Food might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Orlando. And even if you do, you’re likely to think of cheap fast food, cartoon mascots and chain restaurants. We’re here to show that the city is much more than that, and Orlando’s culinary scene goes beyond its theme parks and tourist district. From slurpable ramens to blue cheese burgers, omakase and Oaxacan food, here are some of the best restaurants in Orlando!
A slang term which stands for “a dream come true”, DOMU’s ambiance oozes the ideology of going against the grain. Helmed by chef-owner Sean “Sonny” Nguyen, the restaurant and bar offers house made ramen, creative takes on small plates and seasonal cocktails. You’re in for a good time whether you go classic like the Black Tonkotsu ($15) or try a DOMU creation like the Curry ramen ($15). DOMU does not accept reservations and getting a seat can be challenging, so try to arrive early and be willing to wait, especially on weekends.
2. The Ravenous Pig
Run by a husband-and-wife team of James Beard–nominated chefs, The Ravenous Pig is Orlando’s first gastropub. Since it opened its doors they’ve won fans with their Southern-leaning, mod-American food, much of it ethically and locally sourced in Florida. Some of the dishes are mainstays, but the rest change up regularly, leaving diners to wonder what they will find when they walk through the doors. Start with a charcuterie and cheese platter (all the meat is cured in house!) For mains, the Ravenous Pub Burger is a popular pick at brunch, while you can expect the likes of lobster tacos, pastrami brisket and lane snapper tempura for dinner. We hope you’re thirsty too, because the next door brewery and taproom is a destination of its own!
When what you need is some great Italian food, Prato is your go-to. Chef Brandon Glamery delivers the best of Italian ingredients but adds his own spins and touches of creativity that will surprise you. Almost every dish has been touched by the wood fire at some point, and the pastas here are some of the best in Winter Park. Half-portions on most of them allow for a more authentic Italian experience, and offer more opportunities for sharing and sampling. You won’t go wrong with the pizzas too, but Prato ticks so many more boxes. If you try just one side dish, make sure it is the Prato meatballs.
4. Reyes Mezcaleria
Reyes Mezcaleria serves up delightful Oaxacan food created in traditional ways but with a modern twist. To start, consider a mixed ceviche of citrus-cured snapper and shrimp or the queso fundido with Oaxaca cheese. Take a look at some duck enchiladas for something besides tacos, or pick another platos fuerte to share. They also have a very tempting Happy Hour menu if you’re up for eating a little early. The deals on drinks and snacks can be enough for a meal!
5. Kabooki Sushi
Kabooki Sushi has all the traditional sushi rolls and sashimi one would expect in a Japanese restaurant. But for a truly over-the-top culinary adventure, go for the 15- to 18-course omakase menu. Much of the restaurant’s fresh fish arrives regularly from the Toyosu market in Tokyo and from Spain. Chef Henry Moso is arguably one of the best and most creative sushi chefs in the whole of Orlando, bringing together an enticing combination of flavor and atmosphere. He and his team brandish dishes with the vibrancy of Mexican flavor, the sophistication of French preparation, and the curated integrity of Japan. Every experience at Kabooki is an authentic encounter, with the dishes paced perfectly for maximum enjoyment.
6. Winter Park Biscuit Company
Plant-based food is getting increasingly popular in Orlando and one place to check out is Winter Park Biscuit Company. Everything from the cutlets and patties right down to the sauces are completely plant-based! You’ll find a line forming once the kitchen opens at 11am so get there early to snag up some fresh-out-of-the-oven goods like scones, cinnamon buns and donuts. Although the pastries are made with oat buttermilk and vegan butter, they are remarkably similar to the lardy original. Try it for yourself or bring some to your friends – we assure you they will be none the wiser.