Faiyaz Kara’s 55 best restaurants in Orlando


“So what’s your favorite place to eat in town?”

It’s a question I get asked about as often as the James Beard Foundation snubs Orlando’s chefs and restaurants for its annual awards – that is to say, a lot. My usual response – “Arby’s” – is typically met with a grimace, an empty stare, or a look that says Jeez, what a dick. When I first started reviewing restaurants for this fine publication back in 2006, coming up with a list of the 55 best restaurants in Orlando would’ve been – well, it just wouldn’t have been. Ten? Maybe. Fifty-five? Oh hell no. But that was long before our culinary age of enlightenment, when the unfamiliar tested the establishment; when genre-bending became the norm; when chefs wittingly tested our palates; and when restaurants of renown began gracing our city’s neighborhoods, hotels and, yep, theme parks.

I’ve had the honor, and the pleasure, of ingesting it all and it’s been nothing but fun. We’ve seen a bevy of Best Of lists released by various publications, including our very own, but this list makes an earnest effort to answer the question, “Mr. Kara, in your well-informed and battle-tested opinion, what are the best places to eat in town?” For each of the 55 restaurants ranked and listed below, I can state unreservedly that they’ve granted me some mighty fine meals, and memories. - Faiyaz Kara