While the city of Orlando has a population of just over 300,000, the metro area has more than 2 million. What may be most surprising to visitors is how very much there is to do outside the theme parks. The Visitors’ Bureau commissioned a study that shows it would take more than 120 days to do all of Orlando’s activities, including sporting events. But staying within Orlando’s city limits can still mean driving an hour to get to your favorite Orlando restaurants. These are several Orlando restaurants I think are worth the trip.
NB: Tapa Toro and MogeTee were visited during a press trip, the others independently with my family. The opinions about Orlando restaurants are my own.
Table of Contents
The 11 Best Orlando Restaurants
8441 International Drive //+14072262929
Our first stop on a whirlwind press trip to Orlando is lunch at Tapa Toro at ICON Park on International “I” Drive in Orlando’s famous tourism corridor. The Wheel at ICON Park, formerly known as the Orlando EYE, towers over the Tapa Toro which has rolled out the red carpet for hungry visitors seeking their contemporary Spanish cuisine.
Welcomed instantly by staff, we move from a table by the bar to the chef’s table around the paella pit and watch as Chef creates flavorful seafood paella with scents wafting across stimulating our already active appetites.
We’re fortunate to have Fitzgerald as our server, photo model, introducer, and new best friend. A native of Bucharest, Romania, he was given this very Irish name after our President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Fitzgerald provided thoughtful recommendations and the best service among all Orlando Restaurants.
For celiacs, it’s important to discuss specialty needs with the staff. For example, the potatoes, which smell and look scrumptious, are deep-fried with breaded items so are a no-no for celiacs. The salmon, my choice for lunch, was served with rice, asparagus, and the largest capers I’ve ever seen in my life. I cut into them, just to check the flavor, and found them to be one of the saltiest things I’ve ever tried.
My colleagues, another travel writer, and the Visit Orlando representative were much more adventurous with Pulpo Gallego (fried octopus) and seafood combination, as the most delicious tapas I’ve seen outside Spain.
They recommend two to three tapas per person as the small savory dishes can be served before a main meal or, in combination, as the primary meal.
Our Visit Orlando guide had been here before and skillfully matched flavor profiles with beef empanadas, patatas con chorizo, ham croquettes, and tomato-rubbed bread.
Fitzgerald readily supplied pepper as we requested.
Chef revealed his skills with the shrimp paella in a paellera (paella pan). His cheerful smile made the experience that much more wonderful.
Photo opportunities abound at Tapa Toro with the red carpet, flamenco dancers in the front by the bar (ready for nights when music and dance is available) to the pictures along the wall in front of the restrooms that magically move, much like Hogwarts mobile portraits that are sometimes too quick to capture. It’s the perfect Instagram or TikTok moment.
For an excellent meal where you’re welcomed as well-loved family, check out Tapa Toro. And ask for Fitzgerald.
5787 Vineland Road //+14072379888
In the mood for good Chinese food, Lee Bistro was in the Universal Orlando neighborhood and easy to reach off John Young Parkway. Their chef specializes in Cantonese and Polynesian cuisine and recommends the hot and spicy dishes, including the triple delight, seafood delight, happy family, salt pepper shrimp, salt pepper squid, beef pan fried noodles, seafood pan fried noodles, half of a golden roasted duck, or salt spicy scallops.
Their appetizers reminded me of childhood favorites. While offering the standard egg roll or spring roll, the menu blossomed to include Krab Rangoon, Shanghai soup dumplings, crispy soft-shell crab, fried calamari, shrimp tempura, vegetable tempura, steamed or fried dumplings, BBQ or boneless spareribs, chicken on the stick, beef on the stick, chicken wings, and Buffalo or BBQ chicken wings.
I went for a childhood favorite in scallion pancakes. I don’t think I’ve seen them on a menu since New Hampshire in the 1990s, so it was nice to find them in the Southeast, as well. I didn’t even have enough room to order the edamame which is another favorite. I’m glad the restaurant is close enough to return to often.
