The best restaurants in Orlando
include famous chefs, secret
food trucks, and an award
-winning wine bar.
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 slurp-able 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.
1. Wine Bar George
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.
2. Hunger Street Tacos
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.
3. Winter Park Biscuit Company
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.
4. Kabooki Sushi
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.
5. Buttermilk Bakery
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.
6. The Ravenous Pig
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.
7. The Monroe
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.
9. Sticky Rice Lao Street Food
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.
10. Knife and Spoon
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.