Winter Park, home to dozens of independently owned restaurants and a bevy of award-winning chefs, is arguably Orlando’s best epicurean neighborhood. While many of its eateries can be found along Park Avenue’s bricked boulevard, there’s one unsung gem tucked into Hannibal Square that’s worthy of your culinary consideration. We checked out Fresh, a super small restaurant with an aim to serve farm-to-table fare in a subdued setting, and we fell in love.
One of the best things about this tiny boutique restaurant is the intimacy of the dining room, which houses only eight tables plus a few stools at the bar. There are also a few tables outside. For décor, Fresh took a minimalist approach simply using candles and live air plants pinned to the cinder block walls to keep the space very bright and unfussy.
Fresh doesn’t have a liquor license, so just wine and beer is offered, however, there is an ample list of options, including my favorite, Fat Tire Amber Ale. If you want a snazzy cocktail, wander down to Hannibal’s on the Square a few doors down after your dinner where you’ll find a full list of creative concoctions made with Enlightened Grain, a locally made spirit.
For me, it was really difficult to choose just one salad. There’s a Kale Caesar, the Pear Salad accented with Lake Meadow Naturals bacon, plus the Beat Salad speckled with dollops of local goat cheese. I also enjoyed the Brussels sprouts (sautéed in butter and bacon) for my small plate and the Vegetable Risotto for my entrée. Every dish had wonderful flavors but the key was that the chef let the natural ingredients shine. If you’re a veggie lover, this place is for you, but there are also a few fish, beef and pork selections.
Fresh’s shtick is healthy, locally sourced fare bolstered by a bevy of international flavors that borrow from Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. The menu, which changes regularly, has three parts: small plates, organic salads, and entrees. Definitely choose something from each column, and keep in mind that the salads are sharable and arrive at the table already split onto two plates. I love that.
Fresh is open Tues-Sat 11am to 4pm for lunch, 6pm to 10pm for dinner, and Sundays 11am to 3pm when a brunch menu filled with salads, egg dishes and BLTs is served.
Reservations are a good idea on weekends but not necessary through the week.
|THE BEST TABLE
Since this is such a small place, all the tables are great. If it’s a warm night, I’d suggest going with one of the tables outside overlooking New England Avenue. Unlike Park Avenue, Hannibal Square is much less bustling so eating street side is still pretty intimate.
|THE PRICE TAG
We each had a beer, an entrée, shared a salad, and shared two small plates and our bill came to $89 + tax and tip.