Local Orlando eateries offer distinct menu options
Looking to get out of your comfort zone and try unique alternatives to the usual food spots?
The Central Florida Future compiled a list of unique "City Beautiful" eateries.
Downtown: 20 E. Washington St., Orlando
Milk District: 2406 E. Robinson St., Orlando
Think Moes or Chipotle, but better. Counter-served burritos, tacos, rice bowls and quesadillas within walking distance from your club or dive bar of choice, Gringos Locos is a convenient way to refuel after a night in Downtown Orlando before catching the shuttle or a taxi back to campus. The daily happy hour includes select $2 tacos and beer and $5 burritos.
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
601 S. New York Ave., Winter Park
There's something different about the All American Burger at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. Family-owned and operated, Ethos serves only 100 percent meat, dairy and animal byproduct-free food. But it's not just for health nuts, vegans and vegetarians. The menu delivers home-style comfort food that ranges from Italian-style chikun marsala to a Mexican-inspired fiesta salad. Perk: Ethos is only a 20 minute drive from campus.
Sweet By Holly
711 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando
Cupcakes make everything better. Sweet By Holly's cupcake creations are the embodiment of sweetness perfection with flavors ranging from strawberry lemonade and birthday cake to coffee bean and tiramisu. Go Mondays, when mini-cupcakes are $1 each.
3100 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo
A must for the simple at heart. Graffiti Junktion takes burgers and wraps to new levels, erasing thoughts of burger-like shapes on the flattened buns of a fast-food joint, and replacing them with hearty beef, turkey, chicken or veggie patties topped or stuffed with melted cheese, bacon, eggs or jalapenos. Appetizers and the necessary selection of Mexican-style food complete this menu.
5101 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
Bar food is typically a nugget of protein enveloped in grease and regret. But not at Oblivion. This gastropub's menu of refined selection redefines bar food. Macaroni and cheese is elevated to the Mac Daddy, elbow macaroni drizzled in beer cheese sauce with jalapenos and roasted red peppers, plus barbecue sauce. Oblivion also boasts an ever-expanding list of tap beers and more than 70 ciders. Nearly every weekend, the gastropub invites customers for themed brunches with special menus.
Pom Pom's Teahouse and Sandwicheria
67 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando
Sandwiches here are redefined from their status as a quick fix for someone hungry and in a hurry. With ingredients like ginger cranberry chutney and spicy Sriracha mayo, Pom Pom's can please anyone who wants to eat unique and delicious sandwiches. Satisfy the sweet tooth with the Colossal PBJ — strawberry jelly, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and banana — and kick it up a notch with the Spicy Elvis, which is served with peanut butter, strawberry jelly, banana, bacon and cayenne.
The Ravenous Pig
1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park
Restaurant survey company Zagat calls The Ravenous Pig one of Orlando's top 10 foodie destinations. The restaurant's new American cuisine, which combines classics including seafood, burgers and of course, pork, with flavorful hints of Asian or Hispanic influence, has earned the restaurant local and national recognition as one of the best places to eat while in Central Florida.
Food Truck Bazaar
Fashion Square Mall parking lot, second Sundays
3201 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
Twenty food trucks gather in the parking lot of the Fashion Square Mall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month. Foodies can truck hop and taste nearly every style of cuisine, like American barbecue, Korean barbecue and empanadas. Details can be found at thedailycity.com.
Linda's La Cantina
4721 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
Linda's La Cantina is a family-owned and operated business that combines a checkerboard-cloth Italian dining experience with mammoth steaks and a decadent fine wine list. Orlando Weekly readers voted Linda's as having the best steak in Orlando during its 2014 Best of Orlando poll. It is an ideal location for a dressy romantic date. Make a reservation.
Union Park: 9728 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
Mills/50 District: 730 N. Mills Ave., Orlando
Bring on the noodles. Pho 88 is a hot spot for enormous servings of authentic Vietnamese soups and other Vietnamese dishes. Pho, pronounced "fuh," is a well-seasoned beef stock with thinly sliced pieces of beef and a portion of noodles large enough for at least two people. Taste is best fresh, so plan to eat in.
629 E. Central Blvd., Orlando
Soco, short for Southern Contemporary, is a new take on southern charm. From pecan-crusted shrimp to lobster mashed potatoes, the menu satisfies the urge for fine dining in a friendly and refined atmosphere. The charming exterior is très parisien with an expanse of patio seating and fine dining situated on a corner in Thornton Park.
Cask & Larder
565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park
What started in the 1920s as a speak-easy became what is now Cask & Larder. The former anti-prohibition hotspot now serves seasonal southern dishes delivering the unmistakable aftereffect of comfort and satisfaction. Southern-style rabbit, country ham, and soft shell crab find places on the menu, along with a low country boil – seafood, potatoes and cob corn. The menu also offers nine craft beers brewed on-site.
Leona Mynes is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.