Some people believe that Orlando is all Disney. While there is a lot to do with the mouse around town, Orlando is a cultural wonderland of amazing eats and incredible people. Orlando is one of the LGBT hubs of Florida.
Here are our top spots to grab some eats in Orlando. All are LGBT owned or allies of the LGBT+ community. We will separate these spots into the best times of day to see them at their peak.
Let’s jump right into your ultimate guide to dining out in Orlando.
Breakfast | Brunch
The most important meal of the day should start your day off right. These picks will have you wanting more.
Alex’s Fresh Kitchen
Chef Alex takes pride in the homecooked masterpieces he creates at Alex’s Fresh Kitchen. From delicious breakfast croissants to chicken and waffles he has you covered.
His mom, Deb, also makes phenomenal cakes and handles the sweet side of things at the restaurant.
Maxine’s on Shine
Maxine’s on Shine is an institution in the Orlando food scene. Known for their phenomenal brunches with multicolored cocktails you can’t beat a Sunday morning at Maxine’s.
Try the fried green tomatoes with firecracker sauce and the chicken and waffles for a satisfying and scrumptious brunch. Come for the food and stay for the live music and other events.
They also have lunch and dinner options and have tons of events going on all the time.
Mila’s Front Porch
Mila’s Front Porch, also known as Three Girls Bakery, is a pop-up bakery that appears at different events all over the city.
They have the best-baked goods and serve all types of diets from keto to vegan and everything in between. Treat yourself and find them today!
Check out their schedule and where they will be by checking their Facebook page here.
The Hammered Lamb
This great restaurant across from Lake Ivanhoe in Ivanhoe Village has a great brunch on the weekends. They not only have great eats but a full bloody mary bar to forget your indiscretions the night before.
Try the southwest avocado toast on toasted sourdough or the shrimp and grits with compound butter to get the day started right.
Don’t be scared off by the line at this little gem of a restaurant. They have a line and seating system that keeps you moving through quickly and gets you to the good stuff.
The chef and owner Trina Gregory-Propst decided that small eats needed to be the best they could be after a sleeve gastrectomy left her with the capacity to only eat seven bites per meal. She decided that if you only have 7 bites they better be incredible.
Try the vanilla bean bourbon bacon moon pie but come early because they sell out fast and stop by on Thursday or Friday to dive into their homemade chicken pot pie.
Austin’s Coffee Satellite Cafe
One of the best places to grab a coffee in the city. At night you can also catch some great open mic poetry, live music, and more.
Try the turkey club or the raspberry walnut salad while you enjoy your entertainment.
The Waterfront Orlando
The Waterfront offers an amazing view of Lake Jennie Jewel and reminds you that you’re in Florida!
Try their steak and eggs featuring grass-fed ribeye for a treat or the chicken and biscuit with Carolina hot sauce and rosemary tots for something more down-home.
Their Jennie Jewel cocktail is an amazing mix Eiffen cucumber, St. Germain, and lime and will set your tastebuds spinning.
The Glass Knife
If you have a sweet tooth look no further than The Glass Knife in Winter Park. The owner, Steve Brown, had a mother who collected glass knives from the depression era that were used to slice cakes.
Thus, the name of this little bakery was born. They also offer some sandwiches and such which are also delicious but you’re actually coming for the cake.
Offering artisanal donuts and classic cakes like red velvet and carrot, this is not to be missed for any sugar lover in your life.
This beautiful little cafe encourages you to sit down with your coffee and a bite and spend ten minutes enjoying your time there.
Reminiscent of French sidewalk cafes they offer their take on the Croque madame and other options including fresh-made baked goods.
The latte art is gorgeous and the relaxed atmosphere invites you to linger for a while.
Lunch | Linner
Whether it’s a classic soup and sammy combo or something a little more unconventional, these lunch picks have you covered.
These eats cover that time of day where it’s too late for eggs but too early for a tasting menu.
Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria
Owner Pom Moongauklang brings something special to Orlando with Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria. Their eats are second to none and they have a delicious daily assortment of different hot and iced teas to wet your whistle.
With incredible sandwiches like the Fu Man Chu with goat cheese, arugula, and pulled pork or Mama Ling Ling’s Thanksgiving which allows you to eat stuffing all year long this place is magnificent.
KrungThep Tea Time
KrungThep is the Thai name for Bangkok their capital city. They offer Thai specialties in the form of sandwiches.
Check out the tom young goong sandwich to get all the flavors of the soup but handheld. They also have an amazing green curry sandwich with chicken and mozzarella.
Hungry Pants offers an amazing selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes along with a few meat dishes thrown in for those who are still plant curious and on the fence.
With beautiful plant-focused dishes like the HP market salad with pepitas, farro, and goat cheese to the vegan CLT sandwich with curry tempeh and cilantro aioli this is not your everyday veggie fare.
Island Time Bar and Grill
Offering beautiful island influenced dishes, Island Time Bar and Grill is not to be missed. Check out the jerk wings or fish and grits for a nice departure from the normal shrimp and grits (don’t worry they have that too).
Cool off with a nice Frose (Frozen rose) or PopMosa which is a gourmet popsicle served in a glass of champagne.
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Ethos does an amazing job of making delicious vegan food that’s good for anyone. Whether or not you eat meat you’ll love the food at Ethos.
