Café de France is an intimate French restaurant right on Winter Park's main drag, with seats in the small dining room and tables on the avenue. Owners Dominique and German Gutierrez treat their guests as friends, welcoming them warmly and sincerely.
On Christmas Eve, they'll be serving dinner. The menu is still being decided, but you'll have four or five choices each for appetizer and entree. Likely selections will be foie gras; two fish entrees, including possibly (but no promises) Dover sole; game of some sort, maybe buffalo or venison; and lobster tail.
Festive holiday touches -- tinsel and such -- will adorn the walls, and a holiday Pandora mix will play.
This is a photo of the cozy restaurant's interior on an ordinary day.
526 Park Avenue South, Winter Park, 407-647-1869, lecafedefrance.com
Raglan Road is an upbeat spot at Downtown Disney, where hearty, higher-quality Irish fare is served as dancers perform. It's a family spot yet, with three antique bars and loads of beer taps, fitting for adults-only groups too.
On Christmas Day, guests can buy a full turkey dinner for $27.95.
The menu looks terrific: mead (mead!)-glazed turkey, butter-whipped potatoes, sage and sweet onion dressing, brussels sprouts, and a cranberry-plum chutney.
This is the official menu.
These are the dancers. The show is impressive, and you'll see it as you dine.
Here's the restaurant's interior.
Downtown Disney, 1640 N Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, 407-938-0300, raglanroad.com
If you're up for a splurge this Christmas, book a table at Bull & Bear. Bull & Bear is a stately steakhouse within the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It's beef is superb, but, unlike many of its competitors, this meatery has real chefs in the kitchen and they tend to get creative.
For Christmas, Bull & Bear is serving a five-course tasting menu. The centerpiece is chateaubriand, an old-timey classic that is essentially an amazing thick and tender beef filet, here served a Bernaise-like sauce called foyot. Brioche toast and potato pave will share the plate.
Preceding the chateaubriand, you'll receive Jerusalem artichoke bisque, lobster salad Napolean, and a pork rib and loin combo with suc de cuisson, which google tells me is the meat's own juices. Side dishes will be served family style. Dessert will be an heirloom apple clafoutis. Here is the full menu. Honestly, I think it sounds like a value at $105.
Here's the Bull & Bear dining room. It's posh.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando, 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, 407-597-5500,
Happy holidays, and eat heartily, friends.