Top 10 Restaurants of 2009: Orlando

Adventurous diners embarked on a culinary journey where cuisines abounded at restaurants this year. Barbeque, international fare and seafood ruled Orlando's cookery charts. Some restaurants are new (like Kouzzina by Cat Cora, left) and others are classic spots. Newbies also have a chance to take a break from their restaurant routine and step outside of their comfort zone by enticing their palates with something new before 2009 is over with. Click through and see if you agree, but note that our Top 10 is randomly listed and not necessarily in our order of preference.

Updated: December 14, 2009

The Top 10

Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant

125 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801

Authentic South American cuisine is served at this popular Church Street restaurant. Tapas rule the menu, including ceviche (a mixture of seafood, vegetables and spices). The packed house dines while being entertained by Flamenco dancers and guitarists heating up the stage.

El Coqui Mexicano

2406 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32803

Homemade Mexican and Puerto Rican dishes keep customers coming back for more in the Milk district. This eatery may be small but it's mighty when it comes to its delightful menu. Customers seem to agree especially, since the restaurant is busy most nights of the week.

Emerils Restaurant Orlando

6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819

Bam! Chef Emeril Lagasse's culinary team prepares delectable meals in an intimate setting at Universal's CityWalk. Lagasse is known for cooking spicy meals but mild diners don't need to fret because the entrees are toned down at the Orlando location.

Funky Monkey Wine Co

912 N. Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

Experience some monkey business along with a mixture of Asian and fusion cuisine and sushi rolls as an appetizer or the main course paired with over 100 wine selections in an elegant but chic atmosphere in Orlando.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora

2101 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Celebrity chef Cat Cora has partnered with Mickey Mouse to bring her handed down Greek recipes to Disney's BoardWalk. The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant's name means kitchen in Greek and serves spanakopita (Greek spinach pie), oak-grilled steak and pork, lamb and seafood.

La Coquina

1 Grand Cypress Blvd, Orlando, FL 32836

This Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel restaurant presents an over-the-top brunch extravaganza featuring waffles, pancakes, fresh fruit, cheeses, pastas, salads, chicken and seafood dishes, decadent desserts and made-to-order entrees served with a breathtaking view of Lake Windsong.


4979 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

Scrumptious seafood done the Italian way is served in an upscale, contemporary ambiance mixed with a modern oceanic theme overlooking a picturesque view of Lake Baldwin. Salmon, snapper, ahi tuna and pasta command the menu and satisfy appetites.

Shari Sushi Lounge

621 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801

Dunk delectable nigiri, sashimi or makimono sushi selections in soy sauce in an uber hip setting in scenic Thornton Park. Make sure to leave room for the banana egg roll because you won't be disappointed.

The Black Olive

22 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801

Classy Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in The Plaza lures palates while adding flavor to the Downtown Orlando arts district's palette. Tempting menu options include grilled octopus, cioppino, rigatoni con brodo and pistachio-crusted lamb chops.

Four Rivers Smokehouse

2103 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Bodacious, Texas-style barbeque keeps connoisseurs coming back for more at this Winter Park smokehouse. Customers wait in long lines outside the door just for owner John Rivers? Angus beef brisket, Southern pulled pork or St. Louis-style ribs.