Learn about some of the best-kept secret eateries in Orlando, including DoveCote Restaurant (pictured; photo by Josh Hiller).
Updated Feb. 9, 2021
From world-class restaurants featuring celebrity chefs, to local mom-and-pop shops cooking up family recipes handed down through the years, Orlando has dining options for every palette. But even if you ate at three of them a day, it would take you over four years to enjoy all of the restaurants in the area!
Learn more: Orlando’s Celebrity Chefs
As most visitors are only in Orlando for a relatively brief time, we’ve put together a list of charming eateries where you can try something different and discover your new favorite meal. These and other restaurants throughout the area are also prioritizing your safety with robust health measures, including reduced capacity, face-mask and social-distancing requirements, increased sanitization, and more. Best of all, these delicious restaurants are all one-of-a-kind, and you won’t find them anywhere else but Orlando!
Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified or closed. Learn more about healthy travel and what’s open in Orlando, and check with your favorite attractions for their current status.
Best-Kept Secret Restaurants in Orlando’s Tourism District
Christini’s Ristorante Italiano
OK, maybe this one isn’t actually a well-kept secret — not with celebrities like Mick Jagger, Brooke Shields, Emeril Lagasse and others singing its praises! Part of Orlando’s legendary Restaurant Row, which is minutes from International Drive, the family-owned Christini’s Ristorante Italiano specializes in outstanding food and service.
Learn more: Restaurant Row
The elegant ambience, which includes strolling musicians and complimentary roses for ladies, is supplemented with award-winning Italian fare and a wine selection that earned a “Best Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator Magazine. It’s also Zagat-rated, earning scores of 4.5, 4.4 and 4.5 for food, décor and service, respectively.
Located at Rosen Centre on International Drive, Everglades Restaurant is one of many top-flight eateries tucked inside Orlando’s hotels and resorts. Focusing on steaks and seafood, Everglades’ staff prioritizes the use of fresh, local ingredients, weaving native Florida flair into traditional dishes.
Florida also informs Everglades’ constantly evolving décor, resulting in a unique dining experience every time you visit. And be sure to save room for dessert or risk missing out on masterpieces like The Pecan Tuille and The Chocolate Marquise!
The H Cuisine
One of Restaurant Row’s newest eateries, The H Cuisine offers casual fine dining with a diverse Mediterranean menu. What really sets it apart is its culinary team, staffed by chefs who have worked at some of the finest restaurants in more than 70 countries.
The H Cuisine also boasts an open-fire kitchen that includes charcoal techniques, slow-cooked barbecue, smoked delicacies and more. And while their meat creations, including spicy sucuk (aka sausage), are not to be missed, vegetarians will also find much to love, including traditional Turkish meze dishes.
Yes, there is plenty of whiskey at The Whiskey — well over 200 brands to be exact, including bourbon, Scotch, blends, limited releases and more. But while whiskey aficionados will come for the libations, they’ll want to settle in once they see what’s on the menu at this Restaurant Row venue!
The reason being, The Whiskey’s team puts an elevated twist on traditional pub food, earning culinary accolades along the way. Add a side of rock-‘n’-roll ambience, and it all adds up to one of Orlando’s most unique dining experiences.
Best-Kept Secret Restaurants in Downtown Orlando & Winter Park
blu on the avenue
West coast and east coast cuisines come together with a modern twist at blu on the avenue, one of many unforgettable restaurants on Park Avenue in charming Winter Park, about 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Learn more: City of Winter Park
Seafood is king here — including a delectable sushi selection — but you can dig into numerous turf and vegetarian options, too. And every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., start your day with a brunch featuring delicacies like Crab Cake Benedict, Lobster Omelette, Steak Huevos Rancheros and more.
The AAA Four Diamond-rated Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando presents a dazzling blend of art, music and hospitality — not to mention acclaimed dining at its onsite restaurant, The Boheme. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a jazz brunch on Sundays, this unique eatery elevates the dining experience by pairing exceptional food and service with music and art.
Learn more: Downtown Orlando
The onsite Grand Bohemian Gallery supplies the latter with paintings, sculpture and other works that decorate not just the hotel, but also The Boheme and adjacent Bösendorfer Lounge. And the menu’s mix of American and European favorites is nicely complemented by a sizable wine selection and handcrafted cocktails.
Offering some of downtown Orlando’s most eclectic dining, DoveCote Restaurant’s well-designed yet ever-changing menu presents a modern homage to French brasseries of yesteryear. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, and offer a scrumptious brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Choose from an array of steaks, seafood, chicken and game, or belly up to the raw bar. Speaking of bars, DoveCote has an impressive selection of wine, champagne, beer and cocktails. Even the coffee is gourmet, as provided by Foxtail Coffee Co. (a local favorite), and it pairs beautifully with the fresh, housemade pastries.
Le Coq au Vin
Since 1976, Le Coq au Vin has served authentic French cuisine in downtown Orlando, racking up countless awards and accolades along the way. With so much experience, it’s easy to see why they’ve earned “Best French Restaurant in Central Florida” honors from numerous local publications!
Le Coq au Vin is headed by Central Florida’s only world-certified master chef, Reimund Pitz, and his wife. The resulting cuisine marries traditional cooking techniques with a range of cultural influences, resulting in a hearty mix of classic dishes and innovative creations that will leave you saying “ooh la la.”
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar
Presenting a modern take on classic fish camps, Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar in Winter Park serves fresh Florida seafood prepared in a Southern style, including Po’ Boys, LA Gumbo, Low Country Boil and more.
Reel Fish also offers a raw bar and selections from the land, such as Coffee-Cured Filet Mignon and Buttermilk Pan-Fried Chicken. They’re open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, with a hearty brunch menu being served from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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