The past year brought so many fantastic new restaurants to Orlando — and the ones that were already here continued to thrive in our booming culinary scene. There is no shortage of places to choose from, which is a great problem to have. Orlando is no longer a city of chains, but one of a diverse food culture that includes 51 MICHELIN Guide restaurants. The year to come promises to be even more fruitful, so here is my list of 24 restaurants you must try in 2024.
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Black Rooster Taqueria
One of Orlando’s favorite tacos, and for good reason. The tacos are unbearably fresh and the handmade tortillas are perfection. Julianna and John Calloway head this MICHELIN Recommended farm-to-taco concept that serves authentic, fresh food focusing on sustainability, including my favorite, the smoked beef brisket taco. There is nothing over-the-top or gimmicky about Black Rooster, and that makes it great. You’ll find them in the Mills 50® district near downtown.
Boca Winter Park
Located on beautiful and historic Park Avenue lies this gem of a restaurant. Boca is closer to end of the main strip, tucked away from the usual bustle of the street. They have fantastic lobster wontons, brie and apple flatbread, ginger encrusted salmon, braised short rib pasta, a key lime jar, and chocolate cake. One of my top picks for Winter Park.
Discover: Things to Do in Winter Park
Chayote Barrio Kitchen
New this year to the Winter Park area is Chayote, an upscale Latin restaurant from celebrity Chef Mario Pagan. The interior feels like you are in a jungle paradise and the food is fantastic, along with their unique cocktails, created by master mixologist Thomas Treuse. Of particular note is their lubina, or Chilean sea bass. It is cooked perfectly and is an absolute must-try.
Discover: Hispanic & Latino Travel Guide
Part of the Mills 50 district, this eight-person standing sushi bar is the only one of its kind in Orlando, so reservations are required. The quality is top tier with some of the freshest fish around. The MICHELIN Recommended EDOBOY presents a concept you can find all around Japan, and it is designed to be a fast and fun experience. They have nigiri, seared nigiri and hand rolls.
The Glass Knife
This Winter Park bakery is well known for their gorgeous handmade pastries. In fact, some of the prettiest desserts I have ever seen are at The Glass Knife. They have themed desserts for every holiday, and I never miss out on them. They are known for their cakes, donuts and classic treats like their oatmeal cream pie. They offer a wide variety of coffee drinks, with the crème brûlée cortado being wildly popular. Don’t let this bakery fool you, though; they have so much more than dessert. The savory options are just as good, including their cheddar biscuits and avocado toast.
From the creator of Susuru comes its sister restaurant, the MICHELIN Recommended JUJU, part of The Milk District® near downtown Orlando. They have some Susuru favorites plus many original dishes. They dry age their fish, which is the secret to its tenderness. The venue’s kappo bar is also a truly unique dining experience in Orlando. Similar to omakase, kappo bars offer a multi-course meal, but they provide a more relaxed atmosphere. Kappo-style cuisine focuses on the five primary cooking techniques: grilling, steaming, frying, simmering and raw. The wagyu gyoza is my favorite item on the menu.
Discover: Things to Do in The Milk District
Market To Table
Just a short drive outside Orlando in Winter Garden, you’ll find this unassuming spot that provides some of the finest quality food in the area. The intimate, gorgeous setting lends a hand to the incredible experience you’ll have at Market To Table, in addition to their food. Chef Ryan created dishes that are modern American with classical influences. He aims to please all palettes and create food everyone will enjoy. There is truly something for everyone here, including the must-try truffle gnocchi and braised short ribs.
Discover: Things to Do in Winter Garden
The Nauti Lobstah
A small seafood restaurant in Apopka, northwest of downtown Orlando, The Nauti Lobstah serves lobster that is fresh and imported directly from Maine. This spot is so unique in that it’s one of the only spots I know serving Connecticut-style lobster rolls and uses fresh live lobsters. Plus, they have the huge lobsters that you dream about dunking the claws into butter. The lobster bisque is particularly noteworthy with amazing flavor and large chunks of lobster. They also now have a 2-foot lobster roll that can feed a whole family. Worth the drive!
Park Pizza & Brewing Company
Located in Lake Nona Town Center is this community hub. Park Pizza is where everyone tends to gather on the weekends for pizza and wings. The reverse buffalo flavor is a unique take on wings and one that is necessary to try. My go-to pizza is the Awesome Saus! (house tomato sauce, grande mozzarella, housemade sausage, roasted garlic, cremini mushrooms, red peppers, red onions). I always try a new beer here, too, as they are also a brewery. Lake Nona is minutes from Orlando International Airport.
Discover: Things to Do in Lake Nona
This is an elegant, MICHELIN Recommended Italian restaurant on Winter Park’s lovely Park Avenue. Prato celebrates Italy’s rich culinary landscape, seamlessly blending Italian classics with modern techniques and seasonal ingredients. The warm space welcomes guests with its contemporary design balanced by rustic elements. Headed by James Beard-nominated Chef Brandon McGlamery, Prato is wildly popular due to the wonderful food they serve here. Every pasta dish they make is perfect, with my favorite being the mustard spaghettini. Their margherita pizza is a fan favorite, too. No matter what you order, you can’t go wrong.
Smoke & Donuts
Donuts with barbecue!? Say less! You can choose from their donut creations or make your own. Smoke & Donuts have their own craft cocktails and lots of barbecue options to choose from. I’ve been a huge fan of their donuts for a while because they are amazing. Let me tell you, barbecue on donuts works. Try the spicy chicken plate and thank me later. You’ll find them in The Milk District.
