When people think of restaurants in Orlando they may think of an over-abundance of chain restaurants, character-clad meals, or cheap fast-food. Yes, Orlando does have those things, but if you're willing to look around a bit and drive outside of theme park zones and tourist districts you'll find that the City Beautiful is filled with everything from authentic Lao street food to fine dining. (That's not to say you can't find some great meals inside the theme parks, though!)
Orlandos' culinary renaissance has led to restaurants expanding, adding new establishments to their portfolio, and even getting into prized kid-friendly theme park. This is exactly what happened to James and Julie Petrakis, who are the masterminds behind The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder, and their newest venture The Polite Pig at Disney Springs.
Whether you're looking for slurpable ramen dishes, mouthwatering dry-aged steaks, or decadent crab nachos to share (or not share, we don't judge) with a table of friends and family before or after hitting the theme parks, these are our favorite places to eat in Orlando.
Wine Bar George at Disney Springs is a favorite among locals and tourists. The restaurant is known for its extensive wine list that features more than 140 wines from around the world, all of which are available by the ounce, glass or bottle. When it's time to nosh be sure to get the Big Board, a variety of artisan cheeses, meats and accompaniments. We also love the family-style platters of skirt steak or the whole-grilled sea bass. Wine Bar George also serves a decadent weekend brunch with items like brioche French toast or a fried chicken biscuit with pimento cheese. And no brunch at this Disney establishment is complete without a Frozcato made with DOLE Whip Pineapple, moscato, and vodka blended together into a perfectly sweet slushy.
Hunger Street Tacos is just a few minutes away from Orlando's urban core. The simple joint crafts dishes such as esquites (Mexican street corn) and refreshing cucumber salads from old family recipes alongside more modern fare like fried avocado tacos and savory mushroom quesadillas. You'll know you've found the right spot when you see the building with the impressive mural of a little girl surrounded by flowers.
Plant-based dining is at an all-time high in Orlando and one restaurant not to miss is Winter Park Biscuit Company. Everything on their menu, right down to the sauces, is completely plant-based. The menu is filled with tempting options, but we suggest the truffle butter biscuit – a flaky oat buttermilk biscuit served with a side of truffle butter – or the crispy chik sandwich – a vegan chicken cutlet with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo on a brioche bun. The restaurant is located in the popular East End Market, so you can grab coffee and even more pastries after your meal.
Kabooki Sushi offers all the traditional sushi rolls and sashimi, but for a truly over-the-top culinary adventure, consider the chef-selected multi-course omakase experience. Just make sure to not get too full: The house-made desserts, like the goat cheese panna cotta and beet cake, served with Thai basil, beet powder, black pepper almonds, olive oil, and beet vinegar, are divine.
Located in the trendy Winter Park neighborhood, Buttermilk Bakery has become a breakfast staple in Orlando – perhaps because you can smell the freshly baked goods the moment you step out of your car. Head to the front porch of this women-owned bakery to stuff your face with fresh croissants, tarts, breads, and more. Then settle on the porch or side patio to have a moment alone with your quiche – this breakfast spot deserves more than walking-and-eating.
The Ravenous Pig is owned by Julie and James Petrakis, local culinary legends known fo a string of restaurants including The Polite Pig at Disney Springs and Cask and Larder at the airport. The Ravenous Pig is known for its house-made charcuterie, which guests can see hanging in the fridge while walking to their table. After indulging in cured meats and cheeses, you're going to want to try out the goat cheese tortelini with pork cheeks. End the night next door at the on-site brewery and taproom.
The Monroe Orlando slings twists on comfort food classics such as chicken noodle soup, shake and bake ham chops, and a few variations on fried chicken in a mid-century modern setting. In need of a coldbrew and a quick snack? The restaurants has a second life as a coffee shop every day from 8am to 4pm, before switching to dinner service at 5pm. No matter when you choose to go, you're sure to enjoy the laid back vibes.
One of the most talked about restaurants in Orlando in recent years, Domu crafts house-made noodles to serve in almost a dozen different dishes, along with shareable plates like Asian buns. The delightful happy hour features a wasabi and ginger margarita that's worth driving through downtown Orlando during rush hour to imbibe. Domu does not accept reservations and finding a seat inside the tiny restaurant can be challenging, so be sure to arrive early and be willing to wait, especially on weekends.
The folks over at Sticky Rice Lao Street Food are making traditional grub like chicken laab, lemongrass beef jerky and pork tapioca dumplings accessible to the Florida masses. If shareable snacks aren't your thing, then consider one of the sumptuous noodle bowls with a variety of toppings and broths to choose from. The small restaurant is located on the edge of Orlando's Vietnamese community near downtown.
Knife and Spoon is the newest restaurant to debut at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando by award-winning chef John Tesar. The restaurant is known for its dry-aged steaks, which come in a wide variety of cuts and aging times. Regardless of which main you go with, from the 45-day bone-in New York Strip to the 240-day bone-in ribeye, make sure to order a side of kimchi-creamed spinach for a bit of a kick.
The signature dish at Tartini Pizzeria and Spaghtetteria – an upscale Italian restaurant with a surprisingly laid back vibe – is pasta alla ruota, which is pasta tossed inside a massive cheese wheel and lit on fire with brandy. The entire dish is made table-side so you can see the pasta and cheese pulls in action. Yum.
Chef Vic Nguyen is the mastermind behind King Bao in the Mills 50 area of Orlando. This foodie hotspot is known for its creative takes on traditional bao buns with delicious menu items like firecracker shrimp bao, Korean beef with fuji-apple-salsa bao and a sweet potato croquette bao. If that's not enough, King Bao is also serving up loaded tots, and fried bao sweets.
