Orlando Dining Guide: Eateries Inside and Outside the Parks
A vacation isn’t just for seeing the sights – it’s for the joy of discovering new tastes that will satisfy your family’s every food craving. Looking for terrific options for Orlando dining? You’re sure to find something to satisfy your appetite among restaurant choices found in two areas. International Drive, the city’s popular thoroughfare, has a wide array of restaurants including eateries influenced by Florida’s best Cuban and Caribbean cuisine. There’s also terrific dining found within the walls of your favorite theme park. Here are some of our delicious picks for I-Drive and Orlando theme park dining. To try them all, you’ll want to plan ahead for your next Orlando getaway.
Walt Disney World® Restaurants
With over 200 places to dine and creatively crafted eats around every corner, Disney’s food selections are there to make a magical gastronomical experience come to life.
- L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet at Epcot at French Pavilion – The 16 hand-made, artisan ice creams and sorbets are enough to make L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet an absolute must while visiting the World Showcase at Epcot, but now they’ve added a whole new level of awesomeness in the form of Croque Glaces, or Pressed Ice Cream Sandwiches. How are these glorious creations made, you ask? They take a freshly baked Brioche bun, add a scoop of your choice of ice cream, and then drizzle a little raspberry or chocolate sauce. Next, they press it between a mini Panini maker to create a warm, crispy ice cream sandwich.
- Sommerfest at Epcot at Germany Pavilion – This counter service spot is perfect for a quick bite as you make your way around the world. And while there are plenty of yummy options to choose from at Sommerfest, there is only one dish that reigns supreme—the Nudel Gratin. This macaroni and cheese lookalike is the cheesiest, richest, most magnificently baked concoction you’ve had in ages.
- Fantasy Fair Food Truck at Disney Springs – The Fantasy Fair Food Truck delivers famous fare from Disney parks around the world, and the hand-dipped corn dogs from Disneyland were perhaps the most anticipated. For decades, parkgoers have been politely demanding these deep-fried goodies on a stick, and now their dreams have come true! And according the rave reviews, it seems the wait was totally worth it.
- Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom – Anyone who’s a true fan of Disney ballads knows the lyrics to “Be Our Guest” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast mentions trying the grey stuff. But what in the world is “Grey Stuff”? We urge you to order it and try it for yourself at Be Our Guest Restaurant. This dessert (actually cookies and cream panna cotta mousse with chocolate pearls on top) started out as a secret specialty dessert for birthdays and anniversaries, then soared in popularity and became the topping of The Master’s Cupcake.
- Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom – Would you try a waffle sandwich? If you think you’ve hit the edible jackpot, you’re right. The freshly made waffle is stuffed with ingredients, folded like a taco and topped with yummy sauces or coleslaw. Currently, there are three different options: ham, prosciutto, and Swiss cheese; Nutella and fresh fruit; and sweet and spicy chicken. No matter which one you choose at Sleepy Hollow, though, you’ll likely be back for the others!
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Universal Orlando™ Restaurants
Universal Orlando offers just as many dining options as it does attractions. A world of cuisine waits inside its gates with unique flavors chosen from all over the world.
- NBC Sports Grill & Brew – The NBC Sports Grill & Brew is a home run, slam dunk, touchdown and every other winning sports phrase you can imagine. Slide in during your next Orlando vacation and catch the biggest sporting events on nearly 100 HD TV screens. Starting lineups include large warm soft pretzels, Wisconsin cheese curds and deviled eggs. Entrée dishes and salads like the Midwest ribs, cedar planked North Atlantic salmon, Grand Slam Burger, Cuban meatloaf sandwich and Ahi tuna crunch salad are all MVPs. Celebrate the latest victory from your favorite team with a cocktail or ice cold bottle of beer. NBC Sports Grill & Brew has everything from white and pale to brown, dark, gold, red, fruit and seasonal. Of course, you can always send your dining experience into extra innings by ordering something from the dessert menu.
- Duff Brewery – Drinks and snacks inspired by The Simpsons™ can be ordered along Fast Food Boulevard in the city of Springfield, conveniently located inside Universal Studios Florida™. Adults with a thirst for frosty glasses of Duff beer have three choices: Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry. This trio of beverages is locally brewed exclusively for theme park guests to enjoy while on vacation. You’ll also want to mug for the camera and snap a few pictures with Duffman. For thosewho prefer soda to beer, Buzz Cola is a refreshing beverage to help keep you energized for a full day of fun.