They have 10 beef dishes, eight seafood dishes, eight vegetable dishes, and Miso soup, wonton soup, egg drop soup, hot sour soup, seafood, tofu soup, and vegetable soup, as well as green, avocado, or seaweed salad. And, if you have a taste for fried rice, they have eight kinds with a choice of four proteins. They offer six lo meins and a beef udon.
The new dish for me was their selection of mei fun. It, too, is offered with a variety of vegetables or proteins including roast pork, chicken, vegetable, beef, shrimp, Singapore, the house special, or beef ho fun.
What I learned about ho fun is that the noodles are gluten-free as they’re prepared by mixing rice flour with water and salt with a little oil. The dough is cut into wide, thick strips, like a wide tagliatelle. It’ll be on the list for a future visit.
If you leave this restaurant hungry, it’s not because they didn’t try. This place is one of the favorite Orlando Restaurants for the locals.
We had a taste for our family’s favorites, though, and perused the poultry dishes more closely. In addition to chicken with broccoli, green pepper, chicken, kung pao chicken, Szechuan chicken, sweet and sour chicken, chicken with black bean sauce, orange chicken, walnut chicken, mango chicken, and honey chicken, they had our family favorites cashew chicken, sesame chicken, and General Tso’s chicken.
We agreed on the sesame chicken, and the General Tso’s, which is typically served with broccoli and peppers. We requested and they adjusted the General Tso’s to include celery and carrots instead. I just prefer that flavor profile and it’s already a very spicy dish. They served both with white rice as we requested. Steamed rice or fried rice is available.
Between our appetizers and entrees, the food lasted several meals. The scallion pancakes, or, as my daughter likes to refer to them, “green onion,” never made it out of the car. Served with a dark brown soy-based sauce with sesame seeds, it’s delicious with or without the sauce. It’s fried, and the pancake did become dough-y as it cooled but remained tasty throughout. It’s just “best” served hot. The Krab Rangoon came with that yummy, sweet sauce. The sesame chicken was as tangy as we like. The General Tso’s needed the steamed rice and tea or water to combat the spice, but I’d order it again without additional thought.
This may be the first restaurant I’ve ever seen that offers both Coke and Pepsi products, likely because they’re canned. They also offer tea and bottled beer.
Oh, they do have a dessert menu. Tiramisu and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake if you can even think past the appetizer offerings.
Anytime I’m on the west side of John Young Parkway, I’ll return to Lee Bistro Asian Cuisine to dine in or take away because it really became one of my new favourite Orlando Restaurants.
While we did request takeaway, we’d happily dine in. The proprietor is friendly, the booths and tables in the restaurant comfortable, and the décor cheerful with all the red accents to bring prosperity to those that visit.
9101 International Drive //+16898006760
If you’re interested in floral beach house dining, this is the place for you. International Drive, known locally as “I-Drive,” as in I-Dine, I-Play, I-Sleep, I-Meet stretches well past the tremendous convention center. Choose the valet parking or nearby garage to avoid the frustration of parking in this area… or if you’re at the convention center, consider walking. And have a reservation if you’d like to eat at a typical lunch or dinner hour. This place is so good, it’s busy and the wait can last hours, especially for brunch.
Once you’ve taken your selfies against the floral walls or under the neon signs or in the broad, open-spaced wood-paneled bar area, order your drinks and peruse the menu. While I order the water and perhaps an iced tea, I enjoy watching favorite daughter making her decision. Will it be the “I Glitteraly Can’t” or the “Hampton Frose” today?
Will she try the drink, the oyster shooters, to go with her new favorite appetizer raw oysters? She’s not much of a coffee drinker, but I’ve learned that won’t stop her from ordering the Starlet Espresso Martini. When I see the “Winter Solstice,” it gives me pause … they offer it by the glass or the “large seashell.” It’s a great place. And it’s Florida, so don’t be surprised by their ingenuity, embrace it.
Moving to the food, because by now we are truly hungry, we see the brunch menu is geared towards sharing. Monkey bread, anyone? They’ve got it. Bang bang chicken, grilled octopus, crab & shrimp bruschetta, Cooper’s Beach Calamari, Colossal Crab Cake served in its own individual cast iron skillet, and Oyster Saint Charles make you feel even closer to the beach than you actually are. Their cold bar continues with seafood selections from sparkling towers to today’s oysters with dishes of salmon, scallops, shrimp, and tuna available.
