Zilly Bee Café and The Egg and I offer the breakfast and lunch crowd two new options within the downtown Orlando dining district.
Zilly Bee has made a swell home in the space formerly occupied by the Breakfast Club. There's a coffee bar upfront and a large dining room to the left. The free WiFi and electric plugs at every booth make this eatery user friendly for modern workers without walls.
The Egg & I is in a standalone building in front of the SODO complex of residences and business. Created in 1987 in Fort Collins, Colo., the café is a smaller variation on the Perkin's and Denny's theme.
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63 East Pine Street, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
2380 South Orange Avenue #77, Orlando, FL 32806, USA
Both offer straightforward AM eats without breaking any new ground.
At The Egg & I, the Mediterranean frittata ($8.99) is a filling, light choice. The custard base is made with whipped egg whites and studded with diced chicken breast meat, mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and Greek seasoning. It came with fresh fruit and an English muffin on the side.
For something heftier, the breakfast burrito ($8.79) won't disappoint. A large, warm tortilla is stuffed with three scrambled eggs, green chilies, onions, potatoes and diced pork sausage. Melted cheese, guacamole and salsa are the crowning touches.
At lunch, the chicken apple walnut salad ($7.99) is a step above the usual chicken salad combo. For this, cubed chicken breast meat is folded with sweet apples, walnuts, diced celery, sliced green onions and mayonnaise, then slathered on grilled raisin bread.
At Zilly Bee, Belgian waffles ($8.95) came topped with fresh berries. The hefty wedges of baked batter had a pleasant, malty finish. For lunch, the San Diego turkey sandwich ($7.50) with bacon, tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese and ranch dressing on grilled sourdough bread held promise, but fell flat on the palate. The wilted spinach salad ($10.95) with bacon dressing was heavier than anticipated, leaving more than just the greens wilted at the table. The deal of the menu is the pick two ($7.50), which includes a cup of soup or house salad with half of a sandwich (ham, turkey, chicken salad or grilled cheese).
Both restaurants offer straightforward fare and meeting-room space for groups. At early and later meals, Zilly Bee's food is presented with more plate panache than the Egg & I. And both need to work out the uneven service.
•The Egg & I, 2380 S Orange Ave., Orlando (between Grant and East Crystal Lake streets); 407-244-5077; theeggandirestaurants.com
•Zilly Bee Café, 63 E. Pine St., Orlando (between Magnolia and Orange avenues in downtown); 407-843-1559; Facebook and zillybeecafe.com
Other breakfast options in downtown Orlando
•Grand Bohemian Hotel, 325 S. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-313-9000; grandbohemianhotel.com: A power place to start your day from 6:30-11 a.m. Monday-Friday, 7-11 a.m. Saturday and 7-10:30 a.m. Sunday.
•Leo's Diner, 333 N. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-423-5367: From 7-11 a.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays, enjoy a home-style breakfast with a few fresh approaches.
•Panera Bread, 227 N. Eola Drive, Suite A, Orlando; 407-481-1060; panerabread.com: From 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday, follow the intoxicating aroma of fresh-baked goods and roast coffee to this popular Lake Eola spot.
•Shaker's American Café, 1308 Edgewater Drive, Orlando; 407-422-3534; shakerscafe.com: From 6-11 a.m. Monday-Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, check out this friendly quick-serve eatery with the salt and pepper shaker décor.
•Virgin Olive Market, 807 N. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-601-7848; virginolivemarket.com: Breakfast/brunch served from 7-11 a.m. Monday-Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.
•White Wolf Cafe, 1829 N. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-895-9911; whitewolfcafe.com: Linger over the regular breakfast menu 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday- Saturday and settle in for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-11 p.m.