The tiny ornate dining room at Chez Vincent (533 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407/599-2929, lunch 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. daily, dinner 6–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $15) has been a Winter Park  date-night mainstay since it opened more than a decade ago, and its classic French cuisine once earned the restaurant a place on Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants” list. Yet somehow, Chez Vincent manages not to feel like a stuffy stuck-in-the-past eatery. Maybe it’s due to the cozy dining area or the way the kitchen makes standards like duck à l’orange seem interesting, and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and the food expertly prepared.
The modern-meets-traditional, east-meets-west atmosphere of Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine (108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407/644-8609, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., main courses from $12) reflects many of the clichéd notions that come up whenever discussing Turkey, and sometimes when dining here you get the sense that the restaurant is run by the country’s Inferiority Complex Ministry as there’s so much insistence on Turkey’s beauty and sophistication. When dinner arrives, it’s clear that the crew at Bosphorous is much more concerned with immaculately preparing an array of dishes built around vertically grilled meat (with a typically Turkish emphasis on lamb), fresh seafood, and inventive nonwrap uses of pita bread. A variety of hot and cold appetizers are also available for those who want to taste a range of different Turkish foods.
Antonio’s La Fiamma (611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407/645-1035, lunch 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., dinner 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., main courses from $18) serves exquisite and extensive Italian dishes that depend heavily on the use of a wood-burning oven. So, while you may have had a veal chop or fontina-stuffed chicken breast before, it’s doubtful that you’ve had them imbued with the rustic flavor that so many of the dishes at Antonio’s have. The decadently sauced and seasoned rice and pasta dishes are also homespun and hearty. The elegant atmosphere belies the reasonable prices and friendly service.