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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. http://tijuanaflats.com/

    Hot Dog Heaven
    Chicago style Hot Dogs made with Vienna Beef. http://www.hotdogheaven.com/index.html
    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., http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474792).

      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).