Just one in a string of joints to offer street eats with a pan-Asian bent, Kai has been luring them in with the sticky crunch of Korean-style chicken wings; crispy fries loaded with kimchi and bulgogi; and tacos stuffed with everything from chicken satay to deep-fried fish (cá). Owners Isra Sunhachawi and Quan Van traveled all over Asia in an effort to perfect their recipes and, after months of experimenting and tweaking, that commitment and drive certainly shows.
After that, we move hotter. A yellow one from Scotch bonnet peppers that’s about a six, a delicious Barbados-style pepper sauce made with mustard and having a molasses-like taste, a barbecue-style sauce from San Antonio made with ancho and morita peppers, a spicy peanut butter made from a traditional Haitian recipe, and a floral, fruity habanero sauce from Japan made with Citra hops and a bit of mango. After a half-dozen sauces, my palate becomes pretty fatigued. “If you push yourself past your comfort level, your brain’s not going to care about the taste,” Chaimberg says.
For an alternative taste of Orlando, head to Graffiti Junktion, a wonder world of street art, no-frills burgers and live music. Essentially a neighborhood burger joint, the restaurant-cum-sports bar manages to craft a hip atmosphere without trying very hard at all: from a few basic variations on the venue’s famous melt-in-the-mouth burger to a choice of salads, the menu is defined by its simplicity. And perhaps this is what has earned Graffiti Junktion the unofficial title of Orlando’s best – and certainly the coolest – burger spot. One sign of its success is how much the restaurant has grown over the years. It now has several locations in and around the city. Our firm favorite, however, is the original spot in Thornton Park.
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 😉
The popular city in Florida isn't just all about famous attractions, but their restaurants serve the top, best meals and cuisines you've ever indulged in. From seafood to steakhouses, burgers, Italian, and Korean, the city is basically United Nations when it comes to their selections. And there's a restaurant for everyone down in Orlando. So, if you plan on vacationing there anytime soon, check out the best restaurants in Orlando. None of them will disappoint you.
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...
The Sanctum really does feel a little sacred in the way they do things; its beautiful plant-based plates are colorful and fresh and alluring. And while there are loads of options for the vegan members of the populace, this place isn't that strict � you'll also find eggs and cheese on the menu in places. Grain bowls and salads, sammies and pasta populate a menu that holistic practitioners would likely tout. Delicious juices and smoothies tempt those looking for goodness by the glass. Breakfast/brunch is exceptional, whether you like your avocado toast animal-free or feel like topping it off with a couple of organic eggs.
Promising a refined Italian menu of thin crust pizzas, delectable pastas and an excellent Trattoria-style wine program, the Hilton’s signature La Luce is up there amongst Orlando’s best restaurants. Only open for dinner, the candlelit tables and lulling music makes for a romantic setting, although the generously-sized potions and lively service make this good for the whole family. If you’re not into your wines, the creative Mediterranean-inspired cocktail list is well worth checking out too.
Then I learn about the American Cheese Society’s T.A.S.T.E. Test, which launched in the summer of 2018. Passing this exam will confer the title of Certified Cheese Sensory Evaluator (cheese sommeliers don’t call themselves sommeliers). Cheese feels like something I can handle. I’d recently spent time on assignment for The Washington Post in Bra, Italy, reporting from the Slow Food cheese event, tasting from among 300 cheesemakers from 50 countries. The founder of Slow Food declared the event to be “the beating heart of cheese” and those of us attending the “cheese intelligentsia.” Well, as a member of the cheese intelligentsia, surely I can pass the T.A.S.T.E. Test.
Foie Gras is the specially fatten liver of duck or geese. Prized for its butter and meaty flavor, this French delicacy is may be prepared in whole form, or as a mousse, pate, or terrine and is cooked prior to being served hot or chilled. The meat is finely chopped or minced and mixed with fat and formed into a spread to create a delicate and rich taste experience.
Why go: The experience starts with a stroll down Park Avenue, Orlando’s European-looking, cobblestoned street. The walk sets the scene for a slow-paced Parisian evening. Through the restaurant’s doors is a classic, intimate dining room with white linen tables set for no more than four people. Dishes are prepared in classic French style, paired with fine wine that changes often and perfectly complements the European flavors presented by the chef.
“We want to get beyond ‘yummy’ and ‘delicious,’ ” says instructor Caitlin O’Neill, a Certified Cheese Professional. The first step we take is to plug our noses — the same sensory-analysis exercise we did in my honey-tasting instruction. We place a piece of mozzarella on our tongues, which at first simply feels gooey and salty, and then a rush of smoky, buttery flavor comes on once I unplug my nose. We learn the basics of cheesemaking and the differences between the milks of cows, goats, sheep and water buffalo (which is “almost the texture of white paint”). We taste 15 cheeses, each of which represents a specific category: fresh, bloomy, washed, Alpine, Gouda, uncooked, thistle, cheddar, grana, blue. As O’Neill explains each category, I start to feel ridiculous for ever thinking I could have skipped this foundational step in my cheese education before sitting for an advanced exam.
Gourmet Cheese is cheese made from high-quality ingredients that are aged to perfection using time-honored methods and traditions. Gourmet Cheese has unique and complex flavors and aromas. Special care is taken to affinage, which is nurturing and aging cheese to obtain the perfect level of ripeness. igourmet offers over 800 specialty cheeses in the world's greatest online cheese shop. Gourmet and specialty cheeses are offered from countries throughout the world in addition to artisan American cheese producers. Our delicious and unique offering of Gourmet Cheese is carefully tested and selected for the most discriminating palates.
