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Permanently Closed - The Smiling Bison Restaurant & Bar

4.4
81 reviews
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$30 and under
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Gastro Pub
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Late-night Find

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. Permanently Closed - The Smiling Bison is an independently owned gastropub, providing deliciously handcrafted, locally sourced food on a weekly changing menu. Combined with a fine selection of craft beer and wines, and featuring some of the most talented local musicians several nights a week, the Smiling Bison is a great foodie gem, a little off the beaten path.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Gastro Pub, American
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Hours of operation
Dinner/Late Night: Thursday - Saturday 5:30 pm to Midnight
Brunch: Sunday 11am to 3pm
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Phone number
(407) 898-8580
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Joshua Oakley
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Private party facilities
Various large party "buy-out' options are available. Please call the restaurant directly to inquire.
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Private party contact
Ron Thomas: (407) 259-8036
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Catering
Various offsite catering options available, from workplace luncheons to wedding receptions. Work with the Chef directly to create your perfect meal. Call 407 259 8036 to speak to catering manager.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Bennett Road / Colonial (Rt 50)
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Parking details
Parking is available in 2 private lots around the restaurant, as well as additional curbside parking.
Supplemental parking can be found in various parking lots within a block distance.
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Entertainment
Live music several nights a week, with Jazz Tuesdays every Tuesday starting at 7:30pm and various local musicians throughout the month. Check out http://thesmilingbison.com/event-calendar/ for upcoming events.
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Dancing, Entertainment, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 81 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.4based on all time ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.0
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on December 17, 2016

Good food enjoyed the Bison burger and loved poutine. It is too bad this Orlando location is closing and they are consolidating the business in Downtown Sanford. It will be more of a trip to go get this yummy burger.

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5.0Dined on November 18, 2016

From the moment we walked in, we knew it was going to be a great dinner. We were promptly greeted and seated. We thoroughly enjoyed our entrees and even though we were full we decided to order dessert. Big mistake, it put us over the edge but boy was it good! Go, you won't be disappointed.

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5.0Dined on November 12, 2016

I've been wanting to try this place for awhile. Went with some friends that had been here before. Great time!! Food was some of the best that I've had in Orlando. We decided to share everything that we ordered. We started with poutine and the pickles and preserves great for sharing. Then we got chicken sausage ( well made sausage made in house with the perfect amount of smoke on it), the bison burger( one of the best burgers I've had), and the duck pizza( I love duck so it was incredible). Great meal. This location will be missed when it closes (hopefully they find a new location in Orlando) but they still have their Sanford location.

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5.0Dined on October 15, 2016

Delicious food. Excellent service. Very casual atmosphere. Unique foodie choices. Can't wait to return.

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1.0Dined on October 8, 2016

Very disappointing...I order d a hamburger for $13 which should have really been labeled as a slider on the menu! The taste was good but not fulfilling specially for the price. I also orders the bread service for $5 which was 4 thin strips of bread (sort of stale) and a scoop of their honey butter. Again not worth it!
Lastly, this restaurant does not serve any soda product (neither Coca Cola nor Pepsi products) and their non alcoholic drinks is very limited not to mention that their beer/wine is not extensive either!

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5.0Dined on September 24, 2016

Great food and excellent service.

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3.0Dined on September 9, 2016

The food and service where excellent but the food took a hour.

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5.0Dined on August 2, 2016

We took several out-of-town friends to the Smiling Bison on a weeknight and were not disappointed. Food was very good and service was outstanding!

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5.0Dined on July 20, 2016

First time there. Great food. Will definitely be back!

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4.0Dined on June 30, 2016

WE all had the bison burger, because we wanted to try it and it was the most affordable bison option. The meat was very tender and tasty. My only grouse was that it was so 'high' that it was impossible to eat as an actual sandwich. I had to cut it up and eat the toast with the bread in bites. The fries were great, but the overall presentation was kind of bare bones, minimalist, but it did lack creativity. Our server was very friendly, and we will definitely be going back there. That night had a musical guest and although it was audible, it was not overbearing from where we sat, which was good.

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5.0Dined on June 21, 2016

It was my 2nd time here. Loved it once again! One of Orlando's premier gastro-pubs!

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3.0Dined on June 21, 2016

I was disappointed in both our meals. They sounded interesting and innovative but were lacking in execution. The paprika spaghetti unfortunately had the paprika in the pasta and not as a sauce. There is a reason hydrocolloids like pasta are traditionally seasoned on the outside and its because they keep there flavors locked in. I was left with a beautifully orange but tasteless pasta. The black garlic pork belly was nicely cooked crispy and rich but there was no hint of that unique black garlic flavor promised.

As far as the cocktails (Starry Nights , Chin-Chin) we orders they both had a good base flavor profile but the base spirit was woefully under poured leaving the drinks tasting like a vaguely alcoholic tasting syrup. I would have been disappointing at $5 but with a price of $8-$9 I'd steer clear of them in the future.

Disappointment aside they have their base culinary technique down and I'd love to see them iron out the kinks in their food. If so they could become a nice addition to the local restaurant scene.

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5.0Dined on June 18, 2016

The food and service were terrific. Choice of music was also great and made for a nice atmosphere. I'll definitely be back

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5.0Dined on June 7, 2016

Great Bite30 menu! The Duck Lovers Pizza was AMAZING!!!!!!

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1.0Dined on May 27, 2016

The band was ridiculously loud and way too close to our table. The food was good but I couldn't speak with anyone at our table, which is the reason I went out to dinner in the first place. We ate at 8:30 and the band was already at full blast by then. Not sure why we didn't get a warning from the hostess as to the noise level.

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5.0Dined on May 21, 2016

The food was incredible!!! Service is on point. Love this place!!!

