Cooler temperatures and sun-filled skies during the fall and winter months provide the perfect combination to experience outdoor dining at Orlando’s top restaurants.
By Nate Shelton
Fall and winter will be here before we know it, which doesn’t just mean a break from the heat — the cooler months also bring a significant spike in demand for al fresco dining. Fortunately, the number of culinary hotspots in Orlando with outdoor seating is eclipsed only by the array of cuisines they offer.
As average daytime temperatures dip into the 70s, and nights into the 50s, fall and winter are the perfect time to enjoy a gourmet meal and a craft cocktail (or two) while taking in Orlando’s sights and sounds. After all: ‘tis the season.
1. Relax Grill at Lake Eola
Boasting what is arguably the most urban-bucolic view of any al fresco restaurant in the area, the Relax Grill at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is also home to some extremely tasty American-Mediterranean fare. Joggers, dog-walkers and swan boats provide a feast for the eyes, as do the stunning sunsets over Lake Eola. What’s more, weekday happy-hour specials make it even easier to truly relax and enjoy your outdoor dining experience.
One of the newest culinary additions to Disney Springs is also one of the best reasons to visit, particularly for seafood and steak lovers. After boarding the iconic paddleboat that’s anchored on Lake Buena Vista, grab a seat on the deck to feast on such delicacies as Alaskan king crab, market-fresh oysters, sizzling steaks or even lobster guacamole, which is prepared tableside for unbeatable freshness.
A crown jewel of Sand Lake Road’s renowned Restaurant Row, Slate is technically an indoor restaurant. But once the cooler weather arrives, they throw open their windows to create a semi-outdoor experience without the worries of inclement weather. While seated, treat yourself to a local draft beer or handcrafted cocktail, and prepare to be dazzled by Executive Chef Jacob Woolf’s inventive takes on American classics.
Canvas Restaurant & Market. Photo by Deeb Studios.
4. Canvas Restaurant & Market
Influenced by Florida’s Southern and Latin American roots, Chef Bryan Thoman dreams up delectable, new American dishes with an emphasis on seasonal and regional produce, not to mention an ocean of fresh Florida seafood. You can savor it all from Canvas’ tranquil deck, which offers a dynamite view of beautiful Lake Nona. Live music also can be enjoyed every Wednesday and Friday night.
5. Tasty Takeover at the Milk District
On Tuesdays between 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., the Milk District transforms from one of Orlando’s trendiest neighborhoods into a one-stop shop for authentic, local food. Perfect for date night or family outings, or just spending the evening with friends, the event features a rotating mix of gourmet food trucks serving flavors from around the world. Mix and match? Focus on a favorite? That’s up to you.
6. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
Located at Universal CityWalk, The Cowfish is one of Orlando’s most eclectic eateries. Yes, you can get sushi, and yes, you can get burgers, but what really set them apart are imaginative amalgams of the two that sound wild and taste wonderful. Bask in the picturesque view from their expansive outdoor patio as you try two great tastes that, surprisingly, go great together.
Take in a stunning sunset on the banks of Lake Killarney at Winter Park’s Hillstone. Whether you choose a table on the covered patio or waterside on the lawn, you’ll be able to unwind from the comfort of an Adirondack chair. Sit back, enjoy a glass of wine or signature cocktail, and soak in the atmosphere as you dine on American-centric epicurean delights.
Explore More Dining in Orlando
Hungry yet? In that case, bear in mind that these restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outdoor dining options in Orlando. Don’t see your favorite featured here? Tweet it to us @VisitOrlando.
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Written by Nate Shelton, Consumer Content Writer at Visit Orlando. He’s a native Floridian who appreciates the entertainment, historical and culinary aspects of the City Beautiful and Orange County.
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