Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

Dishes that Dazzle

True to its roots, Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe not only serves exquisite cuisine but also a piece of Central Florida history. While the name belongs to an early settler of Lake Ivanhoe named George Russell, this shore-hugging eatery is brought to us by an Orlando-based restaurant group, VO Hospitality, which is co-owned by Kevin O’Donnell and Philippe Villain. The pineapple featured in the restaurant’s logo and also infused in a few menu items pays tribute to Russell, who established a pineapple farm along the shores of Lake Ivanhoe in the late 1800s, and then a few years later, built a mini amusement park called Russell’s Point. 

Offering a white tablecloth experience, the décor is a combination of modern rustic chic. Overlooking the stunning Lake Ivanhoe is where my friend and I sat one Saturday evening in their extended covered patio that was formerly exposed at the once-housed Mesa 21.

The cocktail menu is fairly straightforward and an obvious choice was the House Pineapple Old Fashioned ($12) made with Old Forester Rye, pineapple and vanilla liqueurs, and a dash of bitters. For my taste, it was much better than its gin counterpart made with Waterloo Antique Gin, Earl Grey simple syrup and a hint of lavender. The Smokey Margarita ($12), made with your choice of Milargo Silver or 400 Conejo Mezcal, was enjoyable as was the Cucumber Honeydew Agua Fresca ($12). The crisp cocktail is made with Crop Cucumber Organic Vodka mixed with vermouth, honeydew juice and squeezes of fresh lime juice.

Several items on the food menu stand out, which should come as no surprise with a talent like Emmanuel Clement in the kitchen. A former area managing chef for Disneyland Paris and stints at prestigious restaurants throughout Europe, Clement’s reputation precedes itself. 

Creations like the Roasted Beets and Burrata Napoleon ($14) immediately drew my attention when presented with the menu. Golden and burgundy beets were stacked neatly between subtle pieces of burrata swirled in a basil pine nut vinaigrette and created a divine start to the meal. And we couldn’t stab our forks fast enough into the Tuna and Avocado Tartare ($16), where finely chopped chunks of tuna were laid above creamy bits of avocado and finished with a soy and ginger glaze.

My friend and I are zealots of steak and could not help but order both the 16-ounce Butcher’s Cut Ribeye ($46) served with “Russell’s secret sauce” and the 8-ounce Beef Tenderloin ($39) rubbed in peppercorns and served with an au poivre sauce. The seasoned broccolini and skinny french fries were the perfect dance partner for the ribeye, while the tenderloin was juicy and cooked to medium-rare perfection. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Aligot Potatoe, honestly the most delightful, creamy and cheesy mashed potatoes I have ever eaten.

We wound the evening down with a lengthy debate over dessert: the Signature Pineapple Foster or the classic Chocolate Volcano Cake (both $9). We were pleasantly surprised to find that the latter skipped the usual scoop of vanilla ice cream in favor of a velvety vanilla custard, which surrounded the fluffy cake and gave way to an oozing center of decadent chocolate.

It was a wonderful way to end the meal and the entire experience left us eagerly awaiting our next reservation. The mix of stunning views and superb dishes will surely be calling us back sooner than later.


Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe

1414 N. Orange Ave. | Orlando

(407) 601-3508