Food and drink in Orlando
Up until recently, Orlando’s restaurant scene might not have been reason alone to travel to The City Beautiful. But in the past few years, Orlando’s culinary reputation has done a 180, and it now ranks among America’s rising culinary stars. Thanks to a thriving locavore ethos, James Beard Award nominees, a burgeoning craft cocktail scene and an array of globally minded eateries, Orlando’s foodie pedigree has never been more deliciously impressive.
Theme parks as culinary destinations? Banish thoughts of candyfloss and overpriced burgers from your mind, and prepare to book in for some show-stopping meals. In fact, some of the city’s most noteworthy eateries are Disney restaurants. From restaurants that specialise in modern American cuisine (and which are adult-only, for when parents want a special evening to themselves) to eateries slinging the freshest seafood, Disney’s offerings go far beyond typical theme park fare.
One of the Orlando restaurant scene’s biggest draws? Its affinity for global cuisine. Worldly Orlando is the place to go for diverse bites, from traditional French and Italian eateries to Polynesian banquets and Afro-Indian fusion restaurants. The city is also host to one of the oldest Vietnamese communities in the country, so you’ll never have trouble finding that perfect banh mi sandwich.
Celebrity chef restaurants
The glitter, the glitz, the potential brushes with fame: Orlando’s celebrity chef restaurants don’t just offer up seriously gourmet food, but they also give visitors the chance to cross paths with a famous toque or two. From Chef John Rivers’ hyped barbecue restaurants to outposts from chefs the likes of Roy Yamaguchi and Melissa Kelly, there’s no shortage of name-brand dining rooms to visit.
Cool cocktail bars
Are you the kind of cocktail geek who would rather sip a Negroni than a Fuzzy Navel? Then you’ll be pleased as punch to learn that Orlando’s burgeoning cocktail culture means the city is home to a bumper crop of destination-worthy bars. From speakeasy-styled drinking dens to restaurants with serious drinks programmes, cocktail connoisseurs are well catered to in The City Beautiful.
James Beard Award destinations
The James Beard Awards are some of the most prestigious accolades in the food world – and when more than a dozen Orlando eateries have been tapped for recognition in the past several years, it’s a sign that the city’s food scene is moving from strength to strength. Orlando foodies are all abuzz about up-and-coming chefs like James and Julie Petrakis at The Ravenous Pig and Hari Pulapaka at Cress. Trust us: these are the reservations you’ll want to make well in advance.