Join Instagram influencer and guest blogger Christina Petsos on a tour of eight of Orlando’s MICHELIN Guide restaurants, including Chef Brandon McGlamery’s Prato (pictured).
This year, Florida finally got its first MICHELIN Guide visit — and Orlando received a lot of recognition. Four restaurants were awarded one MICHELIN Star, seven received the Bib Gourmand, and 22 were recommended, for 33 total honorees.
Discover: Orlando’s MICHELIN Guide Restaurants
I have been fortunate enough to visit quite a few of these restaurants and am excited to share my experiences at eight of them. Enjoy!
MICHELIN Guide Starred Restaurants
To earn a MICHELIN Star, a restaurant must wow the inspectors in five categories: Quality, Mastery, Personality, Value and Consistency. These inspectors have typically studied hospitality at a high and reputable level. They always dine anonymously, so you can be sure that the treatment they receive at any of these restaurants was not considered to be special or different from the regular customer.
Capa Steakhouse & Bar
Atop the 17-story Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort, the One-MICHELIN-Star Capa Steakhouse & Bar is part Spanish tapas and part American steakhouse, making it a wonderful fusion of cultures. Everything is top notch, from the food to the service.
The restaurant is breathtakingly gorgeous and provides exceptional views of both Magic Kingdom® Park and EPCOT® from the balcony, including evening fireworks. The lounge and dining areas both provide access to the terrace. Sunsets at Capa are also spectacular; your server will let you know when there are 10 minutes till “showtime.”
Chef Gabriel Massip and his team provide spectacular dishes, both visually and flavor wise — the steak is so tender that it melts in your mouth. The service here is also impeccable and is a true fine dining experience, right down to my favorite: six different salts that are provided to taste.
Soseki Modern Omakase
An intimate, 10-seat, multi-course dining experience, Soseki Modern Omakase is located in an unassuming building on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. In his restaurant’s first year of operation, Chef Mike Collates delivered exceptional service, globally inspired food, and engaging storytelling, earning himself and his team accolades in the process.
Discover: Winter Park
This dinner is “chef’s choice” and takes you on a journey of flavors with dishes that are sourced locally, making this a truly sustainable restaurant. The chefs make all dishes directly in front of you while telling jokes, sharing stories that have influenced them, and making each person feel as though they are the only guest there. Soseki even has a master sommelier, Benjamin Coutts, who curates an optional beverage pairing for each meal. This dining experience does come with a high price tag, but I found it to be 100% worth it and I would come back at least once a year.
The quality of the seafood provided is exceptional and unlike any other sushi I have tasted. Sushi is also served one piece at a time to ensure optimal freshness and the best tasting experience possible. The hot portion of this meal, which for me was a lovely A5 Wagyu, is sure to impress you, but there truly was not a single course I did not enjoy. For instance, while I typically do not like oysters, I thoroughly enjoyed the Oyster Aperitif, which was a play on a paloma and martini. This was one of the most unique presentations of oysters I have seen, as well as the tastiest.
MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants
Although perhaps not as well known as the Star, the MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand award is highly coveted. Restaurants awarded this accolade are said to have the best value for your money. They offer a simpler style of cooking that is recognizable and easy to eat. The goal is to leave the restaurant feeling that you are full and received quality food at a reasonable price.
The Strand Food & Drink
Located in Orlando’s Mills 50 district, The Strand Food & Drink is a New American restaurant with seasonal dishes made from local and fresh ingredients. This is a small, intimate venue, and reservations are highly encouraged.
Discover: Orlando’s Mills 50 District
Owners Alda and Joe Reed are inspired by the foods they used to eat growing up. They have lived in the Mills 50 district for almost 30 years and love it because they view it as the most authentic part of Orlando.
All the dishes at The Strand are made from scratch with seasonally driven ingredients, which is why you will find a constantly changing menu. A favorite item of mine is the Snapper Cakes and Seared Scallops. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a fantastic peppery taste from sage. Their desserts are also notable and change with the season. One thing is for sure, though: You cannot go wrong with anything you order here.
Swine & Sons
Born from a provisions market and craft butcher in 2015, Swine & Sons is part of the Winter Park Social House. The husband-and-wife chef team of Rhys and Alexia Gawlak have been working together in the Orlando culinary scene for over 20 years. Their spicy chicken sandwich was made popular in 2020 when they were on Guy’s Grocery Games, and they haven’t slowed down since.
Today, Swine & Sons offers made-from-scratch food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This restaurant is counter-service, making for a fast, casual dining space, but the food is certainly worth waiting for if needed. I absolutely adore their smash burgers, which I view as one of the best burgers in Orlando.
