PDA

View Full Version : Ethnic restaurants


thelawnet
12-04-2011, 03:58 PM
Hi, we like to ethnic food, by that I don't mean PF Chang and Taco Bell, but authentic ethnic food.

Any recommendations in the Orlando area?

We are coming from the UK, so for instance there are probably fewer than five good Mexican restaurants in the entire country, so we will have a different perspective than US residents, by the same basis we are unlikely to be impressed with Indian restaurants as we have about 10 Indian restaurants in every town.

Belle5
12-04-2011, 04:22 PM
We almost always dine onsite while visiting WDW. Are you looking for off-site choices?

Inside WDW (but not necessarily in the theme parks) I think you might enjoy the Mexican food at San Angel or La Hacienda in EPCOT. Via Napoli will offer authentic Italian pizza. I won't suggest Sanaa since you might not find it's Indian food to be authentic enough for you, but Boma at the AKL is an African inspired buffet that offers some unusual and interesting foods. More formal than that would be just across the hall at an African inspired TS restaurant called Jiko. Restaurant Marrakesh in EPCOT's Morocco offers some interesting foods along with music and belly dancing (though as often as we've dined there we've never been overly impressed by the food).

thelawnet
12-04-2011, 04:43 PM
Hi, thanks for the suggestions. I guess both, although we have much more info on the on-site places as they are basically documented in detail on so many websites, so the off-site tips will be good (not to mention that we are not exclusively visiting Disney).

I am a bit suspicious of 'themed' restaurants, the menu at the African places looks like not really ethnic enough for me (they put sugar in the fufu....). We spent last Christmas in the Gambia, and we ate curry cow foot, tapioca leaves and things like that. I would rather go to a 'straight' Ethiopian restaurant than an Americanized pan-African tbh.

Italian food is pretty ubiquitous for us also.

When we visited Las Vegas we ate at a Cuban place, that was pretty good, we don't get Cubans in the UK.

Sweet Melissa
12-04-2011, 04:59 PM
I don't think that Disney really offers what you're looking for. Offsite dining will offer more authentic ethnic food, especially for Mexican, Cuban and other Latin American cuisines. You may try asking the same question on the Orlando Hotels and Attractions (http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15) board.

coltsfanatic
12-04-2011, 05:38 PM
I do have to agree with the other posters. Unfortunately, restaurants aren't very authentic, in Disney and in many of the U.S.' cities. :sad2: Offsite restaurants are unfortunately similar.

Some that may fit your criteria offsite, although I personally wouldn't make a special visit, are:

Agave Azul Mexican Restaurant and Bar
Bauern-Stube Authentic German Restaurant
Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant
Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant popcorn::

no capes darling
12-04-2011, 06:06 PM
Good luck with your quest. I think Disney has dumbed down the menus to cater to the picky eaters of the world. If you have children don't waste your time looking at the kids menu offerings. /rant

cbg1027
12-04-2011, 09:45 PM
If you want authentic ethnic food, you will need to look offsite for that. There is another section on the boards for off site restaurants/attractions you should try posting on.

Disney doesn't really offer authentic ethnic foods. Things are 'dumbed down' quite a bit. That's not to say they aren't good, there ARE many tasty offerings available...they're just not authentic and need to be judged on their own merits and not by comparing them to the real thing.

The one exception I have found is the pizza at Via Napoli. It's about 80% identical to the pizza I ate in Naples Italy, and very very good!

thelawnet
12-06-2011, 04:56 AM
If you want authentic ethnic food, you will need to look offsite for that. There is another section on the boards for off site restaurants/attractions you should try posting on.

Disney doesn't really offer authentic ethnic foods. Things are 'dumbed down' quite a bit. That's not to say they aren't good, there ARE many tasty offerings available...they're just not authentic and need to be judged on their own merits and not by comparing them to the real thing.

The one exception I have found is the pizza at Via Napoli. It's about 80% identical to the pizza I ate in Naples Italy, and very very good!

Well I don't think Italian food is ethnic any more than the French food on offer at Victoria & Alberts is....

Didn't realise there was a board for offsite restaurants.....

chartle
12-06-2011, 08:15 AM
One other issue that may or may not apply. Most "Mexican" restaurants in the US are Tex Mex.

I mostly make this warning to people who ask about the two places in Epcot. They are closer to "Mexican" and could be disappointed when they don't see Chimichangas on the menu.

Though in your case I guess Tex Mex is ethnic. :thumbsup2

yenlee
12-07-2011, 01:14 PM
I think your best bet is probably the Mexican food in Epcot. That's probably better than most of the Mexican food in the UK. I've read that the counter-service tacos are at least authentic in style.

But I think that authenticity shouldn't be confused with quality. Note that chicken tikka masala, california rolls, and chimichangas are all hybridized versions of traditional cuisine, but that doesn't mean that they aren't delicious. The problem with PF Chang's is not so much that it's inauthentic; the problem is that it appeals too much to a mass market audience.

