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 (eggplant 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 glass or half-bottle. Save room for dessert, and complement your Crème Brulée, Crêpe Suzette, or Tarte aux Pommes with a dessert wine.
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 Lamb 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.
Restaurant Row, Sand Lake Boulevard
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 premier wineries!
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 use 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.
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 Boheme at 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 from 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.
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.”
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.