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.
Landlocked Central Florida is not Italy, but when you want to temporarily forget that, go to Prato. This always-packed restaurant in Winter Park serves modern Italian food, like mustard spaghetti cacio e pepe and a variety of wood-fired pizzas, and has retractable doors and a patio, which almost makes it feel like you’re getting a nice breeze from the Mediterranean. There’s always a wait if you don’t make a reservation, but just grab a drink at the bar and start debating with your friends about how many pastas to order in the meantime.

The city’s finest pizza got a little better thanks to a couple of deft moves by chef/owner Bruno Zacchini. First, he opened an outpost of Pizza Bruno – his ridiculously popular Curry Ford West pizzeria – in a corner space inside Orange County Brewers downtown. Craft Brews + Beer = (duh) Win. Then he moved to a naturally leavened dough which, after a 48-hour ferment, yields a superb crust for pizzas like the “Crimson Ghost” draped with Calabrian chilies, soppressata, mozzarella, basil and hot honey and the “Midtown Square” with shaved local squash, mint, garlic, and pecorino. And, yes, those addictive garlic knots can be had here as well.
It doesn't get much easier than Instant Pot chicken. The Instant Pot brings new meaning to the saying "winner winner chicken dinner" with its ability to cook this protein at a lightning-fast speed. Transform your favorite weeknight chicken recipes into crazy easy meals or try new dishes developed specifically for your Instant Pot. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back because you will be astonished at how quickly you are able to get dinner cooked and served with the help of this pressure cooker. 
Plush and luxurious, The Boheme really lives up to its name. The restaurant is located within Orlando’s Grand Bohemian Hotel, a cultural spot that even features an art gallery displaying works by local artists. As you enter the dining room, you’re welcomed by sleek tones of red and elaborate art decorating the walls, while the menu pleases with its choice of succulent meats, fish and seafood, from the red pepper ahi tuna to the pan-seared kurobuta pork chop. Make sure you don’t miss the weekly jazz brunch. Here, delectable treats from the chef’s station and a la carte menu can be sampled to the gentle sounds of live jazz, played at the venue’s Imperial Grand Bösendorfer Piano.
Its air-conditioned confines may be miles away from the sultry Southeast Asian climes in which one would enjoy the layered flavors of the Malaysian food stalls for which it is named, but Mamak Asian Street Food's plates – small and large – are an exotic journey without the plane fare. From the familiar (spring rolls, street tacos) to items the less adventurous might deem out-there (fish balls, curry gravies) its menu culls from various Asian nations creating a mix of flavors that beg to be sampled. A central location in Mills 50 makes exploration of the neighborhood a pleasant to-do, pre-dinner or post-lunch.
Picking somewhere for a group dinner can sometimes feel like an SAT question. Your cousin is a vegan, grandma just wants somewhere with good wine, and your best friend is taking their new Whole30 diet very seriously. Rather than stress over it, just tell everyone that you’re going to RusTeak in College Park. This restaurant and wine bar is casual enough for a quick lunch or a Happy Hour glass of wine, while still working just fine for a date or birthday dinner. Food-wise, they serve everything from burgers and flatbreads, to General T’s pork belly and plenty of fresh fish. Similarly, they have one of the biggest wine and cocktail menus in the city, so regardless of who is joining you, everyone should be able to find something to eat and drink here.
Clean, modern lines meld with Spanish sensibility �" colorful tiles and a convivial, festive vibe �" at this fountain-bedecked enclave in Winter Park, where deliciousness comes in many flavors, spanning salty meats to sugary churros and a range of succulent in-betweens. Diners here most often go tapas-style, choosing myriad plates from which all can partake, enjoy, discuss. That's not to say for a moment, however, that the large plates �" from steamy, seafood-laden paellas to succulent short ribs to Spanish-influenced pub burgers. Good stuff. Bulla, by the way, is pronounced "boo-ya," which is precisely what you might say when your teeth sink into its delicious, little cod fritters, or you take your first sip of Rioja on its airy, open patio.
