It’s not every day that you think “Hey, I want to go to Orlando for my next vacation”. It’s a somewhat popular city, but only because of the major attractions like Universal Studios. From a foodie’s perspective, more popular tourist destinations such as Miami overshadow it. I’m going to list all of my favorite restaurants in Orlando in hopes that you’ll maybe consider coming here for the food instead.
First of all, I have to mention Mediterranean food. Not a lot of people have heard of it, and even if they have, they don’t know that it’s a style of food. You’ll find this restaurant by Wadeview Park in Orlando. Mediterranean Blue definitely tops my list, as they provide all four of the most important parts of a restaurant: food, service, sanitation, and aesthetic. Mediterranean Blue’s menu consists of dishes such as pitas and gyros (pronounced heroes), but their menu expands far beyond what you would typically expect from a restaurant. I appreciate the variety on the menu. My absolute favorite item on the menu is their king gyro, which I encourage all newcomers to try.
You can really taste how fresh every single one of their ingredients is, and I’m kind of curious where they get them from. I’ll have to ask the owner next time I’m there, which will hopefully be soon. As for the service, the waiters are all very friendly but still maintain their professional attitude. The first time I was there, my waitress recommended three different things that people of different palettes have enjoyed in the past. Unfortunately for my body, I decided to order all three. It was cheat night. In the end, the king gyro came out on top and it’s my Mediterranean mainstay now.
Even though I consider it to be more of a hidden gem, this restaurant can get really busy at times. The wait staff still manage to keep their faces smiling, which shows you just how experienced they are. The tables are all clean, and I haven’t eaten any meals with dirty dishes or dirty silverware. That should be expected of a restaurant, to maintain a professional atmosphere. Although Mediterranean Blue doesn’t have many windows, the management always manages to keep it well-lit on the inside.
The interior decor is nice and is easy on the eyes, and the music is kept to a tolerable volume so you can just eat your food without listening to some 20 year old waiter in a cowboy hat scream and stomp their feet while they dance around as people just try to enjoy their meal and awkwardly avoid making eye contact. Overall, an amazing restaurant. I left my thoughts in a positive review online, and I encourage others to do so as well if they enjoy their meal.
Next up comes Black Bean Deli, a Cuban restaurant in Orlando. You may think you’ve have good Cuban food in Miami, but you would also be wrong. This one is found in Northeast Orlando, which isn’t exactly known for its scenery. You can still take your food to go, but I love their outdoor seating so I’ll always dine in. The menu here is also very diverse, but I somehow still end up picking the media noche every time. It’s essentially a Cuban sandwich, but on sweet bread. I’m more of a bread guy anyways. The interior is really roomy, so you don’t have to worry about being herded like cattle.
Black Bean Deli is usually my lunch restaurant, because the prices are affordable so I know that I won’t spend too much, no matter what I order. The wait staff here deserve an honorable mention, because they always maintain a smile on their face even when cranky old men don’t know what type of sandwich to order and get mad at the people behind them in line. As for the cleanliness, I’ve never seen cleaner tables (or bathrooms, for that matter). Not every restaurant goes out of their way to make sure the bathrooms are clean, because it’s basically a public restroom so obviously it’s going to get dirty, right? But not here.
The best part is that I’ve never see the bathroom closed down for maintenance while I’ve eaten there, so whoever cleans them must be doing something right. If you want another example of their sanitation, I’ll tell you a story about their kitchen. Last time I was there, I mustered up the courage to ask the owner if I could take a peek at their kitchen and watch the chefs work their magic for a little bit. He agreed, so I went back there and started to look around in the kitchen like a poky little puppy.
It was obviously spick and span, but one thing caught my eye: the exhaust hood. For those of you who don’t know what that is, they catch the grease in the air to prevent grease fires. This is important with all Latin food because the majority of it is fried. Black Bean Deli clearly knows what they’re doing when they choose which Orlando hood cleaning business to work with. Still not impressed? Make sure you check out all of this restaurant’s positive online reviews. You might even find mine in there.
Last but not least, I have to make sure I mention Oudom Thai & Sushi. Here, you’ll be eating nearby South Eola in Orlando. Lake Eola isn’t too far from the restaurant, so if you enjoy eating sushi while looking at great natural scenery then I would recommend getting your food to go. The first time I ate at this restaurant, I was genuinely surprised that the rolls were so big, seeing as how they came from the happy hour menu.
You don’t have to order sushi, as the title implies, and all of the items on the menu are very good. Enough to make me keep coming back at least. Orlando isn’t really known for its sushi, but I’m sure that Oudom Thai & Sushi has definitely put in on the map. I left a great review after eating at this restaurant for the first time, and I don’t doubt that the big pile of great reviews agreed with me.