The Best Restaurants In Orlando
Our 21 favorite places for gin cocktails in mini bathtubs, crème brûlée cream puffs, Cuban sandwiches, and more.
If you have a hazy idea that the best Orlando dining happens at theme park restaurants, we need to talk. The city has exploded over the past few years as people across the country and the world have relocated here, and it’s turned the city into a hotspot for restaurants of all kinds, from sandwich shops to high-end sushi spots.
Even if you’re just here to build your own lightsaber or feed alligators in the dark, it can be hard to find time to grab a thoughtful meal before running to the next attraction or amusement park. This guide is here to help, with everything from burger and barbecue joints perfect for the whole family to plenty of bars and upscale spots for when you want a night out on the town.
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
The Ravenous Pig
If you’re looking for a place you, your kids, your mother-in-law, and the entire extended family will like, this Winter Park gastropub is a sure bet. The taproom and restaurant serve a rotating seasonal menu with a few consistent staples, like the charcuterie board and shrimp tempura with truffle fries for the 12-and-under crowd, but if you need extra room, or just something even more casual, head out to the expansive beer garden. The dog-friendly space usually has a food truck menu (think giant pretzels, smash burgers, and wings), Jenga and shuffleboard will keep the kids occupied, and the 18 house-brewed beers on tap can last you well into the afternoon.
Teak Neighborhood Grill
Sometimes, a burger is the only thing everyone can agree on, and that's when this sports bar delivers. There might be a game on TV, a live Bob Marley cover band, or a round of trivia going, but it’s the extensive burger menu that keeps the place busy. There are almost unlimited burger varieties here—exchange buns for waffles and beignets, layer on toppings ranging from chips and avocado slaw to ghost pepper cheese and guava barbecue sauce, or order off the underground menu (check their Facebook page for the password to give to your server) that unlocks around 10 additional burger options.
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You could totally stop by this market to pick up some almond cookies from Tuscany or a ball of smoked scamorza from Puglia, but you should definitely stick around and have lunch. We recommend eating downstairs at the cafe, where tables are scattered among the merchandise, so you might end up seated by boxes of risotto or bottles of single-batch bourbon as you share a spread of pizza and pasta. Upstairs, which has a full bar and a selection of wood-fired steaks, is more formal, but there’s still a kids menu to keep the littles occupied when you need a martini and steak to recover from a full day of Big Bird’s Twirl 'N' Whirl.
This taqueria, known for its tequila, is an ideal family dinner spot, especially since it's less than 10 minutes away from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The menu is overloaded with options, including burritos, nachos, and enchiladas, as well as dishes like goat cheese jalapeños, raspberry chipotle salmon, and birria tacos stuffed with 12-hour slow-braised brisket. Don’t let the strip mall exterior fool you—inside you’ll find a full dining room with patterned tile and an upscale almost country club atmosphere.
NEW & HOT
Swanky Ava Mediterraegean is every bit the hot newcomer in Orlando. The dining room, with its arches, columns, and limestone, might remind you of that Mediterranean vacation you've been meaning to take, while all the tableside preparations add a touch of drama. Beyond the daily fish and grilled halloumi, both served flambé, there's a Greek salad tossed before you, New Zealand lamb unveiled from a smoke-fogged glass dome, and plenty of cocktails. Sure, it’s all a bit over the top, but that’s why you come here anyways. While we love Ava best for a big night out, the Sunday brunch is also worth checking out—the menu runs the gamut from a raw bar and risotto cart to spanakopita and honey-rich loukoumades.
Twenty Pho Hour
Twenty Pho Hour claims to be America’s first 2D noodle bar, which turns out to mean eating in a space that feels like a comic strip, thanks to the black-outlined furniture and sketches of flowers, cityscapes, and sea creatures covering the walls. The actual reason to come here, though, is the flavorful phở broth, swimming with oxtail, dumplings, ramen, and more. Several dishes—particularly the Korean fire noodles, which come with a no-refunds warning—pack some serious heat. Despite the name, they’re open till 3:30am on weekends, so not quite 24/7.
The Monroe fills a niche in Orlando’s Creative Village you didn’t know you needed: upscale comfort food that reminds you of your childhood treats. Try the frito pie or pastrami corn dog as an appetizer, then double down on mains like pot pie or the fried chicken thigh sandwich and desserts like the peanut butter-infused chocolate cake. The hip dining space transitions easily from daytime coffee bar, where college students study and corporate types grab lunch, to a relaxed cocktail lounge. But if the weather’s fine, as it usually is, grab a spot out on the porch or patio with murals inspired by Florida nature.
You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to eat at Soseki, an omakase spot where the 10 seats often fill up two weeks out. But it’s absolutely worth it for an unforgettable night fueled by 18 or so incredible bites. The atmosphere is pretty laid-back and personal, as chefs share the story behind each item prepared at the bar in front of you. It might be chawanmushi, where the egg custard gets a Florida twist with Cape Canaveral shrimp, or perhaps the soup version of caesar salad, made with pureed lettuce, anchovy essence, parmesan foam, and garlic bread crumbs. You'll probably get to try their edo-style nigiri, but the menu is always changing, and that's part of the fun.
Bombay Street Kitchen
Bombay Street Kitchen is all about Indian street food favorites, including chaat, dosas, fried chole bhature puffed up like a turtle shell, and local takes like tandoori fish made with Florida pompano. Bring a group because everything is sharable, like the eight pani puri that arrive in a mini street cart or the many breads to be dipped and stuffed. The space is covered in Indian craft pieces decorating textured walls with turquoise accents, and it’s generally pretty buzzy—you’ll hear sounds from the kitchen and people in the dining room chatting, and we always feel sort of cool whenever we walk inside.
