This rundown of the best restaurants in Orlando highlights just why the city is acclaimed as one of the top fine-dining destinations in Florida. Even though the Michelin team hasn't covered these parts yet, if they did, many of these top picks would surely scoop at least a few stars between them with a good mix of celebrity chef-run restaurants in hotels and good old-fashioned BBQ joints.

    While most of the restaurants here might eat into your vacation budget, they’re all well worth it if you're looking for an extra-special dining experience. Our picks range from fine diners located in the city’s most famous theme park resorts to authentic smokehouses in the suburbs where you might have to queue outside on the weekend to get a seat.

    Bull & Bear Steakhouse is a fine Orlando steakhouse that just happens to be located within one of the city’s grandest hotels, the Waldorf Astoria. Overlooking the hotel’s namesake golf club – right on the border of the sprawling Walt Disney World – views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows are superb. The meticulous service and refined décor are similarly impressive, keeping things smart and sophisticated without ever feeling too stuffy. The steakhouse's pièce de résistance has to be the 32-day dry-aged Tomahawk ribeye, big enough for 2 people to share.

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    Location: Waldorf Astoria Orlando, 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln a, Orlando, FL 32821, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 407-597-5500


    4 Rivers Steakhouse

    BBQ lovers should look no further than 4 Rivers Steakhouse, one outlet of which is located a short drive north from Downtown at Winter Park. There’s nothing flashy about the non-descript restaurant façade, nor the canteen-like seating arrangements inside (you have the choice between high stools lined up in a row or college-style benches if you don’t want to sit next to strangers), but what 4 Rivers lacks in style it more than makes up for in flavor. Items ‘from the smoker’ include wings, racks of beef and pork ribs, and whole smoked chickens. The signature Angus brisket and range of pulled pork sandwiches also prove hugely popular. Watch out for the long queues that can stretch out to the parking lot on weekends.

    Location: 1600 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 844-474-8377


    La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

    The Hilton’s signature La Luce offers a refined Italian menu of thin-crust pizzas, delectable pasta, and an excellent Trattoria-style wine program. Only open for dinner, the candlelit tables and lulling music make for a romantic setting, though the generously-sized potions and lively service make this good for the whole family. If you’re not into your wines, the creative Mediterranean-inspired cocktail list is well worth checking out, too.

    Location: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 407-597-3600


    Chef's Table at the Edgewater & Tasting Room

    Chef's Table at the Edgewater & Tasting Room is an intimate dining experience just a few miles away from Downtown Orlando. It has received heaps of praise over the last few years, recognized by several regional and national awards. This dining venue welcomes an ever-changing line-up of chefs, and with that comes a regularly altered menu, so you never really know what’s going to be served. However, the 3-course set menu usually features 3 or 4 choices per course, so even the fussiest of eaters should be able to find something they can enjoy. Prices without wine or service start from around $55 for the set menu.

    Location: 99 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 4 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 407-230-4837


    Seasons 52

    Seasons 52 off Sand Lake Road bases its menu around fresh, seasonal produce – hence the name. This highly-rated restaurant also presents a nice mix of indoor and alfresco seating, with handsome views out back stretching across the adjacent lake. Seasons 52 also has an oak-fired grill and brick oven, helping to bring out the natural flavors, as well as keeping things healthy. Recommended dishes to try are the wood-grilled pork tenderloin, oak-grilled rack of lamb, Asian-glazed Chilean Sea Bass and duck wing ‘lollipops’. There’s also a sturdy line-up of local craft ales and international wines.

    Location: Plaza Venezia, 7700 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 11 pm, Sunday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 407-354-5212


    Yellow Dog Eats

    The short drive out of town to Yellow Dog Eats is well worth it. It’s not only a restaurant but more of a café in the day and a live music bar at night. The menu of comfort food classics like club sandwiches, pulled pork burgers, tacos and wraps, is served throughout the day. The quaint house near Lake Toho promises different areas, meaning you can slide up to the lively bar for craft ale, find an intimate corner if you’re on a date or find a seat in the charming courtyard to soak up the summery vibes. As you might have guessed from the name, it’s also pet-friendly.

    Location: 1236 Hempel Ave, Windermere, FL 34786, USA

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday–Wednesday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 407-296-0609


    Seito has been at the forefront of Orlando’s slowly evolving sushi scene for years, rolling out an inventive menu that uses traditional Japanese techniques to create new and bold takes on the classics. Emphasis is placed on using the freshest ingredients possible – as Japanese cuisine dictates – with fish imported daily. But Seito is no 1-trick pony; good news if you’re a not a fan of raw fish. Much of the menu is also made up of other Japanese staples, such as ramen, tempura, and curries.

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    Location: 4898 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 11 pm, Sunday from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 407-898-8801


    Reyes Mezcaleria

    Find new takes on Mexican favorites

    Reyes Mezcaleria is a stylish and lively eatery in Orlando’s North Quarter District. You can find it on the first floor of the One Orlando Center. While this location makes the restaurant convenient for business travelers, it's also a nice pick for tourists exploring Downtown Orlando.

    Reyes Mezcaleria is known for its impressive brunch and happy hour, as well as extensive tequila and mezcal offerings. The menu focuses on elevated takes on Mexican classics – expect enchiladas filled with seared duck breast, for example.

    Location: 821 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 407-868-9007


    Mythos at Universal's Islands of Adventure

    Mythos Restaurant is an award-winning restaurant built into what appears to be a cave. Located in the Jurassic Park: The Lost Continent® section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the interior evokes the prehistoric setting well, though the menu takes a sharp detour from the caveman theme. Greek and pan-Mediterranean dishes are Mythos Restaurant's specialties, including risotto, mezze platter, and lamb skewers. What we love about this restaurant is that you can have high-level contemporary cuisine with excellent service and all the trimmings without having to leave the fun of the fair.

    Location: Universal's Islands of Adventure, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 407-224-4012


    Victoria & Albert’s is the sort of place where reservations need to be made weeks in advance. You won’t get in without a dinner jacket, and the restaurant's 6 or more courses from their modern American/French-inspired menu (with wine pairing) will probably set you back the price of a couple of tickets into the park for the day. Orlando is not yet on the Michelin team’s radar, but Victoria & Albert’s has long been recognized as one of Florida’s best restaurants, having been awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond award consistently since 2000.

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    Location: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 4401 Floridian Way, Orlando, FL 32830, USA

    Open: Daily from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm

    Phone: +1 407-939-3862

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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