I’m just going to start by *dramatically* stating that this was one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever written. There are few things that I love in life more than eating, and if there’s one thing that Orlando does right, it’s food. I’m not joking when I say that I struggled to cut at least 25 places from this list- so maybe this will call for a pt. 2! I’ve lived in Orlando now for 8 years and have seen it grow tremendously in that time—especially in the culinary industry. So without further ado, here are the places that I find noteworthy.
- East End Market- 3201 Corrine Drive
- Mills/50- 1101 E Colonial Drive
Favorite Drink: You can’t go wrong here, but my fave is the Cold Brew White.
I love coming to the Mills location to sit and write, catch up with a friend over great coffee, or even have a business meeting. The atmosphere is so chill and the staff are always awesome. If you stop by their East End Market location, be sure to grab some food from the other local vendors to pair with your coffee!
The Greenery Creamery
- Downtown Orlando- 420 E Church St #112
Favorite Flavor: Cardamom Rose
All I can say is—YUM. This place has the best and most unique flavors—my favorite one being dairy/gluten free, which is actually what I love the most! I can get my fill of sweets without feeling extra guilty afterward.
- UCF- 11565 University Blvd #4
- Winter Park- 862 Orlando Ave #100
Favorite Salad: Greek Salad with Chicken
I get Hummus House at least twice a week. It’s the perfect go-to when I don’t feel like cooking, but still want to be healthy. The way you order is “chipotle style,” so pick and choose what you want but don’t pass on the chicken! I have no idea what they do to it, but my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
(Not counting calories? Try the fried cauliflower and side of pita with hummus!)
Shin Japanese Cuisine
- Downtown/Ivanhoe- 803 N Orange Avenue
Favorite Roll: Shin Volcano
I come here for one reason only: the Shin Volcano Roll. Picture a California roll topped with something resembling buffalo chicken dip on top. This is, hands down, the best sushi roll I’ve ever had, but come hungry! It’s definitely filling.
Jinya Ramen Bar
- Thornton Park- 8 N Summerlin Avenue
Favorite Bowl: Spicy Chicken Ramen
Call me crazy, but my favorite ramen comes in a plastic orange packet and costs 99 cents lol. I’m really picky when it comes to eating ramen because in my opinion, a lot of bowls just do too much. I like to keep it as simple as possible- and I finally found a place that I looooove. Jinya just recently opened up and was sooo worth the wait.
- Lake Eola/Thornton- 100 S Eola Drive #103
Favorite Item: Steak n’ Eggs or The Frenchman (for those with a sweet tooth)
It was really hard to put Stubborn Mule into just one category. Their brunch is out of this world, but so is their lunch…and dinner…and drinks… Basically, you can’t go wrong. However, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, this is one of my favorite places to go eat on their outdoor patio. Sam & I always take our out of towners here and they always request it when they come back. There’s a reason you have to get there when they open—or prepare to wait!
- Lake Eola/Thornton- 101 S Eola Drive
Favorite Burger: Bumble Bee
Fun Fact: The owners of Stubborn Mule opened up this little gem! So If you can’t tell from my raving review above, they’re doing all the things right! I’ve tried a bunch of the menu items here and loved them all, but their burger was to die for. I highly recommend eating your next meal here if you haven’t been yet!
Anthony’s Thornton Park
- Thornton Park- 100 N Summerlin Ave
Favorite Pie: Classic Pepperoni
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: there is no downtown pizza better than Anthony’s (and apparently they also make a killer fettuccini alfredo). It’s the perfect delivery option for a night in or to venture to for a casual night out.
- Winter Park- 124 N Park Ave
Favorite Dish: Mustard Spaghettini Cacio E Pepe
If I’m being completely honest, Prato has been a hit or miss for me personally, BUT I will give a standing O for their pasta dishes (and the apps that I have tried). I really love the atmosphere of this restaurant for a night out with friends. I’ll usually find someone to split two pasta dishes with so I can try more than one! My favorite (and default dish) is the one listed above, though. It’s delizioso!
Hunger St Tacos
- Winter Park- 2103 W Fairbanks Ave
Favorite Taco: Chori-Pollo
Hunger St is definitely a great spot for lunch or a quick dinner, not necessarily somewhere you would want to go out for a full service meal. But with that being said, these tacos are crazy good… I mean where else can you get a chorizo and chicken taco?! *Bonus* The building graffiti is fun for a ‘gram photo too!
Mathers Social Gathering
- Downtown- 30 S Magnolia Ave
Favorite Drink: The Phoenix with Tequila
Everything about this bar makes me happy. It’s a speak-easy that transports you back to the 1920’s prohibition era- from the décor to the music to the employees’ uniforms. When you get past the bouncer, you take an elevator up to a room that looks like a library where you have to discover the secret entrance. On occasion, they even have Paul’s Poems (a vendor we actually hired for our wedding) to greet you where you can request a custom poem that he’ll write for you on his type writer. In my opinion, Mathers has the best atmosphere of any bar I’ve been to in Orlando. Check it out- I guarantee you’ll have a great time!
The Sanctum Café
- Mills/50- 715 N Fern Creek Ave
Favorite Item: DiPaolo
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I’d regularly crave food from a vegan restaurant, I would say you’re crazy. I’m still not a vegan, but I’ve always been willing to try anything. Sanctum is one of my favorite places in town to get a quick lunch. Their dishes are so flavorful, and so delicious, you would never even know that you weren’t eating animal derived products. The cashew cream sauce and “meetball” are a 10/10. They also make amazing smoothies if you’re not in the mood for a full meal!
- Mills/Ivanhoe- 802 Virginia Drive
Favorite Cold Tapas: Smoked Salmon Carpaccio and The Trio
Favorite Hot Tapas: Bacon & Basil Wrapped Mushrooms and the Croquettes
For some reason, tapas style restaurants always end up being my favorite. There are a few that I absolutely love in Orlando, but Santiago’s Bodega wins hands down. At this point, I think I’ve tried 90% of the menu and don’t remember ever saying I didn’t like something. This is a great place to go with a group and order a bunch of dishes to share!
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
- I-Drive- 8005 International Drive
- Waterford Lakes- 529 N Alafaya Trail
Favorite App: House Made Meatballs
Favorite Meal: Chicken Madeira or Gnocchi Carbonara
Sam and I have had so many wonderful dinners at this place—it’s the first place we choose for our date nights. We always start with the wine tasting that they offer and play our “rate the wines” game (it’s also a great way to pass time when you’re waiting for a table). The winner usually ends up being the one we drink at dinner. We also love to order two meals to split (hence the two recs above) because their food is just way too good to only have one dish.
What are your favorite Orlando restaurants? Share in the comments below!