Visit Orlando's Chief Marketing Officer, as she took the podium at swanky rooftop bar Gramercy Terrace on an unseasonably beautiful New York City night. She was in town to celebrate the launch of Zagat's 2013 Orlando Guide, which goes beyond restaurants to rate attractions, shopping and nightlife throughout the Central Florida destination. According to Courtenay, it would take a full 67 days to see everything the sun-drenched town has to offer, including a bonanza of sites that go far beyond the typical name-brand parks that comes to mind.
"When you think of Orlando, you think of Disney," said Tim Zagat as he took the podium to congratulate the winners of the Survey (which was completed by 5,614 area consumers). "Locals already know there is much, much more." There was a special focus on culinary options during our event, and we don't just mean the golden orange Orlando-tinis being served at the bar. Hari and Jennifer Pulapaka own Cress restaurant, and they were in the house to accept an award for the eatery's Top Food rating. It scored an impressive 29 in the Survey, and the duo was eager to talk about the city's growing status as a food destination.
"The chefs are on top of their game, we're privy to an amazing bounty of ingredients, incredible seafood and almost year-round produce, and we're setting tends," said Hari. "The most common comment we get from visitors from the north during the cold when they come down to Florida and hang out in our state is 'You know, this restaurant could be in Manhattan. Or in Paris. This could be anywhere.'"
As the party stated to wind down, the visitors started paging through the guides around the room, which make that "much, much, more" easier to navigate. Another thing we learned last night: a little vacation planning can always be helped along by another Orlando-tini.
You can get more info about the results of the Survey here, scope some cool party pics in the post below, see a list of the city's top 10 restaurants here, and pick up a copy of the guidebook here.