The personal-finance site WalletHub recently released a study evaluating 182 U.S. cities on their foodie-friendliness.
And the winner is: Orlando, Florida.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here.
I have visited Orlando many times — from my first visit to Walt Disney World as a little girl to a fabulous food-travel bloggers’ conference before lockdown. But my favorite trip was the one when my maternal grand-mother took the whole family — 26 of us — to Orlando for a week. We loved exploring the different cuisines at EPCOT — and especially enjoyed Moroccan food at Restaurant Marrakesh.
Foodie culture and I (I hope) have both matured since then. Mark Meng, Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the School of Business at Indiana University Kokomo, cites three factors important to foodie cities:
- affordability — taking sales and f&b taxes into consideration
- the presence of Michelin-starred restaurants
Orlando scored high across a range of factors in the study.
The Orlando area boasts 46 Michelin restaurants:
- One-Star Knife & Spoon is an upscale steakhouse inside the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes.
- California Grill offers a tasting menu of — you guessed it! — California cuisine, on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, from which you may view Cinderella’s Castle and the nightly Disney fireworks show.
- Four Flamingos features contemporary American fare inside the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.
- Maxine’s on Shine features American fare, including a half-pound burger.
- The Polite Pig features barbecue in a casual setting.
- Se7en Bites is an American bakery-café.
- Sear + Sea is an upscale steakhouse inside the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort.
- The Pinery offers American fare in a comfortable setting
- Victoria and Albert’s features an upscale tasting menu inside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
- Bib Gourmand The Ravenous Pig serves pub fare.
- Bib Gourmand The Strand serves contemporary American fare in a casual setting.
- Bib Gourmand Swine & Sons serves sandwiches.
- BACAN serves dramatic Latin American cuisine inside the Lake Nona Wave Hotel.
- Black Rooster Taqueria features Mexican cuisine in an ultracasual cozy atmosphere.
- Bib Gourmand Otto’s High Dive is a rum bar serving Floridian-Cuban cuisine.
- Bib Gourmand Papa Llama serves Peruvian fare in a cozy setting.
- Selam serves meaty African fare in a super-casual setting.
- One-Star Capa is a Spanish steakhouse on the rooftop of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, from which you can view the nightly Disney fireworks show.
- AVA MediterrAegean offers family-style Greek cuisine in an upscale atmosphere.
- Cítricos serves Mediterranean-influenced Florida cuisine, in a setting inspired by Mary Poppins Returns, inside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
- Prato features Italian-American fare, including wood-fired pizzas.
- Pizza Bruno serves — you guessed it! — pizza, in a cozy casual atmosphere.
- Primo offers authentic Italian cuisine inside the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.
- Ravello serves modern Italian fare, including pizza, inside the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. You may opt for a customized culinary experience in the restaurant’s “demonstration kitchen”. On Thursdays, Saturdays, and select Tuesdays, you may meet “Goofy & his pals” during a “character breakfast”.
- Toledo offers Spanish cuisine on the rooftop of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
- One-Star Kadence features classic Japanese cuisine in an intimate atmosphere.
- One-Star Soseki offers an omakase experience in a cozy setting.
- Doshi offers Korean-American fare in a casual setting.
- Edoboy features a standing sushi counter.
- Hawkers offers Asian street food.
- Juju serves Japanese cuisine in a casual setting.
- Kabooki Sushi features contemporary Japanese cuisine in casual environment.
- Kai Asian Street Fare offers — you guessed it! — Asian street fare, in a cozy atmosphere.
- Kaya offers a tasting menu of Filipino fare in a cozy environment.
- Morimoto Asia offers — you guessed it! — Asian cuisine, in an upscale setting.
- Shin Jung offers classic Korean cuisine like barbecue, while K-Pop videos play on television.
- Sticky Rice serves Laotian street food.
- Tori Tori offers Japanese cuisine in a casual setting.
- Twenty Pho Hour serves Asian fare in a casual atmosphere.
- YH Seafood Clubhouse serves Cantonese cuisine in a casual setting.
- Bib Gourmand Bombay Street Kitchen serves south Indian small plates.
- Bib Gourmand Domu features Japanese food.
- Bib Gourmand Isan Zaap offers Thai food.
- Bib Gourmand Norigami serves Japanese food.
- Bib Gourmand Taste of Chengdu serves Sichuan cuisine.
- Bib Gourmand Z Asian features Vietnamese cuisine.
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …