Special Issues » Bite

3 of our favorite cuisines and where to find them in Orlando based on your budget

Palate, meet price point



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Splurge: Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes
Chef Norman Van Aken's flagship restaurant is a veritable temple of equatorial eats, using ingredients from all over the Caribbean, Central and South America to bolster the case that rice and beans are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Latin – or, as Van Aken calls it, New World – cuisine. Starters like Key West shrimp ceviche with tequila and avocado and Brazilian-style cracked conch chowder with a coconut "cloud" elevate traditional cooking methods and native dishes. Try as much as possible with the six-course tasting menu (a virtual steal at just $159 per person with top wine pairings by sommelier and general manager Yusuf Yildiz), then take your dessert and coffee on the patio and watch the sun sink below the golf course. We suggest choosing cheese from the rotating selection on the tableside cart or the Carmelito Crema parfait with foie gras ice cream, Malteada foam and duck confit "snow." 4012 Central Florida Parkway, 407-393-4333, normans.com

Spend: Pio Pio
Two words: bandeja paisa. Known for its succulent and well-seasoned rotisserie chicken, Pio Pio's locations are known for piling on enough food for dinner and lunch the next day for a comfortable price – especially if you're getting two meals out of it. The chain combines Colombian and Peruvian comfort food, and you'll find both tostones and arepas as well as ceviche and jalea (fried mixed seafood), which serves four people for just over 20 bucks. Crispy deep-fried pork skin called chicharron sits atop a perfect white-corn arepa for a starter that sets the tone for a hearty meal. Pair dishes with South American sodas like Postobon or Inca Kola, or opt for Peru's purple-corn drink, chicha morada. Multiple locations in Central Florida

Save: La Empanada Truck
It's best to check out where La Empanada is going to be on their Facebook page or on their website and show up early – they're most often found at Orlando City Soccer games and Food Truck Bazaars. Chances are, by mid-event, your favorite sweet or savory turnover is gonna be gone (especially the crowd-favorite Nutella and banana empanada). Most of the empanadas are about $3.50 each, and the menu features classics like picadillo and chorizo with potato alongside neo-Latin concoctions like BBQ chicken with gouda cheese and sun-dried tomato with poppy seeds. You'll also find that elusive Mexican Coke on their beverage menu, so crisp and so cold it cuts right through the empanadas' rich fillings and fried crusts. laempanadatruck.com


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