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Orlando’s Food and Dining Scene Year in Review – Best Of 2015

2015 proved to be another great year for the continuing growth of the Orlando restaurant and dining scene, especially with new openings focusing more and more on locally sourced and produced food.


Here are some of our favorite Orlando restaurants and dining moments from 2015:

1. The Osprey Tavern

A breath of fresh air to Baldwin Park, this project by Jason and Sue Chin, owners of the very successful Seito Sushi Baldwin Park across the street brings together a dream team featuring Executive Chef Joseph Burnett (formerly of Norman’s and The Ravenous Pig), Executive Sous Chef Elek Kovacs, and Kristy Carlucci, Pastry Chef. Restaurant of the Year for 2015.

Photo by Isha Shah
Photo by Isha Shah

2. Tabla Indian Thai Chinese

Recently undergoing a beautiful multimillion dollar renovation, the traditionally Indian restaurant has brought on Chef Ian Piamonte who spearheads their new Thai and Chinese offerings. My favorite dishes here are the gobi manchurian – little sweet and sour red cauliflower fritters and the lamb biryani rice dish.


Pork Tonkotsu ramen @seitobp #perfection #ramen via @krystlenguyen

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

3. Pork Tonkatsu Ramen at Seito Sushi Baldwin Park

Chef Austin Boyd has really upped his game with the pork tonkotsu ramen – silky, slurpy umami goodness. Quite possibly the best ramen bowl in Orlando.

4. The North Quarter Tavern

Chef Matthew Wall brings the realness to this new north Orlando hot spot – great prices, great food – and especially great fried chicken.

5. King Cajun Crawfish in Mills 50 District

They recently moved into bigger digs next door where Bananas Modern Diner was on Mills, but they still serve up great renditions of Louisiana cajun cuisine. Check out their story in the fabulous WMFE 90.7 FM series on What is Orlando’s Little Vietnam?



Garlicky buttery rock shrimp from #pharmacyorlando w @kirbiecravings @chowzter @chowzter7 #fbforl after conference eats

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

6. The Pharmacy on Sand Lake Road

continues to impress – their garlic rock shrimp is one of the best things to eat in Orlando and their menu is always changing. They expanded to where the Table was earlier this year for a little more dining space.


7. Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly

At the JW Marriott Orlando, along with Chef de Cuisine Mariano Vegel continued a long standing tradition of excellence in farm to table cuisine. One of the highlights of my dining experiences for the year was the simple, yet so delicious Farmer’s Salad topped with a farm egg and house cured bacon.


8. Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank

Each Chef’s Night brings local top chefs into Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to celebrate delicious food and raise money for a good cause. All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.


Love the @kappoeastend chirashi bowl so muchhh #sushi #nofilter #foodie #orlando @eastendmkt

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

9. Kappo at East End Market

Sadly Kappo closed this year at East End Market, with a small market to take its place. Do not be forlorn too long – the chef/owners are currently seeking a new space to continue Kappo’s legacy. We wish the owners Mark, Lo, and Jen a happy new year as they look to the future. Also, we wish Lo and his fiance Julie a very happy wedding and honeymoon this 2016!

10. Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

founded by The Treehouse Truck’s Thomas Ward, their baby back ribs are revelatory, but don’t sleep on their shrimp and chorizo tacos either – fantastic flavors.


11. Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria in Winter Springs

The Napoletana style pizza is thin & soft with a slight crisp to the crust; with a nice smokey char to the pizza crust from the wood burning ovens and topped with ingredients imported from Italy or locally grown and organic. Dan Bavaro, the founder was taught by 3rd generation, Neapolitan families and bases their entire menu around a stunning Italian imported wood-fired brick oven.


12. Peking roast duck at Morimoto’s Asia at Disney Springs –

Featuring a crispy Peking duck, a carved house-roasted whole duck sliced thin with crackling skin and tender meat, served with steamed flour pancakes, and a side of apricot sweet chili and hoisin miso sauces. It is the Japanese master chef’s first pan-Asian dining experience and showcases flavors from across the Asian continent with an emphasis on China, Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Chef Morimoto and team hanging out with Mickey Mouse at the grand opening of Morimoto’s Asia.

13. Doner Kebab bowl with bulgar wheat and tomatoes at Shishco Mezze and Grill in Maitland

Fresh grilled lamb and beef doner gyro meat slices on top of fresh bulgar wheat or rice and pickled red onions and tomatoes…just divine.

Definitely looking forward to what 2016 will bring to us here in Orlando! What are you looking forward to this year?

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