An honor-system community coffee shop and event space where you can meet
tons of creative people, enjoy good coffee, tea and pastries and great
The staff is incredibly friendly and can brew, steep, or conjure up
some good coffee, tea or hot chocolate for you.
The back of the shop can be rented out for events during the day and the
whole shop can be rented out after 6PM every day.
Lineage Coffee Roasting
According to my more knowledgeable coffee-afficionado friends, this is
hands down the best roaster in the area. They’re currently located at the
back of East End Market which deserves its own section.
Hands down the best coffee shop in Orlando. The mood alone warrants a
visit: great quiet music, dim lighting, comfortable wooden chairs and
tables and a beautiful sense of clean design. The menu is a work of art and
hard work that can satisfy coffee and tea lovers.
If you’re serious about coffee they have a great single-origin
selection; it can be brewed in multiple ways and they can always
recommend something that matches your taste (pour over, siphon,
etc.). There’s plenty of great local snacks and cookies to go with
your drink and their small bites are good for a light lunch.
Make sure to try one of the single origin coffees. If you’re an
iced coffee fan, give the cold brews a try. If you like sweet
things in your coffee I can’t recommend the Dick Tracy, the
Butterscotch Latte, or the Scarlett Johansson. Tea lovers should
give the selection a sniff but try the Barrel Smoked Sweet Iced
Team — this thing is the best mid-afternoon pickup ever if you
prefer to go easy on the caffeine.
In general, just explore the menu. The team puts a lot of work into it
and it shows.
Bakery Pastry Shops
Benjamin French Bakery Cafe
One of the things I missed the most from France (and Paris) was the
“Sandwich Parisien”. A really basic ham and cheese sandwich on a fresh
half-baguette. Thanks to Benjamin’s I can ease that craving whenever I want
now. They make the absolute best baguette in town and it’s not a close call.
They also have great quiches. While you can try any of them you should
start with the classic Quiche Lorraine (with bacon bits). The French family
that runs the show is from Bordeaux, and as you should expect they make
delicious local specialties called Canelé which you should try.
If you’re coming for lunch, just look over at the “Rustic Sandwiches” list
and pick a combination that you like, but I beg you, tell them not to toast
your sandwich. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t
allow people to toast anything else than the inside of a baguette, and only
There are no better French pastries in Orlando. Accept no imitators.
Bear in mind, however, that great pastry chefs are not necessarily great
bakers. The Quiche Lorraine and Croque Madame are also great.
My personal recommendation would be the lemon and apple Normandy tarts.
All the other wet pastries are safe bets even if the dry pastries (croissant,
pain au chocolat, etc.) are not the best.
Olde Hearth Bread Company
This is something I’ve only discovered recently since they now have a home
base at the East End Market in Audubon Park. Their French Baguette is miles
better than what Publix passes as a baguette but I would rather recommend their
excellent “pains”. In France, “pains” are larger round loafs of bread that
generally don’t use white dough. Pain au Levain (Sourdough) is one of their
best. I also recommend their lovely Ciabatta rolls. Don’t be afraid to explore,
I can’t think of another local bakery with such a wide selection.
P is for Pie
Although Audubon Park was already an interesting neighborhood, P is for Pie
is the cherry on top. They sell lovely little pies and althouhg it’s not a
marquee offering, great coffee — Portland’s Stumptown. I was happy to
discover they served Stumptown’s Cold Brew bottles which paired quite well
with their delicious Strawberry basil pie.
Some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life. More precisely the raspberry
lemon cream. Depending on the meny they also serve a delicious skirt steak and
eggs with chimichurri sauce.
Cask & Larder
While The Ravenous Pig decidedly has an American-European bent to it, Cask is a
place closer to what one might expect to find in the Southern US. It’s a sister
restaurant to the Pig.
