Linda’s La Cantina Steakhouse
Linda’s La Cantina has been around for nearly 65 years, so you know they’ve got to be good. La Cantina began as an Italian restaurant and was bought in 1947 by a German watchmaker who ran it for two years before his son, Al, joined him. Eventually, the father died and the restaurant became Al and Linda’s. My husband lived in Orlando long before me, and he ate at Al and Linda’s often. In 1994, just a couple of years after I moved to Orlando, but before I had the chance to dine at the steakhouse, it was devastated by fire. It was eventually rebuilt, and it’s as popular as ever.
I don’t exactly remember when it became Linda’s La Cantina. My husband thinks some time in the late 1980s. Linda’s is located on East Colonial Drive, near downtown Orlando, and not too far from the intersection of SR 436 and East Colonial. Black and white photographs of early Orlando, vintage murals of the pre-World War II Naval Station, 1940’s era women’s clothing catalog pages dress the walls in the ladies restroom, early photographs of the restaurant frame the entrance, and black and white checkered tablecloths create La Cantina’s vintage ambiance. An old fashion fire pit in the lounge is warm and welcoming.
Obviously, steaks are the main attraction at La Cantina, and that’s exactly what we order. The steaks are seasoned well and then seared to perfection, locking in all the flavor and juices. The ribeye is the most flavorful cut, with the large T-bone and filet as close seconds. The New York Strip will never disappoint you either. We usually start with fried mushrooms, which are battered and deep-fried, then dipped in a home style horseradish sauce. (I actually start with a cosmopolitan.) The sides are large enough to share. Interestingly, Italian food is still on the menu—manicotti, spaghetti, and parmesan—along with surf and turf, shrimp, fish, and chicken. I had the surf and turf once, but I usually can’t give up the ribeye.
We generally don’t order dessert, but on our last visit, we shared a piece of spumoni cheesecake. It was quite colorful, and I expected it to taste like a regular cheesecake, but each layer had a distinct flavor of pistachio, cherry, and vanilla. It was creamy enough to make me believe that I was eating ice cream.
Entrees range from $19 for the small sirlion and up to $40 for the surf and turf or the large T-bone. Some of the seafood dishes and the Italian food are as low as $15. Appetizers range from $7 to $10. The flavor and the quality of the food is the reason Linda’s La Cantina survived for 67 years. I’m sure it has many good years left. I highly recommend that you try at least one ribeye, but not before sipping a cosmo next to the fire pit.
Linda’s La Cantina
4721 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone (407) 894-4491
fax (407) 894-6415