Central Florida has developed into a hub of arts, culture, and delicious food over the past few years. Restaurants serving everything from fast and affordable snacks to gourmet four course meals are being built all over Orlando and its surrounding cities. In spite of this, there are currently zero restaurants sporting a coveted Michelin Star rating.
The Michelin guide for restaurants is a system of ranking known around the world for distinguishing the most delicious and exquisite dining experiences around the world. Michelin Stars are a mark of distinction, and there are many restaurants which are truly worthy of such praise and recognition. Visit the following six restaurants in the Orlando area for an unforgettable dining experience.
1. Ravenous Pig
The Ravenous Pig is a famously popular gastropub in downtown Winter Park. They serve classic American favorites in a relaxed environment, but everything about the food and the dining experience is taken up a notch to create an elevated restaurant visit. Their menu changes every day, so you can go back as many times as you want and always try something different. And their fully stocked bar, complete with an outstanding collection of microbrews from all over, provide the perfect compliment to your food. For a truly special experience, you can also rent out the Chef’s room in the restaurant. Be prepared for an evening you will remember forever as you are served a symphony of courses full of fresh ingredients and unique takes on classic flavors.
2. Victoria and Alberts
For a more formal evening out, head over to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and try Victoria and Albert’s. The restaurant is an extremely elegant escape into the Victorian Era, when dining was quite a special experience. Attire is formal, and the meal matches the dress. You will be served a full six course meal over the course of two hours by specially trained waiters, complete with a personalized menu and the freshest ingredients imported that day. Each course is perfectly paired with a wine from their exclusive cellar, and the dessert comes complete with fresh coffee brewed the Victorian way. There is no better place in Florida for anyone who loves sophisticated events and once in a lifetime experiences.
Take a vacation to an exotic land without ever leaving Florida at Jiko’s, located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Walking into the restaurant is like stepping into a distant land, and the experience is unique and memorable in all the best ways. Venture outside of your usual cuisine choices and taste the flavors of South Africa, paired with luscious wines from the same region. Everything from the decor to the menu make you feel as though you are visiting a different continent.
“Jiko” is the word for cooking space, and the center of the space contains a tile and clay cooking oven, which serves as the focal point of the restaurant as well as the source of the delicious main courses. There are also oversized windows offering views of the Disney savannah, and the interior decorations, including the lighting that changes according to the time of day, are made to mimic nature so that the entire evening is relaxing and engaging. The African cuisine might be unfamiliar to you before you go, but trust your waiter and don’t be afraid to taste something new, and by the time you leave, I know you’ll be craving your new exotic favorites.
Chef Norman Van Aken is the only chef from Florida to be granted a James Beard Award, and you will understand why after visiting his restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, and tasting his vibrant, mouth watering cuisine layered with flavor. Norman’s is a classic fine dining experience, with courses, flavors, and drinks paired with exceptional care. It is a lovely destination for a special date night, where you will take a culinary journey with expert servers as your guide. The food is a modern take on Florida cuisine, with influences from Latin, Caribbean, and Asian flavors, so there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy.
5. Chatham’s Place
Chatham’s Place, located on Dr. Phillip’s Boulevard in Orlando, is a hidden city gem where locals and visitors in the know visit for fine dining with fabulous flavors. The venue feels cozy and comfortable, while still maintaining the elegance of an upscale restaurant. It’s menu features fresh herbs and vegetables from the chef’s private, organic garden, served in decadent dishes to elevate the flavors of classic favorites.
The intimate tables are a perfect place for a date night, or you can rent out a room for a special event and enjoy an evening of superb food and service. Adding to the ambiance is a professional piano player who will accompany your meal with a sweet soundtrack. Chatham’s is a destination not to be overlooked in the bustle of the city.
6. Le Cellier
For a classic meat and potatoes meal that is anything but ordinary, don’t miss Le Cellier’s Steakhouse located in Epcot at Walt Disney World. Be sure to book in advance to enjoy the transformative experience of stepping out of the hot Florida sunshine and into the cool, elegant chateau inside Le Cellier. You will feel as though you’ve just arrived off the ski slopes when you see the beautifully carved wood tables and stone fireplaces lining the walls. The food is also inspired by Canadian classics which will warm and sooth your heart and soul. Steak entrees of every cut are always on the menu, as well as fondue appetizers, and a specialty maple creme brulee dessert. Don’t forget to ask about the wine as well, they have their own special cellar with delicious blends for any palette. Call and make your reservations now for an experience you will never forget.