I’ve been to some pretty bad restaurants in Orlando over the course of the past few days, and I was beginning to lose my faith in the restaurant industry. I know a few of my friends have been having similar issues lately, so I have decided to compile this list of my favorite restaurants in Orlando. That way we know where to go after being let down by the bad ones.
I thought I’d start this list off by mentioning a style of cuisine that not very many people have been exposed to. That style is Peruvian. Pio Pio isn’t afraid to serve food that you haven’t heard of before, because they know you’ll love it no matter what. Pio Pio is found by Sand Lake in Orlando, which isn’t too far from the the movie theater. You could eat beforehand, unless you were sneaky enough to somehow smuggle the food into the cinema. Not everyone is into exotic foods, but I can definitely assure you that there is something for everyone on this menu. Whether you’re into Peruvian or Colombian food, don’t be afraid to ask the waiters if you’re not sure what to order.
I checked online, and I was surprised that there were over 160 other people who wrote positive reviews about the churrasco style steak. You can order things ranging from grilled skirt steak to their Peruvian chicken with green sauce. Everything that people sitting nearby me have ordered always looks delicious, but the food is really filling so there’s never much room left for anything else. Pio Pio’s a great restaurant to bring your family, because they can even share a dish. That’s how much food they serve you. I wouldn’t stress out too much about finding something both kids like, as all of the food on the menu is very affordable. The waiters have always been nice and helpful to me, and I’ve even seen some events that I know for a fact most waiters couldn’t handle.
One time I witnessed a baby screaming and crying while this cranky old man from the same party was trying to order, and the waitress didn’t lose her cool. The parents did nothing about the baby (obviously), so the waiter brought him some milk and that settled him down. I know more than a few places with waiters who would just panic and hide in the kitchen until everything was sorted out. Speaking of kitchens, I’ve actually been inside of this one.
Pio Pio’s owner is very friendly, so one night when he approached me at my table and asked how the food was, I told him how I always loved the food and then asked if I could watch the chefs prepare it for a couple minutes. He agreed, because they clearly had nothing to hide. My wife works for a hood cleaning business, so I have seen some nasty kitchens. This restaurant has one amazing kitchen, with chefs who never crack under pressure. I was inside the kitchen during one of the Orlando restaurant’s busier times of the day, and the chefs cooperated well together like a well-oiled machine.
Not to mention how clean the kitchen was. Lo and behold, their kitchen exhaust hood was even clean. I don’t know how they maintain it so well, unless one of them secretly works for an Orlando hood cleaning business behind the scenes! I made sure to let the waiter know how impressed I was, so my wife and I wrote amazing online reviews as soon as we got home.
If we’re already on the topic of strange food at good restaurants, then I might as well switch gears and talk about good food at a strange restaurant. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in Orlando doesn’t have to worry about copyrighting issues, fortunately. This restaurant is located right next to the Universal Studios Orlando location, but don’t expect steep prices. This restaurant is one of the more reasonably priced, even for an amusement park. I just want to kick off this review by saying that the Parmesan Bacon Truffle Fries are to die for.
Here’s another restaurant for people who aren’t sure what to order at some restaurants, because you can literally get food ranging from sushi to burgers at this restaurant. Once you’re inside, you will not want to leave. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar has probably the coolest interior I have ever seen. Behind the bar, there is a giant fish tank with live fish just swimming around while you eat!
That is the most badass thing I have ever heard of. Orlando doesn’t have a ton of places that do dessert well, but now I can check amazing desserts off of my bucket list. I wrote up an awesome review on Yelp just after seeing that fish tank behind the bar, but I was also kind of shocked at how many positive reviews forgot to mention it. If their food surpasses the giant fish tank bar, then that’s purely a testament to the quality of the food.
I know there are a ton of seafood enthusiasts out there, so I thought I would mention a seafood restaurant as well. Bar Harbor Seafood marks the top of my list in the seafood category, and for good reason. The best part about this restaurant is that Orlando is pretty close to the coast, so all the seafood is fresh. Bar Harbor Seafood is found right next to Lake Ellenor in Orlando, which has some great scenery.
However, I wouldn’t recommend getting your food to go and eating while you walk because the seafood would probably rip your intestines apart from the inside out. On the flip side, I do recommend ordering the crab cakes. I’ve been a fan of crab cakes my whole life, so I know whether or not a place does crab cakes well. Rest assured, if you’re also a fan of crab cakes or great seafood in general, you will have a spectacular time perusing Bar Harbor Seafood’s menu. Read one of their many positive online reviews if you don’t believe me.