In honor of my departure from Orlando, I wanted to compile a post of my favorite food experiences from the past year and a half. I love diverse food, dislike chains, and appreciate restaurants that put an emphasis on fresh, local, and healthful ingredients. A lot of trial and error went in to finding the places that made this list. With that in mind, I hope you can use it to help narrow down your list of “must-go” places next time you’re in the area. Enjoy!
Best breakfast nook: White Wolf Cafe. Eclectic menu, cool atmosphere, and doubles as an antique store. It’s a go-here-every-Saturday-morning kind of place. I crave their salmon eggs benedict literally every week. The Mediterranean Omelet and Raspberry Waffle are two of my other favorites. Try a Bloody Mary if you’re having a rough morning (or even if you’re not).
Best Italian: Juliana’s in College Park. Hand’s down. Went there on a Friday night, around 7pm, and there was not a soul to be seen. Usually when there’s no one in a restaurant on a weekend, you should turn around and find somewhere else to eat. Not this place. The staff really made us feel as though we were VIP, and the chef was cooking just for us. It was a great experience, and everything from the appetizer to the dessert was incredible. Best bruschetta I’ve ever had. I read their reviews on yelp, and a few others also experienced the no-other-customers phenomenon, but left just as impressed as I was.
Best BBQ: 4Rivers Smokehouse. The constant line-around-the-block speaks for itself. It’s worth the wait. Their desserts are amazing too, but make sure you share because the portion sizes are a bit ridiculous.
Best quick and healthy lunch: Greens n Grille. Salads, soups, and sandwiches. Never tried something I didn’t like. Plenty of vegetarian options.
Best (sit-down) Mexican: Garibaldi’s. Best food, good margaritas, but not the best service.
Best place for a “cheat day” meal: Chef Eddie’s. Two words: SOUL FOOD. It’s a bit out of the way and not in the best neighborhood, but when I say it’s worth it, IT IS WORTH IT. I’ve never cared about fried chicken, I’ve never craved fried chicken, I’ve never raved about fried chicken. It’s never been on my food radar, and it’s all been the same to me up until my trip to Chef Eddie’s. You HAVE to try the fried chicken and waffles. And trust me, I never wanted to try chicken and waffles. I ordered a strawberry waffle, and BAM, it came with chicken. I know how weird it sounds if you’ve never had it, but the flavors complement each other in a way that’s hard to describe. The chicken is perfectly spiced and perfectly crispy. The sweet potato waffle is a must. With the gospel music in the background and the friendly, make-you-feel-at-home staff, you definitely get the feeling you were just transported to somewhere in the deep south. Yeah, you’ll have to spend an extra hour in the gym on Monday, but it’s worth it.
Best Vegan/Vegetarian option: Ethos. I’ve taken a few non-veggies here, and even they loved it.
Best oysters: Lee and Ricks Oyster Bar. Nothing fancy, just great oysters. Sit at the bar, order a beer, and relax as your shucker does the work.
Best all-around seafood restaurant: Moonfish. A blend of asian, cajun, and “Floribbean.” Was voted “Best new Restaurant for 2002” by the Restaurant and Hospitality Rating Bureau. A little fancy, good for a nice night out.
Best fish tacos: Jimmy Hula’s. No contest! They have good burgers too. Which brings me to my next point…
Best burger: Graffiti Junktion in College Park. My personal favorite is the Fog City Turkey Burger. Fun trivia night on Tuesdays.
Best late-night (or hungover): Gringos Locos. <3Veggie Nachos<3
Best place to get a good beer: Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour. The beer menu is as big as a novel, and the staff have great beards (and know a lot about beer).
Best place to get a bottle of wine: Tim’s Wine Market. Cute little place with free mini tastings on Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s. The service is great, everyone really cares about getting you the best wine to please your palate for the right price. They also offer some cool classes in the evenings.
So, I’ve let you in on a few of my favorite places. Let me know if you have some I should try… 26 days left in Orlando!