Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
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.
Sanford, FL 32771
Gastro Pub, American
Hours of Operation:
Lunch Wed - Friday: 11am - 2pm
Dinner Tuesday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Brunch Saturday: 11am - 2pm
Between 1st and 2nd Ave
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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