Spinach Dip, crispy quesadilla, and short rib poutine help those that prefer land animals a leg-up on the meal.
Their New England Clam Chowder (white sauce) has been available each time we’ve visited and I’m working my way through their salads from the golden beet, Caesar, classic wedge, and Green Goddess. So far, the classic wedge (with the house dressing instead of bleu cheese) is my favorite.
They offer four types of pizza and I’m pleased to see that gluten-free crust is available. Their four-cheese pizza is an easy choice, as a meal or to share as an appetizer.
Favorite daughter also loves the northeast U.S. with friends in Rhode Island where she was first introduced to lobster rolls. She tells me the Hampton Social lobster roll tastes just as fresh and chooses the Maine style (cold and creamy) over the Manhattan (warm and buttery) which is “just right” on this warm Florida day. Even in November, the temperature here is in the 80s mid-day.
While the Shelter Island Chicken Burger and Smash Burger tempt me, the large plates are made for an appetite this size. They offer shrimp tacos, scallop risotto, balsamic glazed skirt steak, fish and chips, honey glazed salmon, roasted chicken, spicy pipette, and my friend and favorite go-to the Baja fish tacos.
As you wait for your order to arrive, you have plenty of time for more selfies or a good wander and, if it’s not too loud, some decent conversation. It’s a good place to get caught up on each other’s lives. Or consider one of the side dishes as an appetizer: roasted Brussels sprouts, Hampton Mac ‘n Cheese (ordered and enjoyed by many around us), creamed street corn, Parmesan Truffle Fries, or loaded homemade fries with bacon, blue cheese, and green onion.
The oysters, lobster roll, and fish tacos arrive to some fanfare. The oysters are savored, and the lobster roll devoured promptly. The mango salsa with my Baja fish is a delightful accompaniment, light and tangy, with the jalapeno aioli offering a little kick.
If you’re like our family, you’ve already checked out the dessert menu before you ordered your first drink. Their doughnut drops with vanilla gelato, honey, and chocolate sauce are the number one item on the menu, according to our server. How can you not take a recommendation like that? Bite-sized and freshly fried, they are delicious. The banana cream pie and tres leches pound cake seem to be regulars on the menu, but the brownie flavor changes seasonally.
Right now, in honor of autumn, it’s a pumpkin brownie with amaretto caramel and pumpkin seeds served with a cinnamon brown sugar gelato. If you ask, you may be able to order a serving of their gelato selections. They’re tasty!
This is easily a restaurant you’ll want to keep on your “to visit” list for every trip to Orlando, especially when you’re along the I-Drive corridor. It has easy access to the theme parks on the west side of Orlando as well as the convention center.
17 W Church Street //+14074477950
In the heart of DownTown Orlando (DTO), the Church Street Market district, Kres Chophouse is more than an hour from our house, but just blocks from City Hall, many banks, and insurance businesses and receives a brisk weekday lunch crowd. There’s a dress code, so while neat shorts and sandals are acceptable, any clothing with “offensive words or images,” tanks, crocs, gym attire, and flip-flops are not.
Today’s menu includes pan-seared Mahi, fillet medallions with a mushroom Espagnole sauce, steak frites (sirloin with crispy potato wedges), or an autumn steak salad.
Starters offered include Wagyu beef carpaccio, Copps Island Oysters Rockefeller, and calamari. Soups and salad options Maine lobster bisque, tomato bisque, grilled chicken Caprese, Faroe Islands salmon and baby spinach, Mediterranean salad, and chophouse Ceasar.
Sandwiches include the turkey club, blackened fish sandwich, crispy fish sandwich, tenderloin French Dip, and the special blend burger.
DeeDee is my server today, a lovely young woman who makes thoughtful suggestions and remains attentive without ever being intrusive during our visit. She first approached me with water before I had had a chance to really review the menu. So I took a quick peek at the dessert selections and requested The Molten Turtle. She tells me that the molten turtle and the white chocolate bread pudding are the two best-selling items on the menu.
