Orlando is many things to many people. It’s the theme park capital of the world, of course, but it also offers plenty of museums, cultural activities such as live theatre, and plenty of fine dining restaurants.
Here’s a list of 10 of the best Orlando fine dining restaurants to tempt your palate. They all have dress codes – at the very least, business casual, and reservations are definitely required.
- Le Coq Au Vin. 4800 South Orange Avenue
From the outside, Le Coq Au Vin looks like you’d think a French restaurant should look like, a large, homey-looking cream-colored building surrounded by red rocks and a variety of greenery. Inside, the aromas of delectable cuisine confirm why Le Coq Au Vin has been voted Orlando’s best French restaurant. Le Coq Au Vin is situated about 11 miles south of downtown Orlando.
Le Coq au Vin serves dinner only every evening except Mondays. Firm believers in the philosophy of “from farm to table” long before it became the “in” thing – Chef Reimund Pitz and Chef Louis serve sumptuous classic French and nouvelle cuisine. Hors d’Oeuvres include traditional Soupe à l’Oignon – onion soup mixed with apple cider and cream, sprinkled with grated gruyère and émenthal cheeses; and Tarte a l’Oignon which is a caramelized onion tart with smoked bacon bits, herb Boursin and goat and cottage cheeses, prepared Alsace-style.
Entrées include Schnitzel – breaded loin of pork topped with a sauce of black forest mushrooms and peppercorn, Aubergine du Bayou Tèche (eggland fried with crab meat, shrimp and ham), and Le Poisson “Bronze” – the original Bronzed Fish (bronzing is a method of roasting fish or meat). One of their specialties is of course Poulet “Coq au Vin.” Duck, sweetbreads, lamb, and steak prepared deliciously are also on the menu.
White and red wines and champagne complement any entrée, and can be ordered by the glass or half bottle. Save room for dessert, and complement your Crème Brulée, Crêpe Suzette, or Tarte aux Pommes with a dessert wine.
- Kres Restaurant. 17 West Church Street
The Kres Chophouse, located in downtown Orlando at the intersection of West Church and Orange Avenue (just two blocks from the Amway Center and the Mad Cow Theatre) serves both lunch and dinner. The Kres Building is a historic landmark from the 1930s, with elegant, modern décor.
On the dinner menu, there are starters such as “Blue Point” Oyster “Rockefeller” and Colorado Lam Ribs. Salads -featuring local produce, include “Heirloom” Caprese and the Chophouse Caesar.
“New Concept” entrees include Filet Wellington, Ashley Farms Chicken Duet, and Duo of Duck. Seafood includes Seafood Misto and Jumbo Cold Water Lobster Tail. If you’re there for the house aged and hand cut steaks and chops you’ll have your choice of Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Lambchops, Elk Loin, and more.
Kres also offers a wide selection of wines, from “Interesting Whites” and “Interesting Reds” to Pinot Noir and Merlot, to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Norman’s Restaurant. 4012 Central Florida Parkway (inside the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes)
The Ritz Carlton Orlando is a luxury hotel in a suburb called Winter Park in Orange County, about 18 miles east of downtown Orlando. It’s a beautiful setting for celebrity chef Norman Van Aiken’s restaurant, Norman’s. It was Van Aiken’s vision in the early 1980s to “fuse” Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors into one New World Cuisine. Other chefs have taken up the New World Cuisine banner, but none do it quite as well as Norman’s.
Norman’s serves dinner daily. Guests can start out with Tapa such as Key West Shrimp Ceviche, or a Half Dozen Little Skookum Oysters. First Plates include Masa Crusted Tuna, Brazilian Styled Creamy Cracked Conch Chowder and Yuca Stuffed Crispy Shrimp. Main Plates include Pan-cooked Filet of Florida Snapper, Pork ‘Havana’, Adobo Marinated Grilled Rack of Lamb, and Dry-Aged, Bone-in, 22-oz Ribeye Steak. Each complemented with side dishes that one does not normally see accompanying the dish in question, except in fusion cuisine, but which compare and contrast deliciously together.
