This not-so-post-pandemic year has been a wake-up call for an industry in desperate need of a makeover. Cooks and waiters did not return to restaurants after closures as restaurateurs had hoped, resulting in a change in pay structures, working conditions and, perhaps more importantly, culture. to attract workers. Supply chain shortages continued to plague the industry, but amid all the upheaval and uncertainty gains were made. Food halls and social houses have been established in all corners of the city, and the tasting concepts of small chefs have won over gourmets. Two beloved institutions – Hunger Street Tacos and Black Rooster Taqueria – have opened second locations, and Shin Jung and Wa Sushi have managed to resurrect themselves.
On the fast food side, White Castle, Portillo’s and Chicken Guy were the most notable openings, while at Disney, Space 220 took diners on an extraordinary culinary journey. It’s hard to say what 2022 will bring (aside from Edoboy, the Mongol, Susuru Juju, Kaya, the Stranger, Norman’s, Jollibee, Knife Burger and Pigzza by Pig Floyd) so, for now, let’s celebrate another good year. food gone. Here are the best restaurants that opened in 2021.
N ° 1: The Monroe
448 N. Terry Avenue, themonroeorlando.com
open in may
Jason and Sue Chin, the powerful couple behind some of the city’s most beloved dining houses, have opened their most accessible and arguably most engaging restaurant this year in the heart of Creative Village. The Monroe is not only a breathtaking sanctuary of mid-century modernity, it is also the perfect platform for beloved chef Josh Oakley (Smiling Bison) to showcase his equally accessible and accessible modern comfort cuisine. enticing. Sure, his fried chicken is a tour de force, but the spicy pastrami corn dogs and spicy jerk chicken hearts served on skewers with grilled pineapple are both modern and enjoyable appetizers. The cocktail program, run by Shawn Newman (Bitters & Brass, The Guesthouse, Robinson Cocktail Room) is top notch. The fact that this Parramore restaurant is named after Dr. William “Monroe” Wells, the man who opened the historic Wells’ Built Hotel in the neighborhood in 1926 for African-American travelers, only adds spice. to the selection of The Monroe as Top Table of 2021.
N ° 2: Meat cravings
715 N. Fern Creek Avenue, delidesires.com
open in february
Colonialtown’s bustling deli by husband and wife tandem Hannah Jaffe and Nathan Sloan gave this town something it never knew it needed – bialys. They serve these unboiled, malt-free cousins of the bagel in varieties of caramelized onions or smoked jalapeño and muenster, with toppings ranging from gravlax to labneh to scrapple, the latter playing on the “no” status. kosher “deli meats. I developed some addiction to their “Big Mac” – a corned beef sandwich topped with lettuce, American cheese, pickles, onions and a special sauce on a Martin sesame bun. Pair it with one of their homemade sodas and it’s easy to see why Deli Desires draws long lines.
N ° 3: Bombay Street cuisine
6215 S. Orange blossom trail, bombaykitchenorlando.com
open in march
Let Amit Kumar, the boss behind Aashirwad on Kirkman Road and Tamarind in Winter Park, bring the bounty of Indian street food to the city. And, well, why not? Millions of people on the Indian subcontinent depend on street food for their daily subsistence, and the mind-boggling array of options at BSK is downright dazzling. Note: the pani puri served on a miniature street cart; patthar ke gosht (marinated lamb grilled on hot stone); and crunchy, tangy and spicy kale. Bigger plates, like the tandoori pompano stuffed with basil, mint and lemon, will let you ravage the local peach with your fingers. Old-fashioned Masala mules and Bombays are made behind the bar, while crushed ice in a plethora of flavors makes for an ideal Florida dessert.
N ° 4: Four flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen
1 boulevard Grand Cypress, fourflamingosorlando.com
open in december
The winner of the No Loss for Words award for restaurant names was a latecomer in our culinary scene, but made an impact for his skillful and playful creations envisioned by Top Chef: All-Stars champeen Richard Blais (in case the name of the restaurant does not specify). Blais follows in the footsteps of Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser and other Mango Gang alumni by presenting a very Floribean menu that’s not afraid to get playful – tuna tostones with a “yolk” fashioned from fruit. passion; Glazed oysters with “pearls” of hibiscus-datil pepper; and, wait, liver and oxtail empanadas. The design overlaps with the 2019 Hemingways renovation, so the bright, airy, window-filled interior remains (although a live lobster tank adds a bit of a feast for the eyes). There is no real dress code, but if you wear pink you will fit in perfectly.
N ° 5: Soseki
955 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, sosekifl.com
open in march
It has been a busy year for Michael Collantes. Since opening its Filipino-American restaurant Taglish in 2019, Collantes has formed its own restaurant group (Taglish Collective); helped open Perla’s Pizza in Ivanhoe Village (before dissolving its partnership with co-founder Christian Ziegler); and extended taglish to the UCF corridor (it opens at the end of January). But Soseki, his 10-seat omakase concept in Winter Park, is where he and his cohorts of chefs Tadateru Tokudaiji and Kevin Abanilla play around with their instruments and exquisite ingredients to showcase their skills as talented cooks. The menu is seasonal, the dishes are creative, and the pairings offered by Beverage Manager Benjamin Coutts only serve to enhance the overall experience. Coming in 2022: an expansion of the space (think the sake lounge with stylish bar bites).
Honorable mention: Camille
3201 Corrine Drive, exploretock.com/camille
open in october
Domu Lab’s rotating chef incubator program in neighboring East End Market is here to stay, but not the first tasting concept of its chef, Camille. By this time of next year, Chef Tung Phan’s seasonal seven-course menu of modern Franco-Vietnamese cuisine will be gone (maybe in a brick and mortar), so don’t waste time – try Camille. I promise you it will be one of the best dining experiences you will have in this city. His duck and tapioca congee is almost worth the price of $ 120. Almost.
Other notable openings in 2020:
The Pinery, Hampton Social, Hall on the Yard, Milkhouse, Jalapeño’s Mexican Eats, Gatlin Hall, Shin Jung, Maguro Sushi, Shanghai Lane, Ten Ten Seafood Grill, Tajine Express, Ziggie’s Pizza (formerly Perla’s), Wa Sushi, Soupa Saiyan 3 , Hunger Street Tacos at Plant St. Market, Black Rooster Taqueria at Curry Ford, Pop’s Pizzeria, Espace 220, Golden Hour, Vin modest, White Castle, Portillo’s, Chicken Guy.