Between the Eagle Creek golf course, Medical City, the U.S. Tennis Association headquarters and Orlando City Soccer’s soon-to-appear new training facility, Lake Nona is shaping up to be quite the upscale, busy district. The Lake Nona Institute’s Life Project is a long-term study tracking the wellness effects of making exercise and healthy foods readily available to residents, which accounts for the fact that they are a Juice Bike Share hub and already have a well-established farmers market, as well as a “resort-style” fitness and aquatic center. For now, though, if you don’t live there, it’s a haven for restaurants worth spending the gas money to visit.
Nona Tap Room
9145 Narcoossee Road, 407-440-4594, nonataproom.com
If your brewpub of choice is out of your favorite suds, the list of more than 100 beers at Nona Tap Room should have something to spark your interest. Bites go with brews, of course, and the pressed meatball panini has such a loyal following that when management took it off the menu, customers clamored for its return.
Canvas Restaurant & Market
13615 Sachs Ave., 407-313-7800, canvaslakenona.com
Scones, cupcakes and bar cookies adorn the bakery case at Canvas, tucked away in the Laureate Park neighborhood. Through the glass doors, though, you won't find a prettier view from the dining room, so get there early, or brunch on flaky biscuits and eggs Benny.
Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen
6967 Lake Nona Blvd., 407-955-4340, chromalakenona.com.
Canvas' new small-plates sister spot, Chroma, is sexier, sleeker and a tad smaller but the food is just as solid. Don't miss the roasted bone marrow and seared foie gras.
Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa
9680 N. Narcoossee Road, pigfloyds.com
March 2017 saw the opening of the second location of Mills 50's favorite Latin-BBQ fusion joint. Owner Thomas Ward has commandeered the former Unionburger space to give his urban "barbakoa" a new neighborhood to enchant. With butter chicken tacos this addictive, it's a good thing hospitals are close.
9685 Lake Nona Village Place, 407-313-0027, nonablue.com
The first upscale dining spot in the area has held onto its crowd, and has improved year after year. It's a favorite for Eagle Creek golfers after they've finished a round, and the menu is full of crowd-pleasers like meatloaf sliders and eight different burger combos.
Lake Nona Town Center
Don't call it a parking garage. Designed by artist Jefre Manuel, this 264-foot-long wall of binary code is swathed in colorful light projections and anchored by the Beacon, an interactive six-story installation that comes alive at night.