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With so much to see and do in Orlando you’ll want to keep your energy up. And what better way to refuel than with a stop at one of Central Florida's many unique restaurants? Orlando has many dining options that will make eating out an unforgettable experience.
Choose from a long relaxed, romantic meal or a dish prepared by one of your favourite celebrities. You might be in the mood for a raucous dinner show or authentic ethnic cuisine, or perhaps you're looking to dine with your favourite characters or savour an award-winning dish.
|Whatever your tastes dictate, Orlando offers fun fare for the whole family. Read on to decide what cuisine you'll choose to recharge for a great day and night in Orlando.
Sing for Your Supper
Orlando is home to many fantastic dinner shows that turn mealtime into an attraction of its own. Sing, dance and cheer at some of the most exciting dining experiences in town. Catch a Broadway-calibre show at the Mark Two Dinner Theatre. Sing along with the kooky cast of characters at Disney’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, a country and western vaudeville-style show. Hula the night away at Aloha! Polynesian Luau at SeaWorld Orlando or take in the Polynesian Luau at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Cheer for your favourite jousting knight at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament or discover if a pirate’s life is for you at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. Transport yourself back to the gangster-filled 1930’s as a Broadway style musical unfolds in Capone’s Dinner & Show or see classic fables come to life through horsemanship at Arabian Nights. Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show has you solving a murder mystery with your dinner companions, while the Soulfire Theatre & Dinner Experience brings the hit off-Broadway show, ‘Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding’ right here to Orlando. Along with the fun, most themed dinner attractions also feature an unlimited feast of food and drink.
Food with a View
Another option to turn your food into more than just a meal is to make a reservation at one of the many restaurants in Orlando with a fantastic view. Enjoy excellent cuisine as you get a bird’s-eye view of downtown Orlando from high atop the Bank of America building at Manuel’s on the 28th. Guests get a panoramic view of the Walt Disney World Resort and a taste of exotic cuisine at Arthur’s 27, located on the 27th floor of the Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa, and at the California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where you can linger over dinner and catch a spectacular view of the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show.
If dining on the waterfront is more your style be sure to try Lee’s Lakeside which features a wonderful view of Lake Eola and its iconic fountain along with nightly live piano music. Gina’s on the Water is situated across from Crane’s Roost Lake in Altamonte Springs and offers a romantic view and award-winning Italian cuisine.
Delfino Riviera at the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando serves fine Italian cuisine along with a breathtaking view of the Portofino Harbour.
You may spend more time concentrating on your surroundings than eating your food at these restaurants.
Orlando is home to multiple themed restaurants, which celebrate everything from sports to music to nature. A table at ESPN Club, located at Disney’s Boardwalk, is every sports enthusiast’s dream. Food takes a backseat to the more than 100 television monitors in the restaurant broadcasting any and every type of sport you could imagine. Hoops fans may choose to focus on basketball at NBA City, located at Universal CityWalk.
Racing fans will get a charge out of the themed NASCAR Café Orlando, also at Universal CityWalk, or Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant on International Drive with real race cars and other memorabilia on display.
For the movie and music buffs, there’s Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney, Hard Rock Café Orlando and Motown Café Orlando, both at Universal CityWalk, featuring rare items from your favourite film, television and rock stars. If you’re looking for a ‘wild’ place to eat, try Rainforest Café, with two locations at the entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney Marketplace. Café Tu Tu Tango on International Drive transports diners to a funky Spanish Artist’s loft. You may spot a flamenco dancer, a palm reader or a local artist at work as you enjoy your meal, which is served tapas-style to be shared with your dinner companions. Be sure to bring your chequebook because all of the artwork on the walls is for sale – the perfect Orlando souvenir!
Whether you’re on your honeymoon, anniversary or simply taking a night off from the kids, Central Florida knows romance. Bergamo’s Italian Restaurant, located in the Mercado, features cuisine delivered by serenading waiters and Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, a four-diamond award winner, combines cuisine from regions throughout Italy.
The award winning restaurants Enzo’s Restaurant on the Lake and Maison & Jardin, in Altamonte Springs, both showcase French cuisine at its finest. Maison & Jardin and Sergio’s Restaurant, located in Downtown Orlando, both offer extensive wine lists. For a special night out, book your reservations now for Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This restaurant features an intimate setting with just 65 seats and daily chef specials.
Orlando is also home to delicious authentic international cuisine. From Italian and Cuban to French and even Hawaiian fusion, Orlando’s eateries offer something for every palate. Antonio’s la Fiamma in Maitland and Buca Di Bepo, located in the Florida Mall, offer superb Italian cuisine. The award winning Le Coq Au Vin in downtown Orlando serves fabulous French fare in a relaxed setting.