I think the best introduction to the restaurant is the Sunday brunch because you
get to test an array of creatively delicious bakery and pastry items and at the
same time you can sample some of their serious dinner food in brunch-friendly
format: coffee-rubbed steak, pig muffin, chicken & waffle, ribeye hot dog,
double stack pork burger.
To compete Ravenous Pig’s perfect Farmer salad, Cask’s Kale salad is a serious
contender. It’s massive (although you can order a half-portion) with delicious
avocado, granola, apples, and bacon vinaigrette.
Cask & Larder has their own brewmaster(s) and the brewery is right inside
the restaurant (you can even eat inside of it if your party’s too big for the
other tables or if you sign up for the dream-like Whole Cookery Dinner). Most of
the beers served are house brews and you can even try a flight of them. Bar-side
things are just as serious as the big sister with a very competent staff serving
my favorite cocktails in town (well, ok, Hanson’s is in a league of its own)
including the simply perfect Back To Mezcali (sombra mezcal, aperol, house
grapefruit shrub, celery bitters, lemon). Yeah, you want to come thirsty here
Finally let’s talk about desserts. Too many menu bottoms are filled with boring
triple-decker chocolate cakes with no flavor, the necessary cheesecake and an
uninspired peanut butter combo. Although Cask’ dessert menu varies weekly or
monthly like the rest, there’s often an impressive display of daring and varied
stuff. Some of my all-time favorite include a three-chocolate mousse “bomb” cake
with a solid dome-shaped crust, and the delicious chocolate-strawberry cake
Fatto in Casa
One of the many wonders of the East End Market — a recent arrival on the
Orlando food scene and one of my favorite places in the world — Fatto in
Casa is led by Elisa, a native of Torino, Italy, who brings fresh recipes
every day to this catering joint which makes for a perfect lunch spot when
paired with the lovely half-shaded courtyard outside.
Although K’s menu is a bit too static, what they serve is often downright
excellent. The eggplant parmesan is great even if you’re not a vegetarian
because it will make you understand how one can possibly survive without meat —
even though it must be torturous.
On the dinner side, I really like their Duck Breast and Ricotta Gnochi although
I don’t believe in “pea-style carbonara”. They could almost convince me that it
deserves to be considered.
Their cheese board is from La Femme du Fromage (whose name is actually Tonda and
who you should seek out at East End Market) so that’s something you should try.
And please, if you’re going to red drink wine, pair it with cheese and red meat,
otherwise you’ve never tasted wine.
The Kappo team is bringing exquisite sushi culture to Orlando. If
you manage to snag a seat for lunch (don’t plan it, just fucking
go, it’s East End Market, you can’t fail) please trust me to trust
them and have their Omakase menu. Yes, it’s insane to pay this
much for lunch, no you shouldn’t care if you’ve made it this far
into this guide. It’s not like you’re going to eat this every day.
Their attention to every detail is fascinating, from the very
first bite to the dessert. They’ll explain to you everything you
need to know about what you’re putting in your mouth and you’ll
leave on a little cloud. This is as close as you can get to
Kaiseki (minus the pomp) in Orlando.
Pig Floyd’s (just for that pun you should go) is a recent addition to the
already stellar Mills lineup. You can think of it as a perfect mix between
4River’s BBQ and Tako Cheena. It’s a lot roomier than most places on Mills (and
it even has a decent parking lot) and the terrace is absolute perfection during
the day. Make sure to try their plantain and Apple Fennel Coleslaw sides. My
favorite tacos are the Al Pastor and Butter Chicken (pictured with the sweet
It’s shameful how long it took me to finally try Prato and I wasn’t
disappointed. They make and serve the best pasta I’ve had in a long time. Their
egg bucatini is a goddamn dream and so is the mustard spaghettini (“Cacio E
Pepe”, pictured), and I hope you’ll find it on their ever changing menu of
The wood-fired oven pizza made on the premises is not the best Neapolitan-style
you’ll find anywhere but as far as I know it’s the best and only in town. Go
with the Margherita or Widowmaker (caciocavallo, romesco, fennel sausage, farm
egg), especially if you come by for lunch.
