The Best in Downtown Orlando Restaurants
When one hears of Orlando, the first thing that comes to mind is the most amazing theme parks in the world. You have not really done Orlando if you’d miss out on a visit to the two most-visited spots in the city. Many people spend their holidays and entire vacation in the city because of the fantastic things to do, see and experience here. However, there are plenty of other great things to do and see in what is called ‘the theme park capital of the world.’ Nearby cities offer fabulous day trip options such as Crystal Beach, Miami and Daytona. If you want something closer, Downtown Orlando is the place for you.
What is Downtown Orlando?
Orlando’s Downtown area boasts of the city’s rich culture and history. It is the iconic entertainment street in the center of Orlando. After the seemingly endless rides and excitement of theme parks, exploring other spots in the city is a welcome respite. Downtown Orlando will take you away from Mickey, the “themed” zones and you may even find a great lunch spot where you can relax and enjoy. The area is not too large, and you will love the quaint streets to walk on. There are bars, theatres, restaurants and late-night bars.
Most of the well-known restaurants in this area are along Church Street. It is an iconic entertainment street right in the heart of the city. You can find the most beautiful venues in this location, and it gives you a different vibe than when you are at the parks. Travelers claim that it has more soul and authenticity. It is the city’s historic center; thus, there is a different feel here. There are no magical castles and character mascots here.
Downtown Orlando has a sophisticated neighborhood with amazing artwork, museums, an immense lakeside park and various novelty stores. You can also pamper yourself with comedy shows, explore an underground speakeasy or try one of the many lush spas.
The Epicenter of Orlando Nightlife
Downtown Orlando, specifically the Church Street area comes alive on weekends and holidays. They are closed to traffic for one grand street party during the holidays, and it is the best spot to be when you are in Orlando on a Saturday night. Everything here gets busy on the weekend; thus, booking some of the most popular places is a must.
What are some of the best of Downtown Orlando Restaurants?
There is a wide selection of restaurants, cafes, clubs and bars to explore in Downtown Orlando. Most are open to serve basic meals and specialized menus. They quickly become busy during lunchtime and often packed during the night. Whatever you are craving, you are bound to find your fill at the vast array of cuisines on offer! Here are some of the top-rated and highly-recommended picks for restaurants Downtown Orlando!
Kres Chophouse and Steakhouse
Located at Church Street in Downtown Orlando, this institution in delicious food serves unique steaks and seafood delicacies for the whole gang. This restaurant has been voted best by popular publications and won the top-pick as the best dining experience for a long lunch or evening meal in the area. Kres offers guests a fresh approach in serving the classic American steak and thereby providing a memorable dining experience complete with a contemporary twist. They are open daily, 11:30 am to midnight on weekdays, 5:00 pm to midnight on Saturdays and 5:00 pm to 11: 00 pm on Sundays. One of the best restaurants in downtown Orlando
Hamburger Mary’s Bar and Grille
Hamburger Mary’s is a popular restaurant/bar that caters to a diverse clientele. They are primarily gay-friendly with drag queen cabaret shows every evening. The live entertainment here is a top crowd drawer. It can be anything from drag queen broadway musical, Bingo games to topless go-go dancing. Likewise, they also serve lunch sans the frivolities of the show. They have all-natural burgers in half-pound weight that is sure to make your visit unforgettable. Check out more of their menu for customized burgers along with vegetarian, chicken and turkey burgers — prices range from $12 and up. Hamburger Mary’s is also housed in Church Street Station and they are open daily in varying schedules. One of the most iconic restaurants in downtown Orlando.
Amura Downtown Japanese Restaurant
A small and sophisticated spot worth your attention is the Amura Downtown Japanese Restaurant. They serve authentic sushi and wagyu steak to satisfy those Japanese cravings. The seats are placed alongside their open kitchen; thus, you are served discreetly. They boast of fish that is always served fresh and of premium quality. Moreover, their sushi rolls are crafted with lots of creativity. You can explore this classic in modern flavors like salmon, tuna, avocado or with teriyaki sauce. Amura also has two bigger branches in Orlando, but this one at Downtown Church Street offers the coziest ambience. They are consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the state. Price starts at $5, and they do have a Happy Hour which runs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.
