Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.06mi
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  4. Distance: 0.36mi
  1. Distance: 0.06mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.22mi
  4. Distance: 0.36mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 0.06mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.22mi
  4. Distance: 0.36mi
  1. Distance: 0.06mi
  2. Distance: 0.07mi
  3. Distance: 0.22mi
  4. Distance: 0.36mi

About The Smiling Bison - Sanford

The Smiling Bison is an independently owned and operated restaurant, serving all handcrafted foods with a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. Our menu is subject to weekly changes and regularly features our house made sausages & other charcuterie. We do feature a full liquor bar at this location, and provide a good variety of craft beers and wines additional to the craft cocktails.

107 S Magnolia Ave.
Sanford, FL 32771
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Gastro Pub, American

Hours of Operation:
Lunch Wed - Friday: 11am - 2pm
Dinner Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Brunch Saturday: 11am - 2pm

Cross Street:
Between 1st and 2nd Ave

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(407) 915-6086

Website:
http://www.thesmilingbison.com/

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Outdoor Smoking Area, View, Weekend Brunch, Wine

The Smiling Bison - Sanford Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.4

ambience

4.5

value

4.1

Noise

Moderate

75% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (8)
Neighborhood Gem (7)
Casual (5)
See All
Creative Cuisine (4)
Fun (4)
Local Ingredients (4)
Pre/post Theatre (4)
Seasonal (4)
Special Occasion (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Fit for Foodies (4)
Great for Brunch (3)
Comfort Food (3)
Great Beer (3)
Handcrafted Cocktails (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Great for Lunch (3)
Good for Anniversaries (3)
Bar Seating (2)
Good for Birthdays (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Notable Wine List (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Good Vegetarian Options (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Organic (1)
Business Meals (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Healthy (1)
Cozy (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Quiet Conversation (1)
Romantic (1)
Sunday Lunch (1)
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81 reviews
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·Dined 6 days ago

Had the burger. It was excellent and the service was even better

Tags: Special Occasion, Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre, Vibrant Bar Scene, Casual
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on December 2, 2017

Great experience and very friendly staff, Stacey was great!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good Vegetarian Options, Great Beer, Local Ingredients, Seasonal, Great for Lunch, Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Quick Bite, Casual, Comfort Food, Notable Wine List, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on November 30, 2017

One of my favorite places to eat. The staff is amazing

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Great Beer, Great for Brunch, Special Occasion, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails, Worth the Drive, Good for Birthdays, Neighborhood Gem, Tasting Menu, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Healthy, Seasonal, Bar Seating, Comfort Food, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Disabled Access
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on November 25, 2017

We miss the Orlando location and decided to drive up to Sanford. Loved the new place, great drinks and the Bison Burger was still amazing!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Great Beer, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on November 15, 2017

Cool place in historic Sanford. The bison burger was delicious. Duck was juicy just needed more duck. Highly recommend and will be back!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on October 21, 2017

There were 3 of us in our party. We had a reservation and were seated immediately. The location and restaurant are nice but the food is a bit pricey for what you actually get. I had the bison burger with an egg and salt and pepper fries. Overall tasty but the food came out cold and the burger was very small for $17. We ordered the charcuterie plate because we were all still hungry. The pate was very good. The wait staff was not very friendly and took away my friend's coffee that she had not finished and tried to take away the charcuterie plate before we were done without asking. Overall I wouldn't recommend this restaurant.

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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Smiling Bison is a top rated downtown Sanford restaurant, so we thought we'd give it a try on a recent Saturday, arriving just after 5 p.m. for an early dinner. An Octoberfest event was going full blast outside, but inside the dining room, it felt calm. I had requested a quiet table not near large family groups, and this was honored. A good sign was how many people approached the front desk to try to have dinner; most did not have reservations and were shown the bar and high top tables as options. A bit surprising was a trickle of people who seemed to be only buying the Happy Hour priced beers and walking out with plastic cups. The food was tasty: poutine, pork belly, bison burger, with banana pudding and chocolate cake for dessert. The coffee came in only 1 large sized French press pitcher. Don't expect huge servings; we didn't mind the tradeoff with well executed and presented dishes. The cocktails were well priced $5 for Happy Hour, and our server was sweet but seemed a bit frazzled and tongue tied toward the end as she juggled a few tables. Would come again, and definitely make reservations.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Happy Hour, Seasonal
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on October 7, 2017

Bison Burgers were amazing!!
Also love the choose of craft beers.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on October 6, 2017

AMAZING food; service was quick and friendly, definitely great for a date night. Drinks were awesome too

Tags: Good for a Date, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on October 1, 2017

So noisy it was impossibly difficult to hear anything but the noise. The service was very slow, and I found the menu limited. But nothing mattered except the NOISE!!!!