Capa at the Four Seasons Orlando is a beautiful spot for an elegant date night, special occasion dinner, or a fancy night out with friends. The top-floor restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of Walt Disney World, and a beautiful outdoor space to watch nighttime fireworks shows. Capa's menu is filled with shareable tapas like ham and caramelized onion croquettes and beer brined pork belly. For something a little more substantial, the paella with chorizo is filled with flavor without blowing your palate out.
Disney's Animal Kingdom is all about experiencing nature, and the same can be said about the park's signature restaurant, Tiffins. The restaurant is named after the light lunch prepared for working men in India, and is also the name of the containers the meal is traditionally served in. While you won't be eating out of a tiffin, you will be eating dishes inspired by Walt Disney Imagineering's travels to remote areas as they did research for the theme park. The menu at Tiffins rotates regularly, but oftentimes you can find some type of charred octopus dish, a bread service, and butter chicken.
In the heart of the Milk District you'll find Se7en Bites. The restaurant is a local favorite and has even been featured on the show 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.' If you want to try what host Guy Fieri tried, head to the restaurant early and order the vanilla bean bourbon bacon nighttime skypie (which usually runs out every day) and the chicken pot pie. Breakfast is served all day, so no matter if you're craving eggs or a Southern take on a Cuban sandwich, it's always available.
Take A Sushi food truck recently went viral on TikTok thanks to its loyal fans. The food truck is located in a somewhat touristy area of town on Vineland Road, next to a cheesy Disney souvenir shop but it's worth the hassle for the fresh sushi burritos and handmade gyozas. The line does get long, so we suggest ordering ahead, skipping the line for pick-up, then enjoying your sushi burrito creation at the outdoor picnic area that's been set up with funky murals, string lights, and music.
At Reyes Mezcaleria the food and drinks are created in traditional ways but with a distinct modern twist. To start, consider getting their queso fundido, which is served with housemade chorizo verde. For something besides tacos, be sure to take a look at the duck enchiladas, which comes with queso fresco, Oaxacan cheese, chile rojo, seared duck breast, radish and escabeche. Reyes Mezcaleria also boasts a tempting happy hour with deals on drinks and snacks that can be enough for a meal if you're willing to eat a little early.
Luke's Kitchen and Bar is all about classic American cuisine that brings a sense of nostalgia while dining. Almost everything on the menu is made in-house and many items like the vegetables and fruits are locally sourced. While the menu does have the typical burgers, steaks and seafood dishes, you'll also find things like cauliflower steaks and red shrimp ceviche. After dinner, stick around for desserts such as strawberry shortcake and root beer floats.
Chroma in the Lake Nona neighborhood is well-loved by locals and visitors. The restaurant is known for its take on "garden-to-glass" cocktails, small plates and craft beer in a cozy setting where friends and family can linger and chat the night away. The menu is an eclectic mix of items ranging from lobster pad thai to potato gnocchi to sliders. Each season also brings a new cocktail menu based on what fruits and herbs are at their prime and what the master bartender can get their hands on.
Orlando's Winter Park neighborhood has become the center of the culinary scene in the city. One mainstay that always has people lining up is Prato. Each of the Italian dishes on the menu has a modern twist. For instance, the green garlic ravioli comes with melted onions, snap peas, carrots and black rice for a balanced dish that's super savory with a slight sweetness from the carrots. Be sure to leave room for the seasonal dessert, which is often just whatever the chef thinks sounds good at the moment.
The Osprey Orlando has been a Baldwin Park staple since it opened in 2015. The restaurant recently dropped the word 'tavern' from its name, but everything else – from the quality, level of service to the consistency in food – remains the same. On weekdays from 5pm to 7pm you'll find a packed bar area filled with patrons ready to sip on perfectly crafted drinks and $1 oysters. The Osprey specializes in seafood, but for those looking for something else there's burgers, steak, and chicken on the menu too.
Todd English's bluezoo is located inside the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and is a lovely spot for seafood and steaks after a day exploring the theme parks or for a date night. The restaurant boasts a wood-fire grill where guests can see dishes being cooked as they walk by the bar. The highlight of the menu is the bluezoo simply fish, where you get to customize your dish based on your fish and sauce preference. If you're dining with a group you're also going to want to get the crab nachos, which are piled high with succulent crab, cheese sauce, black beans, pico de gallo, and more.
Orlando Meats is part butcher shop and part restaurant located in the trendy Winter Park neighborhood. The restaurant focuses on organic products that are locally sourced whenever possible, and using the whole animal. While the menu does change frequently depending on availability of ingredients, often times you can find things like a chicken fried lasagna sandwich, a lamb and falafel gyro or duck sausage chow mein. If you want a snack for the road consider getting some of their house-made ham that's thinly sliced, or crispy house-made bacon.
Plant Street Market in Winter Garden is a local food hall that's anchored by Crooked Can Brewing Company. The food hall has stalls for everything from bbq and sushi to macaroni and cheese and butcher cuts. No matter what you decide to get, be sure to grab a pint of freshly brewed beer, and enjoy the outdoor patio or walk just around the corner to the new barrel room, where you can try seasonal and specialty batches of beer while munching on lunch.
These drinking dens are found in the most unsuspecting locations, some of them catering to needs we didn't even know we had (craving a Christmas celebration on a random Tuesday in August? We've got you covered).