Orlando is proud of its thriving dining scene, from celebrity chefs to local James Beard Award nominees. With so many options, dining in Orlando can be a great big culinary-adventure, but it doesn't always have to leave a great big hole in your wallet. If you're craving dining that's big on taste but not big on price, here are some local Orlando eats that won't break the bank.
Beefy King - The Milk District/Downtown
Smith family has beef - and Orlando thanks them! Serving their signature hot, fresh, roast beef sandwiches (starting at $3.55) for more than 40 years the Smith family establishment has expanded to turkey, pastrami, corned beef and other sandwich favorites. Wash it down with a hand spun milkshake.
Photo: The Orlando Sentinel
Black Bean Deli - Mills 50 and Winter Park
Traditional Cuban food in two locations, the Mills50 area east of the theme parks near downtown and Winter Park. Parking is tight but locals say the shredded meat platters, empanadas, sandwiches are worth it (all under $10).
Brick and Fire Pizza - Downtown and Celebration
Serving up fresh NYC style pizza (starting at $5.95) just south of downtown Orlando is the specialty here. An express location across the street from the Town of Celebration delivers a limited menu the resort hotels at Walt Disney World.
Christo's Cafe - College Park
Rightly receives raves for breakfast but don't ignore the full-day menu including hot melts and specialty sandwiches for $8.50. Omelettes, the variety of eggs benedict, Nutella french toast, salads, burgers, smothered steaks and mashed potatoes are noteworthy.
The Coop - Winter Park
"A Southern Affair" is not just a slogan. It's what this fast casual concept from the brainchild of 4Rivers (the wildly popular Orlando BBQ chain) is all about. More than just home-style fried chicken - which you shouldn't miss - try the shrimp and grits ($12.99) and mud pie ($3.50).
Fortuna Bakery - Hunters Creek/South Orlando
This Colombian bakery less than 20 minutes from major theme parks. Cases showcase beautiful full cakes, savory beef turnovers, guava and cheese pastries, rolls, toasts, and buns.
Halal Food Express - International Drive
Close to Universal Orlando and SeaWorld and just minutes away from Disney, you'll find lunch and dinner with a Mediterranean flair - wraps, sandwiches, salads, kababs, hummus, kids meals and even pizza.
Harry and Larry's Bar-B-Que - Winter Garden
Often overshadowed by the wildly popular 4Rivers location nearby, check out this walk-up counter in downtown historic Winter Garden. The pork sandwiches, ribs and brisket get frequent shout-outs (platters starting at $12.95) - and isn't that what you'd expect from a BBQ place? Sidewalk seating is lovely but the signage inside gets a lot of chatter.
Little Saigon - Mills 50
Usually the first place most locals mention when asked where to go for Vietnamese food. Try the shrimp pancake - it's a little thicker than a crepe and tasty. Of course the standards summer rolls, pho, bubble tea are authentic.
903Mills Market Cafe - Mills 50
This is your home away from home for any meal. Serving a wide variety of platters, sandwiches, salads, you'll feel like you're at your neighbor's house. With a bunch of strangers. Who might soon become friends! There's seating inside, but outside has the best atmosphere.
Q'Kenan - Universal Orlando/I-Drive Area
Venezuelan style food located near Universal Orlando in a strip mall by Publix. Locals warn it's hidden, but a gem worth searching out. The arepas ($4.60) a huge hit, as are the big portions and casual diner-atmosphere.
Pom Pom's Teahouse and Sandwicheria - The Milk District
Best known for their art in sandwich making and handcrafted teas, this funky cafe offers both great tastes and great atmosphere. The famous Mama Ling Ling's Thanksgiving ($8) is like enjoying that delicious holiday all wrapped up in one monstrous sandwich.
Sofrito Cafe - Lake Buena Vista
Bragging about its Cuban sandwich ($6.69), fans say there's so much more to this Latin Cafe. Take advantage of the convenience to order online and have it delivered to some parts of the Disney, Kissimmee and Sea World areas.
Tako Cheena - Mills 50
This could be Orlando's tastiest taco (starting at $2.81) with its fusion menu that wraps two fan favorites, Asian and Mexican, into one crispy shell.
Tasty Wok - Mills 50
Chinese comfort food served here. Stir-fry and soup noodles, rice dishes, roasted and barbecued meat, fresh vegetables honor Cantonese cuisine to a T.
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