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6 Can't-Miss Dining Experiences in Orlando

Sponsored by Encore Resort


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Over the last decade, Orlando has come into its own as one of the country’s great food cities. For food lovers, Encore Resort at Reunion is perfectly situated for exploring the dining scene around town or right on the property. With roots in the restaurant industry, brothers and managing partners of NDM Hospitality Nick, Dan, and Matt Falcone have made food an integral part of the Encore experience, from signature eateries to private chef dinners and cooking classes. Here are some of the most exceptional food experiences in Orlando right now.

Neapolitan-Style Pies at Pizza Bruno
3990 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806, USA
It takes up to 48 hours to prepare Pizza Bruno’s naturally leavened dough—and just 90 seconds in a 1,000-degree wood-fired oven to be cooked to peak deliciousness. Since opening in July 2016, this neighborhood pizza joint, which opened a small satellite location in downtown Orlando this November, has gained a loyal following—and critical praise—for its 12-inch pies topped with simple ingredients—try the Crimson Ghost featuring Calabrian chilies, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, basil, and hot honey—as well as serious starters like meatballs with lemon ricotta and wine-braised, wood-fired octopus.

Photo Credit: Pizza Bruno

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Chef’s Dinner from The Encore Chef Experience
7635 Fairfax Drive, Reunion, FL 34747, USA
Staying in can be the biggest luxury of all, especially when you have a professional chef cooking for you and your family in the comfort of your own rental vacation home. Encore elevates the private dining experience with expertly crafted meals created and prepared just for you, whether you want an extravagant three-course menu or a more casual option. You can let the chef curate the menu or choose your own courses, such as beet vinaigrette spinach salad, braised short ribs, yucca puree, and Key lime pie. For another family-friendly treat, try private cooking lesson in your vacation home to learn new kitchen tricks—and make a meal together.

Photo Credit: Encore Resort at Reunion

Shared Parillada Mixta at Reyes Mezcaleria
821 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
Perfect for sharing, the parillada mixta for two comes with all the fixings to build your own tacos, including USDA prime flank steak, shrimp, grilled chicken, chorizo, and grilled mushrooms, along with all the fixings, ready to be loaded into blue corn tortillas that are made in house every day. With a lounge area that feels like a chic abuela’s living room, there are four round booths that fit up to six and a large family-style table for up to 10, which add to the welcoming vibe of this creatively decorated Mexican restaurant in the North Quarter.

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Buttermilk Biscuits at Se7en Bites
617 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, USA
In the heart of Orlando’s Milk District, an eclectic neighborhood known for its colorful murals and cool restaurants, Se7en Bites serves up modern Southern comfort food—with a hefty dose of nostalgia. Pastry chef and owner Trina Gregory-Propst learned how to bake from her grandma and spent more than two decades in the beauty industry before opening this country-inspired eatery with her wife. Showcasing local ingredients as much as possible for the all-day breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch menus, the savory buttermilk biscuits are loaded with eggs and bacon.

Photo Credit: Sue Chin

Fried Chicken at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
1602 E Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830, USA
Born in Jasper, Florida, celebrity chef Art Smith has returned to his roots after serving as a personal chef to talk-show icons and appearing on cooking shows. His namesake restaurant pays loving tribute to the Sunshine State’s agricultural heritage and ingredients in dishes like his signature fried chicken—brined in buttermilk for 24 hours—shrimp and grits, and the perfect post-theme-park, parent-approved dessert: boozy Shine Cake made with moonshine. There’s also plenty for kids to love here, like fried chicken paired with house-made sugar doughnuts and mashed potatoes.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Co.

Half-Pound Cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse
3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, USA
A heavyweight champion in the world of cookies, Gideon’s Bakehouse churns out some 80 tons of baked goods from its 286-square-foot bakery in the East End Market. The award-winning $5 cookies, which sell out daily and have a limit of six cookies per person, can draw lines with more than 30-minute wait times—but that’s still considerably less than the 18 hours it takes to prepare these chewy delights. The flavors range from classic chocolate chip to limited-edition and seasonal options like November’s white chocolate macadamia nut with homemade salted caramel.

Photo Credit: Gideon

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