Hungry? Well, there’s no shortage of appetizing dining options in Orlando. In fact, each neighborhood contains a number of different cuisines and eateries, ranging from fast casual to fine dining. Not sure how to navigate your culinary exploration? Food tours are a great way to savor deliciously diverse offerings in a well-structured, short amount of time. Whether you’re eager to dig into downtown Orlando’s most distinctive dishes, sample your way through specific district food scenes or even embark upon your own DIY agenda at Disney Springs, Orlando has endless possibilities to fulfill your cravings.
Sanford Food Tours
Just a 30-minute drive north of downtown Orlando, Sanford’s culinary scene has amplified in recent years thanks, in part, to popular restaurants like The Smiling Bison relocating to the area; in addition to the establishment of new craft cocktail bars, breweries and eateries. Sanford Food Tours offers ravening guests several different excursions that present a sense of the varied cuisines and history that Sanford has to offer. All tours last four hours and typically include a beer or wine tasting, as well as a one-mile scenic walk. Tours include:
- Around The World Tour: In order to really get a taste of how many countries and cuisines are represented in Sanford, tour guides treat participants four stops: Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe for authentic German food, Luisa’s Cellar for Spanish wine and tapas, Buster’s Bistro for a Belgian beer and food pairing and, lastly, The Sullivan for traditional Irish fare and a Guinness. Cost: $65 per person.
- Celery City Tour: For those with a larger appetite, the Celery City Tour visits five popular restaurants around Sanford, also known as Celery City. [Fun fact: Following the Great Freeze of 1894-1895 which crumbled the citrus industry, farmers planted celery in the area.]. This five-course experience includes German grub at Hollerbach’s, tea and a waffle at Boba Babes, a beer and biscuit pairing at Tennessee Truffle, soul food samples at Shantell’s and Spanish wine and tapas at Luisa’s Cellar. Cost: $65 per person.
Winter Garden Food Tours
Husband and wife team John and Jamie Baylor launched Winter Garden Food Tours after enjoying an unforgettable date night at Chef’s Table at the Edgewater. They simple fall in love with the charming historic town and its unique flavors. A total of 25 restaurants, bakeries and cafes are featured on their fun food tours, which change seasonally. Tours include:
- Wine, Dine & Walk: Relish a custom tasting paired with wine at three stops, all while drinking up the quaint strip. Cost: $65 per person.
- Seasonal Tours: With the fall and winter seasons approaching, Winter Garden Food Tours is cooking up holiday-themed adventures. Get limited-time tastes with the Halloween Spirits and Desserts Tour, Everything Pumpkin Spice Dessert Tour and, Santa’s favorite, the Christmas Dessert Tour, including a festive golf cart ride to marvel the area’s most beautifully decorated homes and streets.
Mosquito County Tours
A nod to Florida history, the name is derived from one of the original counties in the Sunshine State, then comprised of what is now Indian River, Martin, Polk, Palm Beach, Brevard, St. Lucie, Lake, Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties. Feeding the allure of suspense, Mosquito County Tours’ keeps destinations a secret! When booking, you’re told the general area (Ivanhoe Village, for example) and the number of scheduled stops, but coordinators will leave you hungry for more. The purpose is two-fold: to pleasantly surprise participants and to allow them to keep an open mind (and belly) about the experience. All tours are three hours in length and blend multiple food/beverage stops with rich historical factoids. Tours include:
- Delicious Downtown Food Tour: Munch and march your way through downtown Orlando to consume some of the yummiest local cuisine. Cost: $80 per person.
- Lunchy Brunchy Food Tour: Nibble your way around Audubon Park’s best restaurants, while digging into the history on this popular district. Cost: $70 per person.
- Little Vietnam Food & Art Walking Tour: Dive head first into this culinary community and experience the art, culture and food of Mills 50. Expect all things to bold, colorful masterpieces… from your plate to the painted murals. Cost: $70 per person.
For one of the most entertaining and engaging ways to sample food, hop on a 15-person bike operated by LimoCycle Tours. Your excursion will run about two hours and include numerous pit-stops at restaurants, breweries and bars. And, hey, since you’re pedaling between stops, there’s no need to stress over the day’s calorie consumption! As an added bonus, riders are welcome to bring their own alcohol aboard. Cost: $30 and up.
Also try: Similarly a mix of food, fun and fitness, try the Taco Tour by BikeCubed.
You don’t need professional culinary skills to cook up a tasty tour itinerary. Here are some DIY ideas:
Taco Tour of Mills 50 District
While there are countless taco options in Orlando, the Mills 50 area (primarily Colonial Drive between Mills Avenue and Virginia Drive) has a number of eateries adding their own twist to the local taco scene. Presenting a California vibe using house-made corn tortillas and fresh ingredients, Black Rooster Tacqueria keeps tacos simple yet creative and, most importantly, scrumptious. Cross the street to find Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa, mixing Latin flavors with barbecue to accomplish an unexpected palate-pleaser. The only problem? Making a decision! You’ll find a number of delightful dishes on their menu, from the more traditional Pork Al Pastor to the inventive Korean Kimcheeze. Finally, conclude your taco voyage at Tako Cheena, just a little ways down the road. The location may seem a tad small, but this fusion-style eatery has earned a loyal following because of big, bold bites as showcased with the Thai Peanut Chicken, Korean Beef and Panko Crusted Cod tacos.
Following your fill of tacos, spice things up even more with a stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando Downtown. Overlooking Lake Ivanhoe, this property has a heated rooftop pool and lounge deck, a Starbucks café, a breakfast buffet and shuttle service to the Amway Center and Orlando City Soccer Stadium.
Park Avenue Adventure
With its historic elements and bevy of dining options, Park Avenue in Winter Park is a prime DIY food tour location. Start with a happy hour at Boca and work your way down the brick-lined avenue, stopping at Garp & Fuss, Prato and Luma on Park. Conversely, if sweets are more your jam, a dessert crawl on Park Avenue will satisfy your sweet teeth thanks to several sugary shops. Pop into Gelato-go, Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park, Le Macaron and, for the cherry on top, Kilwins.
Dessert Tour of Audubon Park Garden District
Unofficially dubbed the Dessert District, there is no better place to indulge than Audubon Park. For award-winning half-pound chocolate chip cookies, head to Gideon’s Bakehouse within East End Market. Be warned, they sell out fast, but their decadent slices of cake are nothing to scoff at if you whiff on getting one of their famous cookies. Across the street is Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, scooping out exclusive frozen treats, including alcohol-infused flavors. Also, P is for Pie Bakeshop, just one block over, has both sweet and savory selections but their hand pies are your best bet.
Dine Diving at Disney Springs
From food trucks to fine dining and everything in-between, Disney Springs could be considered an epicurean epicenter! Already stacked with gastromic gems, even more culinary options have newly opened in the past year to expand the list of DIY food tour possibilities. Seasonal options, such as the Flavors of Florida, grant extra specials to your typical selections. Some of our DIY expeditions have included a brunch crawl, happy hour crawl and, as previously noted, Flavors of Florida tour.