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A Foodie Guide to Orlando

Situated in the heart of the Sunshine State, Orlando is central Florida’s playground, where everyone comes to have a good time.  When it comes to an Orlando holiday, be sure to pack your sun cream and your appetite. This city is fast becoming a foodies delight, offering culinary thrills to match any theme park roller coaster ride. The food options are as varied and diverse as the visitors who seek out this magical place.

Restaurant Row

Restaurant Row Orlando

Sand Lake Road, west of Orlando, was given the nickname Restaurant Row many years ago. This stretch of road plays host to an eclectic mix of local residents, international business travellers and sunburnt tourists. From casual cafes to elegant dining, this part of Orlando offers temptations for every mood and occasion. Dragonfly offers up fine sushi and features a popular cooking method in Japan known as robata grilling. The grill sears the food at incredibly high temperatures, sealing in delicious flavour. Season’s 52’s original concept is to offer a revolving menu of just picked seasonal foods, for every week of the year. The Table offers a unique supper club vibe. Open only two nights a week (Friday and Saturday), the restaurant has one table (which seats 22) and serves a five -course gourmet meal complete with wine pairings. If you’re in the mood for a laid back scene and some cool jazz, check out Vines Grille & Wine Bar. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy the rashers of crispy bacon that have replaced salty peanuts!

Disney’s Epcot

Disneys Epcot Orlando

flickr image by Paul Mannix

Epcot’s World Showcase is Walt Disney World’s grand gesture to introduce the culture and cuisine of eleven different countries to visitors at Epcot. Dine your way around Europe, as each country offers a variety of eateries, from sidewalk cafes to sit down gourmet meals. A gastronomic delight awaits you at Epcot International’s annual Food and Wine Festival. Held every autumn, this veritable feast takes over the park and offers up the regional cuisine of six continents together in one sensational event. Please note that Epcot theme park admission is required. To sample the flavour of theme park living without the price tag, take a visit to Dowtown Disney or Universal CityWalk.

Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk

Universal City Walk

flickr image by Keith Anthony Ng

What to do when you’re not at a theme park and you crave some excitement? Both Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk offer a chance to experience entertainment, night and day with a variety of dining venues. At Downtown Disney, chef Wolfgang Puck has both an informal café and an upscale Dining Room to choose from. Try the pizza that made Puck famous – smoked salmon with dill cream, red onion, chilli oil and chives.

Whether you want to take in a quick lunch, or indulge in a gourmet dinner, Universal CityWalk offers a wide range of dining options from hamburgers to five star dining.  You’ll find restaurants that take you on a journey to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and New Orleans. There is something for every taste and appetite.

Resort Restaurants

Not to be over looked, many of Orlando’s finest dining experiences can be found in the lobbies of local resorts.  Situated in the heart of Walt Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort lies bluezoo, the latest creation from celebrity chef, Todd English.  A delightful mix of coastal cuisine served up in a truly unique setting, sets the stage for a special meal.  Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal presents Bice, an elegant culinary adventure straight to the heart of Italy. Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Tchoup Chop pays tribute to his beloved New Orleans, with dishes infused with colourful flavours and style. Each of these unique dining experiences is available to anyone, regardless of where you are staying.

Food Trucks

Food Truck Bazaar Orlando

The food truck craze is thriving in Orlando.  The Food Truck Bazaar was created to introduce people to the variety of dining experiences offered by local food trucks. This travelling bazaar brings fifteen of Orlando’s best gourmet food trucks to areas around central Florida, creating an abundance of foodie tailgaiting fun! The Crooked Spoon offers hearty burgers, gourmet macaroni and cheese and rosemary chips. The Swede Dish Truck serves up a taste of Scandanavia, with Swedish meatballs. And don’t forget to make a bee line for the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, a sweet confectionary on wheels.

Winter Park

Winter Park’s Park Avenue beckons to visitors craving some time away from the theme park crowds. Situated outside of downtown Orlando, this collection of unique eateries includes everything from sushi to pizza to a Brazilian churrascaria – and everything in between. Be sure to check out The Ravenous Pig, modelled after the Gastropubs of London. Their extensive menu offers bistro classics from creative salads to steak frites. When it comes to enjoying the foodie experience in Winter Park, pace yourself – there is plenty to savour along the way!

Date posted: 21st April, 2014

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