Orlando is, of course, home to myriad fantastic attractions, most notably Walt Disney World, and if you’re planning a visit anytime soon to take advantage of some tickets to Orlando theme parks, surely you’ll be on the lookout for some fantastic spots to indulge in a nice meal or two. Orlando’s seafood scene is growing all the time and with its close proximity to the Gulf and the Atlantic, there are a number of great spots to enjoy some delicious ocean-themed cuisine during an Orlando holiday. If seafood is what you’re after, hopefully, this article will be a helpful guide, highlighting some of the very best locations in and around the city.
Image credit: Ocean Prime
Ocean Prime is a superb Orlando restaurant that excels in three things above all: seafood, steaks, and cocktails. This award-winning bar and eatery is known across the city as being one of the very finest locations to dine on delightful seafood in a relaxing yet vibrant setting. Ocean Prime was luckily able to speak to us about exactly what’s on offer, telling us about their unique components and exciting seafood menu:
“Ocean Prime, a modern American restaurant and lounge located on Restaurant Row, offers an extraordinary experience with stunning spaces, luxe details and truly exceptional service – a perfect destination to indulge. Ocean Prime is like no other, offering a captivating ambience and a menu that highlights decadent seafood, as well as steak. Guests will enjoy handcrafted cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list, and a menu that features classic dishes crafted with modern influences. With its vibrant energy, keen attention to detail, truly genuine hospitality and an array of decadent seafood options, Ocean Prime guests will surely be delighted by the overall luxe experience.
Image credit: Ocean Prime
Getting into the specifics of their menu, Ocean Prime told us: “Ocean Prime features an impressive menu with incredible seafood entrees, sushi and an array of fresh delicacies from its raw bar. From a delicious blackened Snapper to a smoking seafood tower, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Ocean Prime offers a variety of seafood entrees including locally-sourced Snapper and Grouper, as well as a variety of fresh seafood from its raw bar including oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail and its alluring ‘smoking’ shellfish tower.
“To offer an assortment of the freshest seafood, Ocean Prime sources seasonally. Guests have the choice of six sushi options including Ocean Prime’s signature Prime Roll with tempura shrimp, cream cheese, scallion and beef carpaccio. With its perfect marriage of land and ocean, guests can also enjoy an iconic Surf & Turf entree featuring an 8-ounce filet, butter poached lobster, gouda cake, chilli seared spinach, Cabernet truffle reduction and Béarnaise. From lighter fare to indulgent seafood presentations, guests will be charmed by each dish.”
Urban Tide, situated at the Hyatt Regency, has a truly tremendous atmosphere and, of course, some of the very best seafood in all of Florida. With a tranquil setting, a menu rich with delicious coastal delights, and an eclectic cocktail menu, there are many great reasons to pay them a visit. The team at Urban Tide told us a little more about what seafood lovers can look forward to:
“Urban Tide fuses together fresh Florida seafood and sides from local Florida farmers. The restaurant fully embodies what the state of Florida has to offer travellers, all the while set in a warm atmosphere that overlooks our Grotto Pool with floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Chef Jared Gross of Urban Tide has done a fantastic job of making sure the menu reflects all that is coastal Floridian fare with a jazzed up Orlando flair. All of his ingredients are fresh and come from a variety of local Florida vendors. Those who dine in Urban Tide are able to sip on craft brews or eclectic cocktails, and savour the bold flavours of coastal Floridian cuisine.”
Image credit: Columbia Restaurant
This award-winning spot has been a Florida tradition since 1905 and is located only minutes from Disney’s theme parks, making Columbia Restaurant an ideal location for your evening meal once the day’s activities are over. Overlooking a picturesque lake, this elegant restaurant is Mediterranean in style and a place where guests can look forward to dining on top-tier Spanish-Cuban cuisine in either their outdoor café, dining rooms, or tapas bar. Their excellent seafood offerings are a true highlight and Columbia Restaurant spoke to us about why this is:
“Our seafood program is committed to sustainability. All seafood is either wild-caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans. We serve only the freshest seafood, not only here at our Columbia Restaurant in downtown Celebration, but at our six other Columbia locations throughout Florida.
“We recommend our Red Snapper ‘Alicante.’ This incredibly delicious recipe was created in 1938 by Casimiro Hernandez, Jr., the son of our founder. It features boneless fillet of Red Snapper, the king of Gulf Fish, baked in a casserole with sweet Spanish onions, green peppers, a rich gravy, olive oil, fresh garlic, white wine and topped with sliced roasted almonds. It is served with yellow rice garnished with fried eggplant and shrimp supreme. If you enjoy fresh fish and would like to sample authentic Spanish flavour, we offer our highest recommendation.”
