Orlando may be best known for its world-famous theme parks, but there’s much more to the City Beautiful than its tourist attractions (and the chain restaurants that surround them). Blending influences from the Caribbean, Central America, Asia, and the American South, Orlando’s food scene—which has undergone a bit of a renaissance—is totally unique. From food trucks, to upscale bistros, to legitimate holes-in-the-wall, Orlando truly has something for everyone.
Hungry yet? We’ve rounded up the top 10 restaurants in Orlando, so you can get to know the City Beautiful—and seriously satisfy your taste buds.
Best Mexican: Reyes Mezcaleria
Although Reyes Mezcaleria is named for its mezcal offering—and trust us, it’s substantial—it’s best known around Orlando for its interesting blend of traditional Mexican cooking with modern global fare.
And let’s not forget the massive mezcal and specialty cocktail menu. From straight, smoky mezcal, to creative mezcal cocktails, to traditional tequila, Reyes’ drink menu definitely does not disappoint.
Located in Orlando’s North Quarter District—just around the corner from Downtown and Lake Eola Park—Reyes has an absolutely gorgeous ambiance (twinkly lights, abound!), making it a primo spot for date night.
Best Cheap Eats: Banh Mi Nha Trang
Located in an unassuming strip of Vietnamese restaurants and shops in Orlando’s Little Saigon, it’s easy to miss Banh Mi Nha Trang. But if you want authentic, fresh, and incredibly cheap Vietnamese eats, listen closely: You must go here.
Banh Mi Nha Trang is a family-owned operation that offers up over 20 types of banh mi sandwiches on freshly baked, homemade baguette. Just a few of their options include crispy tofu, grilled pork, Vietnamese meatballs, roasted pork belly, and pork liver pate, and all subs are topped with pickled veggies, cilantro, and thinly sliced green chili peppers.
Sounds pretty delicious, right? It gets better: Each sub only costs $3.50—$4.00 if you want your baguette toasted.
Best Tacos: Black Rooster Taqueria
OK, Black Rooster Taqueria is normally considered Mexican food, but tacos are kind of a thing in Orlando—so much so that they definitely need their own category.
New taco shops are always popping up around Orlando, but it’s hard to beat Black Rooster’s homemade corn tortillas, super fresh ingredients (including seafood caught daily on Florida’s shores), and always-perfect guac and chips. Some favorites from the menu include the achiote pork tacos topped with pickled onions and habanero salsa; the meatball sope that tastes like somebody’s grandma made it; and the crispy fish tacos, prepped with fresh Florida white fish, pickled red cabbage, and cilantro mayo.
Our recommendation? Grab an order of chips and guac and a few tacos, and head next door to The Guesthouse for a perfect afternoon.
Best Vegan: DaJen Eats Café & Creamery
Yup, Orlando’s best vegan restaurant was originally located in the back of a Citgo gas station. DaJen Eats Café & Creamery recently moved into its own space in nearby Eatonville, but hasn’t lost any of its original charm—or deliciousness.
This super creative spot serves vegan versions of traditional Jamaican dishes. Think: Meatless and dairy-free ham and cheese sandwiches, vegan jerk chicken, buffalo chicken, and tuna, and crustacean-free crab salads. The things owner Jenneil Ross can do with cauliflower and jackfruit are astounding.
After you’ve stuffed yourself silly with one of DaJen’s vegan jerk chicken sandwiches or rice bowls, treat yourself to some dairy-free Irie Cream. It’s made on the spot, and is just as creamy as its dairy-filled counterparts.
Best BBQ: Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa
It’s not a visit to the south without some barbecue, right? Combining traditional southern cooking with Caribbean and Korean influences, the barbecue at Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa is unlike any ‘cue you’ve had before.
Want proof? The menu features dishes like a crispy pork belly banh mi (smoked and grilled, like traditional barbecue, of course), smoked brisket topped with chimichurri and pickled veggies, and grilled chicken al pastor tacos, for a fascinating fusion of cultures and flavors. Pig Floyd's will make your veggie friends happy, too—there are lots of options that can be made vegetarian or vegan.
Pig Floyd's is located in the super hip Mills 50 District, making it the perfect place to kick off a night (or day) of local barhopping.
Best Family-Friendly: Shake Shack
We all know and love Shake Shack’s simple, yet amazing burgers and fries, but this Shake Shack, located in nearby Winter Park, takes the cake—err, burger. Situated on recreation-quality Lake Killarney, this joint has some serious views, in addition to its tasty (and cheap!) fare.
What’s more, Shake Shack’s outdoor patio has a variety of kid-friendly activities—like a ping-pong table, games, and space to run around—so your kids can distract themselves while you dig into a double cheese burger and draft craft brew. Doggies are also welcome on the patio if you want to make lunch an entire family affair.
Best Healthy: Greenbeat
It’s true that Orlando has a lot of heavy, rich foods (inspired by the American South and Caribbean, undoubtedly), but if you’re looking to nom on your daily dose of greens and clean protein, check out Greenbeat in Downtown Orlando.
You can build your own custom salad bowl with toppings like watermelon ahi tuna, and shrimp ceviche, or opt for a pre-planned signature bowl. Then, wash it all down with a kombucha or cup of Yerba matte tea!
Best Burger: Johnny’s Fillin' Station
Johnny’s Fillin' Station is an institution in Orlando. This totally eclectic burger shop has been serving up a variety of burgers—from basic, to decked out with all the fixings—since 1993, and has become wildly popular since then.
Johnny’s offers 11 different types of burgers—including the Full Service Burger with ham, mushrooms, and cheese, and the Bacon Bleu Cheeseburger with bacon, bleu cheese dressing, and cheese—as well as dishes like Cajun chicken pasta and tuna ceviche. We told you this place was eclectic.
Just across the street you’ll find Johnny’s Other Side, where you can enjoy bar bites, buckets of beer, and live music.
Best Steakhouse: Linda’s La Cantina Steakhouse
Although it has experienced a few name changes, Linda’s La Cantina opened over 70 years ago—when Central Florida was largely undeveloped—and has been serving high-quality steaks ever since. The owners guarantee their steaks are cut on-site, so they’re prepared super fresh.
Unlike some other popular steakhouses, Linda’s offers a totally reasonable price point. Steaks range from $16.00 to $45.00 and include a salad, hot, freshly baked bread, and a side, so you don’t have to break the bank for a good ol’ steak dinner.
Our favorite part? Enjoying a meal at Linda’s is like getting a glimpse into Orlando’s history—when it still had dirt roads. The décor has remained, largely, unchanged and has a simple, old school steakhouse vibe.
Best Overall: Hillstone Restaurant
There are so many amazing eateries in Orlando, but no one does ambiance, service, or seriously filling food like Hillstone Restaurant.
Hillstone offers up traditional, American comfort foods with a modern twist—and an impressive beer, wine and cocktail menu, too. Snack on the freshly made spinach and artichoke dip as a starter (it’s unreal!); dig into a house-made veggie burger, crispy chicken sandwich, or a French dip for your entrée; and wrap up your meal with a slice of Hillstone’s famous key lime pie.
Plus, Hillstone’s backyard is just as good as its menu. Overlooking beautiful Lake Killarney, you can kick back in an Adirondack chair with a drink or coffee, chill on the restaurant’s private dock, or cozy up around one of the many fire pits.