Food is one of life’s great pleasures. Here’s a selection of our favorite restaurant in Orlando Florida:
The US has many great chains (and Orlando is no exception) but what I really like is to find those tucked-away independent restaurants. More often than not, it’s these unique eating experiences that define a town or city. So here are a list of my favorite restaurants in, and around, Orlando. If you’re visiting Orlando these restaurants are worth seeking out.
If you like barbecue, or you even think you might like barbecue, this place is for you. And if you’re from the UK and haven’t had genuine barbecue (hint: it’s not like UK barbecue where you get a slither of meat cocooned in fat), you’ve got to try 4Rivers Barbecue. It only opened in 2009 but it already has a cult following. The beef brisket is amazing – I’d describe it as the most tender beef you’ve even munched on but with five times the flavor. The pulled pork is also good (some of the best in town) but for me the beef brisket has the edge. The sides are also something special. As any Brit who is living in the US will tell you, the US doesn’t do baked beans well; at least not for the UK palate – they are just far too sweet. Well if you’re from the UK 4Rivers may well be a little oasis of baked bean heaven. Their beans are not at all sweet – not too running and not too thick. They are just right – with tasty little pieces of beef brisket mixed in (super yummy). Other great side include the corn and the corn bread with a hint of jalapeño! For desert the cakes are wonderful and include red velvet cake and (my favorite) coconut cream cake. The banana pudding is also good but not as good as the coconut cream cake.
Now be warned – 4Rivers is popular and the facilities are basic (which certainly adds to the cult-following-like atmosphere). When you arrive there will almost certainly be no parking outside – park in the church car park opposite. The line will undoubtedly be long. If you’re organized call ahead and place your order (407-474-8377) – otherwise wait in the queue (it’s worth it). Also, if you decide to “eat in” you’ll be sitting outside on shared benches (there’s normally plenty of space). So 4Rivers is not an ideal destination if you’re in a large group or if you’re looking for a sit-down meal with waiter service – but if you’re looking for a sample of some of the unique tastes of America this is the place.
Address: 2103 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, Florida 32789
As the website says, Luigino’s is “Heathrow’s best kept secret” . There location is awful (tucked away in the corner of a strip-mall), their marketing is non-existent and the decor is “tired” – so the food must be good – and it certainly is!
Luigino’s website doesn’t identify itself in a standard restaurant category – I’d describe it as an “Italian Steakhouse” (with the emphasis being on the Steakhouse). The lump crab meat is a great starter (and something you don’t normally find in the UK), as is the shrimp cocktail which is good but not as good as Morton’s. The entrées, and particularly the steaks, are where Luigino’s starts to shine. In my opinion they have the best steaks in central Florida. I generally salivate over a 12 oz filet medium rare, with a side of penne vodka (it’s a main dish but they do it as a side if you ask). It comes on a sizzling platter so the steak is still cooking when it’s at the table. Also, if you dine in the evening a complementary lemon cello is often served after the main course – a nice palate cleanser. If you’re having lunch I highly recommend the French Dip – I simply don’t know how they make it so tasty. Be on the lookout for celebrities – I’ve seen a few!
Address: 120 International Parkway, Heathrow, Florida 32746