Located in Disney Springs, The Boathouse is a concept restaurant that serves up great seafood right on the waterfront for a truly idyllic dining experience. This nautical restaurant is perfectly situated and is able to boast the largest selection of oysters anywhere in Florida and even can treat guests to their very own Lucky Dux Oysters which are grown and harvested only for The Boathouse. Sitting down for a top-notch meal as the sun sets over the water at Village Lake is a waterfront dining experience not to miss out on. Speaking to us about what makes them so special, the team at The Boathouse said:
“Located on the waterfront at Disney Springs, The Boathouse is a seafood lover’s dream come true! The Boathouse is a scratch kitchen - our food is prepared by hand from fresh ingredients to our specifications. Our menus are printed daily, allowing our chefs to take advantage of the freshest local offerings that may only be available for a very short time.
“We are the place to go for fresh oysters on the half shell. We serve up to 15 varieties of cold water oysters daily, representing the bounty of both the east and west coasts. We purchase up to 400 live Maine Lobsters per day for our signature Maine Lobster Roll, Crab Stuffed Maine Lobster, and Beach and Sea Lobster Bake.
“When it comes to fish we serve only the freshest, never frozen fish from our local waters and flown in from around the world. Some examples of our daily fish selection are: Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper, East Coast Swordfish, Atlantic Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna, Key West Mahi-Mahi, Day Boat New England Codfish, and others such as Cobia, Red Snapper, California Halibut and whatever is coming into port fresh daily.
“While you are there, stop by the Boatique, our nautical shop, for some unique gift offerings and take the time to check out our unique collection of antique boats located at our docks. We also feature the world’s only fleet of 1960s Vintage Amphicars that are waiting to splash down and take you for a captain’s guided cruise around scenic Lake Buena Vista.”
Hot N Juicy Crawfish
Image credit: Hot N Juicy
A seafood joint that has fast become a local favourite is Hot N Juicy Crawfish on Sand Lake Road. With 13 wonderful seafood locations nationwide, and an emphasis on spice and seasoning, experiences on offer at Hot N Juicy includes the combo ‘Get Your Feet Wet’ which is 1lb crawfish, 1lb shrimp, a dozen Andouille sausages, two corns and two potatoes; and if that’s not enough, there’s another combo called ‘The Drool’ which combines all of the aforementioned with 1/2 lb of snow crab and either regular or Cajun calamari.
Regarding what helps Hot N Juicy Crawfish excel to such heights, owner of the restaurant Laina Vo told us: “Our goal is to source the highest quality and freshest of seafood and to deliver superb customer service. We want our patrons to relax, roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty with their food. Our ultimate passion is to have every customer walk out our door with an unforgettable ‘Hot N Juicy’ experience.
“Our menu consists mainly of seafood by the pound. You can select the shellfish of your choice, such as crawfish, shrimp, lobster, and a variety of crabs. Once selected, you can spruce it up with our signature blends, as well as select the level of spiciness of your choosing. If seafood is not your preferred choice, we have a variety of non-seafood entrees you can opt for. And because of our fun and upbeat atmosphere, quality food and excellent service, we hope our patrons can look forward to having a good ole' Hot N Juicy time!”
Two Chefs Seafood
Image credit: Two Chefs Seafood
For those that have a craving for oysters and really just great seafood in general, Two Chefs Seafood on 743 N Magnolia Avenue is a perfect spot. Headed up by chefs Bernard Carmouche and Larry Sinibaldi, there is a wealth of experience behind every dish served. A number of tantalising weekly specials are available throughout the week, including $1 oysters from 3 PM – 6 PM Wednesday – Friday, and unlimited mimosas for $10 from 11 AM – 3 PM on weekends. Diners can look forward to a light and airy atmosphere once seated and a menu containing seafood delights such as BBQ shrimp, garlic parmesan oysters, linguini & clams, and macadamia nut crusted tuna with wasabi mash and ginger soy honey butter. For great seafood and a killer oyster menu, Two Chefs Seafood is an ideal choice.
Boston’s Fish House
This long-time favourite of the local Orlando community, Boston’s Fish House has been serving happy customers an excellent array of seafood dishes since 1988. With 30 years of experience behind them, you will certainly be in safe hands if you decide to stop by for a meal of delicious fried seafood at their location on 6860 Aloma Avenue. Boston’s Fish House fly in the very best seafood cuisine from New England, one of the best sources for such produce in the country, with their dishes all made with fresh ingredients from scratch. Complemented by a superb wine list, guests can look forward to choosing from a menu of dishes such as New England steamer clams, chilled lobster salad, seafood combo platters (fresh fish, sea scallops, shrimp, oysters, and more), and farmed-raised catfish – available either breaded and deep fried or lightly seasoned and pan seared.
Seafood in Orlando
While this was just an introductory glimpse into the world of Orlando seafood, the above restaurants are some of the very finest around and should certainly be on your to-do list during your time in the city. If you’re a lover of seafood, Orlando can certainly oblige and these featured establishments will be more than delighted to welcome you and your family for a memorable meal.