Think Orlando has nothing but theme parks? So did I before moving here, but after almost five years (!) living in a tourist town, I’ve come to understand Orlando as so much more than a theme park mecca. Case in point: Orlando was recently voted as the top foodie city in the USA.
Food is something our city definitely does right.
While I can’t visit every eatery in the City Beautiful (#goals), there are some that create so much buzz I just have to go investigate. So here’s my latest recap of what I like to call “blog research” – give one of these Orlando eats a try and let me know your personal favorites.
Orlando is having a moment with pizza. And as the owner of pizza themed attire, I obviously don’t have any problems with this. Lazy Moon just opened up in Mills50, and while that’s definitely on my radar I prioritized a visit to Pizza Bruno.
This pizza joint opened up in June of 2016 and has already earned itself a loyal following. While you’ll find traditional pizza flavors like margarita and blanca on the menu, you’ll also find more creative combinations not available at your average pizza shop.
John and I shared the KBAR pizza, a delightful pie topped with fresh mozzarella, italian sausage, garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, and just the right amount of sauce. Best of all, the dough is soft and flavorful while still being able to hold the weight of the toppings (no floppy slices here people). I also indulged in an afternoon cocktail (dark & stormy) because you only live once.
Pizza Bruno is worthy of the hype it’s receiving and I can’t wait to go back. Pair it up with a visit to nearby Ocean Sun Brewing; pizza and beer are still the ultimate combo.
Create Your Nature
One of the drawbacks of writing about food is that the food I’m consuming is rarely of the good-for-your-health variety. I work out and do my best to eat well Monday-Friday, but I’ll never be able to resist the siren call of pizza, ice cream, and tacos.
Although the food I write about may not always be health-conscious, every once in awhile I stumble across a restaurant serving up healthy food that tastes good, too. Enter Create Your Nature. Serving up colorful and creative acai bowls, this newcomer to Winter Park serves up food you can feel good about eating.
Acai bowls are smoothies (with a thicker consistency) served in bowls that you eat with a spoon instead of drinking through a straw. There are endless options to choose from on the menu, but I went with The Coastal: a refreshing blend of raspberries, pineapple, and organic acai topped with fresh pineapple, kiwi, raspberries, local raw honey, almonds, and coconut. Beautiful, tasty, and totally energizing.
The acai bowls will set you back $11-$13 each, but the serving sizes are hearty and you won’t leave hungry. I felt so great after my breakfast there I went for a lengthy bike ride along the Orlando Urban Trail afterwards.
Bartaco (Dr. Phillips)
I have to admit I was a bit worried about going to Bartaco at first. I wondered if the hype had to do with the fact the restaurant is just so damn cool looking. It oozes charm and airiness with decor that is so Instagram-friendly it’s practically a crime not to photograph your taco tray and fresh squeezed juices. But I was totally wrong – Bartaco is hyped not only for its stunning ambiance, but because the food exceeds the restaurant’s charm.
Everything tastes super fresh, the tacos are to-die-for, and even the dessert menu is worth writing home about.
I tried four tacos in total with the pork belly and baja fish being standout favorites, but the churros and key lime pie in a jar are also drool-worthy.
Next to Black Rooster, this is definitely my favorite local taco joint. Get there ASAP! And if you want to read more, check out my Steph’s Taco Blog post on Bartaco.
KrungThep Tea Time
My friend Arlene introduced me to KrungThep Tea Time a few months ago and I’ve already returned twice. As soon as you walk in the door, you’re greeted by a cozy, minimal space with a large counter and plenty of seating. And if you like to take photos of your food, then you’ll love the Instagram-friendly marquee lights spelling out “KRUNGTHEP” behind the bar. There’s always soft instrumental music playing and a handful of customers scattered amongst the tables working quietly.
On my first visit, I tried the Cha-Ma-Now which is a mash up of dark Thai iced tea and lemonade served in a giant mug. And it’s worth mentioning they have crushed ice, which is the best ice, so brownie points for that. Next I ventured into real caffeine territory with the Thai iced coffee, which has since catapulted me into a full blown coffee addiction. (Who am I?) But the real treat was my last visit, when I finally tried the famed “brick toast.”
What the heck is a brick toast you say? I chose the Sleeping Beauty – crispy toast cut into bite-sized cubes layered with nutella, organic honey, a scoop of ice cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream combined artfully into a dessert tower that’s almost too beautiful to eat.
KrungThep has some of the most unique desserts I’ve ever tasted, and they totally live up to the hype. True, you’ll get a total sugar rush, but it’s 100% worth it.
What restaurants are getting hyped up in your town? Share your favorites – Orlando recommendations welcome too!