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Faiyaz Kara's 55 best restaurants in Orlando

Explore the Orlando Weekly restaurant critic’s essential places to eat in 2018



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Lombardi's Seafood - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Lombardi's Seafood

31. Lombardi's Seafood

While Lombardi's Seafood has been around for 57 years, they're a relative newcomer to the city's restaurant scene. Their café, in fact, opened just three years ago serving fresh, sustainable, simply prepared seafood, much of it snagged from the market under the same roof. It's the place to go for a proper Florida grouper sandwich sans gators and airboats. (

32. California Grill

An array of Cali-inspired dishes as sweeping as the panoramic views greets guests at the Disney restaurant that kick-started the city's culinary transformation back in 1995. Spago this is not, and you'll pay through the nose ($37 for chicken breast?), but you can't knock the execution and (did I mention?) the view. (

33. Smiling Bison

A better beef on weck you won't enjoy this side of Western New York, and enjoy it you will inside a 1910 building with throwback fixtures – you won't tire of gazing up at the tiered crystal chandeliers and original tiled ceiling. We'll have to see how the recent news of chef Josh Oakley selling his stake and leaving the restaurant will affect the quality of the dishes – Oakley and his team were as adept at making a bison (what else?) burger on Texas toast as they were a ducky duck-lovers pizza and bloody fine house-made sausages. (

  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • WA Sushi

34. Wa Sushi

Chef-owners Hong Wong (a Hong Kong-trained sushi chef) and Jeff Hunter have been at it here in Casselberry for more than three years now, and they're in fine form. Weekly deliveries from Tsukiji Fish Market have become de rigueur among the better sushi joints in town, but the manner in which Wong and Hunter slice, dice, fold, curl and plate that fine catch rouses me into a feeding frenzy. (

35. Maraya Restaurant

With Violette Haddad in the kitchen of this Florida Mall resto, Maraya is simply the best Middle Eastern restaurant in town. Her veggie sampler holds the city's best falafel and labneh, bar none, and grape leaves, tabbouleh, hummus, kibbeh and tahini also grace the plate. Heavenly. (

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