Walt Disney World Orlando Restaurants

The dining scene in Orlando was at one time epitomized by a plethora of fast-food fare, but there's been such an explosion of artisanal and locally sourced restaurants over the past five years that there are now seven local chefs and nine international celebrity chefs with James Beard Award nominations around the city. Some of the best restaurants in town can be found in resort hotels and theme-park complexes such as Disney Springs, but if you have the time, explore the local treasures beyond the resorts.

The signs of Orlando's dining progress is most evident in the last place one would look: Disney's fast-food outlets. Every eatery on Disney property offers a tempting vegetarian option, and kiddie meals come with healthful sides and drinks unless you specifically request otherwise. Chefs at Disney’s table-service restaurants consult face-to-face with guests about food allergies.

Around town, locals flock to the Ravenous Pig, the Rusty Spoon, Artisan's Table, and other gastropubs where the menu changes regularly; Luma on Park, a suave home of thoughtfully created cutting-edge meals; and any number of dining establishments competing to serve the very finest steak. Orlando's culinary blossoming began in 1995, when Disney's signature California Grill debuted, featuring farm-to-table cuisine and wonderful wines by the glass. Soon after, celebrity chefs started opening up shop. And in 2013, Disney completely revamped California Grill so it's a trendsetter once again.

Orlando's destination restaurants can be found in the theme parks, as well as in the outlying towns. Sand Lake Road is now known as Restaurant Row for its eclectic collection of worthwhile tables. Here you'll find fashionable outlets for sushi and seafood, Italian and chops, Hawaiian fusion and upscale Lebanese. Heading into the residential areas, the neighborhoods of Winter Park (actually its own city), Thornton Park, and Downtown Orlando are prime locales for chow. Scattered throughout Central Florida, low-key ethnic restaurants specialize in the fare of Turkey, India, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam—you name it. Prices in these family-owned finds are usually delightfully low.

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  • 1. Capa

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    The menu at this chic, modern dining room atop the luxury Four Seasons resort highlights the culinary culture of Spain, starting with authentic tapas and...Read More

  • 2. Jiko–The Cooking Place

    $$$$ | Animal Kingdom Resort Area

    "Jiko" means "the cooking place" in Swahili, and this restaurant is certainly that, offering a menu that is more African-inspired than purely African, as well...Read More

  • 3. Maria & Enzo's Ristorante

    $$$ | Disney Springs

    This complex of three restaurants is a haven of authentic Italian cuisine served up by two internationally known chefs (though the Disney "story" tells of...Read More

  • 4. Monsieur Paul

    $$$$ | EPCOT

    A mere staircase away from EPCOT's busy World Showcase, Monsieur Paul is a subdued, sophisticated (and not very kid-friendly) French restaurant. Make a reservation here...Read More

  • 5. Takumi-Tei

    $$$$ | EPCOT

    Hidden in the back of the Japan Pavilion, intimate Takumi-Tei is split into five rooms inspired by different things: water, wood, earth, stone, and washi...Read More

  • 6. Victoria & Albert's

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    A well-polished service team anticipates your every need, providing a truly sophisticated dining experience, one in which children under 10 aren't on the guest list....Read More

  • 7. Le Cellier Steakhouse

    $$$$ | EPCOT

    This popular eatery with stone arches and dark woods transports you to a cozy, well-heeled, Canadian-château setting and offers a good selection of wines and...Read More

  • 8. Ravello

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    Under the leadership of Neapolitan chef Fabrizio Schenardi, Ravello is a chic, modern Italian restaurant after dark. Hand-tossed pizzas emerge from the oven—perhaps finished with...Read More

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