Orlando has a reputation for being an unsophisticated tourist hub, but those of us who live here know there is so much more to this town than most people know. Central Florida has become a multi-ethnic place where you can find any type of food you might like to try as long as you know where to look. With thriving immigrant communities in Orlando and all around the Central Florida area, authentic food from many countries is easy to find all around the region. Here are some of the top destinations for authentic ethnic food in Central Florida.
The Vietnamese District
Orlando is home to a large Vietnamese community that dates back to the 1970s when refugees came to the area and established themselves. Along Colonial Drive, there is a 10 block stretch known as the Vietnamese neighborhood, though Thai, Chinese and Korean restaurants also call the area home. Stroll through the streets here and you’ll find some of the best banh mi and boba tea you’ve ever had. The Vietnamese district unofficially starts where Mills meets Colonial, but you’ll see the signs with Asian characters long before you pull up.
Italian Food Everywhere
For Italian food, there’s no particular area you have to head to, because good Italian food is everywhere in the city. From celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse to local legends, there are many cooks serving up classic Italian fare in a variety of settings from formal to down home style. Locals swear by the simple goodness of Il Pescatore on Primrose Drive and the Meatball Stoppe on Lake Underhill Road. But there are quite a few good spots for Italian along International Drive and at the Universal Studio properties.
Jamaican Food in Pine Hills
The thriving Jamaican and West Indian community in Pine Hills offers plenty of authentic choices at any time of day. The Caribbean Sunshine bakery on Colonial serves up authentic Jamaican ackee for breakfast, the national dish of the island nation. The ackee fruit is cut up and cooked with salted fish, eggs, and tomatoes. Nearby, a host of Caribbean restaurants on Silver Star Road offers authentic curries and Red Stripe for lunch and dinner.
Ethiopian Food at Nile Restaurant
Orlando has a large community of African immigrants and many Ethiopian restaurants, but Nile Restaurant on International Drive is the one that comes up most often. With an authentic look and feel, the servers dressed in traditional African outfits and décor straight from Ethiopia will transport you. Try some traditional dishes, like Dora Wat, a chicken, and egg stew, to get a real taste of Africa.
As you continue to explore and get to know Orlando and the surrounding area, you’ll find there are always more new spots to discover and diverse ethnic foods to try. If you’re ready to start calling Orlando home, the Core group can help you find the right place to set down roots. Contact us today to see the properties we have available.