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Lobster and steak dinner from the Nauti Lobstah.
The Nauti Lobstah

The 13 Hottest Restaurants in Orlando Right Now

The best new eats in “The City Beautiful”

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Lobster and steak dinner from the Nauti Lobstah.
| The Nauti Lobstah

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 and hot and what favorite chef just launched a new spot. And while the Orlando Eater 38 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.

So here they are – the fresh faces on our ever-evolving restaurant scene; the newish spots setting tongues a-wagging 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 Zaru, Danilo’s Pasta Bar, KungFu Kitchen, Primrose Lanes Restaurant & Bowling Club, Nami Lake Nona, Fluffy Fluffy, Nauti Lobstah, Phở Gà Hiền Vương, Beirut Grill & Deli and Chuan Fu. At the same time, we say goodbye to Kaya, Pizza Bruno College Park, Otto’s High Dive, Norigami, The Moderne, Papi’s Smash Burger, Friendship BBQ, The Foreigner, Smoke & Donuts, and the Mongolorian.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

The Nauti Lobstah - New England Seafood Apopka

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Seafood lovers and homesick Yanks alike trek to Apopka to sink their chops into the wicked-awesome lobster rolls offered in New England and Connecticut varietals. Certainly, lobster gets a lot of play on Nauti Lobstah’s menu, but there are chowders and bisques, snow crabs and steamer clams, po’boys, and fish and chips, in addition to platters of fresh catch, frog legs, smelt, scallops and more.

Beirut grill & deli

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The meatier cousin to Beirut Bakery & Deli on South OBT no doubt has the meats, but that doesn’t mean their superb falafel sandwich wrapped in thin, crisp Armenian lavash should be overlooked. It shouldn’t. A lean lamb kebab sandwich begs for a dip in Tunisian harissa. At the same time, housemade beef and chicken shawarma are Beirut’s stars—more Levantine delights: Grilled kafta, cheese za’atar calzone, and, of course, kunefe.

Chuan Fu 川府

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Winter Park can now lay claim to legit Sichuan fare with this sister resto to Chuan Lu Garden in Mills 50. A full roster of Sichuan classics (cumin lamb, la zi chicken, dan-dan noodles) is offered inside the modern space. Still, Chuan Fu brings lesser-known dishes to the Ravaudage complex, such as boiled blood curd with assorted veggies, crispy pork knuckle, and roast duck stew.

Danilo's Pasta Bar

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As the second Domu Lab concept to take up residency at the Neighbors at East End Market, chef Danilo “DJ” Tangalin’s pasta bar presents dolled-up dishes fusing Filipino and Italian flavors and ingredients with French technique. The $75 tasting menu option (available only at the 8-seat bar) is an 8-course tour de force that changes weekly (think surf ‘n’ turf comprising squid ink tagliatelle, Chinese sausage, bay scallops, chicken, carrots, and cabbage in an oyster-soy broth). An a la carte menu offering everything from milk-braised pork to shrimp scampi pasta in a coconut cream sauce is available at the bar and window-side seats around the Neighbors.

Camille

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Chef Tung Phan’s creative and unconventional spins on Vietnamese dishes, all punctuated with classical French flourishes like espuma of pho, papaya with salmon and nước chấm and Vietnamese coffee-crusted Wagyu with potato pâvé are now presented in a gorgeous, 2,500-square-foot, 30-seat space with all the soothing spa feels. Snag a spot at the 8-seat chef’s counter and indulge in an intimate 10-course experience, all for $195, or opt for a condensed 7-course tasting in the main dining room for $135. 

The dough isn’t rolled in pork fat, but this barbecue-pizza mashup, described as “Italian-ish” by owner Thomas Ward (Pig Floyd’s), brings a bit of levity to the pie-eating experience. Even the snobbiest may grin at a 12-inch round with smoked brisket, pickled onions, smoked mozz, cheddar, and grape jelly barbecue sauce. The sourdough crust, along with sauce fashioned from Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes and liberal use of Grande cheese, are proof positive Pigzza is out to impress. Pastas, like the spicy sausage tortellini, get playful as well. The stylish 70-seater with a 40-seat patio and bar offers a complete liquor program and some decent wines from the old country.

Fluffy Fluffy Dessert Cafe

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The first state-side outpost of this Toronto-based Japanese pancake house is attracting lines for its roster of ethereal, made-to-order souffle pancakes crowned with various fruits, toppings, and house-made sauces. Matcha tiramisu, caramelized raspberry, and cookies and cream are a few options. Coming soon: Savory croffles and burnt top cheesecakes.