- Leaky Cauldron™ – If you find yourself traveling down Diagon Alley™, be sure to stop by and stay for a spell. This authentic British pub serves up traditional fare including cottage pie, bangers and mash as well as the Ploughman’s. This dish is perfect for those with a hearty appetite, or parties of two. When dining at a Harry Potter™ themed establishment you can always expect the unexpected along with the unusually interesting to be on the menu. Enjoy a Toad in the Hole entrée then get sweet with Chocolate Potted Cream for dessert. Soft drinks suitable for Muggles include Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, Tongue Tying Lemon Squash and Gillywater. Dragon Scale, Wizard’s Brew and Fire Whiskey are also available, but all contain alcohol – so they can only be ordered by those 21 years of age and older.
- The Cowfish – When it comes to Universal CityWalk® bars, The Cowfish is among the most unique. That’s because this one-of-a-kind Sushi Burger Bar serves the best burgers and the best sushi in town. Though distinctly different, these two niche items are an integral part of the same menu. The sushi is fresh, delicious and presented with creative flair. Burgers are made with all natural ingredients and never frozen. This combo ensures that every bite delivers a robust flavor. Highly recommended is the Burgushi®, featuring sushi rolls with hamburger elements and sandwiches made with sushi components. Kick things up with a spiked milkshake or sip some premium sake. Also available are craft beers, wine and tempting martinis.
- Pat O’Brien’s® – Since 1993, the motto at Pat O’Brien’s has been “Have Fun!” As one of the most popular Universal CityWalk bars, the party is always in full swing at this Mardi Gras-inspired watering hole. Patrons from across the globe come to imbibe on specialty drinks – especially The Hurricane. This world-famous libation was first mixed up during World War II and is still served the same way: in a Pat O’Brien’s logo glass garnished with an orange slice and cherry. The star ingredient is rum, with Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane mix and ice. Other concoctions like the Fuzzy Leprechaun, Rainstorm, Typhoon and Battle Crye will leave you wanting another round, and all come served in a take-home souvenir glass. Universal CityWalk is known as The Entertainment Capital of Orlando, so it’s only fitting that guests can sing along with a pair of dueling piano players every night of the week at Pat O’Brien’s.
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International Drive is where you’ll find quite a few of the best restaurants in Orlando. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse choice in cuisine on a single stretch of road.
- Thai Thani – Tucked away in a mini-mall near SeaWorld®, this quaint, little Thai restaurant is small and unassuming from the outside. On the inside, it’s lavishly decorated in authentic Thai décor, including elaborate woodcarvings, beaded fabrics, paper lanterns, orchids and bamboo. You can even sit on pillows at low tables on the floor instead of the old familiar Western table and chairs. It is a quiet, meditative oasis from I-Drive traffic outside.
- Tommy Bahama – If you think Tommy Bahama is only good for funky floral shirts, Bermudashorts and tropical décor, you’re wrong. Tommy Bahama restaurants like this one are also good for steaks, seafood and other delectable dishes. If you like Hawaiian fare, try the Loki-Loki Tuna Poke appetizer, consisting of fresh, raw Ahi tuna marinated in sesame oil and spices and served layered with fresh guacamole and a side of flatbread crisps.
- Benihana Orlando – If you’ve never been to a teppanyaki restaurant, it’s time you visited Benihana Orlando. Located At the intersection of I-Drive and Daryl Carter Parkway next to The Fountains, the Japanese restaurant is part dining, part floor show. Food is prepared on a hibachi grill surface that doubles as your table. Chefs flip knives, pop up pieces of meat and make a smoking volcano from an onion. This entertaining meal is served in several courses, including soup, salad, vegetables, rice, dipping sauces, and your choice of protein.
- ICEBAR Orlando – The absolute best place to spend an evening after a long, hot day in the central Florida sunshine is ICEBAR Orlando. Made completely of ice – ceiling to floor – it’s the largest permanent bar made of ice in the U.S. The walls, chairs, tables, bar, art sculptures, even the glasses are solid ice, and the bar is kept at a constant 27 degrees.
- BB King’s Blues Club – If live music is your bag, check out B. King’s Blues Club. This giant restaurant and bar serves up Southern comfort food with a twist, and offers live performances nightly. The line-up could include rock, soul and funk.
Bluegreen’s resort, The Fountains, is also located on I-Drive, making it an excellent home base for the foodies in your family.