The wines are as eclectic as you’d expect, with a selection from Australia, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, and so on down the alphabet of countries ending with the United States and a fine selection from California’s premiere wineries!
- Emeril’s Orlando. 6000 Universal Blvd. #702 at Universal CityWalk
Orlando has its share of celebrity chefs. Emeril’s Orlando, featuring the cuisine of Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network, is located within the Universal Orlando Resort at Universal’s City Walk. (There’s no charge to enter this shopping complex – except to pay for parking.)
The highlight of Emeril’s Orlando, with its “warehouse décor” is the large open kitchen where you can watch your New Orleans Cuisine dishes being prepared. Emeril’s Orlando is open for lunch and dinner. If you come for lunch, you’ll be able to get free valet parking.
For dinner, starters include Emeril’s New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp and Crawfish & Andouille Bread. Soups and salads include Chicken & Andouille Gumbo and Emeril’s Orlando House Salad. Steaks, chops and poultry as well as fish and shellfish entrees are all prepared New Orleans style. There are also vegetarian options.
For dessert, try the Key Lime Pie or Milk Chocolate and Banana Bread Pudding.
- Chatham’s Place. 7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
Chatham’s Place is located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Orlando via I-4 W., and 3 miles southwest of Universal Studios, in the Horizon West community, just six miles north of Walt Disney World. The restaurant is open for dinner from 5:30 to 10 pm. The exterior with its blue canopy drawing the eye to a red-tiled, white stucco, two floor building is inviting. The interior is warmly furnished with plenty of golden wood fixtures.
Owner and chef Tony Lopez uses herbs, fruits and vegetables from his organic farm. American cuisine includes appetizers such as Brie Carroza and Beef Carpaccio, and entries such as Florida Black Grouper, Spicy Chicken Louisiana Creole, and Seared Tuna.
- Ocean Prime. 7339 West Sand Lake Road
Also located in the Horizon West community, just 3 minutes away from Chatham’s Place, is the upscale chain seafood restaurant Ocean Prime. It’s in a brand-new building with high ceilings, and bright illumination of the crisp white tablecloth-covered Cherrywood tables.
Ocean Prime serves dinner from 5 pm to 10 pm on weeknights, with varying closing hours on the weekend.
Appetizers include such delectable items as White Truffle Caviar Deviled Eggs and Prime Steak Tartare. There’s also sushi such as Hamachi Crudo and Ahi Tuna Tartare. There’s also a Raw Bar featuring Oysters on the Half Shell and Chilled Whole Main Lobster. Soups & Salad includes Lobster Bisque. Entrees? Blackened Snapper, Arctic Char, and Teriyaki Salmon are only some of their offerings. For those who don’t care for seafood there’s chicken and chops, and prime steaks.
- The Boheme, at the Grand Bohemian Hotel. 325 S Orange Ave.
The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando is in downtown Orlando – only a few minutes away from the Amway Center (home of the Orlando Magic basketball team, and the Orlando Solar Bears hockey team) and 16 miles north of Disney World.
Inside the hotel is The Boheme, and if you’re in Orlando on Sundays, check out their Sunday Jazz Brunch. As you dine, you’ll be entertained by some terrific jazz musicians.
Every other day, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Boheme. For lunch and dinner there are 3-course and 4-course prix-fixe menus. For dinner, the 3- course menu includes a choice of four starters, a choice of four main entrees, and a choice of three desserts such as Pistachio Gelato, Milk Chocolate Cheesecake, or Warm Caramel Lava Cake. For the 4-course menu, everyone may choose form the Bohemian Hunter’s Board. Choices of starters include lobster & crab bisque, lump crab cake, and Wagyu Beef carpaccio. For the main entrées, you have a choice of sherry baked Chilean Sea Bass, Beef Tenderloin Au Poivre, Mediterranean Baked Salmon, and Australian Lamb Chops. The desserts are the same. There’s also a prix-fixe Surf or Turf Menu and a Butcher’s Menu.
