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Charley's Steak House - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Dining

Every so often in life you make a mistake. Some mistakes are big and costly, some small and insignificant. Once in a while a mistake ends up influencing your life for the better. One November night we made such a mistake. After changing our current dining plans we turned out onto 192 and didn’t get across fast enough to make the planned U-turn to take us back towards hwy-27. We immediately got tangled up in the road works that were on at the time and with no other turns available a few minutes later we were still heading east. The Radisson looked like it would make a decent spot for our required U turn, and then we spotted it. A simple name illuminated in red, understated and classy looking, Charleys Steak House. What O, we thought, we’ll give it a try. And so we discovered one of Orlando’s hidden gems.

Charley’s is a restaurant with few equals in the Orlando area. It dispenses with the usual glitz and tourist trappings and instead its somewhat eclectic mix of layout and decoration provides an unlikely but ideal ambiance for a truly magnificent dining experience.

From the moment you enter you know that steak is the heart and soul of the restaurant. The huge wood burning flame pit over which choice cuts of steak are grilling give you a taste of what’s to come.

If you aren’t seated immediately you can spend a few minutes looking at the choice of steaks on offer, or try one of the imported beers, well mixed cocktails or fine wines at the cosy little bar.

Once seated by all means pour over the menu but be aware that all will be forgotten when your host(ess) brings over a trolley laden with examples of the steaks on offer. The cuts are large, very large, and the quality is excellent. There are fillets, sirloins, T-bones and the mighty 50oz (yes! 50) Porterhouse to name but a few. All aged to perfection and mouth-wateringly tempting.

It is worth adding a quick word about ageing. Charley’s age their steaks to give the best tenderness and flavour. Because of this aging process you might want to try your steak a little less cooked than you might normally ask for. Instead of medium-well try it cooked medium, or if you typically go medium or medium-rare give yourself the treat you deserve and order your steak rare. You won’t be disappointed.

The steaks are cooked over a custom built pit in which carefully selected hardwoods are burned to create the perfect temperature and a clean, fresh, aromatic flavour. This cooking method sears the meat quickly making a natural seal to lock all the lovely juices and flavour inside. When your steaks arrive they will all be cooked to perfection, succulent, juicy and so richly flavoured that you will start to wonder quite what all those other ‘steak’ restaurants have been serving.

If you can save room for desert you are in for another treat. Charley’s deserts pick-up where the steak leaves off, and the sizes rival those of the steaks. If need be split one or two between your whole table but whatever you do don’t miss out.

A restaurant this good is always busy so reservations are highly recommended; required at busy times of the year.

If you have eaten at Fultons Crab House and have been looking for the steak equivalent, you need look no further, you’ve just found it. 2901 Parkway Blvd, Kissimmee Florida 34747. Head east on hwy-192, past the Disney exit to World Drive and then look for the fountain at the turning for the Raddisson on the left.

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