What to Eat in Orlando, Food and Drink, Dishes
Orlando, Florida, is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, offering a diverse range of dining experiences for locals and tourists alike. From food trucks to upscale restaurants, the city’s vibrant food scene caters to all tastes and budgets. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the must-try food and drink options in Orlando, including signature dishes, regional specialties, international cuisine, and local beverages.
I. Signature Dishes and Local Favorites
Florida Stone Crab
A delicacy in Florida, stone crab claws are known for their sweet and succulent meat. Served chilled with a side of mustard sauce, this dish is a must-try for seafood lovers visiting Orlando.
Embrace your adventurous side and try this Floridian favorite made from alligator meat. The tender and mildly flavored bites are typically breaded, deep-fried, and served with a tangy dipping sauce.
Influenced by Tampa’s Cuban population, this iconic sandwich is a staple in Orlando’s food scene. Made with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, all pressed between slices of Cuban bread, it’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
Key Lime Pie
A classic Floridian dessert, Key Lime Pie features a creamy, tart filling made from Key lime juice, condensed milk, and egg yolks, nestled in a graham cracker crust. Topped with whipped cream or meringue, it’s a refreshing way to end a meal in Orlando.
With its abundance of fresh citrus fruits, it’s no surprise that Orlando’s cuisine often features these tangy flavors. Keep an eye out for dishes that incorporate oranges, grapefruits, or lemons, such as ceviche, citrus-marinated chicken, or salads with citrus vinaigrettes.
II. Regional Specialties
Hailing from the Florida Keys, conch fritters are a popular appetizer in Orlando. The dish consists of diced conch meat mixed with peppers, onions, and seasoning, which is then battered, deep-fried, and served with a zesty dipping sauce.
Shrimp and Grits
A Southern classic, shrimp and grits is a popular dish in Orlando, featuring plump shrimp cooked with bacon, garlic, and spices, served over creamy, buttery grits. This hearty meal is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Another Southern favorite, fried green tomatoes are made from unripe tomatoes that are sliced, coated in a seasoned cornmeal batter, and fried to crispy perfection. These tangy and crunchy delights are often served with a side of remoulade sauce.
A quintessential Southern snack, boiled peanuts are a regional specialty found in Orlando. Simmered in a salty brine for hours, the peanuts take on a soft, almost bean-like texture, making them a unique and addictive treat.
III. International Cuisine
Latin American Flavors
Orlando is home to a thriving Latin American culinary scene, with options ranging from Cuban and Puerto Rican to Mexican and Colombian cuisine. Be sure to try dishes such as mofongo, arepas, or empanadas at one of the many Latin eateries in the city.
The city’s diverse Asian food scene offers a wide array of options, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian cuisine. Explore Orlando’s various Asian restaurants and food trucks to discover dishes such as dim sum, sushi, pho, pad Thai, and tikka masala, among others. Don’t miss out on the city’s popular ramen shops and Korean barbecue joints for a unique and satisfying dining experience.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Flavors
Orlando also boasts a vibrant Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food scene, featuring Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, and Moroccan cuisine. Be sure to try dishes like gyros, shawarma, falafel, hummus, or tagines at one of the many eateries specializing in these culinary traditions.
Experience a taste of Europe in Orlando with Italian, French, Spanish, and German culinary offerings. From traditional pasta dishes and Neapolitan pizzas to French pastries, tapas, and Bavarian pretzels, there’s something for every European food lover in this diverse city.
IV. Food Trucks and Casual Dining
Tasty Food Truck Fare
Orlando’s thriving food truck scene offers a wide variety of cuisines and dishes to suit every palate. Ranging from tacos and gourmet grilled cheese to Asian fusion and barbecue, these mobile eateries offer quick, delicious meals at affordable prices.
Many Orlando restaurants and cafes are committed to sourcing fresh, locally grown ingredients for their dishes. Enjoy farm-to-table dining experiences that showcase the region’s seasonal produce and support local farmers and purveyors.
Casual Eateries and Fast Food
In addition to its upscale dining options, Orlando has plenty of casual eateries and fast-food chains that cater to those looking for a quick, affordable meal. From burger joints and pizzerias to sandwich shops and cafes, there are countless options for satisfying your hunger on the go.
V. Beverages and Local Drinks
Orlando’s thriving craft beer scene features numerous breweries and taprooms offering a diverse selection of locally brewed beers. From hoppy IPAs and rich stouts to fruity sours and refreshing lagers, there’s a craft brew to suit every taste.
While Florida may not be as well-known for its wine production as other regions in the United States, the state does produce some unique and flavorful wines. Be sure to sample the region’s fruit wines, made from local fruits such as oranges, blueberries, and strawberries, as well as traditional grape-based wines.
Many of Orlando’s bars and restaurants offer creative and delicious specialty cocktails that showcase the city’s vibrant mixology scene. Try a refreshing mojito, a tangy margarita, or an inventive craft cocktail featuring local ingredients and flavors.
Orlando’s diverse food scene offers a wide array of culinary delights that cater to all tastes and budgets. From local favorites and regional specialties to international cuisine and casual dining options, there’s something for everyone in this bustling city. Don’t forget to pair your meals with a refreshing craft beer, a glass of Florida wine, or a creative cocktail to fully experience the vibrant flavors of Orlando’s food and drink scene.