“From the Grill” is the section I’m very interested in perusing. As much as I’d like to try the Faroe Islands salmon, especially with its growing popularity amongst travelers who want to avoid Iceland’s crowds, I’m hard-pressed to go to a steakhouse for the first time and not have my favorite steak.
Here, it’s a choice between the filet mignon, an 8-ounce steak with Parmesan mash and asparagus, the grilled Faroe Islands salmon, or the Kres Ribeye. Filet it is. Well-done, with the option to butterfly if needed.
Shortly after I order my entrée, my dessert arrives. The Molten Turtle appears with the turtle-like shell of the lava cake broken ever so gently where the turtle head would present, a selection of berries including blackberry, blueberries, and fresh strawberries, and a large sprig of mint lightly dusted with powdered sugar next to a perfectly formed scoop of vanilla ice cream rolled in sugared pecan praline. Definitely one of the best lava cakes amongst all Orlando Restaurants.
The lava cake is crusty and its dense exterior blends well with a bite of berry and a bite of the pecan-crusted ice cream. The strawberries are particularly refreshing against the depth of the dish. The blackberry seemed to draw on the deeper flavors of the chocolate.
Desserts include fresh season berries, white chocolate bread pudding, Italian cheesecake, limoncello or crème brulee—if I haven’t already sold you on the molten turtle.
As with so many highly populated areas, this steakhouse provides Vegan options including a chickpea “artichoke crabcake,” Portabella “escargot,” “oysters” Rockefeller, crispy “chicken” club, “beef” salad seitan knife and fork, or a “brookie”—which is a chocolate chip cookie infused with vegan Oreos and brownie, served with vanilla ice “cream.”
As I eagerly await my entrée, especially being seated near the bar and having reviewed the drink options so frequently, I anticipate when my favorite daughter accompanies me next time, she’ll have the choice of their creative cocktails with some of my favorites the Sofrito Martini, Hermione Green Dragon, Basil Fresca, Church Street Colada, Rum Amok (rum and triple sec), the Nutty Pear (tequila), Sweet Bourbon Baby, Coronado (tequila), or a Pecan Old Fashioned. I have a feeling she’ll agree “It’s About Thyme.”
The walkway from the front door offers immediate views of the bar to the left and the restaurant spread to the back and right. The left side in front of the bar is a tightly woven lattice of cheery wood planks, tight fitted and elegant with a silver post holding the center section in place.
The bar includes red light-enhanced rows of wine bottles, six rows of nine bottles, on either side of the top shelf liquor with two televisions playing sports channels. The fourteen barstools are short backed with rich, tan fabric. In addition to the bar seating, six two-top bar tables are available.
In the restaurant, my seating area to the right of entry includes four two-tops along the entry path. Do watch your step as you enter, there’s a dip in the floor of the main path but not in the dining area. Next to me were three four-tops before a table that sat eight. Up a few steps, you’ll reach three banquet seating areas and three additional two-tops.
The back of the restaurant seating area is partially obstructed by a large wall and circulating between the areas is discouraged. The washrooms (to the back right) have a loveseat and a large mirror outside as you wait for your partner or friend. The ladies’ washroom contains elegant fittings and finishes.
Shortly after I returned from my wanderings, my filet mignon arrived with a small serving of steak sauce. Presented side by side with a half cup of mashed potatoes, the filet mignon was flanked by three parmesan-encrusted medium-thickness stalks of asparagus. That is a first for me. I’ve tried parmesan fries, pickles, even potatoes. But never asparagus.
The steak, which hadn’t been butterflied (explaining the long lead time), was well prepared with just a circle of pink in the center. While there was no salt or pepper on the table, my first bite assured me that it wasn’t necessary. Deliciously seasoned, it didn’t even require a touch of steak sauce, though I tried it. The steak was neither dry nor moist—just perfect.
