Heading to Orlando for a conference in 2 days. Everything I read says Orlando, despite the number of people who visit, is not a good food town. I only have 1 night free. Both Norman's and Primo rated high on Zagat, but I can't imagine that the best food in town is in a hotel? Looking for recommendations for dinner. Type of cuisine is irrelevant, so long as it is the best of its type, and ideally sourced locally. Doesn't have to be the most expensive place in town, just the best.
Where do the Orlando foodies eat?
The Ravenous Pig is probably the best restaurant in town, and an amazing value. Norman's and Primo are Chowhound favorites, but they're both VERY expensive and they seem kind of stuffy -- I've never had a great desire to check them out.
If you want an amazing steakhouse experience, go to Del Frisco's in Winter Park (just off I-4 on Lee Road) or the all-you-can-eat Brazilian churrascuria Texas de Brazil on the north end of International Drive.
Orlando also has a great variety of authentic, top-notch Vietnamese food with many restaurants clustered around Colonial Drive (State Road 50) and Mills Avenue (17-92). Lac Viet probably has the nicest ambience of all of them, and a varied menu with Northern and Southern Vietnamese delicacies.
re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
The Pig is excellent, but downscale. Norman's and Primo are both superb, destination-worthy restaurants, although both do have newish chefs de cuisine running the kitchens for the celebs day to day. Other good choices are Vines Grille & Wine Bar on Sand Lake Road, Enzo's in Longwood (great food, but it's a little shabby), and Journey's, a tiny little place in another part of Longwood.
Depends on where you are in Orlando since it's a big city....if you are close to Universal and Sand Lake Rd (exit 74 on I-4) then you want to check out Timpanos and their amazing mussles app! (my fav in the area). Also noteworthy are Seasons 52 and Ocean Prime (a bit pricey but great food -- awesome bar area if you just want to do drinks). New place that's good is Bravo (Italian). I've only commented on places I've been -- heard great things about J Alexanders and Vines both on Sand Lake. I've lived here about 6 months and think the restaurants in the Universal area are pretty nice -- as long as you stay off International Drive -- gets a little touristy and has a lot of chain restaurants.
If you are in the I-Drive area, Hanamizuki is well worth a visit. Top notch Japanese food of all kinds, not just sushi.