How Orlando Became a Dining Destination

A Sponsored Message From Visit Orlando

Author: Curt Wagner       

lobster dish from John Tesar’s Knife & Spoon

John Tesar’s Knife & Spoon, inside The Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, serves aged steaks and seafood, including Chilled Maine Lobster. (Photos courtesy of Visit Orlando)

Orlando may be the country’s No. 1 meeting destination (as ranked by Cvent) because of its theme parks, entertainment options, and resorts and hotels, but the city’s rich and ever-expanding dining scene — more than 6,000 restaurants representing 40 different international cuisines — is doing its part to attract attendees. For event organizers, this means endless opportunities for buyouts and for their groups, tasty nights out.

A meeting attendee’s culinary tour of Orlando can begin close to the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). Within a two-mile radius of the convention center, they will find more than 75 restaurants to choose from. Pointe Orlando, the closest shopping and entertainment complex to the OCCC, boasts such culinary delights as The Capital Grille’s aged steaks and Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar’s classic Cuban fare. Nearby ICON Park offers nationally famous options such as southern cuisine at Blake Shelton’s Ole Red and the Spanish tapas at Tapa Toro.

Orlando’s Restaurant Row, just a short drive from the OCCC, continues the tour with a variety of options, from the contemporary European cuisine at the new London House to Dragonfly Robata Grill and Sushi’s “modern interpretation of the Japanese pub culture.”

Wine Bar George Orlando downstairs bar

Wine Bar George at Disney Springs, created by Master Sommelier George Miliotes, has more than 140 wines all available along with a full menu of small plates, cheese and charcuterie, family style plates, and sweets.

interior of Morimoto Asia restaurant

Disney Springs has the highest concentration of celebrity chef restaurants in Orlando, including Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia.

Foodie Wonderland

Last fall, WalletHub named Orlando one of its best foodie cities in America. This year, The MICHELIN Guide will release a Florida edition for the first time ever, and its celebration of the state’s culinary gems is likely to include one of Orlando’s most celebrated restaurants, Kabooki Sushi, which Condé Nast Traveler named one of the 21 best restaurants in Orlando. Chef Henry Moso, a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist and 2020 Rising Star Chef of the Year finalist, creates 15- to 18-course omakase menus, among other delicacies to die for.

Restaurants bearing the names of some of the most recognizable celebrity chefs can be found at Disney Springs, a popular group venue with retail, entertainment, and nightlife options, including José Andrés’ JALEO, Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia, Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen, and Guy Fieri at Chicken Guy! Disney Springs also is home to another Condé Nast Traveler–recognized restaurant, Wine Bar George — the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida.

Richard Blais and a Roseberry Bomb drink

Chef Richard Blais prepares to pop a bubble filled with rosemary scent on a Roseberry Bomb served at Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Hotel and Resort Dining

Some of the best dining in Orlando can be found in the city’s more than 480 hotels and resorts — four of which are connected to the OCCC. The Hilton Orlando features the upscale sports bar David’s Club Bar & Grill. Hyatt Regency Orlando’s Fiorenzo offers authentic Italian cuisine. The menu at the Rosen Centre Hotel’s Everglades is inspired by Florida flavors. At the Rosen Plaza Hotel, Jack’s Place serves up some of the best steaks on International Drive according to Orlando Magazine.

Hotels farther afield aren’t short on fine dining, including Primo by Melissa Kelly at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes; Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress — and John Tesar’s Knife & Spoon at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, which also earned a place among Condé Nast Traveler’s best restaurants in Orlando.

More enticing restaurants await groups in downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and other locations around the destination. The experts at Visit Orlando are ready to help organizers find the perfect fit for their groups and events. Just click the link in the logo below.


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