Gourmet meals are typically served in small contrasting courses. This allows a broad flavor experience, but at the same time limits the exposure to the often rich flavors that Gourmet Foods offer. Gourmet Foods are prized for their exclusivity often due to scarcity such as the case of the Italian White Truffle or Caviars that cost hundreds of dollars per ounce. Many foods are in season only during certain times of the year, and are grown only in remote regions of the world. Many of these foods are likely to be characterized as Gourmet due to accessibility, cost and origin. It is important to recognize that Gourmet Foods are in the eye of the beholder, as Gourmet Magazine includes recipes for everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to foie gras and truffles. igourmet has made Gourmet Food accessible through our vast offering of thousands of difficult to find Gourmet Food items.
Why go: Hamilton’s Kitchen, named after the late and beloved Hamilton Holt (8th president of Rollins College), is a nod to the philanthropist's love for hosting guests from all over the world. Appropriately located in the Alfond Inn, Hamilton’s Kitchen donates profits to the Hamilton Holt scholarship foundation for students attending Rollins College.
Mythos Restaurant is an award-winning restaurant built into what appears to be a cave. Located in The Jurassic Park: The Lost Continent® section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the interior evokes the prehistoric setting well, although the menu takes a sharp detour from the caveman theme. Greek and pan-Mediterranean dishes are the specialty here, including risotto, mezze platter, and lamb skewers. What we love about this restaurant is that you can have high-level contemporary cuisine with excellent service and all the trimmings without having to leave all the fun of the fair.
Local restaurateurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung (Sticky Rice, Chela Tequila & Tacos) continue Bento’s wayward expansion with the latest outpost opening inside the revamped Centre of Winter Park. Bento’s gleaming interior comprise the du rigueur components of today’s modern restaurant, and patrons appear to be dazzled by it as much as the menu. A pan-Asian free-for-all of sushi rolls, rice/noodle/poke bowls, soups and, of course, bento boxes is really no different than any other Bento, but the newness of its presence in Winter Park has gastronomes agog.

The buzz around this lively two-story wine bar in Disney Springs (apart from it being the only one run by an actual master sommelier – George Miliotes) is the 130 wines available by the glass and (gasp!) by the ounce. Patrons should pay particular attention to “George’s Finds” – a themed and changing selection of wines (currently Spanish vintages) – as well as “Outstanding by the Ounce” which lists a one-ounce sip of a 1996 Chateau Margaux for a paltry $100. The menu, by the way, is anything but an afterthought – porchetta-spiced pork cheeks, grilled whole Greek sea bass and a “Chocolate Experience” are proof positive. And, yeah, it is worth braving the tourist hordes for.

What is considered gourmet is different depending on the time and geographic region. What is gourmet historically depended upon what ingredients the people of that region had access to and how easily they acquire them. For instance, seafood could be considered a luxury in an area that lacks fish, whereas it would not be seen as such in an area near the ocean or a great river. Gourmet tended, and still does in many parts of the world, to be revered by a person with access to wealth because gourmet food has always been expensive. The expense was the result of a scarcity of ingredients for a particular food in the region at the time[5]. This fact meant they needed to be brought in from far away, which brought a variety of risks to the merchants. Merchants would have to deal with weather conditions, thieves, and broken equipment, intermediaries, and other such factors that could delay or interrupt the shipment of the good at the cost of their lives and fortune[6]. Thus they asked for higher prices. For millenniums, about 10% of the population could eat food that may have been considered gourmet in their time[7]. Potentially 80% of the global population worked in food production and would have eaten more typical meals to survive[7]. The typical meal would be what they could most easily get their hands on. In Britain, for instance, that was gruels, vegetables, small amounts of wild game, and grains[8].
