May 19, 2024

The 21 Best Restaurants In Orlando, Florida

When you think of dining in Orlando, you might envision confections like Dole Whip, a turkey leg the size of your arm—cartoonish foods you eat when immersed in the fantasylands of Central Florida’s theme parks. But, Orlando is much more than its themed attractions and the oftentimes farcical food you’ll find there (although there are excellent dining experiences to be found on Disney property if you know where to look). 

In 2023, 74 million people visited Orlando. Most of them immediately head south to Lake Buena Vista, a municipality controlled by Disney. The theme parks bring in most of Orlando’s visitors, while few stay in and explore Orlando, “The City Beautiful,”—an oak-shaded community of arts, culture, and diverse cuisine. 

Central Florida visitors probably aren’t traveling here expecting to find amazing meals, but that’s an uninformed mistake. Orlando is taking its rightful place in the global culinary conversation alongside the likes of Miami after the Michelin Guide showered its first stars upon the city in 2023. From New Wave Filipino cuisine to Japanese Omakase to French-Florida fusion gastropub fare, Orlando’s restaurants are diverse, locally inspired, and waiting for hungry visitors to experience the lesser-known side of Orlando, Florida.

Here are the 21 best restaurants in Orlando to try now, in no particular order.

Kaya

Courtesy Kaya


Chef Lordfer Lalicon dreamt up the menu for this modern Filipino restaurant he co-owns with General Manager, Jamilyn Salonga Bailey. Find Kaya inside a renovated Florida-style bungalow that feels casual and neighborly. The menu translates the Chef’s Filipino roots through a distinctly Florida lens. A set menu experience highlights local and seasonal ingredients like tilefish, oysters, tiger prawns, and datil peppers. If you can’t nab a table inside for dinner (the word on this restaurant is spreading fast), swing by for a more casual experience at their tropical outdoor patio, Bayani Bar, serving a la carte bites and ube cocktails. On Sundays, come for Filipino brunch. The restaurant was recently nominated for “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Awards.

kayaorlando.com; 618 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Camille

Courtesy Camille


Experience modern Vietnamese-French cuisine plated by Chef Tung Phan, who trained in the kitchens of Victoria and Alberts, Disney’s most luxurious restaurant. “I want guests to leave feeling like they’ve experienced the historical culinary connection between French and Vietnamese cuisine,” says Chef Phan. A chef’s table bar makes it easy to converse with the kitchen and learn more about your meal. 

camilleorlando.com; 4962 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

The Ravenous Pig

Courtesy The Ravenous Pig


One of the first restaurants to introduce the farm-to-table movement to Central Florida diners in the mid-2000s, The Ravenous Pig (or just “The Pig” to the locals) is a gastropub that marries southern comfort with classic French-casual dishes. Chef duo and husband and wife team, James and Julie Petrakis, conceived the restaurant inspired by travels through Europe where dishes like steak frites are familiar staples at neighborhood bistros. The menu also changes daily with seasonal ingredients, while certain well-loved classics are always available, like the Pub Burger, Rock Shrimp Tacos, and housemade charcuterie. When you visit, order a Gin and Jam cocktail from the bar, a drink that uses rotating seasonal housemade jam.

theravenouspig.com; 565 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 

Foreigner Restaurant

Courtesy Foreigner Restaurant


This intimate 10-seat chef experience is the creative concept of Chef Bruno Fonseca, a culinary creator whose Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish background informs the menu at Foreigner Restaurant. The small space lends to an intimate ambiance and immersive dining experience where guests naturally engage with each other and the attentive staff. Don’t try and find their menu online, because it changes depending on what’s fresh. Expect to indulge in a perfectly paced multi-course meal with sommelier pairings and caviar to start.

[email protected]; 2816 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL 32803 

The Strand

Courtesy The Strand


Strand’s midcentury logo is just one of the many retro details about the restaurant. Located in a vintage building made with 1950s glass blocks and bedecked in mint green midcentury tile, The Strand feels and tastes like an elevated home kitchen. Dishes are timeless but not boring. Expect to find classics like duck confit, marinated NY strip, and red snapper served with a unique regional flair. Dishes are well-paired with local beers and natural wine. Made from scratch and influenced by what’s in season, The Strand’s menu is one you can come back to for a new but reliably relaxed experience. If the dining room seems busy, put your name down and head next door to their newly opened sister bar, d.b.a. Sip on classy cocktails and stay satiated with nibbles like duck flatbread or raw oysters. 

strandorlando.com; 807 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Papa Llama