The buttery, creamy mashed potatoes had not a single lump and the crunch of the parmesan crusting falling from the asparagus added a nice texture to the meal. The parmesan was fine on the asparagus. It was light and added a little taste, a little texture. Eating a small bite of each filet, potato, and asparagus, reminded me of that scene in the movie “Prince of Tides” when they were searching for that perfect bite. It works. I think it may be difficult for me to try the Faroe Islands salmon next time when the filet is so good.
If you’re a fan of British baking shows, you’ll know what I mean when I say, Mary Berry would say “it’s worth the calories.”
If you plan to enjoy the steak, or the other higher-priced items on the menu, expect to pay $80 per person before liquor.
Not unexpectedly in the city center, parking requires the use of valet (when available) or a parking garage. With the train so close, you’re best served to have one chosen in advance, so you don’t get trapped on one of the side streets as the Sun Rail train passes.
8001 S Orange Blossom Trail //+1 407-541-0830
At the Florida Mall for an Apple visit, I was looking for a place to eat and every place the Apple staff recommended sounded great, but nothing was open. Yet walking down the main hall, I was stopped at Gotcha Smokehouse Barbecue by a young lady offering barbecue samples. The chicken was boneless and melted in your mouth direct from the toothpick.
She invited me in and showed the display of cornbread, steak, also offered a piece, barbecue chicken, ribs, smoked pulled pork, and marsella chicken. The platter comes with two side dishes including plantains, mac & cheese, potatoes, white rice, gravy, stir-fry noodles, mixed vegetables, French fries, or fried rice.
They also offer salads heavily laden with cheese and tomatoes or coleslaw with both Italian and French dressing.
While they have bottled beverages including Heineken, Stella Artois, and Corona, check out the refrigerated displays for Red Bull, Minute Maid products, Coca-Cola products, or try their iced tea. There is a Coke fountain, but canned beverages may hit the spot.
The interior of the restaurant is fun with beer and wine bottles and funny sayings throughout and a flatscreen TV in back on a channel where they’re playing soccer. This is one of the coolest Orlando Restaurants I have ever seen.
With ten tables, there were plenty of options early in the day, but I’m betting mid-day traffic make it a difficult place to grab a table. I sat at a high bartop table at the front of the store to people-watch, having chosen the barbecue chicken, potatoes, and plantains. While the dish was surprisingly monochromatic, it was nutritious and delicious. And too much food. If you stop by, I hope you have someone to share your meal with or aren’t too far from a refrigerator so you can finish it later.
639 N Orange Avenue //+14076494900
What would Florida be without a taste of New York? Walking down the street, it’s common to hear that New York accent, so it’s no wonder that this deli amid commercial downtown Orlando flourishes during breakfast and lunch.
The breakfast menu starts with real eggs, “made to order,” scrambled, over easy, fried hard, or, egg whites. You can order breakfast sandwiches until 11am: bacon, egg and cheese, sausage, egg and cheese, ham, egg and cheese, or biscuits with sausage and gravy, and make it a combo by adding grits, which I assure you I never ate once while in NYC (but that was years ago, so maybe times have changed).
With seven types of coffee, hot chocolate, and tea, different omelets, cheesecake, a cookie, bagel with cream cheese, it’s sandwiches, salads, or soups that captured most customer’s attention during my visit.
Hot sandwiches include a Cuban, Ruben, grilled chicken, chicken Panini, pastrami, chicken Caesar wrap, tuna melt, grilled chicken club, BLT, four cheese or grilled cheese. These are available on whole wheat, white, rye, multigrain bread or wraps which include spinach, wheat, and plain.
It was nice to choose a BLT on spinach wrap to maintain gluten-free status, and it was shockingly tasty. The bacon was crisp and not too oily, The tomato was fresh, as was the lettuce.
Cold sandwiches (same breads available as the hot sandwiches) include roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, Turkey, Turkey club, Italian, house grape chicken salad, California Turkey wrap, hummus, veggie wrap, tuna salad, egg salad, ham and cheese, or salami and cheese.
Salad options include a chicken Caesar, a chef salad, a Greek salad with grilled chicken, Italian chopped salad, grilled chicken salad, Taco salad, the house chicken salad with grape, tuna or egg salad, summer salad, southwestern salad with chicken and avocado, or garden salad.