The Artisan’s Table is the restaurant of choice for the pre-theatre crowd. Likewise, they also have growing popularity with the in-the-know locals. This top-rated restaurant is just a short walk from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, thus they have a clientele that enjoys their all-day happy hour that serves $5 cocktails. The “must try” from their menu are the short rib and brisket burger. You’ll be served with an ‘instagrammable’ burger glazed with bacon marmalade whether it's for lunch or dinner. Likewise, there are vegetarian-friendly meals like the top pick - Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms.
Dexter’s of Thornton Park
This famed all-day restaurant has several locations around the city, but its Downtown brand is the newest one in the line. Whichever branch you find yourself into, you’re sure to have the same tried and tested formula of Dexter’s unique menu offers. They serve homey breakfast delights, hearty lunch and sumptuous dinner meals. Dexters prides themselves with regional dishes like Irish stout with Cheddar dip, Chicken egg rolls with Thai chili, Chicken Schnitzel, and Jambalaya. Prices on mains start at $20. They are open daily, from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays, from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm on Saturdays, and 10:00 am to 11:00 pm on Sundays.
The Rusty Spoon
This casual restaurant is known for its ingenious dishes based on classic all-American recipes. They are an ardent advocate of farm-to-table cooking, and Chef Kathleen Blake headed their kitchen even before the rise to the popularity of downtown dining. Chef Kathleen is praised for creating the path that now brings dozens of local restaurants to farms in Central Florida.
At present, the restaurant boasts of locally sourced fares; thus, you’ll enjoy meals with flavors that speak for themselves. The menu is diverse and you can find light and calorie-friendly meals. Choose also from beef carpaccio, slow-braised lamb, an exciting salad bowl collection and an excellent wine list. Their 55 Burger is a mandatory must-try. It is made with grass-fed beef filled with bacon, Gruyere cheese and then slathered with caramelized onions!
Another top-rated restaurant in Downtown Orlando features a magnificent view of Lake Eola’s crystal blue waters. This lakeside food joint has an open patio. It serves as the perfect spot to admire the lovely surroundings of the downtown Orlando area. Relax Grill offers a casual and cozy dining experience. You are served homemade food that is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean with an American light twist. Always available on the menu are freshly made Greek specialties including homemade hummus and gyros. Likewise, they have a special menu that changes daily.
Are you searching for something more sophisticated? If you want fancy fine-dining with all the frills and trimmings you have to visit Boheme for a grand experience. It is on the first level of the Grand Bohemian Hotel located on Orange Avenue. Regulars dine here then cap the night with a few drinks at one of the fancy bars in the nearby area. Their menu consists of classic favorites including the Cognac-flamed pepper steak and the Mediterranean baked salmon. Most of the mains are priced on the high-side, but they do feature a fixed priced menu offered at $50. It is a great value considering the posh ambiance of the restaurant. Likewise, their Sunday brunch is extremely popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
More of Church Street
For curious travelers, head on to Church Street West, specifically at the junction of Orange Avenue to explore more of Downtown. There is a little bit of everything in here if you are unsure of what you want to eat. This area has all the regional cuisines that you can imagine. They are offered and catered for every need or want. You can dine on all-American favorites, fresh seafood choices, swanky French cafes, authentic Asian cuisine and everything else in between. First-timers in the city should not miss exploring this place to know more about the “real” Orlando and find the best Downtown Orlando restaurants.
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Orlando is one of the best places on earth to visit any time of year. Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and the other amazing theme parks and attractions make this a magical destination for kids and for kids at heart. A visit to Orlando means childhood dreams come true for millions.