Discover: Best Burgers in Orlando
Their chicken sandwiches are massive and breaded with the perfect crunch. Their curly fries are fantastic and something I recommend to everyone. The last time I was there, I tried their brisket sandwich and was blown away by how tender it was. The addition of pimento cheese adds a great twist to a classic that I can never eat any other way now. Swine & Sons has also partnered with The Courtesy Bar (located in the same plaza) to bring a special menu called “Bar Swine,” which is only for purchase at The Courtesy and features fantastic small dishes like the Roasted Pepitas Dip and Loaded Potatoes.
Chef Sonny Nguyen brought this restaurant to the people of Orlando in 2016, and it’s bloomed as a popular ramen spot that makes its own noodles. Originally just a small space at East End Market in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District, Domu has flourished and expanded to Orlando’s Dr. Phillips area, as well as Jacksonville. It’s a great choice for date night or an evening with friends.
Discover: Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District
The biggest draw, though, is their wings. I find myself craving them all the time and will often order them to go. They are coated in a kimchi butter sauce that is heavenly! If I could put this on everything, I would, but then it would not be as special. If someone went to Domu and just ordered three plates of wings as their dinner, I know I would not judge them.
The most popular ramen is the Richie Rich, which is in a Miso-shoyu pork bone broth. They have multiple choices here, with some more unique ramen like the Uni Maxemen, which I definitely am going to go try soon. They also serve a lobster bun in a New England roll, which I found to have an amazing flavor from the drawn butter. And make sure to order dessert before leaving, because they have rotating soft serve ice cream flavors.
MICHELIN Guide Recommended Restaurants
Venues that rank as MICHELIN Guide Recommended restaurants were found by inspectors to serve above-average food featuring well-cooked, high-quality ingredients. They are always worth foodies’ attention.
Prato is a classic staple of Winter Park. This romantic Italian restaurant boasts beautiful decor and low, intimate lighting inside, while outdoor seating invites dog-loving patrons to bring their furry friends along with them to lunch or dinner.
Discover: Winter Park Dining
Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery is also a James Beard Award honoree. His dishes are modern takes on Italian classics, setting Prato apart from other Italian restaurants in the Central Florida area.
One of my favorite items is the wildly popular Mustard Spaghettini (Cacio e Pepe). They also have a fantastic happy hour featuring whole pizzas for just $10. Get the Margherita pizza — it’s dynamite!
Black Rooster Taqueria
Black Rooster Taqueria is a counter-service restaurant that provides delicious food at a quick pace. Their original location is in the Mills 50 district, but they have opened a second, larger location in the Curry Ford West district. The new location just started offering brunch and I cannot wait to try it!
Discover: Orlando Neighborhoods
Julianna and John Calloway head this farm-to-taco concept that serves authentic, fresh food focusing on sustainability. There is nothing over-the-top or gimmicky about Black Rooster, and that makes it great. In my opinion, their taco shells really set them apart. They make them in house, and they are hard to beat.
I ordered the Black Rooster Asada, which is amazing. My favorite taco here, though, is the Smoked Beef Brisket. They put chimichurri on it, and I am a sucker for beef with chimichurri. They offer two different vegetarian options for tacos, which can easily be made vegan. Their guacamole is made to order, and their chips are fried fresh. They also have two desserts, Tres Leches Cake and Chocolate Chipotle Flan. I loved the authenticity of the former and the creativity of the latter. The flan has a nice kick to it and comes with peanut butter and berry sauce.
Since 2016, Pizza Bruno in Orlando’s Curry Ford West district has been dishing out some of the best pizza pies in town. Chef Bruno Zucchini learned how to make pizza during his summer trips to the Jersey shore. He started his culinary career in Orlando with a food cart and eventually opened his own restaurant, serving authentic Italian dishes and Neapolitan pizza. And now, Chef Bruno has opened a second location in the College Park Main Street district.
Discover: Orlando’s College Park Main Street
All dough is made in house and fermented for up to 48 hours. I ordered the Margherita pizza, as I always love a classic, and instantly fell in love with the sauce on it. There is a classic beauty in fresh, brightly flavored tomatoes that make this pizza sauce a force to be reckoned with. It is perfection.
I also tried the meatballs, which is Bruno’s grandmother’s family recipe. The meatballs are served with ricotta and are delicious. And their popular garlic knots currently live rent-free in my mind, as they are truly memorable. They are giant and have a lot of garlic — just the way I like them.
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