Sides include either the grape chicken salad, tuna, or egg salad in either 8 oz or 12 oz sizes.
Soups are offered in cups of eight oz bowls or 12 ounces, or half sandwich and soup.
Today’s soup de jours included chicken noodle, chili, lentil, and tomato bisque. Today’s special sandwich was the meatball sub.
For good old-fashioned New York-style deli food, keep this diner on your list. There is not a lot of indoor seating, just a few 4-tops, but most people took their sandwiches to go. Today, it’s 80 degrees at lunchtime in November, and beautiful to sit outside in one of the nearby parks.
Drinks come in cans and bottles, Tropicana, and Coca-Cola products.
7715 Palm Pkwy, //+16892154100
When kids or fans of comedy are in town, you’ll quickly learn of the comedian “Fluffy,” Gabriel Iglesias, and his piece of cake in one of our favorite Orlando restaurants, Portillo’s.
In the parking lot, find a replica of the original drive-up shack, called the Dog House. We hadn’t known there was a family connection. The original Dog House was opened by Dick Portillo in Villa Park, IL in 1963. That’s where my husband was from. It sets us up for fun from the start.
Enter the restaurant and your eyes don’t know where to land—the tremendous American flag over the online order pickup area, the jukebox, guitars, vintage signs, the line, the cars, drum, TV and coke bottles or airplane on the ceiling, the red and blue vinyl seats or the 2 and 4 top silver tables topped with diner art.
For newbies, they even have a sign, so you know to order at the register, head to the pickup counter, then listen for your number to be called.
Then after checking out the menu on the wall, if you have enough room to eat more than aforementioned chocolate cake shake, choose between hot dogs, beef, burgers, or salad.
Or do what many people do—order the cake in the shake first, then see if you have any room left for food.
There’s a corner left of the entrance where staff spends their day layering cake batter, cooling cakes, and loading chocolate frosting on by the pound. Entire bowls of frosting go atop each cake layer. That’s probably the calorie allotment for the day but promise me you’ll walk it off so you can continue the fun.
It’s a bit reminiscent of the west coast’s In ‘n Out Burger (opened in 1948) with cheerful staff and quick food.
If you have room after the cake shake, on offer are burgers, hot dogs, Italian beef, beef ‘n cheddar croissant, Italian sausage, charbroiled chicken.
Sides available include fries, cheese fries, onion rings, hot giardiniera sauce, cheese sauce, garden salad, and house bread (1/2 loaf). Chicken noodle soup or a bowl of chili.
For drinks, they offer soft drinks, iced tea, sweet tea, bottled, spring, water, sand, Pellegrino, milk, or beer. You can also get a chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shake or malt., and the cake shake can be purchased as the famous chocolate cake, lemon cake, or strawberry lemon combination. In addition, if you don’t feel like a shake but still want the cake, they offer the famous chocolate cake, lemon cake, Strawberry Shortcake, and chocolate eclair cake. Those calorie counts are staggering with the cake shake reaching 1,490 calories.
It’s hardly the most nutritious food in Orlando, but it is, perhaps, the most fun. That says a lot. It is one of the Orlando restaurants, after all. Oh, and thanks, Fluffy. It’s as yummy as you describe.
8001 S Orange Blossom Trail //+13213527282
This is one of the best Orlando restaurants for Mexican food at the Florida Mall and a favorite for its flautas and fun. You needn’t wait for the next Dia de las Muertos to go and enjoy their festive decorations. You can even join the dressy skeletons, if you’re dining solo or a deux, for a meal so you don’t feel quite so alone.
My favorite remains the flautas. Four crisp chicken and cheese stuffed corn tortillas on a bed of shredded lettuce with guacamole, sour cream, parsley, tomatoes, and bits of corn accompanied by additional sour cream and salsa at the spicy flavor you prefer.
Go for brunch and enjoy a mimosa or your favorite of their six margaritas with your meal.
