We went on our family summer holiday to Orlando (to take the kids to Disneyworld) and relax at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. After a few days of amusement parks, we were ready for a grown-up meal and luckily found a promising restaurant in nearby Winter Park.
The Ravenous Pig is a gastropub owned by ex-CIA chefs and husband and wife James and Julie Petrakis. We booked a table for dinner on a Thursday and arrived to a packed restaurant. There's a bar near the entrance and a main dining area adjacent. The interiors are simple - brick lined walls, a few booths and a bustling and casual atmosphere. We were led to a table towards the back where we settled in with the menus along with a long list of draught beers and their creative cocktail list. C had their version of a classic Old-Fashioned done with a twist - bacon infused buffalo trace bourbon, vanilla maple syrup, angostura orange topped with a slice of extra crispy bacon. We also had a look at their very reasonably-priced wine list and settled on a couple of glasses of wine to start. As we were all hungry, we decided to ask for some Gruyere biscuits from the Pub Fare section of the menu which were served piping hot with smoked salted butter which me munched as we perused their dinner menu which changes monthly.
We ordered four appetizers to share among the five of us: the Gatherer salad - baby lettuces, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachios, herb vinaigrette, the oyster trio, a crudo of tuna with salmon eggs and the octopus and house-made sausage. All the starters were a mix if interesting flavors and textures with the crudo and the unusual combination of octopus and sausage which were the best.
For the main courses, we opted to again do family-style and ordered four dishes which we all shared: a marinated seared flatiron steak with truffle fries and aioli, the basil encrusted Cobia with a corn relish and hush puppies, fresh tagliatelle with spring vegetables and the large pork porterhouse with spicy baked beans. The steak and pasta were straightforward and although they were both good, they didn't impress whereas the green-tinged (from the basil) fish was cooked perfectly and the crispy yet soft hush puppies and sweet sour corn relish complemented the dish perfectly and the pork porterhouse epitomized a southern gastropub dish with the thick pork chop seared to perfection smothered in a house-made spicy sweet barbecue sauce and the accompanying spicy baked beans were a treat which I would go back for any day.
We were stuffed by then but since this was the best food we had eaten in Orlando by far, we were reluctant to finish such a lovely meal without at least trying a few desserts: the signature Pig Tails - warm cinnamon fritters shaped like pig tails with a chocolate espresso dipping sauce, the creamy tangy citrus cheesecake which came served in a jar and the warm blackberry crumble.
The Ravenous Pig is the type of casual neighborhood restaurant that I wish we had here in Dorado - a place where reservations are not required and where one can walk in on a weekday night, have a fun cocktail or a glass of wine and a simple yet delicious meal. This restaurant should go on all foodie parent's lists for their one night away from the amusement park chaos and fried food for an evening of fun and fantastic food.
The Ravenous Pig
1234 N. Orange Avenue
(between Orlando and Denning)
Winter Park FL 32789
Telephone: +1 407 628 2333
*Open Tuesdays to Saturdays for Lunch from 11:30 to 2:00 and for Dinner from 5:30 till late, Bar opens at 5:00
*Complimentary valet parking