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Fried chicken and biscuits from the Monroe Orlando
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The 13 Hottest Restaurants in Orlando Right Now

The best new eats in “The City Beautiful”

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Fried chicken and biscuits from the Monroe Orlando
| The Monroe/Facebook

Eater editors get asked one question more than any other: “Where should I eat right now?” Orlando dining obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, and what favorite chef just launched a new spot. And while the Eater 28 is a crucial resource covering trusted standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it’s not a chronicle of the “it” places of the moment.

In the face of COVID-19, restaurants continue to open while some have expanded operations. So here they are – the fresh faces on our ever-evolving restaurant scene; the newish spots setting tongues awagging from the theme parks to downtown Orlando to the city’s suburban enclaves; a list specifically created to answer the question, “Where should I eat right now?”

New to the map are The Pinery, The Monroe, Buttercrust Pizza, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips while Shanghai Lane, Chicken Fire, Knife & Spoon, Japango and Uncommon Catering & Eatery have departed.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. WA SUSHI

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908 FL-436 suite 924
Casselberry, FL 32707
(407) 636-3251

A year after closing its hideaway Casselberry locale, WA Sushi re-emerged this past February in a far more conspicuous Casselberry spot distinguished by a swish interior and some of the finest Japanese fare in Seminole County. The focus, of course, is still on quality cuts of seafood like uni, scallops and giant octopus legs from Hokkaido; A5 wagyu; and otoro flecked with gold. But don’t overlook the stellar noodles, be they ramen, udon, or soba. The donburi are lunchtime faves, while the beer and sake menu are snob-proof.

2. Ramen Takagi

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3635 Aloma Ave #1017
Oviedo, FL 32765
(321) 972-8602
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Yoko Takagi and chef/husband Gabriel Leal bring legit bowls of tonkotsu, shoyu, shio, and spicy miso ramen to the UCF corridor in Oviedo. Both are students of the soup and bring a fierce focus to detail with everything from tare to oils fashioned from scratch. Thin squigglers from Myojo are used for shio and shoyu ramens while Sun Noodles are used for creamy tonkotsu and spicy miso renditions, the latter being a lure for its base blending a five-hour chintanchicken broth with the 20-hour paitan broth.

3. Aurora at the Celeste

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4105 N Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826
(689) 205-0101
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With a distinct, albeit tastefully accoutered, space motif, the Aurora restaurant inside the Celeste Hotel could technically fall into the theme restaurant realm, but the real stars are chef Mike Trudnak’s proficient and delectable dishes. Chili-glazed duck wings and one of the best crab cakes served in the city are notable items. The “Supernova,” comprised of a Ghirardelli brownie topped by a dark chocolate “planet,” dramatically implodes after a pouring of warm rum-caramel sauce revealing vanilla bean ice cream and smashed raspberries. It’s a heavenly ending.  Cocktails are a blast.

4. Soseki Modern Omakase

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955 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 984-7869
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Serving high-end, globally inspired and seasonally driven omakases is what this cozy 8-seater by Taglish Collective’s Mike Collantes is all about. Collantes has been joined by journeyman chef Tadateru Tokudaiji and Kevin Abanilla and, together, the trio present some of the most impeccable and artistically plated dishes Winter Park has seen. Omakases are offered in a 15-course “Explorer” option for $150 or a 20-course “Discovery” option for $185. Beverage director Benjamin Coutts curates a program to enhance the experience. Book early.

5. Winter Park Biscuit Company

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3201 Corrine Dr Unit 105
Orlando, FL 32803

The vegan diner by former Blink-182 road chef and cookbook author Mary Westfall and A Day to Remember guitarist Neil Westfall has arguably been the most buzzed-about restaurant opening of the year. This wife-and-husband team opened WPBCo inside East End Market plating flaky, fluffy biscuits fashioned from oat buttermilk with their fried chick’n. But it’s the Impossible Burgers served on a potato bun with secret sauce, house pickles, American “cheese,” lettuce, and tomato that’s winning over flexitarians and meat-eaters alike. Long lines are a given.