Avocado toast, enchiladas verde or rojas, huevos rancheros or veracruzanos, chilaquiles, choice of three burritos, waffles, 5 street tacos of your preferred of eight proteins from shrimp to beef, four types of quesadillas, three types of veggie tacos, soup, salad, even salad bowls round out their menu.
And, of course, you can always order more rice and beans. But for a real treat try their plantains. They’re made similarly to what I did when I spent a couple months visiting restaurants Placencia, Belize, and are delicious!
After you eat, a decorative box is delivered to your table. It takes a minute to realize it’s actually a casket. Open the casket and a tiny little skeleton with folded arms over your bill. The casket offers a final resting place for your cash and tip for the wonderful service you’ve received.
450 South Orange //+14079853712
For traditionally option Farm to table choices, with melts, sandwiches, wraps, protein bowls, smoothies, paninis, soups, and salads, Nature’s Table is an obvious choice. Adjacent to a park with waterfall fountain feature, you can eat inside their spacious seating area or just outside and enjoy nature en toto.
While waiting in line, it’s nice to see what Information they have available. My first reading today was about the benefits of Sambazon Acai bowls. They tell me that the high fiber helps keep me full, belly healthy, and may aid in maintaining blood sugar. With Omegas 3, 6, and 9, they’re good fats for both your brain and your body.
They carry powerful antioxidants to aid in immunity, heart health, and free radical fighters. And with every purchase, you make a positive impact: building schools, medical centers, community centers, and water filtration systems in Brazil or supporting over 30,000 local Brazilian family farmers. They also helped to protect 2,000,000 acres of the Amazon Rainforest. Sambazon is the first and only certified organic and free fair trade acai bowl according to their literature. Good stuff.
As they advertise, what’s healthy for you is healthy for the planet, and they make a point of using certified compostable bowls and lids, made from plants such as wheat straw, sugar cane, and corn, and not from trees. The lid is made from a plant-based compostable, so another alternative to petroleum-based plastics. They are unbleached and non-toxic, so you feel as though you’re being healthy from beginning to end. World centric also makes donations part of their business model and donates a minimum of 25% of their profits to grassroots community projects around the world.
The line has moved now to allow easy menu reading. They offer protein bowls that contain spinach, baby kale, red organic quinoa, and brown rice with your choice of Latin citrus, Chipotle, sesame, Thai, carnitas, or Greek. Of those choices, the sesame Thai is an easy option with chicken, Napa cabbage, carrots, scallions, toasted almonds, in their sesame Thai sauce weighing in at 691 calories.
The toasted sandwiches available include a chicken tapenade, BBQ, pork and slaw, Turkey club, three cheese and tomato, Turkey, cranberry, Baja, or Turkey Jack. I am tempted by the Turkey cranberry, though I’d have it without the Swiss, and they are willing to put it in a gluten-free wrap for me.
Signature Salads include their Fiesta, chicken, fan, dangled, chicken Caesar, Mediterranean chicken, and Taco salad.
Wraps include a Texas club, carnitas, Mediterranean chicken, spicy Buffalo, chicken Caesar, and Turkey, Swiss and slaw.
Sandwiches with lettuce and tomato remain available as California club, chicken salad, signature tuna salad, all-natural Turkey, and avocado cucumber.
Wraps on offer include the sesame Thai and Chipotle chicken.
Their Chili-Cado is a self-described protein powerhouse with red organic quinoa topped with vegetarian chili, avocado, and cheddar.
One of the many wonderful things here is the ability to mix it up and choose four: half sandwich or wrap, a 22-ounce fountain drink, an acai scoop or cookie, or small featured salad or soup. The combo of a half wrap, small salad, fountain drink, and acai scoop makes my day.
Their sides include soup or chili, fresh fruit, salads, and their fountain drinks are Coca-Cola products.
Acai bowls to supercharge your day include traditional, small, or large bowl with toppings that include banana, blueberry, granola, pineapple, coconut, strawberry, and honey. Peanut butter can be added to any for a small additional charge. Their Acai is organic, vegan, kosher, gluten, lactose, free, and fair trade.
