Unchained: Dine Local at Orlando's Family-Friendly Best

It’s undeniably easy to find restaurants catering to families in the Orlando area, but with so many chain offerings to navigate visitors often find themselves eating in places they could just as easily enjoy in their own hometowns. With this in mind, 10Best has culled 10 wonderful local joints your family will love, from lunch-perfect locations like the Hot Krust Panini Kitchen, where house-roasted meats pair with crusty-fresh bread for your midday sammie cravings to to Asian-fusion temples like the Noodles & Rice café, where the grown-ups can get as adventurous as they’d like with no worry for finding something their pickiest little ones will devour. Fast-casual patrons at College Park’s Hubbly Bubbly can enjoy healthy Middle Eastern fare as they explore the Main Street stylings of this vibrant, colorful neighborhood and those out by UCF can enjoy free bocce and phenomenally large slices at Lazy Moon's East Orlando outpost. Downtown visitors enjoying a short urban hike around Lake Eola Park will want to sample more than one of the creative flavors at the Pop Parlour, where icy treats made not only with fresh fruits, but vegetables, herbs and even alcoholic beverages (21 and over for these, please) pack a wonderful – if occasionally boozy – punch. 



Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fare is oft rife with fresh-grown vegetables, cool crisp mattresses of color on which more decadent fare is generally piled. Extra kudos goes to the healthy falafel joint that's extra happy to throw deep-fried...  Read More



Few families can resist the lure of Mexican food when dining out. For one thing, you know the server's going to put chips and salsa down immediately (which means you'll have time to order a margarita and genuinely peruse the menu). At Garibaldi,...  Read More



Serving up tasty fast-casual eats from its comfortable Dr. Phillips digs, this cheery "paninery" does up a multitude of classic pressed sandwiches with fresh, locally made bread and house-roasted meats, which makes a big difference when it comes...  Read More



Even when the Saints aren't marching in the Super Bowl, Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen leans heavily toward festive. Bourbon Street-slash-Mardi-Gras décor with a bit of Louisiana folk art panache creates the vibe. Dishes including red beans and...  Read More

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe
Photo courtesy of Park Ave Photography


Willkommen! Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe is a family-run operation that many say serves the best traditional German fare in all of Central Florida. Craving your tante's schnitzel? Ready to sample more sausage than a Bears fan at a tailgate?...  Read More



The brains behind a longtime favorite panini joint here in town (he's since sold that business) is at it again, this time in trendy Mills 50, with Too Much Sauce, a clean-lined rice-quinoa-salad bowl joint that's tailor made for quick service,...  Read More

East Orlando


When is a slice not a slice? When it's a massive pennant flag of crust covered in melty cheese and the toppings of your choice. That's pretty much what they're serving up at Lazy Moon, much to the delight of the regulars, which come from all...  Read More



Warm, melty grilled cheese: that's serious comfort fare right there. At Toasted, they level it up a notch with gourmet takes on the good old ooey-gooey, flat-pressed fave that takes you straight back to childhood. For nostalgia junkies and...  Read More



If you can't please a diverse family at a restaurant with "noodles" and "rice" in the name, you may as well just give up on eating out. This Asian fusion favorite culls together an array of delightful dishes, from Hong Kong-style barbecue to the...  Read More

The Meatball Stoppe
Photo courtesy of The Meatball Stoppe


Meatballs: so simple – a small, round hunks of deliciousness from your Nonna's kitchen, laden with garlic, spices, just the right amount of fat. Top 'em with sauce or cheese or both. Lay them gently onto a bed of pasta or polenta. Smash them...  Read More


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.

A roller coaster...  More About A.D.