I’ve been wanting to blog about this for a while now. I’ve lived by Disney World in Orlando for years and after a lot of trial and error, have come across a few local favorites I like to frequent.

When people come to Disney, it seems to be their tendency to play it safe and only eat at chain restaurants they know, or just limit themselves to what’s found in the parks. While you can still get satisfactory food that way, there are so many awesome local options too! I also think one of the great things about Orlando is the diversity of the food choices. There are so many different cultures that have chosen to call Orlando home and we get to reap the benefits!

Below are my top 5 places (in no particular order) to check out that are within 10 minutes of the parks. They’re all family friendly in terms of type of restaurant, budget, etc. Let me know if you give them a shot!

  1. Q’Kenan (8117 Vineland Avenue Orlando, FL 32821) – Q’Kenan and I have been friends for a while now. If you like Venezuelan food, this is the place to be! When I go, getting an empanada is a must! It doesn’t even matter what filling you get, they’re always crisp on the outside and delicious inside. Always, always, always get the white sauce that comes with it, I put that on everything! Everything else on the menu is delicious too, it just depends on your preferences. If you need some caffeine, this is also the perfect place. Get ready from a strong cup of coffee though!
  2. King O Falafel (5045 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway Kissimmee, FL 34746) – If you love Mediterranean food, this is the place for you. Again located in a strip mall, this inconspicuous place is full of yummy food. My go to here is the hummus appetizer (it’s so fresh!) and the falafel sandwich with eggplant added. Bonus is that this place is extremely vegetarian friendly!
  3. Sushiology (12211 Regency Village Drive Orlando, FL 32821) – Do you like sushi? Do you like to save money? Do you like to eat local? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to check out Sushiology. For all your basic sushi cravings, this place is where it’s at. If you’re with a group I suggest ordering the platters, it’s definitely more bang for your buck. Whenever I order sushi from here, I always make it a point to get the Mr. Spicy sauce with it (don’t question it, just do it!).
  4. Miller’s Ale House (12371 Winter Garden Vineland Avenue Orlando, FL 32836) – Oh Ale House, how I love thee. Ale House started as a local Florida chain but has expanded to a few other states now. This is a very family-friendly place with good food and big portions. I’m not ashamed to tell you I’ve tried probably half the menu. There was a period of time where this place was a weekly meal for me. Personal favorites are getting wings (hot garlic naked and breaded honey mustard) and anything involving zingers. You can’t really go wrong here!
  5. Sea Dog Brewing Company (8496 Palm Parkway Orlando, FL 32836) – Another semi-local place. If you’re familiar with beer, you’ve probably heard of Sea Dog. Although they’re originally from Maine, there’s now an outpost in Orlando right by the parks! I personally like to go for their late night happy hour. My go-to order is the BBQ pulled pork nachos, it’s perfection.

If you’re travelling to Orlando, give these places a chance instead of the usual suspects. And as always, let me know about your food adventures!