Thrive Cocktail Lounge & Eatery
Located in downtown Orlando’s City District, this cute spot is serving great quality food. Thrive has an Asian-style, tapas-inspired menu, with some fun things like the fire fries and refreshing like the “Cukes of Hazard” (Thai marinated sweet and spicy cucumber salad). I was also a huge fan of the truffle sliders, but my favorite was the scallop torched nigiri. The pink Himalayan salt on top of it brought it to the next level.
Discover: Things to Do in City District
VINIA Wine & Kitchen
VINIA is a scratch kitchen and beautiful wine bar in the Hannibal Square area of Winter Park. This is an Italian-Brazilian restaurant serving gorgeous plates that taste even better than they look. Order the oxtail gnocchi and the Brazilian cheese bread — trust me.
A Land Remembered
This is a fantastic steakhouse and the signature restaurant at Rosen Shingle Creek, close to Universal Orlando Resort. You can expect nothing less than stellar service and top-quality cuts of meat at A Land Remembered. I am an especially big fan of the wagyu carpaccio. The 8-oz. filet and key lime brûlée are my two go-to orders here. Always fantastic.
At Siam Thai Cuisine
This fantastic Thai spot is a hidden gem on International Drive that definitely deserves attention. This Asian woman-owned restaurant has so much heart and big flavors. I was a huge fan of everything I tried. The salmon Thai fried rice, dumplings and mango sticky rice were my favorite things. I definitely recommend giving At Siam a try.
Bull & Bear®
Bull & Bear is the signature restaurant of Waldorf Astoria® Orlando, located on Disney property. Expect prime steak cuts, innovative dishes and all-around great quality food in a romantic ambience. The perfect date night and special occasion restaurant.
Chima Steakhouse Orlando
This is an upscale Brazilian steakhouse that opened this past year in the Dr. Phillips area, not far from I-Drive, and it is a fantastic new addition to the area. The meat is extremely high quality and even my Brazilian friends love it. I couldn’t stop eating the jalapeño picanha; it’s addicting! It brings the flavor without an uncomfortable heat. Chima has over 15 different rotisserie options to choose from, plus the grilled cinnamon pineapple that is divine. Do not skip this item.
This brand-new social and entertainment lounge located at I-Drive’s Hyatt Regency Orlando is beautiful and so much fun. They have some yummy food plus so much to do there. The beautiful bar area offers signature cocktails that I enjoyed, like the spicy margarita. Inside are multiple golf simulators, darts, pool and more. My favorite feature of Descend 21 is that it’s located poolside, lending a beautiful view to their patio. I loved the sofas with fire pits — such a relaxing vibe and nice to grab a drink with friends. Parking is free.
Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen
From Chef Richard Blais, the tropical-inspired, MICHELIN Recommended Four Flamingos is also located at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Chef Blais loves to feature dishes made with molecular gastronomy, such as the tuna tostada made with a passion fruit yolk (looks just like an egg). The swordfish steak is so perfectly cooked, thick and not chewy at all. Try any of the desserts while you’re here, they’re all fabulous.
Discover: Top Orlando Chefs
This fine dining restaurant is located on the top floor of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. From their high vaulted windows, you can watch planes take off and land while dining. Hemisphere is a beautiful space serving locally sourced and fresh dishes. It’s worth experiencing whether you’re visiting or local. With wines on tap, beautiful cocktails and exquisite food, it’s a perfect spot to wait out a delayed flight. Even better: If you just wish to eat here, there’s no need to go through security! Just go to the hotel and you will receive complimentary valet parking.
JoJo’s ShakeBAR Orlando
This spot at Pointe Orlando on I-Drive is known for their crazy milkshakes. In addition to the shakes, JoJo’s actually has some pretty good food, too. You must try their mac and cheese. It’s so flavorful and packed with cheese. Their cocktails are all so pretty and tasty as well. I really enjoyed the frozen mango margarita and the “Trix Are 4 Kids” drink that has cotton candy. Written on the entrance, it says it is “not a place for diets,” and that is super accurate. If you stop by, plan to indulge. It’s worth it. JoJo’s also loves to celebrate any holiday, so check their page to see what they are up to.
Discover: Things to Do at Pointe Orlando
Kavas Tacos + Tequila
New to Pointe Orlando, Kavas is a super fun Tex-Mex restaurant. This is a high-energy venue with offerings like birria fries, taco salad bowls, a 3-foot taco board and so much more. They also have a fire dancer and Mexican folklorico dancing.
When the original Norman’s closed in 2019, it was devastating to a lot of us. But he’s back! Norman’s is now on Restaurant Row in Dr. Phillips; a perfect spot for it. The terrace overlooks Sand Lake and is beautiful. It’s hard to miss it from the road. The dining room is elegant and spacious, while the lounge is more modern and upbeat. Both offer the full menu and are lovely options. Chef Norman Van Aken is a James Beard award recipient and coined as the “founding father of New World Cuisine.” The menu blends both new and old, and is something everyone needs to try at least once in their life.
Discover: Places to Eat on Restaurant Row
Seito Sushi Sand Lake
This sushi restaurant in the Dr. Phillips area serves amazing Japanese cuisine. Seito recently opened their Hanami Bar, which boasts cherry blossoms in almost every inch. I am totally obsessed with the atmosphere in here. The truffle miso and the temaki are must-tries. If you’re not a sushi fan, you’re in luck because they have options for you, too, like the NY strip or the beef yakisoba.
Use this interactive map to track down all 24 restaurants featured in this blog. Bon appétit!
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