Tucked away just 5 minutes from Park Avenue on N. Orange Avenue in Winter Park lies one of my favorite restaurants in Florida. We’ve been coming to The Ravenous Pig for years, and it has never disappointed. The food, drinks, service, and environment continue to surprise and impress.
The Ravenous Pig has achieved a certain level of fame recently, from write-ups in the New York Times and a visit from everyone’s favorite Fall River Chef Emeril Lagasse, so I would advise making a weekend reservation a couple of weeks in advance. As an alternative, stopping by for a walk-in at lunch has worked out for us in the past, though you may end up having a short wait. They have a bar section which is first come first serve seating, with both booths and a bar where you can order the full menu, if you want to come solo and talk with neighbors.
Every month the chefs/owners James and Julie Petrakis reinvent the menu, keeping certain favorite dishes or elements, while inventing new wonders. This can depress you if you’re looking for an old favorite that is now gone, but any disappointment is quickly forgotten after discovering a new “favorite”. Most of the dishes are made with locally grown and sourced ingredients, which is always a plus.
I admit to being a bit of a beer snob. Craft beers are all that are allowed in my house. Luckily, they’re also all that’s allowed here. They feature a small, occasionally rotating, list of craft beers, both local and from around the country. This visit I enjoyed a Florida brewed Cigar City Lager called Hotter Than Helles. A golden yellow german style lager with a lemony start and a slightly hoppy, yet fruit filled, finish. Cigar City beers have yet to disappoint, and this was no exception. To drink Maggie ordered the Gin and Jam its a botanical Gin mixed with a house made strawberry basil jam, sour and lemon bitters. It was a really great cocktail balancing the sweetness of the jam and the herbaceousness of the Gin.
House-made Charcuterie and Artisan Cheese
For an appetizer, we ordered the House-made Charcuterie and Artisan Cheese. Which is basically a fancy French way of saying “Plate of Amazing Meats and Cheeses”. This changes monthly as well, but this time we were treated to tartufo salumi, coppa, pork rillettes, mushroom & bacon terrine, smoked sausage, flat creek lodge georgia red cheese, and mimolette vieille cheese. Describing each item would take an entire blog post, but suffice it to say it was an incredible joy to bounce between so many different flavors, with house made pickled tomatoes as a palate cleanser. I will say that I’ll be ordering pork rillettes any time I see them on a menu from now on.
The Pork Porterhouse
The Pork Porterhouse is one of the items The Ravenous Pig keeps on their menu, but never as quite the same dish. This massive bone in Porterhouse is insane. I mean, just look at it. It’s the most tender cut of pork I’ve ever had. This version is topped with a kumquat-currant compote (since they’re local and in season) which adds an acidic citrus flavor that pairs with the savory pork perfectly. Don’t plan on finishing the entire thing in one sitting, it may kill you. But don’t worry, I can speak from experience, it reheats the next day surprisingly well.
Bone In Beef Short Rib (Maggie)
From the picture you can see this was a huge portion – I felt like Fred Flintstone eating dinosaur bones when they put it on my plate. The beef was beautifully cooked, tender and seasoned very well. The sides were royal trumpet mushrooms and a root vegetable puree that had parsnips, rutabaga and a personal favorite kohlrabi. The mushrooms were excellent (but I don’t think I’ve ever met a mushroom I didn’t like). The puree had a really velvety texture that kept me coming back for more.
Normally we get dessert as well, but this visit we were so full from the large plates that we just couldn’t even look at the dessert menu. But if you have the room, you won’t be disappointed. The Ravenous Pig is a little pricey. Expect for two people to spend over $100 if you’re ordering from the bar. For lunch or if you ordered from the Pub side of the menu you could get out a lot cheaper. The Ravenous Pig is worth every penny; sometimes you have to splurge. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the end.