Do you smell the fresh seafood and hear the live music? It’s coming from Orlando’s hot, new restaurant, Grills Lakeside Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar. This beachy, delicious joint is the third of its kind and brings seaside charm to the heart of this big city. It takes waterfront dining in Orlando to a new level.

The original restaurant, Grills Waterfront, is in Port Canaveral and the second location, Grills Riverside, is on the Indian River in Melbourne. Orlando now hosts a new location on Lake Fairview, right off of Orange Blossom Trail Road. Even though there are many locations, this restaurant is far from a typical chain.


Nancy Butler

Grills is a hotspot for extraordinary and well-priced food, fun mixed drinks, and a tropical, casual atmosphere. It is the perfect college student hangout and only 5 miles from Rollins’ campus. The spacious restaurant has plenty of seating inside and outside on an expansive deck, which also has a Tiki Bar and live music most nights.

The interior is themed like a swamp, and most of the walls are windows to create an outside feeling. Come by boat or by car, as there are docks out back at each Grill. Kids are welcome at Grills Seafood Deck: there’s a big outdoor playground to play on while they wait for their food and their dinners are served on Frisbees they can take home! Overall, A+ for the atmosphere. 


Nancy Butler

From bacon wrapped shrimp to fish tacos to the best fish sandwiches, Grills’ menu is extensive. The menu is the same at all three locations and boasts an immense variety of mostly seafood dishes. They also don’t fry their fish. If you order fried fish, the waiter will answer with the restaurant’s view about the subject: “Try Long John Silvers.”

Their fish is always fresh, cooked to perfection, and can convince anyone that grilled or blackened is much better than fried. They have perfected the fish sandwich, their most popular item on the menu. Order that and you will not be disappointed! They also have a long list of options without fins: meat eaters have their choice of hearty burgers or steaks and vegetarians can enjoy black bean burgers, salads, and the best sweet potato fries.

My favorite item on the menu is the Tahitian tuna poke. Huge chunks of fresh, seared tuna rest atop a bed of seaweed salad and coconut sticky rice. A spicy remoulade sauce covers the whole dish. You can taste that the restaurant owner, Joe, actually went to Hawaii to perfect his recipe for the tuna poke.

A delicious appetizer option is the bacon wrapped scallops. These little poppers are the best surf-and-turf combination I’ve tasted. The juicy scallops are chemical free, high quality, and wrapped in crunchy bacon. The whole dish is seasoned with lemon pepper and served with a fun remoulade to dip. Warning: they are very addictive and it’s hard not to fill up before your actual dinner comes!

Another of my favorites is the original shrimp Cuban sandwich. The shrimp are tender and tossed in a homemade spicy sauce, then layered along with marinated pork and provolone on authentic Cuban bread. The whole sandwich is pressed to perfection. You can also order a fish Rueben, but the shrimp is one of their most popular dishes

Grills Lakeside Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar is one of the most fun and delicious restaurants in Orlando, and it is one of the only waterfront dining options. This beachy, fresh joint is a dream come true for the owner. The atmosphere transports diners to the beach, and creates a fun tropical space for children, adults, and collegiates. This should be Rollins students’ new weekend hangout. (Shirts and shoes required).