The best new Orlando restaurants that opened in 2018


Say what you want about our restaurant scene, but boring it’s not, and boring it hasn’t been for a good long while. Keeping up with the number of openings (and closings) is no easy task and 2018 seemed to be one of the more active years in recent memory. Some highlights: a bump in cozy neighborhood hangs, noodle haunts (no surprise there) and sandwich joints. Oh sure, there were a smattering of splashy openings, mostly at Disney Springs – including Wine Bar George, Terralina and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill – but we were taken by the smashing street fare coming from mobile and stationary joints alike. Our conversations about dining expanded to court the controversial issues of “authenticity,” cultural appropriation, sexual misconduct and mental health – issues sure to linger in 2019 and beyond.

And speaking of next year, there’s a lot to look forward to, what with highly anticipated restaurants from José Andrés (Jaleo), Henry Moso (Kabooki Sushi Sand Lake), Chau Trinh (Sushi Pop Winter Park), Sonny Nguyen (Domu Chibi, Tori Tori), Chelsie Savage (Proper & Wild), Trina Gregory-Propst and Va Propst (Sette), Roberto Treviño (Don Julio Mexican Kitchen Ceviche Bar), Shaun Noonan (Curate), Bruno Zacchini (Slice by Pizza Bruno) and Josh Oakley’s new concept (name TBA). We might even see a food hall or two. Yeah, we’re still anxiously awaiting the day when Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen and Mary Mattern’s all-vegan Winter Park Biscuit Co. move into permanent spaces but, until then, let’s celebrate what we have.

Here, then, are the very best restaurants to open in 2018. - Fayaiz Kara

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