Try the garlic knots prepared by hand, the crispy “chickun” salad, or the coconut curry wrap for an amazing meal. They also have phenomenal calzones and pizza.
Dixie Dharma is flinging fine vittles that are all vegan. It’s a southern approach to vegan cuisine with dishes such as Carolina BBQ pulled Jackfruit and the Florida Green Tomato Sandwich.
From the culinary genius behind the Vegan Hot Dog food truck, Dixie Dharma is now in two locations in Orlando, Market on South and Eola General.
Each location has varying specials every day so there’s always something new to try along with their favorites.
Check out their website here for more information and all the locations.
Dinner | Cocktails
These are our picks for a nice night out on the town. All have delicious and amazing food and some have fantastic cocktails to boot!
Vines & Forks at the Wine Barn
Vines & Forks is the brainchild of Executive Chef and Operations Manager Melina Salazar.
They serve rustic Italian fare and incredible wine. Featuring wood-fired pizza and homemade pasta this place is sure to go onto your favorites list.
Try the Bacon Love Bread featuring a bacon and asiago wrapped loaf to share, the Bacon Mojito Pizza to continue the celebration of bacon with pork belly, peach and goat cheese, and finish off your meal with a beautiful glass of wine.
SETTE Italian is simply delicious. They specialize in simple Italian fare with an upscale aesthetic.
Try the arancini with fig and pesto cream sauce, the mushroom pappardelle with pistachios and Calabrian chiles, or the marsala ribeye served with roasted garlic mash.
Bites and Bubbles
Bites and Bubbles call themself an American restaurant with a French kiss. They offer a full nightly dinner menu and also do monthly wine dinners.
The concept and the menu is the brainchild of Eddie Nickell and Nicholas Olivieri. Both have been in the kitchens of some fabulous restaurants including La Ville Maison and the Ritz Carlton.
Try the stuffed avocado with ahi and seaweed salad, a fine cheese board with all the accompaniments, and the trio duck fat sliders with roquefort and double glouchester.
The dishes are small so you can sample a few.
Chef Ryan Manning has a mission to bring you into the heart of Mexican culture with this fast casual restaurant serving incredible mexican food.
Their goal is to take you through every part of Mexico through your tastebuds.
Start with the Esquites, Mexican street corn, and Frijoles, refried beans, then dive into the Cochinita Pibil from the Yucatan, or Chilorio from Sonora.
They also offer home made aqua frescas.
Located in Pointe Orlando, don’t let the tourist vibe of the area fool you. This restaurant offers the most amazing Cuban picks and you won’t be disappointed.
Start with the pineapple guacamole cubano with grilled pineapple and plantain chips, move onto Vacio Steak Argentina with chimichurri or the Arroz Con Pollo with roasted piquillo pepper salad, and finish your meal with one of eight housemade mini desserts by their pastry chef that change daily.
If you’re feeling adventurous choose the Chef’s Tasting Menu their prix fixe for $45 per person.
Garp and Fuss
Head chef Liz Zucco and general manager Nikki Nielsen want you to feel right at home at Garp and Fuss, a gastropub and restaurant meant to make you comfortable and stay awhile.
Start with the Mangia, a baked combo of marinara and homemade ricotta served with a baguette for dipping or the buffalo cauliflower.
For your entree try the Brinner featuring a hangar steak rubbed with espresso and crispy smashed potatoes, or the Schnitz, a crispy fried chicken breast with fried egg and arugula.
Michoacán native Chef Wendy Lopez brings together regionally-inspired Mexican cuisine and truly unique bar experience at Reyes Mezcaleria.
Start with the ceviche mixto with snapper and heirloom tomatoes and share an order of queso fondido with roasted mushrooms.
Try the tacos lengua de res with beef tongue and avocado salsa verde and the duck enchiladas de michoacan with seared duck breast, chile rojo, and escabeche.
Finish your meal with some delicious homemade churros.
The best part of the day has not been forgotten. Stop into these winners for a sweet treat you won’t soon forget.
David Ramirez Chocolates
The executive pastry chef, David Ramirez, puts his 25 years of experience on the plate every day at his chocolate shop. Everything in the store is made fresh in-house daily.
Your confections will always be made to order.
They offer a different selection of truffles, macaron, and gelato as part of their daily choices. Try the cashew turtle truffle, blackberry tea macaron, or the tiramisu macaron when you visit. Or try them all.
Visit them at 2154 Central Florida Pkwy Suite B8, Orlando, FL 32837 or check out their website here.
The Greenery Creamery
Known as downtown Orlando’s little ice cream boutique the Greenery Creamery is bringing homemade ice cream to the masses.
Offering different flavors every day check their Instagram story for the inside scoop.
Light on the Sugar Bakery Cafe
Light on the Sugar gives you a vast selection of the finest pastries, coffee, and tea with an Asian twist.
They bake everything in house fresh daily creating French goods with Asian-inspired flavors, such as Matcha, Ube, Taro, Black Sesame and more. Flavors change daily so follow them on Instagram to get updates.
Dining Out in Orlando is More Than Just Disney and Chain Restaurants
We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the amazing and varied dining scene of Orlando, Florida.
No matter what you’ve heard, Orlando is a full-fledged city with a booming dining and nightlife scene. They are more than just the house of the mouse.
Looking for more great travel content like this and future city profiles? Check out our travel section here to stay in the loop!