Hispanic and Latino History & Culture in Orlando
Orlando’s Hispanic and Latino communities hail from a richly diverse mix of countries and cultures. A majority claim Puerto Rican heritage, owing both to ease of travel between Orlando and the U.S. territory.
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All told, residents of Puerto Rican, Mexican and Cuban descent account for most of our Hispanic and Latino population, with just about every other Hispanic and Latino nation also being represented. These communities are integral to Central Florida’s economic, social and political wellbeing, taking cues from their ancestors’ traditions while helping to shape the region’s future.
Cultural venues throughout the area pay homage to Hispanic and Latino heritage, beginning with the Orlando Museum of Art near downtown Orlando. There, the Art of the Ancient Americans Collection boasts over 900 works of art from more than 35 ancient cultures, including the Inca of Peru and Aztecs of central Mexico. You’ll also find the most comprehensive collection of Mexican Chupícuaro figurines in the southeastern U.S., with 160 different examples waiting to wow you.
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North of downtown Orlando in Winter Park, Casa Feliz (“Happy House” in English) is an Andalusian-style masonry farmhouse built on the shores of Lake Osceola during the Great Depression and since moved to its current location on Park Avenue. A must-visit for anyone with an interest in Spanish architecture, it offers docent-led tours of the home and grounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
No matter when you visit Orlando, you’ll find special events and other unique things to do while you’re in town. Here are some of our top Hispanic and Latino cultural events that every visitor should experience at least once.
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FLORIDA PUERTO RICAN PARADE & FESTIVAL (April)
Held in downtown Orlando, the Florida Puerto Rican Parade & Festival starts with a vibrant parade through downtown Orlando. The fun then continues with food, live music, arts and crafts, and vendors. It’s part of a statewide Puerto Rican Parade initiative, which holds simultaneous parades in cities across Florida.
ORLANDO SALSA CONGRESS (July)
More than being one of the year’s hottest dance parties, this multi-day event also features pool parties, workshops, shows, concerts, shopping, socializing — and even more pool parties.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH (SEPT. 15 – OCT. 15)
This month-long celebration is officially recognized by both the City of Orlando and Orange County governments, which host special events such as receptions, art exhibitions, the Orange County Mayor’s Cup Soccer Tournament, and other reasons to visit.
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FESTIVAL CALLE ORANGE (October)
A massive, one-day celebration of music, Festival Calle Orange takes over 10 blocks of downtown Orlando with dozens of national and international artists on three action-packed stages, representing musical styles such as salsa, merengue and bachata. Traditional Latin food and beverages are available for purchase. Festival Calle Orange is taking a break in 2023, with the next edition scheduled for Oct. 27, 2024.
When it comes to authentic Hispanic and Latino food, Orlando has excellent representation not just in our main tourism districts, but throughout the Central Florida area — including these standouts.
Spanish & Tapas Restaurants in Orlando
Bulla Gastrobar: Originating in Miami, Bulla Gastrobar takes artisanal Spanish cuisine to another level with the innovative Josper oven, which adds a distinct flavor and texture like no other. You’ll find them in Winter Park.
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Capa Steakhouse & Bar: One of four One-MICHELIN Star restaurants in Orlando, Capa Steakhouse & Bar is on the 17th floor of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort. In addition to nightly fireworks views, Capa serves Spanish-accented fresh Florida seafood, small plates and grilled cuts.
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Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit: Part of ICON Park® in the International Drive Entertainment District, aka I-Drive, Tapa Toro pays tribute to classic and contemporary Spanish cuisine with a robust tapas menu and custom-made paella pit, plus nightly flamenco dancing.
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Brazilian Steakhouses in Orlando
Adega Gaucha: Close to The Florida Mall, Adega Gaucha offers a blend of traditional flavors, signature dishes and skilled Gauchos Chefs carving endless cuts of meats tableside.
BoiBrazil Churrascaria Steakhouse: Part of the International Drive Entertainment District, BoiBrazil creates a gastronomic experience with new ways to serve the traditional cuts of meat from Brazil.
BR77 Brazilian Steakhouse: Located in Kissimmee close to Walt Disney World, BR77 serves more than a dozen cuts of meat, as well as seasonal salads, cheeses and hot dishes.
Chima Steakhouse Orlando: Joining Orlando’s acclaimed Restaurant Row, Chima Steakhouse Orlando offers a sophisticated rodizio experience in a modern fine dining setting.
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse: Enjoy world-class Brazilian cuisine in an elegant Brazilian dining experience at Fogo de Chao on International Drive.
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Hispanic and Latino Fusion RESTAURANTS IN ORLANDO
Agave Azul: With several locations throughout the area, this contemporary Mexican restaurant specializes in hand-crafted dishes with a twist.
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Azteca D’Oro: With two locations to choose from, including Lake Nona and Winter Garden, this restaurant group serves as ambassadors of Mexican culture, traditions and cuisine.
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Black Rooster Taqueria: The MICHELIN Recommended Black Rooster Taqueria offers a modern take on Mexican cuisine that celebrates the country’s culture and history. It’s part of Orlando’s Mills 50 district.
