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. California Grill

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    The view of the surrounding Disney parks from this 15th-floor restaurant—the World's signature dining establishment since 1995—is as stunning as the food, especially after dark,...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Sanaa

    $$$ | Animal Kingdom Resort Area

    Most of the flavors are from India, yet Sanaa is really a celebration of the Spice Islands—locales off the coast of Africa that, for centuries,...Read More

  • 4. Boatwright's Dining Hall

    $$$ | Disney Springs Resort Area

    Located riverside at Disney's Port Orleans Resort, this very impressive, handcrafted dining hall looks like the interior of a wooden sailing ship, complete with an...Read More

  • 5. Coral Reef

    $$$ | EPCOT

    With stunning views of the 5.7-million-gallon aquarium, dining at Coral Reef is as entertaining as it is delicious. As you watch marine life—and sometimes scuba...Read More

  • 6. Hollywood Brown Derby

    $$$$ | Disney's Hollywood Studios

    At this reproduction of the famous 1940s Hollywood favorite, the walls are lined with caricatures of old-time movie stars, and the specialty is a Cobb...Read More

  • 7. La Hacienda de San Angel

    $$$ | EPCOT

    Open only for dinner, this restaurant combines authentic Mexican entrées with a perfect location to view the fireworks. The alambre de res (flank steak with...Read More

  • 8. Morimoto Asia

    $$$$ | Disney Springs

    There is, of course, a sushi bar at this sleek, expansive Masaharu Morimoto establishment, and the Iron Chef himself takes control of it when he's...Read More

  • 9. Narcoossee's

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    The dining room, with Victorian-style columns, high ceilings, and hardwood floors, is not only a great place seafood and steaks, but also to gaze out...Read More

  • 10. Paddlefish

    $$$$ | Disney Springs

    Housed in a paddleboat on Lake Buena Vista, this sophisticated seafood destination has multiple outdoor dining areas, where same-day, fresh-catch selections are presented in any...Read More

  • 11. Spice Road Table

    $$$ | EPCOT

    To accommodate the clamor for more fireworks dining, this restaurant was built along World Showcase Lagoon, and it's a great place to catch a meal...Read More

  • 12. Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White

    $$$$ | Magic Kingdom Resort Area

    This family-style restaurant deep inside the Wilderness Lodge offers character dining with Snow White and Dopey. The prix-fixe menu includes a shared appetizer, a single...Read More

  • 13. Topolino's Terrace–Flavors of the Riviera

    $$$$ | EPCOT Resort Area

    Featuring fantastic views of the resort and EPCOT, this pricey restaurant on the 10th floor of the Riviera Resort is one the best on Disney...Read More

  • 14. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

    $$$$ | Disney Springs

    Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's California-crafted eatery serves a mixture of dishes, from Mediterranean-influenced entrées and signature pizzas to seared Florida red snapper with mango and...Read More

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