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Eating in Chain Restaurants in Central Florida

Not all chains are created equal. And even within a chain, not all locations are equal. On this page are some of my favorite chains to eat at. From a few restaurants to thousands upon thousands, Here's where I like to go, along with a few comments.

Here are my rankings:

Rank Name Review/Comments #
of
visits
1 Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at Universal's CityWalk -- Orlando Never had a bad meal here. When friends come to Orlando to visit, this is almost a "must" stop for them. We've had everything from the Ribs to Jambalaya to the famous "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and all has been excellent. Loud at times, but certainly full of atmosphere. And of course, a Margarita or two don't hurt either. 6-8
2 Carrabba's Italian Grill -- Altamonte Springs Italian food in a big chain that's done right! Perhaps it's only the Altamonte Springs location, but every visit there has been fantastic. Not only good food, but great service and a nice atmosphere, too. The only complaint is that on one visit, they were out of Sangria. How can you run out?  Shame!  But otherwise, very, VERY good. 3
3 Giovanni's -- Lake Mary Yes, it's a small chain, but it's still good eats, Italian style. I've eaten at the Lake Mary location quite a few times for lunch, and 3-4 times for dinner. The food is always good, the pizza is fantastic, and it's worth your time and money. 10+
4 Outback Steakhouse -- Sanford The last time I was to Outback, I had the second best shrimp dinner ever! The Boomerang Shrimp was fabulous. The shrimp were cooked to perfection and not overcooked like so many places do. It could not have been better. Oh, and I hear they have good steaks, too! 3
5 Qdoba -- Sanford This is a small and rather new chain that just came to the area, but I've had a few good meals here now. More of a lunch type place, it's suitable for dinner, too. Try the Chicken Quesadillas, I love 'em!  The burritos are great, but it takes (at least) two hands to handle one--or get it open face in a bowl! 4
6 Joe's Crabshack -- Sanford Always a hit if you love seafood. A bit on the loud side, and tending toward the gaudy in decor, yet an interesting place to eat with friends or a group. The fish is usually done right and the beer is good and cold. What more do you need? 8+
7 Don Pablos -- Casselberry and Sanford This would be a great place to eat if it were a bit quieter. It's kinda loud here all the time. But the food is good and plentiful. Pseudo tex-mex I guess you'd call it. Burritos, enchiladas, and the like. Make sure to try the sweet corn pudding, too. Yumm. 8+
8 Applebee's -- Altamonte Springs and Lake Mary I have never had a bad meal at Applebee's. They do seem to change the menu a lot, so if you have a favorite, enjoy it while it's available. But everything seems to be done well here, at every location I've ever been too. Just good food at a fair price. 8+
9 Cracker Barrel -- Altamonte Springs and Sanford After many years of refusing to patronize Cracker Barrel due to their previous anti-gay policy, I've managed to go there a number of times since they've entered the modern age and scrapped that archaic policy. It's always a good meal there with delightful help. Just plain old good eats--comfort food--and plenty of it. Yumm! 8+
10 Taco Bell -- all over the place When all else fails, a burrito supreme is a might fine thing. Keep in mind that if you do this (or any fast food) too often, you'll end up looking like a blimp. So moderation is the key. Still, good comfort food, always consistent, almost always made fresh (if you are there at lunch and you see it holding, don't get it!). 50+

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