Orlando attracts visitors from all over the globe and the area’s dining choices reflect this international diversity. For travelers, the world’s great cuisines are yours to enjoy during your stay. We previously covered Asian, Middle Eastern and African eateries. Here are some local Caribbean and South American culinary destinations.
Florida’s subtropical climate, proximity to the Caribbean — and the Island people now living in the Sunshine State — make Orlando a great place to sample tasty tropical dishes.
Caribbean & Cuban Cuisine in Orlando
Jamaican food can be fiery and flavorful. Jerk meats, made with Scotch bonnet peppers is savory and scorching. But there are plenty of tamer tastes for every palate, including some amazing vegetarian dishes. Healthy Jamaican Food boasts of their mastery of jerk and also offers stews, curries, roti, goat, fish and salads. Negril Jamaican Restaurant is another solid choice for the classics and Oley’s Kitchen & Smokehouse serves Jamaican specialties and, as its name suggests, also proffers barbecued dishes and soul food.
Cuban food is ubiquitous throughout the southern part of the state and Orlando offers some good options, too. Columbia Restaurant has outposts in Tampa Bay and St. Augustine. Its Celebration location, mere minutes from International Drive, turns out classic Cuban cuisine in a stately setting with first-class service. Havana’s Café is another local favorite, and Zaza New Cuban Diner has a full menu that includes breakfast and several varieties of coffee.
Puerto Rican & Hispanic Cuisine in Orlando
Though not a state, Puerto Rico is part of the United States. Yet it still has its own rich culture and luscious cuisine. Achiote Puerto Rican Restaurant serves daily lunch and dinner specials and a full menu of soups, stews, meats and seafood. Guavate Puerto Rican Eatery and Bistro, named for a district in south-central Puerto Rico, is a home-style eatery whose mission “is to showcase, promote and celebrate Puerto Rican culture through, food, music and art.”
Mexican food is everywhere, though not all of it is authentic. Chains may be cheap, fast and well-advertised, but the food is never as fresh, healthy and genuine as meals served in local establishments. Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant presents a wide variety of popular and other, less well-known dishes. They’re also creative and devised several innovative dishes of their own. El Potro Mexican Restaurant isn’t fancy, but value is high and helpings are plentiful, with a buffet that’s very popular with the locals.
South American Cuisine in Orlando
Though Peruvians serve an unending variety of potatoes, they’re also well known for ceviche, a dish of raw fish, seafood and vegetables “cooked” in lime juice and flavored with onions, peppers, cilantro and other spices. It’s a healthy, refreshing and delicious appetizer, main dish or pick-me-up after a night of partying. Pio Pio features another Peruvian specialty, rotisserie-grilled chicken, and also serve several varieties of ceviche, too. El Inka Grill offers traditional and grilled ceviche, chicken and other Peruvian favorites, including lomo saltado, a tasty beef dish.
La Fuente Bakery, a Colombian and Venezuelan eatery, has a full lunch and dinner menu for in-house dining, as well as a bakery, with tempting pasties, arepas, empanadas, tostones and more. Super Rico Colombian Bistro offers casual dining and an extensive menu of Colombian favorites, including “street food.” Award-winning Bandeja Paisa “brings a modern aesthetic to traditional Spanish food.”
Brazilian dining means churrasco (or rodizio), interminable servings of roasted meats, sausages and more. Café Mineiro will not disappoint the carnivores in your crew. There are other Brazilian steakhouses in the area, but for something different, there’s Mrs. Potato, an casual potato-centric Brazilian eatery with a unique and interesting menu. The featured rosti potatoes are topped and stuffed with a variety of ingredients and there are also other choices, including burgers, chicken, empanadas, fish and more.
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