Answers from Our Experts (3)
The dining scene is Orlando is as diverse as any that you'll find in the world's great foodie destinations. The options range from casual family eateries to award-winning fine dining, with a few local favorites mixed in between.
Families looking for a casual bite to eat following a long day at the theme parks will have plenty of options in Orlando. Stop into Coral Reef at Epcot for dinner under the sea, or the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe over at Universal Orlando.
If a little fine dining is what you're after, the Forbes Four Star Award winning Victoria & Albert's offers one of the best culinary experiences in Orlando. The seven course pre-fixe menu is a memorable foodie adventure that's best enjoyed with the optional wine pairing. Plan your visit early, however, as seating is very limited and reservations at Victoria & Albert's fill up months in advance.
For a dining experience that you'll only find in Orlando, pay a visit to a few of the local favorites. Cafe Tu Tu Tango serves a diverse tapas style menu in one of the most unique atmospheres in Orlando. Meanwhile, in downtown Orlando you'll find Hue, Ravenous Pig, and The Boheme, which have long served as some of the most popular restaurants in Orlando.
There are more than 5,300 restaurants in Orlando. That’s a figure that always takes me aback but when you consider how many dining districts make up Orlando’s dining scene, it’s actually not too difficult to comprehend.
There are more than a dozen dining hubs scattered across Orlando from the theme park district all the way to Orlando’s northern suburbs. Areas like Downtown Disney and Universal’s CityWalk, both of which house at least a dozen restaurants each, are where you’ll find most of the tourists, but if you want to go where the locals go, consider Restaurant Row, a collection of more than 20 stellar restaurants lining Sand Lake Road.
Park Avenue, the upscale street in Winter Park, is another excellent locale for dining thanks to several excellent spots including Prato, Luma on Park, and Park Plaza Gardens. Nearby Hannibal Square and Winter Park Village (home to Ruth’s Chris and Mitchell’s Fish Market) are also great options.
You’ll find mostly eclectic and independent eateries in College Park and Ivanhoe Village, as well as the Church Street District and Thornton Park, both located in the downtown area.
Finally, don’t forget that inside Orlando’s many hotels are further dining options, including Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria, PRIMO at the JW Marriott, and Hemingway’s inside the Hyatt Grand Cypress. In fact, some of Orlando’s most award-winning restaurants are inside hotels, including deep blu seafood grille, which is inside Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort and was voted best hotel restaurant by Orlando Magazine readers this year.
The dining scene in Orlando highly depends on the area you’re dining in. Though Orlando has a booming crowd of locals and visitors, Florida is a laid-back and casual place, and the dining scene is no different. Unless you know you’re going to be at a fine-dining restaurant with a strict dress code, feel free to show up in flip-flops and shorts.
The crowds are mostly families and younger people with a very friendly atmosphere. Don’t feel the need to be stiff in an Orlando restaurant — the attitude is warm and welcoming for everyone that walks through the door. If you’re down by the Disney and Universal area, you will find more families with young children dining out. If you’re in the Downtown Orlando area, you’ll find more of a young professional crowd.