But unfortunately the same is true for Disney restaurants (although I think they are pretty good at mass market food). That's why I think that some of the best food is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Boma, Jiko, Sanaa); they can afford to occupy a sort of niche in the world of Disney dining. For example, I wouldn't write off Sanaa so quickly. A lot of people complain that it's not real Indian food (which is a silly complaint since Sanaa does not claim to be an Indian restaurant, only Indian-influenced), but I think that's beside the point. I LOVE Indian food, and I think Sanaa is great, partly *because* it's very different from what I can find at home. Boma is a similar story. I doubt any restaurant in Africa is anything like Boma, but that has nothing to do with how good the food is.

I wouldn't put much effort into looking for food outside the park. Off-property restaurants are going for that same mass market tourist appeal (only less successfully imho). The only advantage is that they're cheaper. Even if you go far from the theme parks, Orlando is not exactly a cosmopolitan city. My one recommendation for a quick off-property meal would be Pollo Tropical (assuming there is one in a convenient spot). It's a Cuban fast food chain. There is a sit-down Cuban restaurant at Downtown Disney, but the reviews seem to be pretty poor.

Another question is whether you're looking for something "ethnic" or just "different." Because there are some types of "American" food that might be very different from anything you can get in the UK. I'm thinking of places like Emeril or House of Blues.

thelawnet
12-11-2011, 07:36 PM
Thanks for the tips. I prefer Mexican to Tex Mex. We went to Busch Gardens on Friday, the food there was ok (BBQ). Universal Studios was yesterday, my wife was complaining already about excess fast food, we couldn't find any fast options that weren't fried and processed. Food was not so great. Had a day off today and went to the Premium Outlets on Vineland. Ended up eating bad Chinese food.

Followed up with a trip to Whole Foods, like $250 for not very much. Most of the foods we eat seem a lot pricier than in England ($3 for a small basil plant (about £0.79 in England), $9/lb for the cheapest Cheddar that didn't have artificial colours or no flavour (about $5/lb in England). Publix didn't seem much cheaper either.

I didn't see much sign of fresh food anywhere outside the supermarket, just chain restaurants everywhere.

LindaBabe
12-11-2011, 08:33 PM
Off site - ThaiThai. I also like Emeril's TchoupTchoup at Universal's Royal Pacific resort but I suppose it's not "authentic" just delicious.

Teddys~Mom
12-11-2011, 08:45 PM
We really like the Tangierine Cafe in Morroco for a quick service that has some nice options. The humus is good, I like the olive salad, son loves the cous cous, brother and parents like the schwarma. It's enjoyable for an on the fly meal that isn't cheeseburgers or chicken fingers. :)

bangzoom6877
12-11-2011, 09:12 PM
We are from NYC, where we have some pretty good ethnic food (not so much Mexican though...more "chain restaurant" type 'Mexican'). DH and I love a nice variety of food with good and unique flavors. We also enjoy a good burger, but once in a while...not all the time.

We really loved San Angel Inn (Mexico at Epcot) on our last WDW trip. We ate there for lunch and we found the food, atmosphere and service all to be excellent. We will be returning on our July trip once again for lunch.

We also loved Kouzzina by Cat Cora (Boardwalk, short boat ride from Epcot). The food is Mediterranean (a lot of Greek influence), and we thought it was delicious.

Sanna at AKV was another gem. It is not authentic Indian food, so it wouldn't be what you are used to in the UK, but the flavors are unique and delicious, the restaurant is beautiful and relaxing, and it is wonderful to watch the animals out on the savannah while you eat.

Biergarten (Germany at Epcot) is our favorite WDW restaurant. It is a buffet, with live entertainment and a dance floor (not too many people on the dance floor, but the kids enjoyed it). My grandfather was German, and he was extremely picky with German food. When I brought my mom to Biergarten in 2010, she said that he would have approved of and loved that place. I knew that already though because there was only one German restaurant in NY he would go to, and he always got sauerbraten (his mother used to make this and he was very picky about it). The sauerbraten at Biergarten was just like the German restaurant I went to with him as a kid! They do have more "American" offerings as well (like mac & cheese for the kids), but these could easily be avoided and you can have a terrific meal with tons of variety. They also have a wonderful beer sampler.

We also really liked Chefs de France. I had quiche there for lunch last time we were at WDW and it was just as good as the quiche I remember having in Paris 15 years ago. The baguette bread was just as good as it was in the real France too.

I haven't eaten at the Italy, Japan or China pavilions (and don't intend to) because we can get excellent Italian food and Asian food here at home...we like to have food we can't get here when we are on vacation.

cbg1027
12-11-2011, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the tips. I prefer Mexican to Tex Mex. We went to Busch Gardens on Friday, the food there was ok (BBQ). Universal Studios was yesterday, my wife was complaining already about excess fast food, we couldn't find any fast options that weren't fried and processed. Food was not so great. Had a day off today and went to the Premium Outlets on Vineland. Ended up eating bad Chinese food.

Followed up with a trip to Whole Foods, like $250 for not very much. Most of the foods we eat seem a lot pricier than in England ($3 for a small basil plant (about £0.79 in England), $9/lb for the cheapest Cheddar that didn't have artificial colours or no flavour (about $5/lb in England). Publix didn't seem much cheaper either.