Tags: Casual, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service3
value1

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on September 8, 2017

Food delicious, great service!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on September 2, 2017

Great bison burger. Delicious $5 drinks during happy hour. Small menu. Only one salad is offered and when I asked for a side salad with my burger the waitress said nope only one salad, the $12 wedge. Otherwise everything was great.

Tags: Casual, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlantic City)·Dined on August 30, 2017

Great place, okay food

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food3
ambience5
service3

vip
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on August 26, 2017

The food was good, really enjoyed the Bison burger. Unfortunately, the service was awful. The server taking our order was rude when you could get her attention, and the bar tender was even worse. Two of our guests were drinking Moscow Mules (No Copper Mugs) and the drinks were VERY inconsistent. Since we could not get our server to help, we went to the bartender and he talked down to my wife and they charged her $1.50 to remake the drink.....seriously. Someone needs to clean house, the servers are all too cool to be effective!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails
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food4
ambience3
service1
value3

 
·Dined on August 25, 2017

Only suggestion would be to have a couple of specials each night since the menu is not big. Love the food and lots of people would eat there st least weekly if some more choices. Excellent food!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Seasonal, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Paleo Friendly, Fun, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays, Tasting Menu, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on August 11, 2017

This is a true gem hidden just off the main drag in Sanford. The chef puts a unique spin on traditional and not-so traditional recipes. Good selection of craft beers and hand-crafted cocktails. If you are looking for something different and delicious, you must try The Smiling Bison.

Tags: Romantic, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Authentic, Great Beer, Good for a Date, Casual, Business Meals, Cozy
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 29, 2017

All the staff we interacted with were great. The food was fantastic. Amazing drinks at the bar

Tags: Bar Seating, Comfort Food, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Fun, Casual, Great Beer, Happy Hour, Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on July 28, 2017

All I can say is that I can't wait to go back and this time I am ordering the bison burger.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Tasting Menu, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 22, 2017

Creative food. We made it for an early dinner, caught happy hour, enjoyed the casual atmosphere and fast service. The restaurant is set back from first street, don't miss it the food was great

Tags: Happy Hour, Casual, Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 19, 2017

The food was amazing, service was on point and the atmosphere was ideal for a dinner out during the week.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 12, 2017

The food was excellent, but don't expect to split the Bison burger between 2 people... the Texas toast description threw us and we expected a BIG burger, which it isn't! Overall, a good experience. Looking forward to trying the dinner menu... duck! :-)

Tags: Quick Bite, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 8, 2017

Everything was and always is amazing; simply an all around fantastic experience. There just aren't words good enough to describe the awesomeness that is The Smiling Bison.

Tags: Authentic, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Casual, Good for Groups, Tasting Menu, Fun, Great Beer, Bar Seating, Vibrant Bar Scene, Local Ingredients, Good Vegetarian Options, Handcrafted Cocktails, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Pre/post Theatre, Scenic View, Special Occasion, Happy Hour, Great for Brunch, Romantic, Healthy, Creative Cuisine, Notable Wine List, Quick Bite, Organic, Seasonal, Good for a Date, Cozy, Business Meals, Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Kid-friendly, Comfort Food, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on July 8, 2017

We always enjoy The Smiling Bison. We were out to celebrate our nieces graduation. We made reservations (a definite plus). The beer list is extensive and the cocktail choices were interesting.

We love the poutine and the chicken biscuits were fantastic. You can't go wrong with the Bison burgers or duck pizza. The menu changes based on what is available. The desserts are usually delicious but there wasn't a chocolate choice so that is the only reason we were able to abstain at this visit.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Quick Bite, Organic, Good for Groups, Authentic, Notable Wine List, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on June 30, 2017

Food is amazing here, duck lovers pizza is a must order. So are the smoked fish hush puppies!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Seasonal, Fit for Foodies, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on June 24, 2017

This restaurant was a gourmet experience in a rustic, casual atmosphere. The decor is a sort of barnyard chic, with rustic wooden benches below and sparkling chandeliers overhead. The menu changes frequently to keep up with fresh produce and other ingredients, according to the proprieter, who is on site every day and passionate about his menu--but in a quiet, understated way, which made it a pleasure to meet him. The wine list for this small restaurant is also small, but so very interesting, with a great variety from around the world (Spain, Argentina, Africa, etc.) instead of the usual California fare (although there were at least one California red and one white, if you love your California wines). I was really impressed with the short but tantalizing wine list. Reservations are recommended. By 6:30 pm on a Saturday night, walk-ins were already being given a 90-minute wait...because the word is out that this is a must-try restaurant on the vibrant downtown Sanford scene. The restaurant is right in the middle of the historic blocks that include lots of bars, some live music, and even an art gallery that stays open late on Saturdays. I'd make dinner at the Smiling Bison the start of a great date night.

