Champions of Breakfast: Acai to Omelets at Orlando's Top Tables

Some people enjoy a light brekkie and some – especially if they’re on holiday – like to go for broke. Either way, if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you better make it a good one. And 10Best is happy to tell you where to get it. Fans of the family-run diner vibe will love Nick’s in the north part of the metro area. Want country charm? Head to “busy” downtown Oviedo where its famed feral chickens may entertain you while you wait for a table at the venerable TownHouse Restaurant. Diners looking for something decadent, but portable, should run, not walk, to Donut King in Minneola (or its sister outpost in Winter Park). DK's circular breakfast cakes are so revered ‘round these parts that people come from miles around just to get their sugary fix. Plus they’re open 24/7 on the west side. Many of these venues are also open for lunch – and some serve breakfast all day – so be sure to do your research if you plan to sleep in and get your Benedict on at noon instead.


Look, it's not like three-meat omelets and cream cheese-stuffed French toast are the breakfasts of champions, so why NOT donuts? And if you're going to do donuts in the Orlando metro, you'd best be having the ones from Donut King. Made fresh around the clock (they're open 24/7) it's a donut-, cinnamon roll-, eclair lover's paradise. And ready for a surprise? They've got a broader menu, featuring Cajun/Creole dishes along with their square, steamed Castle burgers, patterned after Harold and Kumar's favorite foodstuff. Of course if those two DO show up here at 3 am, we're betting they came for the donuts.

East Orlando

With a soaring, bright contemporary space and some contemporary plates to pair with, Omelet Bar may be a go-to spot for visiting UCF parents to breakfast and lunch with their kids, but East Orlandoans looking for a more sophisticated breakfast and brunch option got a bargain in the process. Sure, you can go healthy with a yogurt/fruit/granola parfait, but why when heartily stuffed omelets and fun offerings like chicken-and-waffle flights populate the menu? Bread bowls filled with eggs, cheese and veggies, decadent bananas Foster toast, s'more tower pancakes...the menu, honestly, is vast. And what's more, fresh cocktails abound, as well. Come one, come all, come (perhaps) hungover for a little hair of the dog with your brioche-clad burger.

Whether your early-morning routine leans more toward steel-cut oatmeal and Greek yogurt or black pepper-crusted bacon, there is a lot to love about starting your day at Artisan's Table. Locally sourced ingredients are the norm here, as are delicious takes on quiches, egg sandwiches, French toast and more. Looking for something a little exotic? Try the Japanese bowl, which features sticky rice, scallion, bacon, sweet chili sauce and togarashi �" topped with two eggs however you like them. Whatever you do, leave some of that yolk runny.


The collection of salt & pepper shakers will give you ample conversational fodder while you await your meal at Shakers American Cafe, an old-school diner serving breakfast and lunch in Orlando's College Park neighborhood. Breakfast is served all day on Saturday, but on weekdays the small place gets a good lunch crowd (come early to get a table) and you'll miss out on those buttermilk pancakes you've been craving if you don't make it in before 11:00 am. Portions are hearty, options are impressive and come lunch Shakers does up an array of great salads if you're eating light. Of course, College Park is a great area for strolling, so if you need an excuse for something more decadent, by all means go ahead.

North Orlando

Slinging breakfast and lunch to a devoted legion of customers â€" and likely creating new ones daily â€" Nick's Family Diner showcases all of this culinary genre's classics along with hearty and satisfying Greek and Italian specialties. Whether you're in the mood for a good old burger deluxe or want to step outside diner business as usual and go for a daily special â€" perhaps the stuffed meatloaf â€" Nick's should deliver the good nicely. Soul food aficionados might want to give the chicken and waffles a try. As for breakfast, the customers love it so much they serve it all day long.

The Sanctum really does feel a little sacred in the way they do things; its beautiful plant-based plates are colorful and fresh and alluring. And while there are loads of options for the vegan members of the populace, this place isn't that strict � you'll also find eggs and cheese on the menu in places. Grain bowls and salads, sammies and pastas populate a menu that holistic practitioners would likely tout. Delicious juices and smoothies tempt those looking for goodness by the glass. Breakfast/brunch is exceptional, whether you like your avocado toast animal-free or feel like topping it off with a couple of organic eggs.

Prepare for a wait if you show up at peak weekend breakfast hours at this longtime Park Ave. favorite, but fervent fans find that the benedicts and mimosas are worth a little extra time. That said, you can always pop in on a weekday for a late breakfast or early lunch to sample items like raspberry-and-brie-stuffed French toast or the lump crab scramble along with an array of burgers, salads and sandwiches. Also notable, the Briarpatch is an ice cream parlor and its desserts (cake slices are enormous) are definitely share-friendly. The Park Avenue location makes it a great place to start the day before exploring the neighborhood.

The biscuit - buttery, flaky, undeniably Southern - is the vehicle by which the creative stylings of Chef Nat Russell's often French-infused fare is delivered to your food hole at this casual, charming little gem on Sanford's 1st street, a lane in danger of becoming riddled with tempting cafes and eateries. At the truffle, for now, breakfast and lunch are the order, eggs and grits and reeeeeallly good bacon early on, and all kinds of rotating goodness at lunchtime. (There's bacon on that menu, too.) Sides like collards, potato salad and tomato-mac might take you back your granny's Southern kitchen. Orders don't take long but you'll have fun using chalk on the tabletops while you wait just the same.

Se7en Bites

This quaint working Milk District bakery is open for breakfast and lunch with a manageable, fresh-made menu that changes near daily and makes choosing easy. Okay, that's arguable, since how one chooses between creative, handcrafted moon pies and fresh, local fruit-infused cobblers. is subjective. Easiest method? Bring a friend and share everything! Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies â€" the smells emanating from the Se7en Bites kitchen are wrong in all the best ways possible. Be thoroughly prepared for a sweet-related impulse buy to take home. Eggs and biscuits, scones and soups, Southern comfort classics and lots of surprising modern twists.

To paraphrase that old 70s Greg Kihn hit, "they don't make 'em like this anymore." Oviedo's downtown is hardly bustling (unless you count its famous feral chickens, they bustle quite a bit) but at its center sits the TownHouse, almost as it has since the 1950s. A recent move has put it in brand-new expanded digs up the street, but the food hasn't changed a bit. They're serving up all the diner classics in a clean and cozy a setting; it's been named to a host of Orlando-local lists over the years, most notably for its breakfasts. Aside from biscuits and gravy, omelets, pancakes and the like at breakfast, the Townhouse menu also features Greek and Mediterranean fare â€" with staples like burgers and meatloaf and all the things you'd expect from a quaint country diner.


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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