Adam and I are newly-minted Disney Passholder and Tables in Wonderland cardholders, but just because our food options have increased exponentially — Epcot Food and Wine Festival anyone? That doesn’t mean we’ll show our favorite, more affordable local eateries any less love.
A short ten-minute drive away from Disney property is Sandlake Road Exit 74A on I-4. This exit is like a corridor of tasty food! Lime Mexican Grill just opened in the Whole Foods Plaza on Sandlake Road too, so be sure to stop by for some amazing quesadillas that won’t break the bank. Lime also uses certified humanely raised meat, and has a myriad of delicious veggie options.
Just down the street from Lime is Cedar’s Restaurant, which offers delicious mediterranean dishes and amazing Lebanese coffee. The entrees are a little pricier than most, but enjoy the appetizers tapas-style with friends for a little flavor vacation from the norm. Or, if you’re wanting amazing authentic Indian where the nan is to-die-for, check out Memories of India on Turkey Lake Road just off of Sand Lake Road across from the Whole Foods plaza.
If you’re willing to venture out a little farther, location and palette-wise, head over to the corner of Conroy Road and Turkey Lake Road for authentic Thai and Chinese; G & G Thai and Magic Wok, respectively. The crispy honey duck at G & G is everything the name suggests! The pork and bamboo shoot soup at Magic Wok is also amazing, and you will see the cheesecloth marks on the noodles because this place makes their own noodles.
For a fabulous hidden-away sushi place on Universal Boulevard, try Aki Restaurant. It’s a tiny restaurant in a plaza opposite International Drive where locals can have their sushi, play karaoke, and buy manga and movies. Don’t let any of that phase you. The sushi is authentic, fresh, and half the price of a place like Amura in Doctor Phillips.
Another favorite is The Nile Ethiopian Restaurant on International Drive and Carrier Drive. There are both meat and vegetarian options available here, and most dishes can be spiced depending on your heat preference. Be prepared to share and eat with your hands using their yummy spongey bread for maximum fun. Plus, try the honey wine! They also offer an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Don’t let the location fool you. The Nile is a fabulous hidden gem.
As local foodies, these are a few of the places my other half and I frequent. Which are a few of your local Orlando favorites?