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The Pimento Cheeseburger from Knife Burger.
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The 13 Hottest Restaurants in Orlando Right Now

The best new eats in “The City Beautiful”

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The Pimento Cheeseburger from Knife Burger.
| Knife Burger/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 Ava MediterrAegean, Ga 2 To, Isan Zaap, YH Seafood Clubhouse, Immersion at London House by Chef Rikku, Knife Burger, and Twenty Pho Hour, while WA SUSHI, Ramen Takagi, The Pinery, Deli Desires, Soseki Modern Omakase, Bombay Street Kitchen, and Milkhouse have departed.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Soupa Saiyan 3

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11325 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817
(407) 440-4687
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Soupa Saiyan’s other outposts (the original near Universal Orlando and another in Jacksonville) are fine in their own right, but what this noodle house in the UCF corridor offers that the others don’t is a “Soupakase” –  a one-hour, casual omakase experience featuring a seasonal menu of 10 nigiri presented piece-by-piece at the sushi bar. Best of all is that it only costs $65. The modern digs decked out in Dragon Ball Z aesthetics is a literal feast for the eyes.

2. AVA Mediterraegean

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290 S Park Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 794-9896
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The sister resto to Miami’s Mila, Ava opened to much buzz this year thanks to its attractive space, dishes, and clientele. The place certainly gets lit, what with its tableside firings of honey-slicked haloumi and salt-crusted branzino, not to mention the keftedes served inside a flaming stone bowl. Mediterranean flavors seep into the cocktail arena as well – Ava’s Gibson is flavored like a Greek salad, though the impressive selection of Greek wines is hard to overlok. The mille-feuille tart with its marscapone cream and Lillet-infused berry coulis between layers of phyllo has proved popular.

3. Jam Hot Chicken

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400 W New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

The hot chicken trend shows no signs of cooling down but this newcomer in Hannibal Square isn’t out to make the hottest sandwich, it’s out to craft the finest. That’s not to say the sandwich served “jam hot” won’t burn, but it won’t sent off a gastrointestinal conflagration either. The Bell & Evans breast fried to a superb crisp in peanut oil is the undeniable star, though the supporting cast of creamy slaw, pickles, Southern comeback sauce, and a hot buttered bun play a part in taking Jam Hot Chicken’s number to the top.

4. Camille

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3201 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803
(321) 236-3316
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Offering one of the best tasting experiences in the city, Camille is the first of a rotating series of chef’s tables to pop up at the second-floor Neighbors inside East End Market. Chef Tung Phan delivers an astounding seven-course, seasonal menu of modern French-Vietnamese cuisine at the eight-seat bar for a very reasonable $125. Wine, beer, and cocktail pairings are offered as well. A sure sign of the concept’s success: Camille is slated to move into a permanent space in Baldwin Park this fall.

5. The Hall on The Yard

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1412 Alden Rd
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 887-4255
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The swankiest food hall in the city is an amalgam of nine restaurants housed under one roof. Full table service is offered making ordering a breeze from vendors offering everything from pan-Latin and pan-Asian cuisine to Indian and vegan fare. The indoor/outdoor cocktail bar is an absolute beauty, though if lager and ale are more your thing, the outdoor beer garden with pour-it-yourself taps is ideal for game day. Should one of the servers hand you a poker chip, it’ll get you access to the speakeasy upstairs.

6. GA 2 TO

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1216 E Colonial Dr suite 6
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 412-6444

This simple, and coolly modern, noodle house in the heart of Mills 50 serves up bowls of mien ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) that’s “just like eating in Hanoi,” so says Top Chef champion Hung Huynh. Free-range chicken is used in each of the stellar slurps incorporating imported mung bean or vermicelli noodles. Also on the focused menu: an invigorating chicken salad, creamy egg coffee, and homemade ice cream, the latter helping to offset the swelter when dining outside on their rattan furniture.

7. 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.

8. Isan Zaap Thai Cafe

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4693 Gardens Park Blvd
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 203-1868
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The bracing, funky, and infernal flavors associated with northeastern Thai (Isan) cuisine are unabashedly displayed at this Millenia Mall-area restaurant. Apart from the nam tok, larb, and spicy som tam salad with crunchy slivers of papaya, there are tom zaaps (spicy soups in three varieties — pork rib, chicken feet, and beef entrails) and a hush-hush menu of various raw preparations, the electrified naem riceball salad with raw fermented pork sausage being a standout.

9. Immersion at London House by Chef Rikku

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8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 743-2525
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Set inside the private, members-only London House, this ultra-luxe, multicourse tasting menu concept is open to the public, at least those willing to foot the $360+ price tag to indulge in chef Rikku O’Donnchu’s wildly creative, and sometimes macabre, compositions. The self-dubbed “Viking Chef” isn’t afraid to display meats in murderous, splattery fashion, or get all gothic with his molecular trickery, but one thing’s for certain – there’s no dining experience like it in the city. Beverage pairings are extra, but at these prices, it’s well worth the additional splurge.

