In – and within – an easy drive of Orlando are some of the best places to eat in Florida – casual spots and upscale oases where everything from flawless southern comfort food to zingy Asian flavors come your way. Here are the best restaurants in Orlando.
Got a hankering for hand-tossed pizza and a hoppy craft beer? Serving slices 20 inches long and cold bottles of Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Lazy Moon has your name written all over it. Students can’t get enough of the aged dough and homemade sauces, so settle in and watch a soccer match or take a pie to-go – while onlookers stifle giggles – to see if you can fit that 30-inch box into your tiny rental car.
With so much attention focused on East End Market, Kadence hides in plain sight one block away. Reservations-only with zero signage, this small black building hosts a mere 10 guests for its signature multi-course sushi tasting menu. Sashimi, nigiri and fishy chirashi join the season’s freshest ingredients, including imported wasabi plants – no faux horseradish mix in sight. Order in sufficient sake to drink your fill and you’ve got an unforgettable, utterly exclusive experience.
Another delicious destination that the uninitiated can all too easily bypass, Se7en Bites serves up nostalgic southern staples that sell out fast. Breakfast and lunch are served here, with both menus available all day. So, even if you rise very late with severe hunger pangs you can still order from their biscuit menu – we recommend the 7th Trimester variety, smothered in mac-n-cheese. And for lunch? The chicken pot pie, bulging with healthy vegetables, sates the keenest appetite. Full disclosure: these mammoth plates require more than seven bites.
Named after the great strait that cleaves Istanbul into east and west, this marvelous restaurant concept – with locations in Winter Park, Winter Garden and Lake Nona – cuts no corners with its Anatolian cuisine. All meats are fresh –and halal – and most ingredients are imported directly from Turkey to give you a true taste of a diverse country that’s like no other. Whether you’re lunching or dining, you can request exquisitely crafted starter dips – think hummus and baba ganoush – with succulent mains. Perhaps hand-carved-lamb shish kebab, or sizzling good karides güveç – the national-classic shrimp casserole. Leave a little room for some divine chocolate hazelnut baklava.
Less than a 10-minute drive out of Orlando, the city of Casselberry isn’t far enough to merit a mountainous landscape. But the rustic Colorado Fondue Company’s mission is to get your taste buds on an alpine trail. Yes, the clue’s in the name, referring to that classic calorific ski-resort shared dinner. Here they deliver course after course of fresh vegetables and thick cuts of meat. Drop your chicken, steak and shrimp onto a scalding rock, cook it how you like it, dip it into the cauldron of molten cheese and pop it into your mouth. You could be in St Moritz – minus the snow.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Melissa RJ Mills.
Looking for more recommendations? There’s plenty of things to keep you busy, from exploring the most beautiful gardens in Orlando to enjoying natural wonders such as the best springs and the best beaches around. Enjoy a drink at one of the top bars in Orlando, then rest your weary head at one of the best hotels or boutique accommodation in the city.