Friday, February 17, 2012

Upscale Dining in Orlando: The Capital Grille Review

Orlando, with a population of just 238,300, shouldn't have as many fine-dining establishments and high-end steak houses as it does. But thanks to all the tourists here for Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal, and to all the conventioneers here on a regular basis, we locals really do enjoy world-class dining - even with our city being only the 79th largest in the United States.

One of my favorite upscale dining spots is The Capital Grille. Yes, it's in a touristy area (on I-Drive and right across from the Orange County Convention Center at Pointe Orlando), and yes, it's a chain (owned by Orlando-based Darden - keeping the jobs local), but it really is a great restaurant to visit.
The atmosphere is dark yet inviting - definitely clubby. The service is impeccable. The menu is diverse (shout out to the lobster mac and cheese). The wine list extensive. And, above all, the steaks are fantastic.
Oh, and yes, it can be expensive. Order a cocktail, a salad, a steak, and a bottle of wine and the bill will be pricey. Certainly warranted for what you'll get, but pricey.
One of my top tips for visitors to Orlando, or to anyone really, is to hit up expensive restaurants for lunch. You'll get the same atmosphere, service, and food but with smaller portions and a smaller price tag. And no reservations required.
The Capital Grille offers a fantastic lunch menu, and their winter "Plates" menu recently debuted with three new selections: Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions, Roasted Pepper Soup and Roasted Root Vegetables.  But as always, guests of The Capital Grille can customize their lunch, choosing from nine “plates” offerings – three soups or salads, three sandwiches and three sides – all for just $18. Yep, 18 bucks. You can't beat it.
According to Executive Chef Matthew Price, the Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions features premium Japanese Wagyu beef blended with the right amount of seasoning, and is the kind of fresh twist on an American classic The Capital Grille is known for.  Root vegetables are at the peak of their flavor in the winter, which makes the  Roasted Root Vegetables a hearty addition to any lunch entrée selection.  And speaking of cold weather, guests can warm up deliciously with a generous bowl of either Roasted Pepper Soup or The Capital Grille's popular Clam Chowder, which combines New England’s finest, freshly shucked clams and tender potatoes.
For guests with a limited amount of time at lunch, The Capital Grille ensures they can enjoy the personalized service and mouth-watering cuisine that characterize a Capital Grille dining experience and still be on their way in about 45 minutes. 
The Capital Grille is located at 9101 International Drive, Suite 100.  Reservations can be made by calling 407-370-4392 or by visiting  In addition to its main dining room, The Capital Grille also features private dining rooms for up to 36 guests, as well as a Chef’s Table accommodating up to 10 guests, with a frontline view of the open kitchen.   
5 Sommeliers out of 5
The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

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