This was on my must do​ list for a while. Down in the area and did not want to fight traffic. Halloween night and they were closing early. Not crowded at all as we arrived around 5 pm​. The first​ impression was good as I am a bit knicked up and using a knee walker. One of the staff grabbed the door and they suggested a table out of the heavy traffic. A/C was cranking so bring a light coat. Steve was our waiter and he was knowledgeable​. Ordered up the bacon wrapped gorgonzola​ wrapped dates and they came out very quickly. The bacon was a little too charred to be flavorful and the cheese was not as warm I would have thought based on how charred the bacon​ was. I would love to taste it with well-cooked​ bacon and melty cheese. Also,​ order some shrimp and grits......big order enough for a ​meal and the highlight of the night. Ordered up fried chicken open faced club and a chicken caesar​ salad.​ The sandwich was a sight to behold and the batter was crunchy​ but really did not have any flavor that wowed me. The salad was a good portion but the caesar dressing lacked​ a little on garlic. It is the small things that make the experience and having the manager realize the bathroom door was not cooperating as I tried to navigate and helping me was very much appreciated. Overall​ I think this is a do-over​ maybe on a weekend night and a little later so they are on step when we order......I can see the potential for what others have written but I did not see it that night. Gets a one star bump for a great staff but they can't make up for the star of the show, the food, falling a little short. @Kodiak_kuisine

To say the transition from food truck to brick-and-mortar operation was a challenging one for Bem Bom chef/owner Francisco “Chico” Mendonça and business partner A.J. Campofiore would be an understatement of epic proportions. Now that it has opened, the Audubon Park charmer is consistently hopping, and the inviting patio fronting Corrine Drive is one of the toughest seats to snag in the neighborhood. They come for Chico’s Portuguese and Mexican dishes, much like the ones he fashioned inside his food truck and, prior to that, at Winter Park’s Cocina 214. Frango de churrasco (or barbecued chicken) done in the piri piri style is a must, but dense and porky grilled chouriço is hard to overlook, as is the center-cut salted cod topped with caramelized onions and peppers drizzled in Portuguese olive oil and served with punched potatoes.
You can make this one pot chicken parmesan pasta in any large skillet or pot, but I always make it in my enameled dutch oven.  When I’m stirring the pasta as it cooks, I don’t want to be worried about the liquid slopping up and over the sides.  I’m a messy cook, but no one likes to clean up burn on sauces from their stovetop!  If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a deep sided skillet, or a stock pot… but I highly recommend picking up a dutch oven, they have so many uses!!
Orlando is about much more than its famous theme parks and the chain restaurants that spill out in their shadows. Orlando is a city of diverse denizens, historic neighborhoods, all-encompassing things to do, nightlife, parks and them some—especially when it comes to food. When in town, you (or rather, your tastebuds) will be awestruck by food trucks and hole-in-the-wall eateries showcasing international foods; bistros and cafes creating seasonal fusion fare; fishmongers slinging seafood straight from Florida’s shores and chefs crafting with ingredients from their very own gardens. It’s inside Orlando’s kitchens that you’ll start to feel the city’s character, whether dining at a fancy hotel or an anonymous-looking eatery. So get ready to truly get to know the City Beautiful while dining at the best (independent) restaurants in Orlando.
Once you hit day three of a convention or a conference, you’re going to want to eat something that doesn’t weigh you down as you sit through four more hours of back to back powerpoint presentations. During your next break, head to Da Kine Poke. This former food truck now has food stalls at both downtown’s Market on Magnolia and at The Local Butcher and Market in Winter Park. There are a few signature bowls on the menu, or you can make your own, with a variety of fresh fish, vegetables, sauces, condiments, and bases to choose from.
These programs prepare you to be a taste authority, a sensory expert, an arbiter and evangelist in the field, but you’re likely not producing anything. Even so, they’re in demand. What is it about this epoch that values such mastery over taste? Were we all truly so clueless and naive about these matters once upon a time? Has life become so fraught and complicated that even decisions over our smallest pleasures now require expert intervention?
