Unique Restaurants in Central Florida: 12 Fun Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Central Florida
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Are you searching for the most unusual places to eat in Central Florida? From the enchanting streets of Mount Dora to the vibrant heart of Orlando, here are 12 of Central Florida’s weirdest restaurants.

Ever wondered where to find fun places to eat in Central Florida? Trust me, it’s not all about the theme parks. I’ve been on a mission to uncover the most unique eateries around here, and let me tell you, the adventure has been nothing short of amazing.

My adventures have led me to some of the most unique dining experiences you can imagine. From the eerie, ghostly vibes of Cocktails & Screams to the warm, inviting atmosphere of Nile Ethiopian, where the injera is as authentic as it gets, there’s no shortage of incredible restaurants in Central Florida.

So, if you’re ready to spice up your dining routine with some truly unique spots, stick with me. I’ve got the inside scoop on where to find the most fun restaurants in Central Florida that will turn your next meal into an adventure.

The top restaurants to visit in Central Florida right now

Unusual & Quirky Restaurants in Central FL

Ready to uncover Central Florida’s best eateries? We’re diving into a world where every meal is an adventure, from high-end culinary delights to the most charming hidden gems. Let’s embark on a journey to find the quirkiest places to eat in Central Florida.

Ever thought about dining in a place where Halloween is celebrated all year round, or perhaps enjoying a meal in a historic home from the 1920s? Central Florida’s dining scene is as vibrant and varied as it gets. Here’s your ultimate guide to the most unique restaurants in Central Florida.

1. Nile Ethiopian

If you’re hunting for a dining experience that’s truly out of the ordinary in Central Florida, let me point you towards Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. Since opening its doors in 2006, this gem has been dishing out award-winning flavors that are as genuine as they come. Take it from me, as someone who’s always on the lookout for unique places to eat in Orlando, Nile offers an adventure that’s hard to beat.

Nile serves up authentic Ethiopian dishes that are a feast not just for the taste buds but for the soul. Whether you’re craving some hearty beef, tender lamb, or something on the greener side like vegetarian or vegan options, Nile’s got it all. And the spices? They’re the real deal, transporting you straight to Ethiopia with every bite.

Whilst the food is delicious here, the vibe is what I love most about Nile. It’s like stepping into another world. You’ll be fully immersed in true Ethiopian culture, complemented by speedy service and a warm welcome. Plus, it’s super close to all of Orlando’s best attractions, making it the perfect pit stop during a day of exploration.

Don’t just take my word for it. Dive into the unforgettable experience Nile Ethiopian offers. It’s a unique restaurant in Central Florida that truly stands out.

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Central Florida.
Discover Nile Ethiopian Restaurant in Central Florida for award-winning flavors since 2006.

2. Babushka’s

Ever dreamt of a meal so cozy it feels like a warm hug from grandma? Welcome to Babushka’s, where every dish is a spoonful of love and comfort. This place is all about bringing that unbeatable Babushka cooking out of Eastern Europe and straight into the heart of the Tampa Bay Area. And let me tell you, it’s one of the best restaurants in Central Florida for anyone craving a taste of home or adventure.

The story of Babushka’s kicks off in 2018, sparked by a Russian student at USF who noticed a gaping hole in the local food scene: a serious lack of Russian & Eastern European flavors. Fast forward to now, and this spot is dishing out the kind of meals that not only fill your belly but warm your soul too. Think classic Borscht that sings with every spoonful, Pierogi that are little pockets of joy, and Blinchiki that’ll sweeten up your day like no other.

But here’s the kicker: Babushka’s isn’t just about great food. It’s about that feeling of joy and love you get from sharing a meal at your grandma’s house. Whether you’re here for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you’re in for a treat.

A visit to Babushka’s is a must for anyone looking for fun places to eat in Central Florida. You’ll find Babushka’s in Hyde Park and Temple Terrace. Trust me, eating here is an experience that’ll leave you feeling like part of the family.

Experience Babushka's, where Eastern European comfort food brings a taste of home.
Experience Babushka’s, where Eastern European comfort food brings a taste of home.

3. El Ambia Cubano

Imagine stepping into a place where you’re not just a customer, but a cherished friend. That’s El Ambia Cubano for you, Melbourne’s heart and soul of Cuban cuisine since 2009. This restaurant offers a slice of Cuba right in the heart of historical downtown Melbourne.

The story behind El Ambia is as flavorful as its cuisine. The owner, a heroic pilot, steering his way to freedom from Cuba, lands in Melbourne and decides to sprinkle a little bit of his homeland’s magic in this corner of the world. El Ambia Cubano is his tribute to Cuba. It’s a place where nostalgia for his country turns into joyous gatherings around authentic Cuban meals.

Dining here is an experience that transports you straight to pre-Castro Havana. There’s live music setting the rhythm, outdoor seating offering water views, and decor that tells tales of a vibrant culture. Forget the formal dining. Here, you might find yourself tapping your feet on conga drums as you sit at wooden tables, surrounded by art and memorabilia that whisper stories of Cuba’s past.

So, if you’re on the hunt for unique places in Central Florida to eat, where the atmosphere is as rich as the food, and where every guest is treated like a dear friend, El Ambia Cubano is your spot!

Step into El Ambia Cubano, Melbourne's Cuban cuisine gem since 2009, nestled in downtown.
Step into El Ambia Cubano, Melbourne’s Cuban cuisine gem since 2009, nestled in downtown.