6. The Pinery

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295 NE Ivanhoe Blvd Suite A
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 377-7576
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The restaurant on the ground floor of the spanking new Lake House Apartments celebrates Florida history in its decor and its menu. It’s also making Ivanhoe Village a draw for gastronomes again with a menu overseen by chef Naomi Freeman (Santiago’s Bodega). There’s Southern flair in pecan-crusted grouper, buttermilk-fried soft-shell crab, and fire-roasted corn fritters, and a throwback feel to the cocktail list. Hummingbird cake for dessert makes total sense seeing the Pinery is situated on the site of an old (surprise, surprise) pinery.

7. Deli Desires

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715 N Fern Creek Ave Suite B
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 250-5333
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Bialys, not bagels, are the focus at this Colonialtown breakfast and lunch spot run by Hannah Jaffe and Nathan Sloan. The pair worked for some big names in L.A. — Jessica Koslow (Sqirl), Michael Voltaggio (ink), and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Son of a Gun) — so no surprise their humble little deli drew major buzz when it opened in January. Bialys come in caramelized onion or smoked jalapeno and muenster varieties with fillings ranging from gravlax to labneh to scrapple (this is not a kosher deli). The corned beef “big mac” layered with lettuce, American cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce served on a Martin’s sesame bun explains the long lines Deli Desires draws.

8. The Monroe Orlando

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448 N Terry Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 734-2102
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The latest by restaurateurs Jason and Sue Chin (Seito Sushi Baldwin Park, The Osprey, Reyes Mezcaleria) may very well be their most fetching, but so is chef Josh Oakley’s menu of modern comfort fare. His dishes straddle the line between approachable and sophisticated – pastrami-spiced corn dogs and jerk-spiced chicken hearts served on skewers with grilled pineapple for example. The cocktail program is top-notch and the gorgeous mid-mod space practically begs patrons to linger.

9.  Papa Llama

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2840 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 706-9463
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Having garnered a rep for serving some of the finest Peruvian fare in the city with their pop-up dinners, Kevin and Maria Ruiz set their sights on a brick-and-mortar operation. Cue the opening of their Curry Ford West restaurant, a bright, modern space that’s been drawing serious buzz thanks to such dishes as chicharrón de calamar with herbaceous wakatay salsa, and a wicked arroz chicken chaufa with smoky ají panca, Peruvian choclo and bok choy. The wine list may be small, but it’s focused and hardly an afterthought. And, yes, they serve Inca Kola.

10. Buttercrust Pizza

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4781 S Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 237-9981
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Grandma-style pies with a buttery crust have pizza hounds in this city in a tizzy. Square bakes come with a choice of red or alfredo sauces with toppings veering towards the usual, though there are specialty pies ranging from Hawaiian (with sweet chili pineapple) and a plant-lovers finished off with a nut-free basil pesto swirl. This may be the closest thing we get to Prince Street Pizza, though they did recently open an outpost in Miami.

11. Bombay Street Kitchen

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6215 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 240-5151
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The owners of Bombay Cafe closed their longtime vegetable-only restaurant to focus on a new Indian street food restaurant situated in a larger space just down the street. BSK’s menu is an intriguing amalgam of the quick eats served in cities from Delhi to Chennai – dishes varying from kale chaat to fish colombi to momo to hakka noodles. It’s a large menu, but the “gola” station serves the ideal Florida treat – shaved ice in a host of flavors and toppings. 

12. Brother Jimmy's BBQ Dr. Phillips Marketplace

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7800 Dr Phillips Blvd Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 674-6273
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New York-based Carolina barbecue chain Brother Jimmy’s delivers with a legit lineup of staples be it pulled pork, pulled chicken, or brisket. The mac and cheese is done in Low Country style with pulled pork and a beer cheese sauce, while meaty ribs beg for a squirt of Carolina sauce (or the “Blazin’” for the bold). Another full-service Brother Jimmy’s is slated to open in a 7.200-square-foot space in Icon Park later this year.

13. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips

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8391 International Dr Suite C-1
Orlando, FL 32819
(689) 244-7400
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The chips are more like fries and the cod filets aren’t anywhere near the size one would find across the pond, but the fish at this Icon Park chip shop is wonderfully crispy even after multiple dips into any one of the offered sauces (or good ol’ fashioned tartar). The crispy lobster and shrimp combo is another pleaser. Some may find the Biscoff and sticky toffee shakes cloying; others, the perfect ending. Expect long lines, err, queues.

1. WA SUSHI

908 FL-436 suite 924, Casselberry, FL 32707

A year after closing its hideaway Casselberry locale, WA Sushi re-emerged this past February in a far more conspicuous Casselberry spot distinguished by a swish interior and some of the finest Japanese fare in Seminole County. The focus, of course, is still on quality cuts of seafood like uni, scallops and giant octopus legs from Hokkaido; A5 wagyu; and otoro flecked with gold. But don’t overlook the stellar noodles, be they ramen, udon, or soba. The donburi are lunchtime faves, while the beer and sake menu are snob-proof.

908 FL-436 suite 924
Casselberry, FL 32707

2. Ramen Takagi

3635 Aloma Ave #1017, Oviedo, FL 32765

Yoko Takagi and chef/husband Gabriel Leal bring legit bowls of tonkotsu, shoyu, shio, and spicy miso ramen to the UCF corridor in Oviedo. Both are students of the soup and bring a fierce focus to detail with everything from tare to oils fashioned from scratch. Thin squigglers from Myojo are used for shio and shoyu ramens while Sun Noodles are used for creamy tonkotsu and spicy miso renditions, the latter being a lure for its base blending a five-hour chintanchicken broth with the 20-hour paitan broth.

3635 Aloma Ave #1017
Oviedo, FL 32765

3. Aurora at the Celeste

4105 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32826

With a distinct, albeit tastefully accoutered, space motif, the Aurora restaurant inside the Celeste Hotel could technically fall into the theme restaurant realm, but the real stars are chef Mike Trudnak’s proficient and delectable dishes. Chili-glazed duck wings and one of the best crab cakes served in the city are notable items. The “Supernova,” comprised of a Ghirardelli brownie topped by a dark chocolate “planet,” dramatically implodes after a pouring of warm rum-caramel sauce revealing vanilla bean ice cream and smashed raspberries. It’s a heavenly ending.  Cocktails are a blast.

4105 N Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826

4. Soseki Modern Omakase

955 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Serving high-end, globally inspired and seasonally driven omakases is what this cozy 8-seater by Taglish Collective’s Mike Collantes is all about. Collantes has been joined by journeyman chef Tadateru Tokudaiji and Kevin Abanilla and, together, the trio present some of the most impeccable and artistically plated dishes Winter Park has seen. Omakases are offered in a 15-course “Explorer” option for $150 or a 20-course “Discovery” option for $185. Beverage director Benjamin Coutts curates a program to enhance the experience. Book early.

955 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

5. Winter Park Biscuit Company

3201 Corrine Dr Unit 105, Orlando, FL 32803

The vegan diner by former Blink-182 road chef and cookbook author Mary Westfall and A Day to Remember guitarist Neil Westfall has arguably been the most buzzed-about restaurant opening of the year. This wife-and-husband team opened WPBCo inside East End Market plating flaky, fluffy biscuits fashioned from oat buttermilk with their fried chick’n. But it’s the Impossible Burgers served on a potato bun with secret sauce, house pickles, American “cheese,” lettuce, and tomato that’s winning over flexitarians and meat-eaters alike. Long lines are a given.

3201 Corrine Dr Unit 105
Orlando, FL 32803

6. The Pinery

295 NE Ivanhoe Blvd Suite A, Orlando, FL 32804

The restaurant on the ground floor of the spanking new Lake House Apartments celebrates Florida history in its decor and its menu. It’s also making Ivanhoe Village a draw for gastronomes again with a menu overseen by chef Naomi Freeman (Santiago’s Bodega). There’s Southern flair in pecan-crusted grouper, buttermilk-fried soft-shell crab, and fire-roasted corn fritters, and a throwback feel to the cocktail list. Hummingbird cake for dessert makes total sense seeing the Pinery is situated on the site of an old (surprise, surprise) pinery.

