

  • Lone Star Steakhouse ($$$) - Highway SR535 near to Interstate 4.  Popular Texan steak house near the turning for the Premium Outlets.  Get there early and have a drink at the bar.  Great cuts of steak, with special cuts during the week.

  • Texas de Brazil ($$$$) - International Drive.  This Brazilian steakhouse is one of the more expensive restaurants in the area (at around $60 per head), but the food is fantastic.  Waiters walk around with exquisitely cooked cuts of flavoured meats on skewers.  The price also includes one of the best buffets we know.  Our big tip: go hungry - go very hungry!

  • Frankie Farrell's ($$) - Irish bar and grill alongside the Lake Buena Vista outlets.  With an array of UK beers on draft, a selection of both traditional Irish and Tex-Mex favourites and UK soccer on big TVs,  this is a great place to relax.  Also, should you want to arrive earlier in the day, there area a number of tables and chairs outside for a drink in the sun.

  • Applebee's ($) - Highway US192 near to Super Target and SR535 near to Premium Outlets.  Family friendly American  restaurant-diner offering excellent value meals and 2-for-1 beers during special promotions.

  • Ponderosa ($) - Opposite Old Town.  A favourite for the British, this eat-all-you-can buffet chain offers fantastic value food - for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  As you would expect, it can get very busy, but guaranteed you will not be hungry when you leave.

  • Bahama Breeze ($$$) - Highway SR535 near to Premium Outlets and Interstate 4.  Themed restaurant specializing in Caribbean food offering fantastic salads, fish dishes and steaks.  Enjoy a Bahama Mama cocktail or a glass of Aruba Red beer taken in the ambience of live music on the veranda.  An excellent restaurant for a special occasion.

  • Hurricanes Grill ($$) - Highway SR535 towards Interstate 4.  Tex-Mex with a Caribbean feel.  To-go service available.

  • Longhorn Steak House ($$$) - Near the big Orange shop on highway US192. This very popular steak house and bar is a little more 'upmarket' and offers great steaks. Always busy in the evening, so expect to wait a while at the bar.

  • Hard Rock Cafe ($$$) - Part of the Citywalk entertainment complex at Universal Studios, this restaurants offers great Tex-Mex food, with pop-star memorabilia adorning the walls.

  • Cheers Bar ($) - If you have rented a vacation villa in the Kissimmee area before, did you find that you are always driving and never able to stop for a drink in the evening?  Staying at Indian Wells, we have a 'local' sports bar.  It is always welcoming and can be very lively, especially when a big (American) football game is on.  Big screen televisions show sport from around the world - just grab a pitcher or bucket of your favourite draft beer and enjoy.

The above list shows just some of the restaurants and eateries in the Indian Wells, Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee area. There are countless other restaurants all equally as straightforward to find and include : Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Waffle House, TGI Fridays, China Pearl Restaurant, Papa Johns pizzas, Romanos Macaroni Grill, Uno Chicago Pizzeria, Cracker Barrel, Ichiban Buffet, Cici's Pizza and of course McDonalds.  Not only does Cheers Bar serve food, but there is also a Indian Buffet, Chinese take-away, Subway, Pizzeria and Deli in the local shops bordering Indian Wells.

Also, with a few English Pubs in the Kissimmee and US192 area, there is the opportunity to watch English football with a pint.  However, remember that Florida is 5 hours behind so a 3 o'clock kick-off (in the UK) will start at 10 in the morning.  For full details of US TV channels showing soccer games at local Kissimmee venues check out the Live Soccer TV website.

Evening Dinner Shows

To continue that 'on-vacation' feel into the evening, visit a themed dinner shows in the Orlando and Kissimmee area.  Many expect you to live-and-feel the theme, so expect lots of noise.  For Mum and Dad - take note that some of these are non-alcoholic shows, so lemonade may be the order of the day.  

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Tips on Tipping

It is customary to tip for service in America.  This 'informal' rule applies to all walks of life, no matter what the person does - be it carrying bags, serving food or hailing a cab (taxi).  Although obligatory, 15% is expected for 'normal' service and up to 20% for exceptional service.  For restaurant parties of 8 persons or more, it is likely that the gratuity will be added to your bill automatically.  Any additional tip is at the discretion of the person signing for the bill.  For smaller parties, the gratuity is not usually added in automatically - however, we would always advise you check beforehand.

Approximate amounts expected are: 15% waiter or cab service (i.e. $1.50 for every $10), $1-2 per round of drinks and 15% green fees for caddying.  This can be left as cash (on the table) or entered on the check (bill) as a separate amount.

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