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4.0Dined on May 15, 2016

Great brunch and drinks! They have live music every other Sunday too.

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1.0Dined on May 1, 2016

Ehh, sounded good poorly executed. Went for brunch and had the brunch dog on French toast with And apple slaw, not very good. They had no syrup to dress it up. Husband had the pouting and it was fair to poor as well. Also got a lemon poppy seed donut that we said we'd take before the meal, it came out with the meal and was very dense.

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4.0Dined on April 30, 2016

My first visit so I had to go with the Bison Burger based upon all of the prior reviews. I was not disappointed! Cooked perfectly to order, the burger was very flavorful and presented nicely on the Texas toast bun. I WILL return for this!

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5.0Dined on April 21, 2016

Excellent food, service and ambiance, this is a type of restaurant for foodies

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5.0Dined on April 16, 2016

From the moment we walked in we knew we were home, from the cocktails to the apps to our main course everything was spectacular. We drove a hour to eat here and it was worth every minute and mile. I am still longing for another Bison Burger.

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5.0Dined on April 15, 2016

Found it using google maps. Hilarious, goofy, yet well mannered staff. Nice beer selection, enough diversity to pair the beer with their delicious meals. The menu isn't massive, but what they have is great.

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3.0Dined on April 3, 2016

I like the Smiling Bison, but not so much for brunch. I'd definitely go for their dinner options instead. The brunch items just need a little bit more added to them to make it delicious.

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5.0Dined on March 25, 2016

We had 5 people and ordered 5 different entrees and 3 desserts. ..and everybody LOVED their meals. Great portion size, great arrive. .. definitely going back for more

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5.0Dined on March 18, 2016

I was fortunate to visit when venison ragu was a special offering. Indeed it was , preceded by a strawberry salad and complimented by a very talented live band. Small and rustic, servers as enthusiastic as this reviewer . A pleasant surprise in an out of the way location .

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5.0Dined on March 13, 2016

My mom and I are big brunch people. This was our first time at The Smiling Bison and holy brunch, this place is wonderful. Amazing service (waitress, Jess) and some really great food. We WILL be back! Can't wait to try more on the menu!

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5.0Dined on March 4, 2016

The food was amazing÷

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5.0Dined on February 27, 2016

The bison is a real gem in Central florida- both locations!

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3.0Dined on February 27, 2016

The restaurant has potential but the menu need more variety if it is going to advertise itself as a gastro pub. The portions are too small for the price. The carrot cake was bad, take that off the menu but the cookies and cream were great. They need some more small plates and to cook the brussel sprouts better.

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5.0Dined on February 19, 2016

Great overall experience! The food was ALL so delicious. My favorite was the duck pizza, but the brussels, kale salad & Bison burger were really tasty too! To top it off the service was on point and there was a great live band playing. I'll definitely be hitting the Smiling Bison again for dinner and drinks soon.

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4.0Dined on February 18, 2016

Enjoyed the cookies and "milk" very much.

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4.0Dined on February 13, 2016

That' all I have eaten there. It's amazing, and I'm not even remotely close to a duck lover! It's delicious. Everyone else enjoyed their meals as well. Good beer and cocktail selection, nice staff. Only downside is the parking, which can get tricky.

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3.0Dined on February 13, 2016

Menu on-line does not match real menu.
Seating is not comfortable.
Servings are small for the price.
Food is good but not exceptional.
Beer list is very good.
Wait staff is great.

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5.0Dined on February 13, 2016

Just an amazing experience. Great food, great service! Will definitely dine there again!

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5.0Dined on January 30, 2016

This is a small lacal bar that does farm to table food. Our server Brittney was excellent. She was friendly and attentive. They had excellent food. My husband got the bison burger that was excellent. I had the duck lovers pizza. I would highly recommend it. I also had a glass of the winter sangria which was perfect.
Dessert we shared the lemon tart which had just been added to the menu. It was good.
We will be going back again I am sure.

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5.0Dined on January 23, 2016

My husband and I went on a Saturday night for a date and had a wonderful time. Not too busy that we had a crazy wait, but plenty of people there. We had the poutine, bison burger, rock shrimp roll, and a slice of buttermilk pie for dessert, all of which was exceptionally good. A pretty good selection of beers on tap, my husband had one recommended by our server and was very pleased. Overall we had a wonderful experience and would gladly go back to see what's new on the ever-changing menu!

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4.0Dined on January 13, 2016

The pork belly is real good. The beer list is nice.

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5.0Dined on January 8, 2016

I've been several times to Smiling Bison and needed a good/cool/hip place to take my brother and his wife while they were in O-town for 1 night. There was live music but our table was perfect so we could still hear it but yet enjoy each other's company. Our server was knowledgeable and helpful, attentive and fun. The food was AMAZING!! Putine is a staple we always get. Brussels sprouts were delish. My bro got and loved the bison burger. I split the bison steak with my hubby and it was interesting to see/ try the bison both ways. Desserts are not to pass up along with their uniquely crafted cocktails from wine/beer base. Being from a small town in PA, my bro & his wife don't have the accessibility to cool restaurants and were so blown away by how amazing their dining experience was at the SB👍🏼👏🏼😁

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4.0Dined on January 8, 2016

This was our 3rd visit and I can't say enough about how excellent the food is! My only wish is that portion sizes were a bit bigger. Great service and good choice of craft beers too!

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5.0Dined on January 8, 2016

I've dined at the Smiling Bison twice now. The first time I had foie gras and a duck lovers pizza. Both were delicious. I could tell that each course was carefully crafted, which made me want to come back again for a date night to try something new. This time I had poutine and the bison burger. The burger wasn't as good as the duck lover's pizza, but I enjoyed it very much. If you're looking for unique dishes and a quiet atmosphere, this is the place to be.

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