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2625 Edgewater Dr.
Once a printing plant, Adair's building is getting ink once again, this time from local gourmet wags as an upscale Southern-inspired charmer. Rehabbed with gleaming hardwood floors, a covered patio, and ceiling fans gently slapping the breeze, its menu is grounded in Charleston traditions, but leans toward the nouveau. Adair's affectionate concoctions include herb-infused johnnycake, Vidalia-onion cream soup, and redeye velouté served with grits and sweet-potato gnocchi.
CAFÉ TU TU TANGO
8625 International Dr.
Within easy reach of the theme parks, Tu Tu Tango doubles as a gallery (and working atelier) for local artists. Artwork on the walls is for sale and often painted on the premises. The extensive tapas-style menu is largely American, with upscale pizzas, meat skewers, and some witty starters, including "scallop BLT soup" and deep-fried "gator bites." Kick off married life with a free tarot or palm reading from a staff psychic who wanders the aisles.
Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 N. World Dr.
Lake Buena Vista
California Grill attracts a lively crowd of special-occasion diners who park themselves beside its picture windows and gaze down upon Cinderella's Castle. The decor is woefully dated to the early '90s, but the lively open-air kitchen pumps out some showpiece dishes, including Hudson Valley foie gras with brioche French toast, chilled Gulf shrimp-and-pineapple soup, and grilled pork tenderloin with creamy goat-cheese polenta. Service halts while guests enjoy the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks display to a piped-in sound track from the restaurant's twin outdoor verandas. Book three months in advance.
EMERIL'S TCHOUP CHOP
Universal Orlando's Royal Pacific Resort
6300 Hollywood Way
Snuggled in the courtyard of Universal Orlando's Polynesian-themed hotel, Tchoup Chop's celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, oversees a kitchen serving Hawaiian creations with quiet complexity and grace. A signature dish is the "clay pot," combining the fish of the day with yellow Thai curry-lobster cream, stir-fry shrimp, and fire-roasted sweet-corn rice. The sole dining room is a high-ceilinged chamber with a central granite-lined pedestal pool, yet things never get too noisy. The walls, drenched by David Rockwell in rich orange and cobalt glass, are more a nod to Orlando's hyperreal ethic than an omen of a supersweetened meal.
JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
4040 Central Florida Pkwy.
James Beard award–winning chef Melissa Kelly is one of the few female marquee chefs among Orlando's mostly man-handled establishments. Her organic Southern Italian eatery marks a departure from Orlando's relentlessly razzle-dazzle dining settings. Couples enjoy a sexy, candlelit room with intimate seating and breathtaking pool views—a welcome respite from the weary shuffle of a long day of theme parks. Kelly's menu is thoughtful, displaying her passion for using fresh, locally grown ingredients (from a garden on the premises) and recipes passed down from her Italian grandparents. Don't miss the wonderful desserts.