Tags: Organic, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on June 20, 2017

Visited for the first time to take advantage of the Bite 30 pre-fix menu. I enjoyed house-made summer sausage as an appetizer and butter-poached shrimp over clam risotto for my main dish. Both were excellent; and well portioned. My husband had a tomato salad over black barley to start and lamb belly with curry potato salad for his main dish. I tried the potato salad and enjoyed it immensely! If I am being honest, the deserts we had were average. But, the craft cocktails (only $5 at happy hour) more than made up for this shortcoming. This is the third different restaurant I have visited in this space. I think it looks its best by far and I sincerely hope it remains for years to come.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Casual, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service3
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Very good, interesting food and drink selections. Some menu items get changed up from month to month, which keeps things fresh and new. Not a great place to have a conversation when it is busy. Very loud atmosphere. Design and layout of the place is nice, but the furnishings are too blunt and don't allow for absorption of ambient noise.

Tags: Good for a Date, Fun, Happy Hour, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on June 3, 2017

Did not disappoint! Delicious experience!
Staff was delightful and very knowledgeable!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Romantic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on May 20, 2017

Great service and great food. Came here with several members of my meetup group before the Wayne Densch Theater concert. Definitely returning.

Tags: Special Occasion, Business Meals, Fun, Healthy, Happy Hour, Good for Groups, Vegan, Quiet Conversation, Authentic, Cozy, Casual, Quick Bite, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on May 13, 2017

We visited for Mothers Day and had a really tasty dinner. Great server too

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Handcrafted Cocktails, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on May 6, 2017

service was amazing and the food was delicious. Thank you for making our large table birthday party enjoyable.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on March 31, 2017

Great food, unique options & a nice atmosphere.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on March 11, 2017

Great bison burgers

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on March 11, 2017

I enjoyed The Smiling Bison several times at their location near Rt. 50, then we found the second location in Sanford and visited a few times. Now that this is the main location, I am very happy to be closer. I was looking for a spot for brunch on Saturday, and this was one of the few that was available with the kinds of pastries, drinks, and food that I wanted for a birthday celebration with friends. The food is fantastic, pastries are superb, and service was great. I am so excited to be able to return.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Cozy, Great for Brunch, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on March 10, 2017

This place was great! Service was awesome, our waitress (Katie) was totally awesome she gave us great recommendations with food and drinks. I totally recommend the old fashioned flight it was amazing! Great food, great drinks, awesome time. I would totally come back here again!

Tags: Seasonal, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for a Date, Good Vegetarian Options, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Happy Hour, Special Occasion, Great Beer
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on March 4, 2017

I love this restaurant. I frequented the Bennet Rd. location in Orlando before it closed. I find myself making the trek to Sanford 1-2x monthly to dine here. It is much larger than the former Orlando location and a more attractive space as well. There is a rotating menu and I can generally find something new every time I visit. My only complaint is that the portions are smaller than I would prefer. I usually find myself hungry after spending a lot for a meal.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Great Beer, Casual, Romantic, Fun, Special Occasion, Bar Seating, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Vibrant Bar Scene, Pre/post Theatre, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Handcrafted Cocktails
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service4
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on February 25, 2017

Overall, the food, service, and location are very good, and if you are willing to have the length of your dinner clocked, this is the place for you. We had a 6:30 reservation and our friends were a few minutes late. What we did not know at the time was this would be held against us at the end of the dinner. We were at the table for a little over one hour, forty-five minutes. At that time the manager came to our table and told us he had another reservation for the table and we had to leave. This caught us by surprise, especially after spending almost $200.00 including tip. While the manager was polite, he made the restaurant's scheduling issues our problem and left a bad taste in our mouth.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value2

vip
 (Orlando)·Dined on February 24, 2017

Great food and cool looking restaurant. Had the deviled eggs and aroncini for appetizers and both were delicious. The house salad was really good too. I had the burger (delicious...but small) and wife had spaghetti special. My only criticism would be the prices for the entrees. The burger was very small for $15. We will definitely go back.

Tags: Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on February 14, 2017

Very much enjoyed the Valentine's Day prix fixe menu. From the amuse bouche to the Strawberry mille-fueille everything was expertly prepared and perfectly plated. Katy was highly attentive. Look forward to our next visit.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on February 14, 2017

Went their for Valentine's Dinner. No mention of a limited menu or a preset $$$ amount when making reservation or reviewing menu on the internet. Once seated we were given a very very limited menu and the price was $50/person. I was not prepared for the limited menu nor the set price. Plus I looked at the website for menu items I could eat since I was on a strict diet. Waitress tried her best, but keep saying NO substitutes. I did get a salad instead of the mashed potato. The food was creative, tasted great and very friendly staff. Will try again - I really wanted the Prime Rib Bison.

Tags: Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value3

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