I didn't see much sign of fresh food anywhere outside the supermarket, just chain restaurants everywhere.

The prices are probably jacked up a bit since you're in a major tourist and metropolitan area.
And being in a major tourist area in Orlando means lots of chain restaurants. I know there are better, local places in Orlando if you want to venture to them. I'd try looking on Yelp or UrbanSpoon.

I hope your dining selections in Disney will prove more interesting and delicious than what you've eaten son far!

Kathy123
12-12-2011, 01:08 AM
We really like the Tangierine Cafe in Morroco for a quick service that has some nice options. The humus is good, I like the olive salad, son loves the cous cous, brother and parents like the schwarma. It's enjoyable for an on the fly meal that isn't cheeseburgers or chicken fingers. :)

Yeah this is really a very nice place and it has very good environment. I went to Morocco just once and I still remember each and every place of it. And the food of this cafe is so much good in taste.

TDC Nala
12-12-2011, 08:16 AM
As the OP is specificallyl requesting tips about offsite restaurants, moving to the Orlando Attractions board.

bankr63
12-12-2011, 11:45 AM
The best tip I can give is to check the restaurant review section of the Orlando Sentinel:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/restaurants/

We go to Orlando for a week most years and I always check to see what is new and exciting. The reviewers there have yet to steer me wrong.

My two favorites:

Cuban (also Spanish and other Caribbean influence) at Columbia in Celebration.

Tex-Mex at Cantina Laredo off Sand Lake Blvd. This is actually a small chain full service restaurant, but rates very highly has a high-brow vibe and most importantly, the food was delicious.

Violet Crayon
12-13-2011, 08:35 AM
It isn't a table service restaurant but Tropifongo has excellent examples of Puerto Rican cuisine. If you want a real taste of what many many Florida residents cook at home, it's the real deal. They even sell soda and ice cream that are unique to the culture. My favorite is the jibarito sandwich that uses pounded and fried plantains for the "bread." The mofongo is their specialty. And I think they might only sell them by the dozen but pasteles are a traditional holiday food, really good when smothered with ketchup on a bed of arroz con gandules. So, if you are out wandering and feel like an adventure...


Tropifongo (http://www.yelp.com/biz/tropifongo-kissimmee)
3160 Vineland Rd
Ste 2
Kissimmee, FL 34746
(407) 397-7666

bankr63
12-13-2011, 11:44 AM
It isn't a table service restaurant but Tropifongo has excellent examples of Puerto Rican cuisine. If you want a real taste of what many many Florida residents cook at home, it's the real deal. They even sell soda and ice cream that are unique to the culture. My favorite is the jibarito sandwich that uses pounded and fried plantains for the "bread." The mofongo is their specialty. And I think they might only sell them by the dozen but pasteles are a traditional holiday food, really good when smothered with ketchup on a bed of arroz con gandules. So, if you are out wandering and feel like an adventure...


Tropifongo (http://www.yelp.com/biz/tropifongo-kissimmee)
3160 Vineland Rd
Ste 2
Kissimmee, FL 34746
(407) 397-7666

Oooh, this sounds amazing.

And just down the road from our homebase Vistana.

Adding it to my list of must do's for next trip!

Thanks! :goodvibes

Orlando Vic
12-13-2011, 04:42 PM
Hi, we like to ethnic food, by that I don't mean PF Chang and Taco Bell, but authentic ethnic food.

Any recommendations in the Orlando area?

We are coming from the UK, so for instance there are probably fewer than five good Mexican restaurants in the entire country, so we will have a different perspective than US residents, by the same basis we are unlikely to be impressed with Indian restaurants as we have about 10 Indian restaurants in every town.

Try these excellent restaurants. I think any one will satisfy you.

Sea Thai http://www.seaorlando.com/
Bosphorous http://www.bosphorousrestaurant.com/
Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café http://www.willowtreecafe.com/
Padrino's Cuban Bistro http://www.padrinosbistro.com/home.htm

thelawnet
12-17-2011, 10:54 AM
Well we ate at Pollo Campero at DTD a couple of times. The black beans and the tomatillo salsa were pretty good, and the chicken not bad.

BonnieA
12-17-2011, 06:39 PM
We always eat offsite and have eaten at some wonderful ethnic restaurants. I have tried some of the restaurants that are listed on restaurant.com and have no complaints. We've eaten Thai, Moroccan, Chinese (not buffet) and Cuban. You have to go off property to get the real thing.

thelawnet
12-18-2011, 09:40 AM
We went to http://www.nile07.com/ last night. The food was pretty good but the service very bad.

cmhguy
12-26-2011, 02:32 PM
There are numerous ethnic places throughout the Orlando area, but you may need to drive a ways. To find them - yelp.com search the Orlando area. I search out ethnic places everywhere I travel, and this site with their reviews has been extremely helpful!!! You can search by ethnic type and/or part of town.

....one tip you may want to search out - BBQ - could be considered ethnic for you... there's a few decent places north of town....