FANCY NIGHT OUT
Mathers Social Gathering
If your wealthy but eccentric uncle had an antiques store and speakeasy in his 100-year-old mansion, it might look a bit like Mathers Social Gathering: all vintage decor, plush sofas, and chandeliers suspended from the rafters casting moody shadows. Hidden behind a door in the library, bartenders in suspenders serve gin cocktails in mini bathtubs, there are sashaying burlesque dancers, and everybody is snacking on fava beans and flatbread. Come here for a memorable cocktail, and know there's even a General Store for the essentials, like candy cigarettes and absinthe.
With four locations in the Orlando metro area, there’s probably a Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine close to wherever you're staying. The Lake Nona outpost is the largest of their restaurants, but each one has chandeliers from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, handmade silks, and displays of pottery and crafts. The real art, though, is their halal meats, particularly the lamb shanks, braised over four hours to achieve a next-level tenderness.
photo credit: Erin Miller
We highly recommend coming to this Japanese pub to unwind over a long evening. The space is lively and works well for sampling bar bites with friends or even a solo meal where you might make a new buddy. Their 35 sakes and fizzy highballs are the perfect excuses to stay awhile and pair nicely with salty chicken skin yakitori skewers and binchotan-grilled, bone-in lamb lollipops.
Adriatico Trattoria Italiana
You’ll want to leave the kids with the hotel babysitter for dinner at this cozy trattoria with candles and white tablecloths. But despite all the romance trappings, the real way to your loved one’s heart is easy: the freshly made pasta. While you can’t go wrong with the veal medallions or cannelloni, if you like seafood, try the wide-ribboned pappardelle allo scoglio, loaded with shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, and calamari that goes best with a glass of pinot grigio. Save room for the panna cotta that comes with a drizzle of amarena cherry syrup and a hint of citrus.
This restaurant from Key West makes each night a party, with not one but two Happy Hours: the first from 3-6pm and another for the late-night crowd from 11pm to 1am. Bring a date for drinks and tapas in an amber-hued dining room filled with surreal paintings, like a horse under a blur crescent moon, or come with a group for a family-friendly weekend brunch, involving a tapas buffet of prime rib, pasta carbonara, croissant french toast, and complementary sangria and mimosas.
Whether you're headed to a show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts two blocks away or celebrating a special occasion that calls for 20 ounces of aged ribeye, Kres Chophouse has you covered. Housed in a 1930s art deco landmark, this steakhouse will serve you one deeply satisfying, calorie-laden meal, from the steak tartare starter to the whiskey-spiked white chocolate bread pudding. What’s unusual about Kres is that it’s the place to bring your vegan friends, too, thanks to the big plant-based menu section, featuring great vegan versions of dishes like beef wellington.
Se7en Bites is our pick for the best brunch in the city. You can get breakfast and lunch all day, which is made even better with drinks like peach lavender mimosas and the freshly baked caramel chocolate pecan pie. If there's a line out the door, rest assured it moves quickly, and keep a lookout for Southern specials like pimento cheese poutine and cornbread waffles. Whatever you choose, don't skip the crispy buttermilk fried chicken, wonderfully oversized atop a homemade biscuit and served on a metal tray.
Black Bean Deli
The fact that there’s often no lunchtime parking at Black Bean Deli is a testament to how good this Cuban food is. Circle a few times to snag a spot, and your reward will be some of the best palomilla steak, empanadas, frita burgers, and cortaditos you can find in town. The Cuban is their specialty, but don't overlook the media noche, a similar sandwich made with bread that's sweeter and softer, complementing the ham and swiss. This is more of a grab-and-go deli, with limited seating indoors, although there are also a few picnic tables out front.
Light On The Sugar
Even though Light on the Sugar has two locations in Winter Park, you should go to the one on Orlando Avenue since it's more centrally located near downtown. This sunlit shop of blond wood and greenery, where sofas form mini alcoves in the wall, is a chill space to meet a friend over a sakura latte or tiramisu float. The pastry case is full of crepe cakes and European classics like mille-feuille and macarons in flavors like lychee and ube. The best thing here is the crème brûlée cream puff, with a light, almost cheesy cream that somehow isn’t super heavy.
Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria
You can find everybody from firefighters and city officials to drag queens and DJs at this tiny, art-plastered Bohemian teahouse. Go for the fusion sandwiches like Asian pulled pork and cranberry ginger chutney on the Fu Man Chu or brisket and blue cheese on the Billy Chang. Then wash it down with one of their mix-and-match loose-leaf teas, like chocolate rose and kiwi pear, though if you need something stronger, they also serve sake cocktails. We like the nigori with Vietnamese espresso, plum wine, and cardamom.
Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar
When you step inside Lee & Rick’s, after parking in front and realizing the facade is shaped like a ship, you know you're in genuine Old Florida. Since opening in 1950, this nautically-themed restaurant has become an Orlando institution. Find a spot at the 80-foot concrete bar and go to town on peel-and-eat shrimp, raw oysters fresh from the Gulf, and gator bites.
There are classic barbecue joints and then there’s Pig Floyd’s. Sure, you can order platters of smoked brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, but you’ll also find their barbecue on tostadas and bánh mì, slathered in tikka masala sauce or piled onto yakisoba noodles, even portioned into bento boxes with spring rolls. And somehow it all works. Come for a casual lunch or dinner, preferably under an umbrella on the large patio. To sample some of their best meats, order The Big Floyd, which combines oakwood-smoked brisket, pork, sausage, slaw, and fries into one epic sandwich.