Japanese udon noodles are the focus at this intimate and striking 25-seat restaurant in the heart of Mills 50. The scratch-made, squircle-shaped squigglers fashioned from premium Japanese flour imported from Kagawa Prefecture, the birthplace of udon, feature eight different cold and hot noodle dishes. Numerous add-ons, from shishito tempura, to marinated ikura to onsen egg, augment the slurp. Additional bites include miso-grilled eggplant, chicken tatsuta-age, and an ending of warabi mochi served with Okinawa black sugar and red bean.

Phở Gà Hiền Vương

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Z Asian owners Hien Pham and Huong Nguyen’s long-awaited follow-up concept focuses on all things chicken: the eponymous Vietnamese chicken soup offered with rice noodles, clear glass noodles, or egg noodles. Seafood soup and duck noodle soup are also offered, but beyond the slurps, Hainanese-style chicken and rice, chicken salad, fried gizzards, and pan-fried marinated quail are standouts.

Primrose Lanes Restaurant and Bowling Club

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Much has been made about the $15 hot dog (yes, it’s worth the splurge), but there’s so much more to sample inside one of the most unique dining venues (or unique bowling alleys, depending on how one looks at it) in the city. Options embrace the “elevated comfort” ethos, with patrons indulging in such flawlessly executed dishes as short rib pastrami and frites, blue crab fingers, smoked prime rib sammies, and chef Jason Campbell’s OKC smash burger.

Norman's Orlando

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After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, Norman’s is back in a new space with a new look and, thankfully, some old faces, most notably chef de cuisine Carlos Robles Molina and, naturally, legendary Florida chef Norman Van Aken. The menu’s original Latin-Caribbean DNA is still intact, even in its third incarnation, though flavors from Japan and Southeast Asia add to Van Aken’s “New World” bent. The wine list is just as stellar as before, and a recently launched tasting menu should please the restaurant’s most avid patrons.

KungFu Kitchen

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Lines are a given at this tourist sector outpost of the famed New York City restaurant serving dumplings of every sort, including excellent xiao long bao in pork, chicken, and pork/crab varieties. Chef Peter Song, who shuttles between both cities, also happens to be a master at hand-pulled noodles, of which the beef with chili oil sets tongues awagging—other items to consider: Bracing cucumber salad, scallion pancakes, and plump veggie steamed dumplings.

Nami Lake Nona

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Tavistock, the investment firm that all but built the community of Lake Nona, appears intent on chasing stars with this moody, design-forward sup spot where the dolled-up dine on high-end Japanese-leaning fare like lobster doughnuts dusted with matcha, robata salmon with red ponzu and, of course, snow-aged wagyu from Niigata Prefecture. A 10-seat omakase counter sees foie, caviar, and otoro flow. Note to tourists: A dress code is in full effect, so no ball caps, flip-flops, or tank tops.

The Nauti Lobstah - New England Seafood Apopka

Seafood lovers and homesick Yanks alike trek to Apopka to sink their chops into the wicked-awesome lobster rolls offered in New England and Connecticut varietals. Certainly, lobster gets a lot of play on Nauti Lobstah’s menu, but there are chowders and bisques, snow crabs and steamer clams, po’boys, and fish and chips, in addition to platters of fresh catch, frog legs, smelt, scallops and more.

Beirut grill & deli

The meatier cousin to Beirut Bakery & Deli on South OBT no doubt has the meats, but that doesn’t mean their superb falafel sandwich wrapped in thin, crisp Armenian lavash should be overlooked. It shouldn’t. A lean lamb kebab sandwich begs for a dip in Tunisian harissa. At the same time, housemade beef and chicken shawarma are Beirut’s stars—more Levantine delights: Grilled kafta, cheese za’atar calzone, and, of course, kunefe.

Chuan Fu 川府

Winter Park can now lay claim to legit Sichuan fare with this sister resto to Chuan Lu Garden in Mills 50. A full roster of Sichuan classics (cumin lamb, la zi chicken, dan-dan noodles) is offered inside the modern space. Still, Chuan Fu brings lesser-known dishes to the Ravaudage complex, such as boiled blood curd with assorted veggies, crispy pork knuckle, and roast duck stew.

Danilo's Pasta Bar

As the second Domu Lab concept to take up residency at the Neighbors at East End Market, chef Danilo “DJ” Tangalin’s pasta bar presents dolled-up dishes fusing Filipino and Italian flavors and ingredients with French technique. The $75 tasting menu option (available only at the 8-seat bar) is an 8-course tour de force that changes weekly (think surf ‘n’ turf comprising squid ink tagliatelle, Chinese sausage, bay scallops, chicken, carrots, and cabbage in an oyster-soy broth). An a la carte menu offering everything from milk-braised pork to shrimp scampi pasta in a coconut cream sauce is available at the bar and window-side seats around the Neighbors.