- La Luce. 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Nestled within the Bonnet Creek Hilton resort and adjacent to Walt Disney World, La Luce Italian Ristorante was founded by celebrity Napa Valley-chef Donna Scala. She passed away in 2014, but her spirit lives on in La Luce’s homemade Italian cuisine. The menu changes seasonally because their chefs insist on using the freshest ingredients possible. La Luce is open from 6 pm to 11 pm daily.
The menu is divided into Antipasti (Carpaccio, Fritto Misto and Stuffed Peppers can be among the offerings depending on the season), Insalate (Caesar, Tricolore, Barbabietole or Cauliflower), Pizze (Pear and Speck, Margherita, BLT, Bambini and more). For the Primi course, offerings include Risotto del Giorno, Fettuccini alla Lina, Silk Handkerchiefs and Fantasia. For Secondi, Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop, Seared Salmon Filet, Pollo Arrosto, Bistecca, or Scottadito.
Their desserts are irresistible – among them are Bostini Trifle and Tiramasu.
La Luce is also famous for showcasing the work of local artists. “If we ear with our eyes first, consider the original art your first course.”
- Jack’s Place. 9700 International Drive
Located just across the street from the Pointe Orlando shopping mall, Jack’s Place is one of the most stylish eateries on International Drive – the 11 ½ mile long, tourist destination, similar to the Las Vegas strip (with shops, restaurants, and even theme parks – SeaWorld and Aquatica) along its length.
Jack’s Place is located inside the Rosen Plaza Hotel. On its walls are autographed caricatures of hundreds of celebrities. On its tables, tasty and elegantly presented French/American fare such as Rack of Lamb, Pan-seared Chicken, Prime New York Steak Bites and Jacks Seafood Caldero. Steaks, aged at least 21 days and seasoned with their house blend, include Prime New York Strip, Filet Mignon, Jack’s Filet and Lobster, and Ribeye. Also from the grill are Lobster Tails and Veal Chops. For the seafood lover – Sesame Crusted Tuna, Florida Gulf Coast Red Snapper, and Loch Duarte Salmon are a few of the entrées.
Dessert? Chocolate Grande (chocolate fudge cake, cracked ganache brownie, and white chocolate bits), Vanilla Crème Brulée and Florida Key Lime Pie are among the offerings. Or choose a dessert cocktail such as Jack’s Elyx, Berry…Nice, Pineapple Caipirinha or Nut Job Martini.
- Victoria & Albert’s. Grand Floridian Luxury Resort & Spa, 4401 Floridian Way
It’s not necessary to purchase a ticket to any of Walt Disney World’s theme parks to go to Disney’s Grand Floridian Luxury Resort and Spa, to dine at Victoria & Albert’s (or indeed, at any restaurant at any of Disney’s resorts), but it is necessary to make reservations as far in advance as possible (at least six months, to be precise).
This is because Victoria & Albert’s consists of three intimate space that seats only 18 people. Guests gather in one of three rooms – the Dining Room, the Queen Victoria Room, or the ultimate prize – the Chef’s Table, where you dine with Chef de Cuisine Hunnel himself.
Chef Scott Hunnel prepares a new menu daily. It all depends on what’s in season and what he and his sous-chefs feel like preparing. The dinner menu consists of seven courses and is prix-fixe.
There’s no telling what will be on the menu except that it will be delicious. There could be Miyazaki Japanese Beef, Roulade of Smoked Salmon and Alaska King Crab, Scottish Langoustine, and Truffled Bell & Evens Chicken with Blue Foot Mushrooms.
For the ultimate dining experience, from the warm décor to the haute cuisine, choose Victoria & Albert’s.