Orlando, Florida: a city less traveled!? C’mon! This probably crossed your mind. But let’s be honest here: beyond the theme parks and golf resorts, Orlando is not a popular city break. I don’t know why though: I personally love it and used to frequent Downtown and Winter Park for concerts and dining. So, with a trip to visit friends in the area coming up next week, I wanted to showcase Orlando for foodies.
Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant
125 W. Church St., Orlando (+4 others throughout FL)
I’ve been dreaming about Jamon Serrano for weeks so cannot wait to go back to Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant. Even though it’s a chain, they offer fantastic live flamenco shows and their menu is both delicious and extensive, with over 100 hot-and-cold tapas and paellas, mostly from Catalunya and Northern Spain. My favorites include the calamares rellenos (squid stuffed with veal, chorizo, Manchego cheese), champinones de Sevilla (4 types of sautéed mushrooms, sherry, goat cheese, toasted bread), and of course, the house sangria.
Luma on Park
290 South Park Ave., Winter Park
With a similar concept of shared dishes and small plates, the upscale Luma on Park offers fabulous Floridian seafood such as bluenose bass and Apalachicola oysters (depending on the season). The star here is their affordable US $35 prefix menu though, offered every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The 3-course special ranges from grouper brandade churros to egg cassarecce Bolognese, an 8-hour ragu. Good news to regulars: every menu changes daily.
Hawker’s Asian Street Fair
1103 Mills Ave N., Orlando
Believe it or not, my Indonesian city does not have many spots with Asian food, except for the local fair. For this reason, I want to go back to Hawker’s Asian Street Fair and have their excellent fusion picks hailing from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Beijing, and Bangkok. The most memorable include the Singaporean laksa, Hawker’s duck tacos, and the Southeast Asian curry.
Kappo at East End Market
3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando
Another great spot for Asian cuisine lovers, particularly pickled and raw seafood fans. Kappo at East End Market’s highlights include the scallop uni truffle, the pickled Chirashi bowl, the biggie sashimi plate, and omakase (Chef’s Choice) dinner. With only 8 seats, it is an intimate dining experience. Plan accordingly! Get there at least 30 minutes before opening time—and book minimum 3 months in advance for the omakase.
With the food truck trend hitting Central Florida by storm, I had to include one of Orlando’s favorites! With crazy creations such as the GC Luther (bacon cheeseburger between 2 Krispy Kreme grilled cheese sandwiches) and Mama’s PBJ (a Nutella, banana, peanut butter and jelly deep-fried sandwich), a visit to the Treehouse Truck will bring back fond memories of the State Fair. Opening hours and location are naturally erratic, especially since they also offer private catering. Make sure you check out their calendar before planning a visit.
I’m currently a writer for HipMunk, participating in the #HipmunkCityLove Project. Proud to be promoting Orlando for foodies!