Courtesy Papa Llama


Visitors to Orlando will find it hard to stumble upon Papa Llama in its discrete and unexpected location in a strip mall next to a fitness studio and a Winn-Dixie. But you’d be missing out on a Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded modern Peruvian dining experience, with the best natural wine pairing in the city. The bright, plant-filled interior transports you out of the strip mall and to a funky and modern dinner party in Peru. The menu is a feast for gourmands who appreciate fresh Florida seafood and local vegetables plated with aromas of earthy aji panca, smokey charcoal cooking, and the tart bite of salsa criolla.

papallamaorl.com; 2840 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806

Pizza Bruno

Courtesy Pizza Bruno


In a world where pizza joints fall into classic tropes and lack personality, Pizza Bruno stands out as an eccentric and artisanal take on good Neapolitan-style pizza. “Great pizza, great times, and good tunes. That was the plan from the start and still rings true to this day almost 8 years on!” says Chef Bruno Zacchini III, owner of Pizza Bruno. Using fermented sourdough dough, Pizza Bruno crafts signature and classic pie combinations that are fired at 1000 degrees in a wood-fired oven. The signature pizzas like the “Crimson Ghost,” (Fresh Mozzarella, Soppressata, Basil, Mike’s Hot Honey), are worth coming for of course, but don’t skip the standout starters like wood-fired octopus and meatballs with lemon ricotta. Try to make it to the original Curry Ford location for the charm and outdoor patio.

pizzabrunofl.com; 3990 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806 

Zaru

Courtesy Zaru


Handmade udon noodles are the main event at Zaru. Orlando is no stranger to ramen restaurants, but these freshly made wheat noodles crafted from Japanese Kagawa flour offer something different. “In the midst of the surge of Asian restaurants we [Orlando] have had, it really stands on its own specializing in Udon,” said Orlando writer and blogger Lindsey of LemonHearted Creative. Dining here in the 30-seat restaurant is peaceful and serene, and an authentic homage to Japanese dining. 

zarufl.com; 1114 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Shin Jung Korean Barbecue

Courtesy Shin Jung Korean Barbecue


This grill-it-yourself Korean barbecue joint in Orlando’s foodie neighborhood, Mills50, has been a neighborhood staple since the 90’s. Korean favorites like kalbi, bulgogi, and tteokbokki are all on the menu. The freshly renovated interior is clean and modern, with playful touches like K-pop music videos playing in the background. Come here with a group of friends to share the large plates of grill-at-the-table vegetables and meats.

shinjungkoreanbbq.com; 1638 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803 

Danilo’s Pasta Bar

Courtesy Danilo’s Pasta Bar


Head to the second-floor East End Market, a European-style artisan market in the hip Orlando neighborhood of Audobon Park, to find this 8-seat pasta bar. Here, Chef Danilo “DJ” Tangalin’s presents fresh, locally-inspired takes on classic pasta dishes with Florida ingredients and French technique. “At Danilo’s pasta bar, we humbly pour our passion into every plate, striving to offer a taste of new and old culinary tradition,” said Chef Tangalin. The $75 tasting menu option is an 8-course experience that changes weekly, but guests can also order a la carte. Arrive early for your reservation to sip on an Orlando-inspired cocktail at the cocktail bar, The Neighbors, and wander the vendors at East End Market.

instagram.com/danilos_orlando; 3201 Corrine Dr Floor 2, Orlando, FL 32803

Turci Pasta

Courtesy Turci Pasta


You’ll be served homemade pasta and housemade sauces akin to what you’d find on the streets of Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood at Turci Pasta, a neighborhood Italian restaurant and market. This isn’t your breadsticks-at-the-table kind of Americanized pasta joint, although you will find fresh takes on Italian classics—like purple sweet potato gnocchi. Ricky Ly, author of The Food Lover’s Guide to Orlando and founder of Orlando restaurant site, TastyChomps, says “get the gorgeous pear and cheese ravioli with pear poached in wine.” Arrive with an empty stomach so you’ll have room for the tiramisu for dessert.

shorturl.at/dpyJZ; 2120 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804 

Bombay Street Kitchen

Courtesy Bombay Street Kitchen


Indian cuisine can refer to many different kinds of regional cooking styles, spice mixes, and dishes. That acknowledgment of a country’s culinary diversity, coupled with the more casual format of street food, is what comes together in Chef and Owner Amit Kumar’s Bombay Street Kitchen. House-blended spice mixtures and scratch cooking make Bombay’s menu stand out, and have helped it garner a Michelin Bib Gourmand nod for three years running.

