The 25 Orlando restaurants you should try before you die
Orlando was recently named the No. 6 best foodie city in the nation, and it makes sense. Look, we have some damn good restaurants here! Don't believe us? Here are few established local eateries (and a few newbies) that every Orlandoan should try at least once.
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Though Cecils isnt the only barbecue joint on Orange Avenue, the Texas-style smokehouse boasts an incredible brisket and sausage like no other. Smoked for up to 18 hours, Cecils serves some of the juiciest brisket you can find. Try it with one of the 16 side items, like the extra-buttery jalapeño mashed potatoes or the sweet potato soufflé.
2800 S Orange Ave., 407-423-9871; $$
Photo via Cecils Texas Style BBQ/Facebook
Defying the demise of so many soul-food kitchens of late, Chef Eddies steps up and represents with arguably the best comfort fare in the city. Smothered pork chops, saucy oxtails, chicken & waffles, chunky mashed potatoes, jalapeño crackling muffins all will elicit superlatives. Theres nothing healthy about the gravy-drizzled fried green tomatoes atop cheesy grits, but man, theyre good.
3214 Orange Center Blvd., 407-505-6802; $$
Photo by Adrian Capulong
Beefy King has a simple menu with a variety of steamed roast beef sandwiches, but its the corned beef and pastrami combo served on a hot kaiser roll that takes the lead. Pair it with the golden tater tots called "Beefy spuds" and a hand-spun milkshake and you have a perfectly nostalgic homestyle meal.
424 N Bumby Ave., 407-894-2241; $
Photo via gabrielllesanchez/Instagram
While the steamed buns themselves arent fresh (theyre bought frozen, sorry), the crunchy, succulent or spicy meats they cradle are, be it kimchi fried chicken, Korean short rib or braised pork belly. Tater tots are the sole side, but if you have room for dessert, fried bao with sweet fillings are available. Closed Sundays.
710 N. Mills Ave., 407-237-0013; $
Photo via famouslandpodcast/Instagram
Popular veg house lost the cozy lakeside courtyard with the move to Winter Park, but gained in square footage and exposure not to mention a handsome bar. Meatless comfort staples are the norm, and dishes like sheeps pie, sausage rolls and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches satisfy. Even calzones with soy cheese are impressive more so than the desserts. Open daily until 11 p.m.
601-B S. New York Ave., Winter Park, 407-228-3898; $$
Photo by Rob Bartlett
Serving some of the biggest (were talking hand-sized) oysters youll ever see, Lee and ricks warrants a bushel of the mollusks. If oysters arent your thing, try one of their seafood entrees or appetizers. The restaurant is meant to be experienced with large crowds and messy hands, so no fancy dress and no trepidation is necessary. Expect horseradish and cocktail sauce stains all over your clothes.
5621 Old Winter Garden Rd., 407-293-3587; $$
Photo via devikanarulacakes/Instagram
Popular ramen joint lives up to the hype offering near-perfect bowls of tonkotsu, shoyu, miso and curry ramen. Theres an uni pasta for those who want to forgo broth for the richness of sea urchin, but dont overlook other soupless options like the crackling good Korean fried chicken with butter sauce and the grilled octopus. Cocktails are taken seriously here.
3201 Corrine Drive, 407-960-1228; $$
Photo via robynnedeau/Instagram
Colonialtowns Chuan Lu Garden employs plenty of fiery stimulants in their authentic, real-deal Sichuan fare. Must-try dishes: cumin lamb, laced with aromatic and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, and Lanzhou-style beef soup with hand-pulled noodles. Open daily from 11 a.m.
1101 E. Colonial Drive, 407-896-8966; $$
Photo via Chuan Lu Garden
You cant go to East End Market without stopping by this monster cookie stall. Served on a foundation of doughy goodness, packed with enormous chocolate chips, sea salt, pistachios, rich in texture and flavor. You cant go wrong with any of the cookie flavors (there are always six cookie flavors posted daily online), its the pistachio toffee dark chocolate which mixes dark chocolate chunks with toffee bites that will have you addicted.
3201 Corrine Dr.; $$
Photo via jennifermarie1101/Instagram
This Thai tea house and sandwich joint has a stark, yet soothing, simplicity. The chicken gra-prow will be on your regular sandwich rotation, as will the marinated beef sammie with tangy and peppery jaaw sauce. Also try naked sanswiches, aka salads. Brick toast, like the ka-ti with condensed milk, coconut ice cream, honey and crushed peanuts, is a must, as are the plethora of teas, offered hot or cold. Open daily.
1050 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-733-3561; $
Photo via KrungThep Tea Time/Facebook