Camille

Chef Tung Phan’s creative and unconventional spins on Vietnamese dishes, all punctuated with classical French flourishes like espuma of pho, papaya with salmon and nước chấm and Vietnamese coffee-crusted Wagyu with potato pâvé are now presented in a gorgeous, 2,500-square-foot, 30-seat space with all the soothing spa feels. Snag a spot at the 8-seat chef’s counter and indulge in an intimate 10-course experience, all for $195, or opt for a condensed 7-course tasting in the main dining room for $135. 

Pigzza

The dough isn’t rolled in pork fat, but this barbecue-pizza mashup, described as “Italian-ish” by owner Thomas Ward (Pig Floyd’s), brings a bit of levity to the pie-eating experience. Even the snobbiest may grin at a 12-inch round with smoked brisket, pickled onions, smoked mozz, cheddar, and grape jelly barbecue sauce. The sourdough crust, along with sauce fashioned from Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes and liberal use of Grande cheese, are proof positive Pigzza is out to impress. Pastas, like the spicy sausage tortellini, get playful as well. The stylish 70-seater with a 40-seat patio and bar offers a complete liquor program and some decent wines from the old country.

Fluffy Fluffy Dessert Cafe

The first state-side outpost of this Toronto-based Japanese pancake house is attracting lines for its roster of ethereal, made-to-order souffle pancakes crowned with various fruits, toppings, and house-made sauces. Matcha tiramisu, caramelized raspberry, and cookies and cream are a few options. Coming soon: Savory croffles and burnt top cheesecakes.

Zaru

Japanese udon noodles are the focus at this intimate and striking 25-seat restaurant in the heart of Mills 50. The scratch-made, squircle-shaped squigglers fashioned from premium Japanese flour imported from Kagawa Prefecture, the birthplace of udon, feature eight different cold and hot noodle dishes. Numerous add-ons, from shishito tempura, to marinated ikura to onsen egg, augment the slurp. Additional bites include miso-grilled eggplant, chicken tatsuta-age, and an ending of warabi mochi served with Okinawa black sugar and red bean.

Phở Gà Hiền Vương

Z Asian owners Hien Pham and Huong Nguyen’s long-awaited follow-up concept focuses on all things chicken: the eponymous Vietnamese chicken soup offered with rice noodles, clear glass noodles, or egg noodles. Seafood soup and duck noodle soup are also offered, but beyond the slurps, Hainanese-style chicken and rice, chicken salad, fried gizzards, and pan-fried marinated quail are standouts.

Primrose Lanes Restaurant and Bowling Club

Much has been made about the $15 hot dog (yes, it’s worth the splurge), but there’s so much more to sample inside one of the most unique dining venues (or unique bowling alleys, depending on how one looks at it) in the city. Options embrace the “elevated comfort” ethos, with patrons indulging in such flawlessly executed dishes as short rib pastrami and frites, blue crab fingers, smoked prime rib sammies, and chef Jason Campbell’s OKC smash burger.

Norman's Orlando

After a three-and-a-half-year hiatus, Norman’s is back in a new space with a new look and, thankfully, some old faces, most notably chef de cuisine Carlos Robles Molina and, naturally, legendary Florida chef Norman Van Aken. The menu’s original Latin-Caribbean DNA is still intact, even in its third incarnation, though flavors from Japan and Southeast Asia add to Van Aken’s “New World” bent. The wine list is just as stellar as before, and a recently launched tasting menu should please the restaurant’s most avid patrons.

KungFu Kitchen

Lines are a given at this tourist sector outpost of the famed New York City restaurant serving dumplings of every sort, including excellent xiao long bao in pork, chicken, and pork/crab varieties. Chef Peter Song, who shuttles between both cities, also happens to be a master at hand-pulled noodles, of which the beef with chili oil sets tongues awagging—other items to consider: Bracing cucumber salad, scallion pancakes, and plump veggie steamed dumplings.

Nami Lake Nona

Tavistock, the investment firm that all but built the community of Lake Nona, appears intent on chasing stars with this moody, design-forward sup spot where the dolled-up dine on high-end Japanese-leaning fare like lobster doughnuts dusted with matcha, robata salmon with red ponzu and, of course, snow-aged wagyu from Niigata Prefecture. A 10-seat omakase counter sees foie, caviar, and otoro flow. Note to tourists: A dress code is in full effect, so no ball caps, flip-flops, or tank tops.

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