The best new Orlando restaurants that opened in 2017


The splashy, celebrity chef-driven restaurant openings of yesteryear were enjoyable indulgences, no doubt, but in 2017, the pendulum swung. This year marked a return to restraint. It was a year for the neighborhood eatery, the mom-and-pop joint, the cheap eat. Street food, if you'll pardon the pun, made significant inroads (halal cart fare! poké! dumplings!) as did a couple of sandwich joints – AJ's Press and Bad As's Sandwiches – both of which make some of the best sammies you'll have anywhere. The Polite Pig and Paddlefish brought a modicum of buzz down Disney way, but we'll wait to see what the Edison, Maria and Enzo's, and the much-delayed Wine Bar George bring to the Springs next year.

What else can we expect in 2018? Vegan and veg-forward cuisine seem to be about as sure a bet as more tales of transgressions in the workplace; smaller restaurants appear poised to serve cocktails, thanks to newly relaxed liquor regulations; and food halls will continue to pique our interest with their constant flirtations. Personally, I'd like to see more rolled ice cream, more nouveau Indian, and a Peruvian restaurant that'll serve a proper rocoto relleno with alpaca. Until then, I'll just savor this list of 2017's best restaurants. I hope you will too. -Faiyaz Kara