bombaykitchenorlando.com; 6215 S Orange Blossom Trl, Orlando, FL 32809

AVA MediterrAegean

Courtesy AVA MediterrAegean


This limewashed restaurant is located in prime real estate in the upscale Orlando neighborhood of Winter Park. The cobblestoned main street of Park Ave is ideal for strolling and wouldn’t be out of place in a European village, which is why AVA and its Adriatic cuisine feel right at home there. Grab a table by the street so you’ll have front-row seats to people-watching and enjoying the best that Florida weather has to offer, thanks to the indoor-outdoor open-air restaurant design. If you’re with a group, order the salt-crusted fresh fish of the day. If you’re dining alone at the bar, see if you can shoulder up to a member of MM Club, AVA’s members-only speakeasy hidden beneath the restaurant.

avamediterraegean.com; 290 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Juju

Courtesy Juju


This Japanese gastropub delivers retro vibes and a charcoal-fired a la carte menu in an Izakaya-style dining room. A little over a year old, Juju is found within a former Pizza Hut building, complete with the iconic roof style. But inside, the environs and menu are as far from fast-casual as you can get. Make a reservation for the omakase experience at Kappo Bar, their chef counter specializing in house dry-aged fish. Or come in for unique and cheeky Japanese cocktails, like “That old Pizza Hut,” a concoction of Suntory Toki whiskey, ginger-honey syrup, fresh nutmeg, orange zest, and whipped cream.

susuruorl.com; 700 Maguire Blvd, Orlando, FL 32803

Enzo’s On the Lake

Courtesy Enzo’s On the Lake


Some things never go out of style, like the romance of a white-linen table at a classic Italian restaurant with impeccable service. Enzo’s has been specializing in this ambiance and experience since its opening in 1980. Inside, guests are served in cozy dining rooms that overlook a garden and lake view. Perfect for an anniversary or elegant date night, Enzo’s on the Lake is timeless.

enzos.com; 1130 S US Hwy 17 92, Longwood, FL 32750

Osprey Tavern

Courtesy Osprey Tavern


The Osprey Tavern is a uniquely Floridian-American dining room and steakhouse. The menu reflects the peninsula’s southern personality and seafood predilection. Expect to find local oysters, seafood towers, local line-caught Florida fish, and fine prime steak cuts grilled over Florida Oak. It’s the southern comfort foods with a Floridian point of view that set Osprey Tavern apart, like “Crush Puppies”—hush puppies made with local Blue Crab and Florida sweet corn.  

theospreyorlando.com; 4899 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

Nile Ethiopian

Courtesy Nile Ethiopian


Nile is one of Orlando’s first Ethiopian restaurants and has called Central Florida home since 2006. If you find yourself on the International Drive, a highway full of chain restaurants, then seek out Nile for a different experience. “Nile’s Taste of the Nile vegetarian platter is a must – full of vibrant flavors and served of course on injera, the Ethiopian flatbread,” says Ricky Ly. Ly also recommends the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, “where they roast coffee beans and bless the attendees in a delightful ceremony.” 

nileorlando.com; 7048 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 

Caravan

Courtesy Caravan


This halal restaurant serves Uzbek and Turkish recipes passed down through generations, like traditional Uzbek bread, “non,” baked in clay ovens. Caravan brings the flavors of Central Asia to Central Florida. Ricky Ly said, “I had their rice pilaf dish which was fantastic.” 

caravanhalal.com; 8015 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32809 

Uncle Tony’s Backyard BBQ

Courtesy Uncle Tony’s Backyard BBQ


Southern states get a lot of press about their own style of regional BBQ. Florida doesn’t have a particular brand of BBQ, but it does offer a great playground for all kinds of smokers to set up shop and find hungry diners. Uncle Tony’s describes their slow-cooked meets as Arkansas style. Their sides are housemade and served alongside smoked brisket, ribs, pulled pork, or chicken. Lindsay of LemonHearted Orlando blog describes Tony’s as “a solid place for incredible comfort food.” 

uncletonysbackyardbbq.com; 6807 S Orange Ave Ste. 110, Orlando, FL 32809

Kabooki Sushi

Courtesy Kabooki Sushi


Kabooki Sushi is where James Beard-nominated Chef Henry Moso dreams up sushi that transcends traditional boundaries. Come for the signature rolls, and stay for a low-lit after-dinner drink at their attached lounge next door. With a new second location, more Orlando visitors can experience the modern Kabooki menu. 

kabookisushi.com; 3122 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803; 7705 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

Soseki Modern Omakase

Fernando Delgado / EightySix Media


In an interview with Michelin guide, who awarded the restaurant one star, Soseki Chef and Owner Michael Collantes estimated 85-90% of the menu is derived from locally sourced ingredients. “I say this every night at dinner—everything we do is intentional. We’re telling the story of what it means to be a restaurant in Central Florida,” said Collantes. The restaurant serves Japanese chef-curated dishes to 10 counter seats. Soseki is an indulgent, immersive experience where you’ll experience a mindful taste of Central Florida.

sosekifl.com; 955 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789