Their bar alright but I’d focus on wines. Better to take your cocktail drinking
to Cask & Larder nearby or drive over to Hanson’s Shoe Repair on Pine Street.
The Ravenous Pig
The Ravenous Pig is quite simply the best restaurant in Orlando. I think I
discovered the gastropub concept
through it. The idea is simple: great drinks and great food in the same place.
As a Frenchman it was really nice to discover a place in Orlando where
you could clearly feel the French influences.
That means great charcuterie (cold cuts) and cheese platters in to start the meal,
but also their own twist on pub fare like avocado rock shrimp tacos, and the
best salad I’ve ever had in the word: the Farmer (bitter greens, soft bacon chunks,
parmesan flakes, brioche croutons, vinaigrette and a perfectly soft boiled egg sliced
on top, swoon).
Their drinks are serious business too. You should definitely try their house
old-fashioned (bacon-infused buffalo trace bourbon) and other cocktails. I’m
not a beer specialist but they carry great brews, and I can attest that their
wine list is solid as well.
But about the serious eats? They’re amazing. Between the Pork Porterhouse,
the marinated flat-iron steak frites, there’s a regularly changing cast of
delicious plates prepared with clear attention to detail when it comes to
sourcing, preparation, and presentation. It’s far from cheap, the flat-iron
steak frites is $25 at lunch or dinner and the farmer salad is $12 but it’s
worth taking a bite out of your budget.
You’ll have to drive a bit to the Chinese market past Pine Hills (yes, Pine
Hills, deal with it) on 50 but if you need a Ramen fix Sapporo will help. Their
Tonkotsu broth is much too mild for my taste now that I’ve tried more serious
stuff but they make a very decent Shoyu (soy-based), Shio (salt-based) and Miso
ramen. Their Curry Udon is also particularly great during the few cold weeks in
There’s a healthy array of Thai restaurants in Orlando but in a few years
in town, none has impressed me as much as SEA (South East Asian) Thai. The
plate presentation, the taste and the quality of service are all top notch.
Sure, it’s in a strip mall on the side of Colonial Drive (SR50) and the
outside is plastered with reviews and awards in the least classy way possible,
but once you get inside you discover a subtly decorated and dimly lit little
restaurant with a few booths and tables.
I like their Tom Kha (coconut milk) soup although it’s not groundbreaking.
The Phad Thai is delicious, so is the Red Curry, and I can’t resist
the Panang Duck, and the Pineapple Duck Curry. Yes, it’s cliché but
if there’s any space left try their Thai Donuts, they’re great.
Affordable, creative, and mostly healthy food: the dishes are a fusion of asian
and latin food. Remember to ask for specials. They change often and it’s better
for you to try something new or ask the waiters for advice than stick to your
guns. I made that mistake early on and I regret it.
It’s open until midnight from Tuesday to Sunday (which is still far too rare in
the city) and until 4AM on Friday and Saturday, but don’t go there wasted with
numb tastebuds please, that would be a waste. I don’t like tofu and their crispy
tofu is one of the best I’ve ever had, so you can bring your vegetarian/veggan
The Smiling Bison
They always have good beer, often good music, and always some
delicious hearty (but not only) food, even late.
My favorites include the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, and their Duck Lovers
pizza. The Smiling Bison Burger is good, but not as great as it should
be to bear their name considering how neat the place is.
Watch out though, they often get packed and the place isn’t that big.
Parking can be tricky too.
Cask & Larder Bar
Delicious cocktails and house-made beer.
Hanson's Shoe Repair
The best craft beer bar in town. Tons of taps, great music, and great people.
The best craft beer bar in town. Tons of taps, great music, and great people.
The Ravenous Pig Bar
Delicious cocktails and house-made beer.
Cady Way Trail
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Wekiwa Springs State Park
AMC Altamonte Mall
Dr. Phillips Centrer for the Performing Arts