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.
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
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.
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.
When I move to the evaluation portion, however, I immediately realize I am in way over my head. Any hubris I had cracks when I pop my first sample, a soft-ripened cheese, into my mouth. I chew. It just tastes like … soft cheese. I am supposed to evaluate this based on 70 characteristics and flaws in four categories (appearance, aroma, texture and flavor). And not just the presence of, say, a nutty or herbal aroma or an animal or grassy flavor, but “much too little,” “too little,” “just about right,” “too much” or “much too much.” At the table in front of me I see another candidate spit into a bucket. Wait a minute! I think. Are we supposed to spit cheese when we taste it, like wine? I spit my soft-ripened cheese into the bucket on my table (which is gross, to be honest). Still, I gamely trudge on for almost three hours. When I get to the evaluation sheet for Emmental-style (i.e., Swiss) cheese, there is a category for “Eye Development,” with characteristics such as blind, underset, irregular and dead/dull eyes. So cheese has eyes? When I approach the cheesemongers for a sample of cheddar, I steal a glance at the clipboard of a bearded guy in a Hawaiian shirt and Birkenstocks standing next to me. He marks “seamy” on one of his score sheets. What does it mean to have a seamy cheese? I am so out of my league, I don’t even know what I don’t know.
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.
This trading from non-local regions, also means, almost by necessity, that there was much cultural exchange between different groups to get these goods. The Columbian Exchange introduced many ingredients and styles to the new world and Europe starting with the expansion of the Iberian Empires. The new world introduced to Europeans tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, and many more. Another example would be interactions with the Islamic world, which impacted catholic cuisine in the 1100s. These interactions introduced many spices, the theory of the culinary cosmos, and cooking items such as North African pottery. These trades were facilitated by rich merchant states that traded with them the most notable being Venice.
Norman Van Aken is a culinary legend and a proud adopted Floridian, which plays nicely into delicious and often Latin-, Caribbean- and even Key West-infused fare. Sit outside and enjoy spectacular views of lakes, gardens and the Ritz-Carlton's expansive, green golf course or dine in climate-controlled majesty – vaulted ceilings and Italianate windows help bring that outside essence in. Tapas like Key West shrimp ceviche or delicate caviar may prime your palate for creamy cracked conch chowder or rhum and pepper painted Florida black grouper. Norman's is, of course, not a one-dollar-sign venue, but for vacationers and those looking for a sumptuous meal out, few venues are as resplendent as the Ritz-Carlton, and few restaurants could match it as well as Norman's.
I came here for brunch. I had a good experience. Service was excellent, interior was cute and rustic, parking was a little hard to find because it was packed. But when I called they said you can park in the salon parking next door because it was a Sunday and they were closed. As an appetizer I got these bacon rolls they were good but were a little brunt. I also got the guacamole and chips and they were good. But you really can't go wrong with guacamole and chips. As my entree I got steak and eggs and it comes with a potato as a croquets. It was really goooood.
This fetching Milk District market and deli is like the city’s very own Eataly, albeit one on a far smaller scale. Sure, shelves are stocked with the requisite imported edibles, and the display cases illuminate cheeses, antipasti and cooked items of the comforting sort (think porchetta, Portobello mushroom risotto, cacciatore), but it’s the sandwiches that place Stasio’s on the regular rotation of many a lunch-goer. Bread sliced and stuffed with ribeye steak, mozzarella, onions and a fiery cherry pepper mix is noontime sustenance of the highest order. So is the one with meatballs and spicy Italian sausage. And the one with the Italian brisket. And the one with prosciutto, capicola and soppreseta.
Seito has been at the forefront of Orlando’s slowly evolving sushi scene for the last few years, rolling out an inventive menu that using traditional Japanese techniques to create new and bold takes on the classics. Emphasis is also placed on using the freshest ingredients possible – as Japanese cuisine dictates – with fish imported in daily. But Seito is no one trick pony; good news if you’re a not a fan of raw fish. Much of the menu is also made up of other Japanese staples, such as ramen, tempura, and curries. Do note that Seito Sushi now has two branches, one close to Downtown on New Broad Street at Baldwin Park and the other out of town at Sand Lake. Read More...
Thought chuck steak was just a meh budget cut of beef? It’s inexpensive for sure, but it’s a far cry from the stew meat you think it is. In fact, chuck steak—unbeknownst to many—boasts rich, meaty flavor akin to a ribeye, and can be just as tender. This easy recipe uses a technique known as a “reverse sear” to deliver perfectly cooked, tender chuck steak every time. The reverse sear is a great, approachable cooking method for those who want a deliciously salt-crusted, medium-rare steak, but don’t have a ton of experience preparing beef. Rather than searing the steak in a screaming-hot skillet on the stovetop and basting until you think it’s done and ready to rest, this hands-off trick entails cooking the steak in the oven until it reaches your desired degree of doneness (a meat thermometer is really helpful here) and then finishing it off with a quick sear just to get a nice, brown crust on the surface. This gentle cooking method not only removes guesswork for a less-experienced home cook, but also involves less intimidating popping and hissing skillet action. Served with a flavor packed chimichurri, this easy chuck steak is just begging to be layered onto charred corn tortillas for steak tacos.