Now, we work our way through what she calls “single-origin” honeys: a straw-colored, delicate acacia honey from Bulgaria; a smooth, surprisingly savory orange blossom honey from Florida; a pleasantly strange, brick-colored honey from Maine blueberry blossoms, with complex aromas of cheese and tomato paste and flavors from dried fruit to umami. “This is not your clover honey from a teddy bear,” Marchese says. “That honey in the teddy bear is just sugar water.”
Eater editors get asked one question more than any other: “Where should I eat right now?” Orlando dining obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, and what favorite chef just launched a new spot. So here they are – the fresh faces on our ever-evolving restaurant scene; the newish spots setting tongues awagging from the theme parks to downtown Orlando to the city’s suburban enclaves and all the neighborhoods in between.
Plush and luxurious, The Boheme really lives up to its name. The restaurant is located within Orlando’s Grand Bohemian Hotel, a cultural spot that even features an art gallery displaying works by local artists. As you enter the dining room, you’re welcomed by sleek tones of red and elaborate art decorating the walls, while the menu pleases with its choice of succulent meats, fish and seafood, from the red pepper ahi tuna to the pan-seared kurobuta pork chop. Make sure you don’t miss the weekly jazz brunch. Here, delectable treats from the chef’s station and a la carte menu can be sampled to the gentle sounds of live jazz, played at the venue’s Imperial Grand Bösendorfer Piano.

Chagrined, I become obsessed with acquiring another certification, in another realm of taste. I pay $120 to Ecole Chocolat, an online chocolate school, to enroll in its Mastering Chocolate Flavor certificate program. I enjoy good chocolate, and I was fascinated by the complexity and craftsmanship of chocolatiers on a trip to Brussels a few years earlier. I understand that chocolate can be “single origin” and demonstrate the concept of “terroir” just like wine and coffee — and honey. So I pay my money, unlock the study material, and am immediately overwhelmed with a dump of information: the origins of chocolate, cacao and cacao trees; how flavor works, both physiologically and in chocolate; the elements of chocolate flavor. We are encouraged to buy a textbook, co-written by Ecole Chocolat’s founder, titled “Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate.” The course is to be self-directed, with weekly tasting assignments — the first being a general exercise on sweet, sour, salty, bitter, fatty and umami, and the others comparing two or more chocolate bars. Students post to a group forum, with feedback from our Flavor Coach. “My primary question is how to classify ‘what is good,’ ” posts one of my classmates. To which our Flavor Coach replies: “Many folk in the industry have their own opinions about what ‘good’ chocolate is. Here’s mine (for the moment): ‘Good’ is a chocolate with no overpowering faults that is pleasant and sparks your interest. That leaves things pretty wide open, doesn’t it?”
Orlando’s finest steakhouse just happens to be located within one of the city’s grandest hotels, the Waldorf Astoria. Overlooking the hotel’s namesake golf club - right on the border of the sprawling Walt Disney World – views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows are superb, as is the meticulous service and refined décor that keeps things smart and sophisticated without ever feeling too stuffy. Being a steakhouse, the pièce de résistance here has got to be the 32-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk Rib Eye, big enough for two people to share (and at $145 you would hope so). The menu here goes way beyond the bovine offerings too, with Bull and Bear’s signature ‘Fried Chicken’ ($42), the Pan Roasted Colorado Lamb ($48) and the ultra-extravagant Main Lobster, which comes served on a spit for two people ($68 per head). Read More...
If there’s one place you should make a point to have brunch at in Orlando, it’s Se7en Bites Bake Shop in the Milk District. Sure, there will be a line out the door whenever you go, but it moves quickly and will give you plenty of time to decide between things like the Se7en Benedict, which is topped with fried green tomatoes and peppercorn hollandaise, and the bacon cornbread waffles. They also have a full lunch menu, plenty of cakes and pastries, and beer and wine, which means you can basically spend an entire afternoon here if you want.
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.
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