10. YH Seafood Clubhouse

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8081 Turkey Lake Rd #700
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 440-4979
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The seafood towers may not reach the jaw-dropping heights of Toronto’s famed Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant, but the salvers of fried seafood at this modern Cantonese restaurant in Dr. Phillips impress nonetheless. Other prized catches to consider: XO-style clams, jumbo oysters with steamed ginger-soy-black bean sauce, Hong Kong-style roasted chicken, and whole flounder done two ways (crispy fried and sauteed). Cantonese-style dim sum is pricier than others in town, but dazzling nonetheless.

11. Knife Burger

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4040 Central Florida Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32837
(407) 206-2300
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Top Chef John Tesar’s highly lauded burger restaurant doesn’t have the affordable prices as his Knife Burgers in Texas (JW Marriott sets the prices at the Orlando outpost), but the Ozersky, a beefy homage to late food writer and Meatopia founder Josh Ozersky, is easily one of the best burgers in town, even with the $17 price tag. The simple construction – a 44 Farms all-beef patty, American cheese, and red onions on a squishy white bun (not brioche!) – makes for burger perfection. Handhelds, salads and light starters, like the 44 Farms Texas chili nachos, round out the menu.

12. Twenty Pho Hour

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11951 International Dr B-2
Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 778-1201
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It’s hard not to be enamored by the optics of this tourist-area restaurant – it resembles a cross between the two-dimensional pages of a monochrome coloring book and a Roy Lichtenstein painting. Dubbed “America’s first 2D noodle bar,” Twenty Pho Hour is modeled after the Greem Café in Seoul and serves a bevy of boffo bowls of pho. Whether slurping on the relatively straightforward “White Chicks” with chicken lolling in a beef broth, or the blingy “Pho King” with filet mignon, lobster, and foie gras, the soups satisfy. Warning: Instagrammers abound. 

13. Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen

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1 Grand Cypress Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 239-1234
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Richard Blais follows in the line of Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, and others in presenting a menu of Floribbean dishes that intend to impress. That said, the Top Chef: All-Stars winner does play around with molecular gastronomy in his presentation of tuna tostones with passion fruit “yolk” and in the liquid-nitrogen-smoked oysters with hibiscus and datil pepper “pearls.” Lobster blackened and seared a la plancha is a decidedly more straightforward offering, but his fusion dishes prove most interesting: fish and grits with banana leaf tamale, oxtail and foie empanadas, and linguini and conch with chilies and miso butter. Cocktails, not surprisingly, also take on a flair for the dramatic.

1. Soupa Saiyan 3

11325 University Blvd, Orlando, FL 32817

Soupa Saiyan’s other outposts (the original near Universal Orlando and another in Jacksonville) are fine in their own right, but what this noodle house in the UCF corridor offers that the others don’t is a “Soupakase” –  a one-hour, casual omakase experience featuring a seasonal menu of 10 nigiri presented piece-by-piece at the sushi bar. Best of all is that it only costs $65. The modern digs decked out in Dragon Ball Z aesthetics is a literal feast for the eyes.

11325 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817

2. AVA Mediterraegean

290 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

The sister resto to Miami’s Mila, Ava opened to much buzz this year thanks to its attractive space, dishes, and clientele. The place certainly gets lit, what with its tableside firings of honey-slicked haloumi and salt-crusted branzino, not to mention the keftedes served inside a flaming stone bowl. Mediterranean flavors seep into the cocktail arena as well – Ava’s Gibson is flavored like a Greek salad, though the impressive selection of Greek wines is hard to overlok. The mille-feuille tart with its marscapone cream and Lillet-infused berry coulis between layers of phyllo has proved popular.

290 S Park Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

3. Jam Hot Chicken

400 W New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

The hot chicken trend shows no signs of cooling down but this newcomer in Hannibal Square isn’t out to make the hottest sandwich, it’s out to craft the finest. That’s not to say the sandwich served “jam hot” won’t burn, but it won’t sent off a gastrointestinal conflagration either. The Bell & Evans breast fried to a superb crisp in peanut oil is the undeniable star, though the supporting cast of creamy slaw, pickles, Southern comeback sauce, and a hot buttered bun play a part in taking Jam Hot Chicken’s number to the top.

400 W New England Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

4. Camille

3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Offering one of the best tasting experiences in the city, Camille is the first of a rotating series of chef’s tables to pop up at the second-floor Neighbors inside East End Market. Chef Tung Phan delivers an astounding seven-course, seasonal menu of modern French-Vietnamese cuisine at the eight-seat bar for a very reasonable $125. Wine, beer, and cocktail pairings are offered as well. A sure sign of the concept’s success: Camille is slated to move into a permanent space in Baldwin Park this fall.

