If you know anything about DFB it’s that we LOVE talking about Disney food.
From icons like plastic cheese and Mickey ice cream bars to underrated restaurants hiding in Disney World, we cover it all! But what if you’re looking to escape Disney World for a meal? What if you’ve eaten at every Disney World restaurant and want to try something new? That’s why we’re talking about the best restaurants you can find near Disney World!
We’ve compiled a list of some of the DFB team’s favorite restaurants near Disney World and some that were highly rated online. None of these restaurants are actually on Disney World property but they are a quick drive (if you brought a car to Disney World) or Uber/Lyft ride away. So put on your stretchy pants and let’s talk FOOD!
Why Eat Outside of Disney World?
We cover the good and the bad food of Disney World, but we can tell you that the parks are home to some incredibly tasty food. So why would you leave to eat somewhere else? There are a few reasons that you might find yourself leaving the Most Magical Place on Earth for a meal.
If you have a picky eater in your group, you may find that familiar favorites are the way to go. Although Disney World have some plain eats like chicken tenders and grilled cheese, some picky eaters may be used to eating from certain fast food chains.
Also, if you visit Disney World all of the time and feel like you’ve already been to every single restaurant, you might be ready to try something new! There are a plethora of restaurants in Disney World, but Orlando has some great restaurants to offer, too.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the best fast food restaurants in the area, followed by the best sit down restaurants.
Fast Food Restaurants
Remember when it was announced that the world’s largest White Castle was coming near Disney World? Well, after that news back in 2021, this White Castle location is open!
For anyone unfamiliar with White Castle, it is a chain restaurant that is famous for its sliders that it has been making since 1921. You can also find breakfast items, chicken rings, onion rings, fries, and milkshakes. Yum! It’s not the most unique restaurant, but it’s an old reliable — plus you can brag to your friends that you’ve been to the world’s largest White Castle location!
This White Castle location is right by Disney World at 11595 Daryl Carter Parkway in Orlando. This is a spot that is open very late if you’re craving something after a long day in the parks when most Disney restaurants are closed.
Go Inside the White Castle Near Disney World With Us!
Another fast food chain that has recently popped up in the Orlando area is Portillo’s! This is a Chicago-based restaurant that opened up near Disney World in 2021 — it’s famous for serving…any guesses? Chicago dogs, of course!
On top of Chicago dogs, you’ll find Italian beef sandwiches, burgers, pasta, salads, and the famous Chocolate Cake Shake. They stick an entire slice of chocolate cake in a blender with some ice cream and voila! It’s a must-try if you stop by Portillo’s on your next trip.
The Portillo’s by Disney World is located at 7715 Palm Parkway in Orlando — this is near the White Castle we mentioned above!
Check out the Portillo’s location near Disney World!
Stepping away from major restaurant chains, we’re now headed to the quick service spot called Twistee Treat! Based on the name, you can probably guess that this place serves ice cream, but there’s a surprise here that will entice Disney fans.
You can get a DOLE WHIP FLOAT here for much cheaper than at Disney World! Along with the ice cream cones, sundaes, dips, and more on the menu is the Dole Whip float for a shocking $3.75. At Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom, a Dole Whip float costs $6.99. Disney World does have more flavor options since Twistee Treat only serves pineapple Dole Whip, but it’s a Dole Whip nonetheless!
There are a few locations around the Orlando area, so be sure to check it out for a fun and tasty sweet treat. Plus, you can save a few bucks on a Disney staple!
RECIPE: Make Pineapple Dole Whip at Home
4 Rivers Smokehouse
If you’re looking at the name 4 Rivers Smokehouse and think “that sounds familiar”, you are correct! You can usually find the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck in Disney Springs, but now we’re talking about the actual restaurant — 4 Rivers Smokehouse.
This counter service restaurant serves up Texas-style barbecue with menu items like John’s Big Dog Chili, pulled pork, sliders, brisket, and classic southern sides. If you’re from Texas or love to eat barbecue, this may feel like a taste of home when you’re on vacation!
There are several locations in the Orlando area, but the closest one to Disney World is at 874 West Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee.
Check out our latest review of the 4 Rivers Cantina Food Truck in Disney Springs here!
U & Me Revolving Hot Pot
Have you ever wanted to dine at a restaurant run by robots? If that sounds like your dream, you’ll want to check out U & Me Revolving Hot Pot!
Not only is there a conveyor belt that transports food around the restaurant, but a robot also walks you to your table and cooks Check out a video of the beloved robot named Peanut in action! The menu features an all-you-can-eat hot pot that you can customize with your favorite flavors.
Hot pot is a dish that cooks raw ingredients into boiling broth table-side. You’ll get to choose your flavor broth and the ingredients that go inside of it. If you want to visit, set the map up to go to 12384 S Apopka Vineland Road in Orlando. A customizable robot serviced meal? Sign us up!
Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Looking to try some unique tapas? It’s time to talk about Cafe Tu Tu Tango! This spot is know for its tapas-style small plates menu that are perfect to share during a night out with friends.
The menu features things like jalapeño mac and cheese, avocado hummus (is anyone drooling yet?), stuffed peppers, Moroccan lamb meatballs, jerk chicken skewers, and so much more. The restaurant also hosts a happy hour each Monday through Friday from 3PM-6PM if you’re looking for an afternoon break from the parks. Plus, brunch is served here each Saturday and Sunday!
Cafe Tu Tu Tango is located at 8625 International Drive in Orlando putting it pretty close to Universal Orlando. It’s worth the trek for the fun atmosphere and delicious eats!
Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine
“A blend of spice, a blaze of color, a burst of flavor.” If that sounds appealing, then Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine may be the restaurant outside of Disney World for you! That’s the quote on the front page of the restaurant’s website and the menu seems to support that statement.
The menu features dishes like samosa, kitfo, beef and lamb tips, and sides like rice, shiro, mushrooms, and more. There are quite a few items for vegetarian and vegan diets and you’ll find a selection of Ethiopian beers and African red wine to go along with your meal.
Ethiopian food is pretty rare in Disney World, so for some adventurous eats, head to their location on 5494 Central Florida Parkway in Orlando.
We’ve already talked about one Chicago chain restaurant in here, but there’s another that has won the hearts of Orlando visitors and the DFB team. It’s Giordano’s which serves up Chicago deep dish pizza!
Pizza is a very regional dish and you’ll get a different style depending on where you go. There’s the classic New York pizza, the thin crust St. Louis pizza, the innovate California pizza, and so many more.
So if you’re not used to Chicago deep dish and want to try something new, give Giordano’s a shot next time you visit Disney World! Don’t worry though — they also offer thin crust pizza, salads, spaghetti, sandwiches, and mozzarella sticks. There are two locations very close to Disney World and many more in the Orlando area.
Now that you’ve seen some of the best restaurants near Disney World, it’s time to talk about Disney World’s restaurants, and we wrote the book on them! Check out our DFB Guide To Walt Disney World Dining 2023 if you’re heading to Disney World in 2023.
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What is your favorite restaurant to visit near Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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