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There is a flourishing culinary scene in Orlando, so much so that in 2013 five Orlando-area chefs were named regional James Beard Award semifinalists for 2013. Moreover, traveling families can be reassured that most establishments will welcome kids with both entertainment and kid-friendly menus! So let's take a look at just a few of the best. We also took the trouble of including some info on casual in-park eating because, well, we know hunger strikes whether you are spending your day in the parks or not.
Best Restaurants in Orlando
Victoria & Albert's | American | Magic Kingdom Resort
While the tab might break the bank, the price point is well worth it. Victoria & Albert’s combines elevated American cuisine with a romantic and upscale ambiance inspired by classic Victorian elegance. The result is a travel destination extravaganza that earns the superlatives of “exquisite,” “uber elegant,” and “unique.” The consensus for most is that there is no finer dining in Orlando.
Chef’s Table | American | Winter Park
This quaint New American restaurant boasts of seasonal pre-fixe menus, locally sourced and creatively conjured for a truly unique dining experience. It’s chef Kevin Tartar works along his sommelier wife to create inspired plates which he “puts his heart” into, to add the personal touches that make Chef’s Table a well-known success. Also, consider the adjoined tasting room of the restaurant for the cheaper option of smaller plates and a great bar.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse | Steakhouse | Winter Park
The steakhouse chain is known for it’s “melt-in-your-mouth” steaks and its Orlando locations are no exceptions. Meat lovers will not be disappointed in this classic American chophouse and it’s elegant and almost clubby atmosphere.
Market On The South | Vegan | Milk District
For those of you who enjoy a more plant-based cuisine, Market On The South eatery offers menus that range from inspired doughnuts, cinnamon butter tarts and Nanaimo bars to Southern fare vegan riffs like green tomatoes with chowchow and eggplant remoulade and Carolina barbecue jackfruit in Coca-Cola reduction. Rest assured, conscious dining does not mean boring dining, this is as “pamper-your-self” as it gets.
Jiko – The Cooking Place | African | Animal Kingdom Lodge
With a fun Safari-themed setting that even includes a simulated sunset, Jiko’s African inspired cuisine brings a touch of elegance that will draw even the pickiest of eaters. And if the food isn’t your thing well, the family-friendly themed atmosphere might be worth your time for a fun dining experience packed with an amazing staff.
Kabooki Sushi | Japanese | Colonial Town
This unassuming gem is hidden in a Colonial Town strip mall, regularly surprising customers and newcomers that discover it, with scintillating sushi and inspired Japanese-fusion cuisine. The small space has gained quite a reputation, however, so you'll want to call ahead for reservations.
Urbain 40 | American | Winter Park
This swing-era inspired American brasserie is considered a gorgeous eating space in Orlando. It made our list on its swank and looks alone, but the American and continental inspired food is nothing to complain about either. Stop by for seriously delicious chef-crafted eats.
Saigon Noodle & Grill | Vietnamese | Milk District
This casual Vietnamese eatery will please meat and veggie lover alike! From a tangy braised beef brisket to a delicious assortment of noodles, rice and pho, the sizable portions won’t leave anyone hungry.
Chatham’s Place | American | Dr. Phillips
Considered a “local gem,” Chatham’s locally inspired American cuisine packs an option-filled menu, garnished with fruits and vegetables from its owner’s own organic farm. Little ways off the hustle and bustle of the city, the restaurant’s friendly staff and charming ambiance, usually accompanied by a live piano, makes it a designated after-hours spot and a must for anyone looking for great food and wine pairings.
Eating In The Parks | All Dining | Walt Disney World
Because we know that some of us have specific diets, we thought we’d share that all restaurants within the parks, including all but the smallest quick-service counters, have at least one vegetarian item, and lower-fat selections are easy to find. Children's meals now also come with fruit or vegetables and juice, low-fat milk, or water unless parents specifically request fries and soft drinks.
If you’re around, try places like Flying Fish Café on Disney’s Boardwalk, where children can get a Mickey check meal that aligns with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. For more information try Mickey Check Recipes.