Chevys Fresh Mex: Close to The Mall at Millenia, Chevys is known for mesquite-fired flavor and fresh ingredients.
Chronic Tacos: Playful and edgy decor helps create an engaging experience at this family of restaurants, which has an outpost in Orlando’s Restaurant Row area near Universal.
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Chuy’s: This popular Tex-Mex chain has locations throughout the Orlando area, including our main tourism districts.
El Potro: With four locations, including Winter Park, Apopka, southeast Orlando and close to Universal Orlando, you’ll have ample opportunities to try this local favorite.
Frontera Cocina: Headed by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, Frontera Cocina is one of many superb restaurants at Disney Springs®.
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Garibaldi Mexican Cuisine: A family-owned local favorite, this restaurant just outside The Florida Mall features traditional Mexican fare, plus live mariachi bands on weekends.
Kavas Tacos + Tequila: New to Pointe Orlando in the International Drive Entertainment District, Kavas Tacos + Tequila serves Tex-Mex flavors and playful takes on Mexican street fare.
La Hacienda de San Angel: Located on the waterfront at the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT®, La Hacienda de San Angel provides fantastic views of the park’s evening fireworks as well as mouthwatering fare. Admission to EPCOT is required.
Mu Restaurant: Located in Kissimmee near Walt Disney World, Mu Restaurant serves a variety of Latin-inspired food with American flair.
Reyes Mezcaleria: Headed by Food Network personality Chef Wendy Lopez, Reyes Mezcaleria in downtown Orlando’s North Quarter district specializes in agave spirits and regionally inspired Mexican dishes.
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar: The party never ends at this glitzy option, which is part of Orlando’s famous Restaurant Row near International Drive.
Rosa Mexicano: One of the newest dining options at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Rosa Mexicano features tableside guacamole presentation, award-winning margaritas and a host of traditional dishes.
San Angel Inn Restaurante: Dine at the edge of “The River of Time” at San Angel Inn, located inside the pyramid of the Mexican Pavilion at EPCOT. Park admission is required.
Solita Tacos & Margaritas: Part of downtown Orlando’s City District, Solita Tacos pairs great Mexican food and dynamite margaritas with Southern California’s laid-back lifestyle.
Taco Kat: Experience Sonora-style tacos, Goya-inspired cocktail menus and more at Taco Kat, part of downtown Orlando’s City District.
Uncle Julio’s: Head to ICON Park® on International Drive for this eatery’s famous Chocolate Piñata, among other mouthwatering dishes.
Authentic Cuban Restaurants in Orlando
Black Bean Deli: Chow down on authentic empanadas, bistec, yuca frita, sopa de polla and more at Black Bean Deli, with locations in Orlando’s Mills 50 district and nearby Winter Park.
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar: Escape to Old Havana with award-winning Latin cuisine, dancing, floorshows and tropical cocktails at Cuba Libre, part of Pointe Orlando in the I-Drive Entertainment District.
Authentic Mexican Restaurants in Orlando
Border Grill Fresh-Mex: Enjoy made-to-order dishes and a salsa bar close to Universal Orlando Resort.
Bugambilias: Minutes from The Florida Mall®, this eatery offers authentic Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes.
El Patrón Restaurante Mexicano: Mexican favorites and jumbo margaritas are house specialties at this stylish, family-owned restaurant near Walt Disney World® Resort.
El Tenampa: With locations close to Walt Disney World and The Florida Mall, these restaurants serve delicious and authentic flavors for all your mealtime cravings.
Mariachi Mexican Restaurant: This no-frills joint for burritos and other Mexican standards is just north of The Florida Mall.
Tortas El Rey: South of downtown Orlando, this unfussy fast-casual outlet offers an array of Mexican fare, plus outdoor seating.
Tortilleria La Mexicana: This easy-going cantina with a vibrant decor serves classic Mexican platters and potent margaritas with locations close to Walt Disney World and Universal.
Authentic Colombian Restaurants in Orlando
CFS Coffee Shop: Specializing in producing high-quality coffee and first established in Colombia in 2010, CFS opened its first U.S. shop in Winter Park back in 2016, and has since added locations in downtown Orlando, close to Universal Studios, Dr. Phillips and Lake Nona. Each provides a cozy place like home where you can eat and drink healthily while relaxing.
Colombia La Bella: Head to Longwood north of Winter Park for exceptional Colombian and Latin food at exceptional prices.
Rincón Montañero: Around the corner from Orlando Executive Airport just east of downtown, this laid-back venue serves Colombian favorites, natural juices and more.
Oh! Que Bueno Restaurant Grill and Bar: One of many Latin restaurants north of Orlando International Airport, this eatery specializes in exquisite dishes and great cocktails.
Pollos a La Brasa Mario: Authentic Latin American fare is served in a cheery atmosphere at this restaurant close to The Florida Mall.
Simón Parrilla Restaurant and Grill: Adjacent to The Florida Mall, this colorful venue offers Colombian cuisine, cocktails and regular live music.
There Is Always More to Do in Orlando
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