3201 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803

5. The Hall on The Yard

1412 Alden Rd, Orlando, FL 32803

The swankiest food hall in the city is an amalgam of nine restaurants housed under one roof. Full table service is offered making ordering a breeze from vendors offering everything from pan-Latin and pan-Asian cuisine to Indian and vegan fare. The indoor/outdoor cocktail bar is an absolute beauty, though if lager and ale are more your thing, the outdoor beer garden with pour-it-yourself taps is ideal for game day. Should one of the servers hand you a poker chip, it’ll get you access to the speakeasy upstairs.

1412 Alden Rd
Orlando, FL 32803

6. GA 2 TO

1216 E Colonial Dr suite 6, Orlando, FL 32803

This simple, and coolly modern, noodle house in the heart of Mills 50 serves up bowls of mien ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) that’s “just like eating in Hanoi,” so says Top Chef champion Hung Huynh. Free-range chicken is used in each of the stellar slurps incorporating imported mung bean or vermicelli noodles. Also on the focused menu: an invigorating chicken salad, creamy egg coffee, and homemade ice cream, the latter helping to offset the swelter when dining outside on their rattan furniture.

1216 E Colonial Dr suite 6
Orlando, FL 32803

7. 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

8. Isan Zaap Thai Cafe

4693 Gardens Park Blvd, Orlando, FL 32839

The bracing, funky, and infernal flavors associated with northeastern Thai (Isan) cuisine are unabashedly displayed at this Millenia Mall-area restaurant. Apart from the nam tok, larb, and spicy som tam salad with crunchy slivers of papaya, there are tom zaaps (spicy soups in three varieties — pork rib, chicken feet, and beef entrails) and a hush-hush menu of various raw preparations, the electrified naem riceball salad with raw fermented pork sausage being a standout.

4693 Gardens Park Blvd
Orlando, FL 32839

9. Immersion at London House by Chef Rikku

8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819

Set inside the private, members-only London House, this ultra-luxe, multicourse tasting menu concept is open to the public, at least those willing to foot the $360+ price tag to indulge in chef Rikku O’Donnchu’s wildly creative, and sometimes macabre, compositions. The self-dubbed “Viking Chef” isn’t afraid to display meats in murderous, splattery fashion, or get all gothic with his molecular trickery, but one thing’s for certain – there’s no dining experience like it in the city. Beverage pairings are extra, but at these prices, it’s well worth the additional splurge.

8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819

10. YH Seafood Clubhouse

8081 Turkey Lake Rd #700, Orlando, FL 32819

The seafood towers may not reach the jaw-dropping heights of Toronto’s famed Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant, but the salvers of fried seafood at this modern Cantonese restaurant in Dr. Phillips impress nonetheless. Other prized catches to consider: XO-style clams, jumbo oysters with steamed ginger-soy-black bean sauce, Hong Kong-style roasted chicken, and whole flounder done two ways (crispy fried and sauteed). Cantonese-style dim sum is pricier than others in town, but dazzling nonetheless.

8081 Turkey Lake Rd #700
Orlando, FL 32819

11. Knife Burger

4040 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837

Top Chef John Tesar’s highly lauded burger restaurant doesn’t have the affordable prices as his Knife Burgers in Texas (JW Marriott sets the prices at the Orlando outpost), but the Ozersky, a beefy homage to late food writer and Meatopia founder Josh Ozersky, is easily one of the best burgers in town, even with the $17 price tag. The simple construction – a 44 Farms all-beef patty, American cheese, and red onions on a squishy white bun (not brioche!) – makes for burger perfection. Handhelds, salads and light starters, like the 44 Farms Texas chili nachos, round out the menu.

4040 Central Florida Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32837

12. Twenty Pho Hour

11951 International Dr B-2, Orlando, FL 32821

It’s hard not to be enamored by the optics of this tourist-area restaurant – it resembles a cross between the two-dimensional pages of a monochrome coloring book and a Roy Lichtenstein painting. Dubbed “America’s first 2D noodle bar,” Twenty Pho Hour is modeled after the Greem Café in Seoul and serves a bevy of boffo bowls of pho. Whether slurping on the relatively straightforward “White Chicks” with chicken lolling in a beef broth, or the blingy “Pho King” with filet mignon, lobster, and foie gras, the soups satisfy. Warning: Instagrammers abound. 

11951 International Dr B-2
Orlando, FL 32821

13. Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen

1 Grand Cypress Blvd, Orlando, FL 32836

Richard Blais follows in the line of Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, and others in presenting a menu of Floribbean dishes that intend to impress. That said, the Top Chef: All-Stars winner does play around with molecular gastronomy in his presentation of tuna tostones with passion fruit “yolk” and in the liquid-nitrogen-smoked oysters with hibiscus and datil pepper “pearls.” Lobster blackened and seared a la plancha is a decidedly more straightforward offering, but his fusion dishes prove most interesting: fish and grits with banana leaf tamale, oxtail and foie empanadas, and linguini and conch with chilies and miso butter. Cocktails, not surprisingly, also take on a flair for the dramatic.

1 Grand Cypress Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836

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