Orlando's Best Local Restaurants
While in Orlando, anyone can get an ice cream bar in the shape of Mickey or stuff themselves on popcorn and soda. But why not sample some of the best local fare as well? Discover Orlando's best local restaurants -- places where the locals gather to eat, sip and connect. From family-run barbecue havens and outrageous burger joints, to restaurants with healthy, seasonal offerings and dishes created by master chefs, you’ve got plenty of culinary options to satisfy every taste bud.
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Located in a section of downtown Winter Garden lined with buildings erected in the early part of the last century, the eatery is run by sisters who named the joint after their grandfathers, and who rely on long-held family recipes. Owners Katie and Ashlee Grimes' long, thin space is filled with home-cooked specialties including sauce whipped up by their dad and coleslaw from a recipe created by their mom. Pork, sausage and brisket sandwiches, platters of ribs and turkey and sides of okra, pickles and glasses of Southern-style sweet tea mark this spot as a carnivore's mecca.
This exposed brick barbecue haven is a 25-minute ride from Orange County Convention Center, not far from the shores of Lake Apopka.
For the beef-averse, there's the Fog City -- a “burger” anyone from San Francisco would be proud of: a turkey patty, pepper jack, avocado and sprouts. With inked, pierced hipster servers and neon decor, this unusual spot isn't too hard to find -- just look for the giant Les Paul-style guitars in front of the Thornton Park location, or the graffiti-painted picnic tables in and around the College Park location.
Depending on the time of year, entrees could include cedar-plank roasted salmon, oak-grilled filet mignon or caramelized sea scallops. Soft lighting, contemporary design, and wood and stone accents might create a sophisticated setting, but don't get too uptight: The piano bar and dessert flights bring everything back down to earth. Sample the wine list of more than 100 selections and order freely from the unique selections: Each item on the menu is no more than 475 calories.
Sample some of the 75 beers or tip a glass from the surprisingly complete wine list. Daily drink specials include reasonably priced Cuervo shots and a tall, 20-ounce Guinness. Monday through Thursday nights during happy hour, thirsty guests can get a “bucket of beer” (5 bottles) for under $10.
If it's necessary to catch a game, Miller’s Ale House is also the spot for that. Screens abound for the sports fan in need of a meal and the score. There might seem to be one in most Orlando-area neighborhoods, but when the locals pack in every night, it's easy to see that someone is doing something right here.
The pub was built in Ireland and shipped more than 4,000 miles to its current home at the Downtown Disney marketplace. Chef Kevin Dundon has cooked for Queen Elizabeth and U2, and you'd be advised to take advantage of the master chef's inspired cuisine.
The Salmon Swoon, smoked and served with capers and crème fraiche, is a far cry from corned beef and cabbage. Shrimp risotto, chicken and wild mushroom pie, Guinness and onion bangers on mashed potatoes, and roasted lamb shank in rosemary jus, create a menu that stands out from other Irish pub fare. Look for the statue of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh -- identical to the one that sits ruminating along the Grand Canal near Baggot Street Bridge in Dublin -- and get here around 8 p.m. for the dancing and tunes.