This rundown of the best restaurants in Orlando highlight just why the city is acclaimed as one of the top fine dining destinations in Florida. Even though the Michelin star team haven’t covered these parts yet, if they did, many of these top picks would surely scoop at least a few stars between them with a good mix of celebrity chef-run restaurants in hotels to good old-fashioned family-style BBQ joints.
The Ritz-Carlton’s signature restaurant is a predictably elegant affair, and has been billed as one of the very best hotel restaurants in the world by various acclaimed publications and food critics. Chef Norman Van Aken's fuses Latin, Caribbean and Asian flavors together to create a vibrant and healthy menu that is described as ‘New World Cuisine’. Still sounds vague? Examples for the mains section – which changes seasonally – includes a pan fried fillet of Yellowtail Snapper, Mongolian marinated BBQ-style veal with Thai friend rice and Japanese eggplant, and pork ‘Havana’, served with black bean sweet corn salsa. Most of Norman’s appetizers are in the $10-20 range, and mains $30-60, which doesn’t make this the most expensive fine diner in the city, but certainly not the cheapest. Read More...
The Ravenous Pig was pretty much the first to bring the term "gastropub" into the Orlando foodie lexicon. Since it opened its doors, the city's dining scene has swelled to epic buzzworthy proportions (and the restaurant has swelled past its original location and moved into bigger digs on Fairbanks). Local is king here; a rotating food and craft cocktail menu features ingredients grown, raised and made by Florida purveyors. A few dishes are mainstays, but the rest change up with regularity, leaving diners to wonder what delights they may find when they venture in. Oxtail stroganoff over tagliatelle? Pot-au-feu? Could be. If not, another fresh-made creation is sure to please. Come thirsty, as well. Rotating taps feature phenomenal craft beers including those of its own in-house brewing operation, Cask + Larder.
A small, locally owned chain of tapas restaurants and bars, Ceviche has five locations clustered around Florida, and the Orlando branch is one of the liveliest. Its gorgeous interior decor, which features an original ceiling from a 16th-century abbey and dark, wooden elements, is reminiscent of an authentic dining establishment in the heart of Spain – a sensation only heightened by Ceviche’s live music and dance program. The extensive menu reveals numerous Spanish and Latin American-style options. Among these, the eponymous ceviche is one of the favorites; consisting of raw fish cured in a lime juice and spiced with chili peppers, this popular dish is a must-try for a real taste of Peruvian cuisine. Alternatively, drop by for Tapas Tuesday, a cheap and cheerful affair of tapas and heady sangria.
Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or finally cleaning out your garage, it’s good to have a go-to restaurant where you can eat and drink really well and get a little dressed up. For us, that’s Luma on Park. This place serves a mix of Italian food and things you might not expect, like soft shell crab and steak tartare, and between their basement wine cellar and cocktail bar, there are a lot of drink options. This Winter Park staple also has a $35, three-course prix fixe menu that includes things like kampachi crudo and homemade bolognese for when you don’t want to make a ton of decisions.
With taste education so intertwined with commerce, some public skepticism over such certifications is understandable. This past fall, a cheating scandal rocked the Court of Master Sommeliers, which had to invalidate the tasting portion of its hallowed master sommelier diploma exam. One of the proctors had leaked the exam’s most sacred secrets: the identity of the wines that the master’s candidates were supposed to taste blind.
I opted to omit the breading here… to save calories, recipe steps, and to keep the ultra creamy consistency. If you really need that breading crunch, you could add some toasted Italian panko breadcrumbs to the top of the dish. Of course, you could always bread some chicken tenders and cook them before laying them on top of the pasta, but that defeats the whole “one pot” idea 😉
My training as a honey sommelier at the American Honey Tasting Society culminates with eight wineglasses filled with various honeys, lined up from light to dark. My instructor, Carla Marina Marchese, tells me that when we taste honey, we don’t do the ceremonial swirl — the wine expert’s ritual — before we sniff. Honey sommeliers smear. “Smear it on the sides of the glass like this,” she says, using a tiny plastic spoon. Once the honey is smeared, I can stick my nose in the glass to properly evaluate the aroma, then spoon a dollop onto my tongue.
With its gorgeous, luxurious decor, marble features and portfolio of culinary accomplishment, Victoria & Albert’s is nothing short of magical – its location in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa only confirming this status as a fairytale destination. Modern American cuisine combined with the highest quality ingredients from around the world – including Italian truffles and Japanese beef – gives rise to mouthwatering specials. These include the Colorado bison served with caraway seed vinaigrette, or the Alaskan king crab ‘jar’ with Siberian caviar. It’s no wonder that Chef Hunnel and his team have received nothing but rave reviews and top awards, including the AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond Award. Jackets are required, so dress up rather than down for a dinner at this classy establishment.
Why go: Domu serves authentic Japanese style ramen right alongside their very own spins on the classics. Attached to the East End Market—Orlando’s European-style artisan hall of makers—the restaurant feels super hip. In terms of specific orders, we suggest always asking for the kimchi butter chicken wings, an appetizer so good, it will make your head spin.
A gourmet store will often stock ingredients of the highest quality from around the world. They often develop special contacts in order to import and sell foods that are not readily available in their area otherwise. You may be able to work with the store to acquire ingredients by request. In addition, such stores often stock equipment needed to prepare gourmet dishes.
This highly-rated restaurant off Sand lake Road bases its menu around fresh, seasonal produce (hence the name), and presents a nice mix of indoor and alfresco seating, with handsome views outback stretching across the adjacent lake. Seasons 52 also have an oak-fire grill and brick oven onsite, helping to bring out the natural flavors, as well as keep things healthy. Recommended dishes to try are the wood-grilled pork tenderloin, oak-grilled rack of lamb, Asian-glazed Chilean Sea Bass and duck wing ‘lollipops’. There’s also a sturdy lineup of local craft ales and international wines.
After lunch, there is a tour of Murray’s caves, where the cheese ages. Then we’re led through the tasting of eight more cheeses by Tyler Frankenberg, the company’s customer experience manager, also a Certified Cheese Professional. This tasting is about comparing variations in cheesemaking: the differences between cheese near the rind vs. the tip, washed rind vs. ash, unaged vs. aged (“older doesn’t necessarily mean better,” we’re told). At one point we compare two versions of a funky pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese called Hollander with an aroma that people describe as earthy, mineral, “like mom’s basement” and even redolent of ammonia. “With this one, the bark is worse than its bite,” Frankenberg says.