My son recently moved to downtown Orlando. In between unpacking and buying furniture, my family and I had the opportunity to sample a few top Orlando restaurants.
Located in the Church Street Station area of downtown Orlando, Ceviche is an excellent choice if you want to have Spanish food. The food is a little spicy, but have excellent flavors.
We had a few tapas that were recommended by the waiter including Atun, which was a tuna ceviche. It was delicious. The ceviche came with avocado chunks and melted in your mouth.
Next, we had Gambas Al Ajillo, which were sautéed shrimp, garlic, onions, Serrano chilies, sherry, and brandy.
Albondigas, which was chorizo, pork and veal meatballs, piquant tomato sauce wrapped in pepper, was next along with Patatas Bravas, potatoes with spicy house aioli cream.
Finally, we had a Paella, the Mariscos, which included a small half lobster tail, scallops, shrimp, squid, mussels, chorizo, brandy, and herbs. It was incredible. I could have personally done without the squid but it was rather tasty. I didn’t realize that there was chorizo was in the Paella because it was out of the skin and looked just like chopped meat. But, it tasted awesome! The Paella was the only thing that wasn’t spicy.
We ordered flan and bread pudding with caramel ice cream. The bread pudding was incredible but I was delighted to have ordered flan. It was the best I ever had! ‘
We wanted to sample southern cooking and after some research, SOCO had great reviews so we decided to check it out. It was only steps away from Eola Park. SOCO was named the best restaurant in the Orlando Sentinel and also won a golden spoon award.
When we were there, they were having a restaurant week special and offered a three-course dinner for $35. For starters, my son ordered the fried green tomatoes, which I didn’t love. I ordered the corn fritters with shrimp which was absolutely delicious. The shrimp was ground into the corn so the flavors were there, but you didn’t see the shrimp. My husband had the mussels. He was delighted with his choice of an appetizer.
For the main course, my husband and I had the same thing, Hot Iron Griddled Scottish Salmon, with grits, tomato-arugula salad, and smoked bacon emulsion. My son had the herb-marinated “Bistro Filet”, with vegetable succotash, marble potatoes, collard green, and Chimichurri. He preferred our dish. My son’s dish photographed better, so I included it here.
For dessert, we split the bread pudding and the peach cobbler. I could have done without dessert. I didn’t think it was anything special. But my son and husband disagreed. They thought the desserts were superb.
All too often when we go to Orlando, we tend to stay around Disney. However, Orlando offers so much more! If you are ever in Downtown Orlando, I would highly suggest checking out these two top restaurants.