295 NE Ivanhoe Blvd Suite A
Orlando, FL 32804

7. Deli Desires

715 N Fern Creek Ave Suite B, Orlando, FL 32803

Bialys, not bagels, are the focus at this Colonialtown breakfast and lunch spot run by Hannah Jaffe and Nathan Sloan. The pair worked for some big names in L.A. — Jessica Koslow (Sqirl), Michael Voltaggio (ink), and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Son of a Gun) — so no surprise their humble little deli drew major buzz when it opened in January. Bialys come in caramelized onion or smoked jalapeno and muenster varieties with fillings ranging from gravlax to labneh to scrapple (this is not a kosher deli). The corned beef “big mac” layered with lettuce, American cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce served on a Martin’s sesame bun explains the long lines Deli Desires draws.

715 N Fern Creek Ave Suite B
Orlando, FL 32803

8. The Monroe Orlando

448 N Terry Ave, Orlando, FL 32801

The latest by restaurateurs Jason and Sue Chin (Seito Sushi Baldwin Park, The Osprey, Reyes Mezcaleria) may very well be their most fetching, but so is chef Josh Oakley’s menu of modern comfort fare. His dishes straddle the line between approachable and sophisticated – pastrami-spiced corn dogs and jerk-spiced chicken hearts served on skewers with grilled pineapple for example. The cocktail program is top-notch and the gorgeous mid-mod space practically begs patrons to linger.

448 N Terry Ave
Orlando, FL 32801

9.  Papa Llama

2840 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806

Having garnered a rep for serving some of the finest Peruvian fare in the city with their pop-up dinners, Kevin and Maria Ruiz set their sights on a brick-and-mortar operation. Cue the opening of their Curry Ford West restaurant, a bright, modern space that’s been drawing serious buzz thanks to such dishes as chicharrón de calamar with herbaceous wakatay salsa, and a wicked arroz chicken chaufa with smoky ají panca, Peruvian choclo and bok choy. The wine list may be small, but it’s focused and hardly an afterthought. And, yes, they serve Inca Kola.

2840 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806

10. Buttercrust Pizza

4781 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806

Grandma-style pies with a buttery crust have pizza hounds in this city in a tizzy. Square bakes come with a choice of red or alfredo sauces with toppings veering towards the usual, though there are specialty pies ranging from Hawaiian (with sweet chili pineapple) and a plant-lovers finished off with a nut-free basil pesto swirl. This may be the closest thing we get to Prince Street Pizza, though they did recently open an outpost in Miami.

4781 S Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32806

11. Bombay Street Kitchen

6215 S Orange Blossom Trl, Orlando, FL 32809

The owners of Bombay Cafe closed their longtime vegetable-only restaurant to focus on a new Indian street food restaurant situated in a larger space just down the street. BSK’s menu is an intriguing amalgam of the quick eats served in cities from Delhi to Chennai – dishes varying from kale chaat to fish colombi to momo to hakka noodles. It’s a large menu, but the “gola” station serves the ideal Florida treat – shaved ice in a host of flavors and toppings. 

6215 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809

12. Brother Jimmy's BBQ Dr. Phillips Marketplace

7800 Dr Phillips Blvd Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32819

New York-based Carolina barbecue chain Brother Jimmy’s delivers with a legit lineup of staples be it pulled pork, pulled chicken, or brisket. The mac and cheese is done in Low Country style with pulled pork and a beer cheese sauce, while meaty ribs beg for a squirt of Carolina sauce (or the “Blazin’” for the bold). Another full-service Brother Jimmy’s is slated to open in a 7.200-square-foot space in Icon Park later this year.

7800 Dr Phillips Blvd Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32819

13. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips

8391 International Dr Suite C-1, Orlando, FL 32819

The chips are more like fries and the cod filets aren’t anywhere near the size one would find across the pond, but the fish at this Icon Park chip shop is wonderfully crispy even after multiple dips into any one of the offered sauces (or good ol’ fashioned tartar). The crispy lobster and shrimp combo is another pleaser. Some may find the Biscoff and sticky toffee shakes cloying; others, the perfect ending. Expect long lines, err, queues.

8391 International Dr Suite C-1
Orlando, FL 32819

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