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Jul 29, 2008 09:37 PM

Great Food - Doesn't Have to be Fancy - in Orlando

So. I will be in Orlando in late September. I haven't made my hotel reservations yet, so I don't know exactly where I'll be staying (although I'm thinking of the Celebration Hotel), but I would like some advice on where to eat. I don't need fancy places; in fact, I am more interested in ethnic spots or places the locals like to eat. I hate crowds and touristy things and will eat anything.

Thanks for the advice!

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  1. At least two places come to mind right away:

    Tijuana Flats
    Tex-Mex Fresh-Mex what ever you want to call it, I call it great food at a great price and if your getting it to go they are fast. Tijuana Flats has at least a dozen hot sauces "on-tap" for you to sample with your food. Plus they have something like over 100 hot sauces available for purchase. Fun & whimsical decor inside or you can eat in el fresco on the patio.

    There are several locations, and not just in Florida, check the website for one near you.

    Hot Dog Heaven
    Chicago style Hot Dogs made with Vienna Beef.
    5355 E Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32807

    2 Replies
    1. re: kabel

      I don't go to Tijuana Flats anymore. I used to like it - until I had Chipotle.

      1. re: HeyNowJoe

        I realize this is no longer so, but I didn't give Chipotle a second try because they were owned by McDonalds.

    2. I recommend Nacho's Grill located near I drive for great Cuban; the reviews on Chowhound have been positive (e.g.,

      There is an abundance of cheap, tasty and ethnic Vietnamese restaurants located near Colonial & Mills in downtown Orlando. Its about 30 minutes from Celebration, but fits the requirements you set out above. Lac Viet is the perennial favorite on Chowhound, but I found similarly great food at Little Saigon, which is more reasonably priced.

      Enjoy your trip.

        1. I havent been to Beto's in awhile but when I was there the food was good and very inexpensive.

          I really do enjoy Tijuana Flats and something it has over chipotle or any other quick mex restaurants is that it has a low sodium low fat dish that is actually pretty tasty. So you can go if your on a diet or bring a friend who is on a diet.

          1. Ravenous Pig is great; it is a gastropub in Winter Park so it may be out of the way if you are staying out by Disney. There are a lot of good options on/around Disney but if you want to avoid tourists you are pretty much in the wrong part of town. For that matter, you are pretty much in the wrong town. :)

            Back towards Kissimmee/St. Cloud area, the barbecue at Fat Boy's is good and the Catfish Place has great fresh catfish but I have not been to Kissimmee to eat in many years so that may be out-of-date information.

            Here are some good independent places scattered about:
            Stefano's Trattoria and Nonna's are both good Italian.

            Lee & Ricks Oyster Bar is fugly/scary-looking but has great oysters; Oceanaire (small chain) is the opposite end of the spectrum in that it is fancy (and clean) but it has great food too.

            SEA Thai is a little family-run Thai place by Fashion Square Mall; very nice people and great food.

            Ceviche is good Spanish food and it is right downtown. Le Coq Au Vin is a family-run French restaurant that is also very good (and it's been in Orlando for over 20 years) but you need a reservation.

            There are tons more but the above are some of my favorites (or in the case of the Kissimmee places, they used to be favorites when I lived there a million years ago--of course Dairy Queen was pretty cool back then since we didn't have a lot of options in Kissimmee).