As they like to say, “sensible food that tastes great.” Since they’re in the middle of downtown, they’re only open Monday thru Friday, starting at 7 a.m.
636 N Mills Ave. //+14072370197
Boba Tea in the Mills 50 neighborhood of Orlando offers full-service menu of Boba Tea with flavored full or tapioca balls. But to be serious, it’s the atmosphere. That brings you in. With Rose gold-colored globes hanging from the ceiling, and a virtual Botanic Garden along one wall filled with. Teddy bears and flamingos and beautiful Asian Symbols, the pink Boas. Hanging from the ceiling. Could be sea grass or cotton candy. It’s the variety of textures that really captures your imagination and makes this one of the most instagrammable Orlando restaurants.
You can follow them on Instagram @MogeTeeOrlando.
As you wait in line, if you’re a newbie as I am. To boba tea. A helpful sign leads you. On your path to the right, drink for you.
Choose your sweet level ranging from zero, light 30%, half, 50%, less 70%, and full at 100% and then choose your ice level. 100% as regular, 50% is less and zero percent is none. They also report the new arrival of matchas series with green milk matcha, mochi matcha and even a new black sesame mochi milk tea. Be certain to check out the signs along the edges as they are newer than the signs above the register. The Taro moki bubble tea does look very colorful. Also new are coco red bean, Coco mango, and coco watermelon.
Drink options include those with cheese foam or fresh fruit slush with vegan-friendly options easily noted on the menu.
Milk tea options include bubble, cheese foam, creme brulee, Oreo, red bean, and green bubble.
Red Dragon fruit Tea is a local favorite, with black grape, avocado, mango, and Berry tea Also available.
Our Visit Orlando representative enjoys taro, a root vegetable with a flavor most like vanilla. My fellow travel writer, the Unstoppable Stacey Wittig, savored the red dragon fruit.
8001 S Orange Blossom Trail //+13218006333
Even if your willpower survives and you pass Lucciano’s by, you’ll never forget the pink roller coaster cars leading from the lab up into the wall. Their gelato piled high within two display cases, with a third containing their edible treats. Those specialty treats may be Minion pops, little pig faces, cat faces, and dozens of delectable appearing bars from dark double chocolate, passion fruit, coconut, Aurum chocolate (as in rum), or hazelnut with chocolate complete their specialty blends.
The server was incredibly patient with me, allowing me to try 3 different flavors after checking a binder that specifically provides all allergen information. There were at least a half dozen flavors that remain gluten-free. I ultimately chose the banana split and was impressed that it lasted the entire walk out to the parking lot. It was probably because I’d just had the Smokehouse Barbecue that I was able to maintain my composure as well as I did. Amongst all Orlando restaurants, here you will find the most fascinating Gelato.
With more than 20 Gelato types and all those specialty pops, you can’t go wrong for a delicious treat or dessert. Offered in small, medium, or large cups, a cone, kid’s cone, medium, or extra-large containers. You also have the option to order a smoothie.
If you have the time, stop and sit in the Pink roller coaster seats. They’re built for two or two with a small child, and it’s a perfect way to watch mall traffic go by… Perfect people-watching behavior. And it’s only about 20 minutes from Universal Studios.
Visit Orlando restaurants. It’s more than “Just” the theme parks (and they’re fun, too).
Visiting other destinations in Florida? Check out our other guides:
- 9 Must-Try Marco Island Restaurants
- 13 Fun Things To Do In San Marco Island
- The 9 Best Amelia Island Restaurants & 9 Fun Things To Do In Amelia Island
- 7 Best Kissimmee Restaurants
- 7 Must-Try Clearwater Florida Restaurants
- 7 Best Celebration FL Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Cape Coral Restaurants
- 9 Must-Try Madison FL Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Palm Beach Florida
- 13 Best Disney Springs Restaurants
- 9 Best Things To Do In Vero Beach Florida
Gail Clifford, MD, a physician for more than 25 years, has traveled to five continents and all 50 United States. An avid traveler, she happily goes on new adventures, especially on birthdays. Multi-generational travel remains a treasured pastime. She divides her time between Ireland and the U.S. You can find her on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.