Ming Court on International Drive, is owned and operated by the Wu and Chen families who are originally from Taiwan. They bring their expertise to traditional Chinese cuisine and Japanese sushi. The Samba Room, on Sand Lake Road, features a Cuban bar and Latin café, combining American traditions infused with Latin flavours. Can’t decide what you’re in the mood for? You can always head over to Epcot at Walt Disney World and eat and drink your way around the world. Featuring 11 pavilions from international destinations across the globe, Epcot’s World Showcase lets you sample cuisine from every corner of the world.
Celebrity Chefs and Famous Food
Orlando has several restaurants featuring the famous food of celebrity chefs. Wolfgang Puck is a favourite of Hollywood celebrities and now he’s making his signature dishes for you. Located at Downtown Disney West Side, Wolfgang Puck Café, Wolfgang Puck Express and the elegant Grand Café serves up Wolfgang’s California cuisine with his famous pizza and authentic sushi bar. Famous for his over-the-top preparation methods and spicy Cajun cuisine, Emeril Lagasse has also opened restaurants in Orlando. Located at Universal Orlando resort, Emeril’s Orlando at the Universal CityWalk features Emeril’s signature Cajun cuisine and at the Royal Pacific Resort, Tchoup Chop promises to take Asian cuisine to a whole new level.
Roy’s Restaurant, on Sand Lake Road is the creation of celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi, who often appears on the Food Network and is a frequent guest on The Today Show. Famous for his Hawaiian Fusion cuisine, Roy brings the taste of the islands to Orlando.
In addition to celebrity chefs, Orlando is also home to many restaurants owned by your favourite film, music and sports celebrities. Be on the lookout for familiar faces from television, movies and music at Planet Hollywood, located in Downtown Disney West Side. Owned by Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg, N’Sync and Sylvester Stallone, you never know who will turn up for dinner! Also in Downtown Disney West Side, groove to the Latin rhythms at Bongos Cuban Café, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan or sing the blues at House of Blues, owned by Dan Akroyd, James Belushi, John Goodman and Aerosmith.
At Universal Orlando CityWalk, sail away to Caribbean-style songs at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. If you’re a sports fan, be sure to check out Miami Dolphins football great Dan Marino’s Town Tavern, at Pointe Orlando or his former coach’s restaurant, Don Shula’s Steakhouse, located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin.
Surf and Turf
Whether you’re a seafood fan or love a great steak, Orlando has several restaurants that specialise in these on land and under sea creations. The award-winning Atlantis, located in the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Seaworld offers ocean delicacies served beneath hand-painted murals. Or wet your appetite with some ‘killer’ sharks. Sharks Underwater Grill at Seaworld Orlando serves upscale, ‘Floribbean’-style food as guests are immersed in the underwater world of these intimidating creatures of the deep at the Shark Encounter attraction. You can also eat with the fishes at the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot where you’ll get a great view of The Living Seas fish tank with eight-foot high glass panels.
Charley’s Steak House, with two locations in Orlando, has been named one of the top ten independent steakhouses six years running, and serves aged steak and fresh seafood cooked in a custom-built pit. Del Frisco’s Steak House, located in Winter Park, specialises in prime steaks and lobster, all made fresh in their kitchen.
Timpano Italian Chophouse, on Sand Lake Road, is a throwback to the clubs of Chicago and New York in the mid-50’s and 60’s and features flavourful steaks paired with red wine.
For the kids and the kids at heart
What Orlando vacation would be complete without a chance to eat with your favourite characters? Many restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort offer the opportunity to share breakfast, lunch or dinner with your favourite Disney characters. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and the gang greet you at Chef Mickey’s buffet in the Contemporary Resort for breakfast or dinner.
The Garden Grill restaurant in Epcot features family-style down home fare and your favourite Disney characters. Or join Donald and his friends for his prehistoric breakfastosaurus at Restaurantosaurus in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Every little girl’s dream will come true at The Princess Story Book Breakfast at Restaurant Akershus in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. Dine with the beautiful Disney princesses and their friends.
The Orlando theme parks, also, offer great dining options! To dine within the parks, head to OrlandoFunTickets.com. They offer great discount tickets to get you into the best Orlando theme parks, including Disney Tickets, Universal Tickets, SeaWorld Tickets, and MORE!
Source: With special thanks to FLAUSA and all Florida's Convention & Visitors Bureaus.
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