4. The Edison

Stepping into The Edison feels like you’ve time-traveled back to the roaring ’20s, but with a twist. Located in Disney Springs, this place is an absolute spectacle. Picture this: a space that’s part power plant, part Gatsby-esque party scene. I was blown away by the vibe the moment I walked in!

With its seven different areas to explore, you’re in for a treat whether you’re here for a bite or a full-blown night out. The waterfront balcony? A dream for views. And the decor? It’s like walking into a steampunk fantasy.

The entertainment truly transforms the experience. By day, it’s all smiles and family fun. Come nightfall, things take a deliciously daring turn. The Edison is where you go to be whisked away into another era. If you’re looking for unusual restaurants in Central Florida, head straight to The Edison.

Experience The Edison in Disney Springs, a captivating blend of 1920s ambiance and modern spectacle.
Experience The Edison in Disney Springs, a captivating blend of 1920s ambiance and modern spectacle.

5. Mazzaro’s Italian Market

If you’re craving an Italian adventure without the flight, Mazzaro Italian Market in St. Petersburg is my go-to spot. Believe me, stepping into Mazzaro’s is like teleporting to Italy. The vibe is buzzing, and the food is out of this world.

I’m talking about a deli counter where the sandwiches are so good, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Italian heaven. The pasta is freshly made every day. It’s a carb lover’s dream come true. But wait until you hit the coffee bar – their roast is so rich, every sip feels like a little Italian hug.

Without a doubt, Mazzaro’s is one of the best places to eat in Central Florida. Whether you’re picking up ingredients for a gourmet meal or sitting down to enjoy their mouth-watering bakery treats (hello, cannoli!), you’re in for a treat.

And don’t even get me started on the cheese selection. Over 300 varieties! It’s cheese paradise. My advice? Grab a number, dive into the hustle, and let the flavors of Italy whisk you away. You’ll thank me later.

Mazzaro Italian Market is one of the unique restaurants in Central Florida.
For an Italian escape without the flight, Mazzaro Italian Market in St. Petersburg is unbeatable.

6. Street Cafe

Discovering Street Cafe in Lakeland was like finding a piece of Egypt I never knew I was missing. This cozy spot is a must-visit for anyone craving authentic Egyptian flavors. One bite and you’re transported to the heart of Cairo.

The menu shines with Egyptian classics. From the richly spiced shawarma to the comforting koshari, every bite is a celebration of tradition. I highly recommend trying baklava here. It’s pure delight, ending your meal on a sweet note.

Diving deeper into their offerings, you’ll find each dish has its own unique twist. This makes the dining experience here truly one-of-a-kind. Whether it’s the tender meats, the perfectly seasoned veggies, or the aromatic teas, Street Cafe nails it every time.

What really ties it all together, though, is the warm, welcoming atmosphere. The folks at Street Cafe make you feel right at home. If you’re on the hunt for unusual restaurants in Central Florida, make sure Street Cafe is on your list. It’s an adventure for your taste buds you won’t want to miss!

Experience authentic Egyptian flavors at Street Cafe in Lakeland, transporting you to Cairo with every bite.
Experience authentic Egyptian flavors at Street Cafe in Lakeland, transporting you to Cairo with every bite. | Image Source: https://www.yelp.com/

7. Colorado Fondue Company

Colorado Fondue Company in Casselberry, Florida, is where the magic happens. This place takes the fondue game to a whole new level. Imagine grilling your meats on a sizzling 750°F rock right at your table – it’s an incredible experience. And let me tell you, the flavors are out of this world.

The atmosphere here is always buzzing, especially when the holidays roll around. They go all out with the decorations, turning the place into a festive wonderland. It’s the kind of spot that makes any dinner feel like a celebration.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique dining experience in Central Florida, Colorado Fondue Company is where it’s at. It’s a blast of fun and flavor that you won’t find anywhere else. So, grab your friends, pick your meats, and get ready for a fondue adventure that’ll have you coming back for more!

Experience fondue magic at Colorado Fondue Company, where grilling meats on a sizzling rock elevates flavors.
Experience fondue magic at Colorado Fondue Company, where grilling meats on a sizzling rock elevates flavors.

8. 1921 Mount Dora

When I stumbled upon 1921 Mount Dora, it was like uncovering a secret spot in one of the top places to live and visit in Central Florida that I just had to share. Tucked away in Mount Dora, this restaurant is a standout not just for its food but for its home—a real 1921 building that’s as full of character as its menu.

Dining in this historic spot feels like a mini escape. It’s cozy, it’s unique, and it’s got stories etched into every corner. Trust me, the vibe here is something you won’t find anywhere else. It’s like eating in a piece of Florida history, but with a modern twist.

I recommend 1921 Mount Dora to anyone looking for that one-of-a-kind dining experience. The building itself is a conversation starter, perfect for a night out where you’re craving more than just great food. The menu focuses on local ingredients, from the produce to the seafood.

So, if you’re in Mount Dora and hunting for a place that’s truly unique, make your way to 1921. It’s a spot that marries history with flavor, and it’s an experience I promise you’ll want to relive. Take it from me, it’s a unique Central Florida restaurant that you don’t want to miss.

Discover 1921 Mount Dora, a hidden gem known for its historic charm and exceptional cuisine.
Discover 1921 Mount Dora, a hidden gem known for its historic charm and exceptional cuisine.

9. Yellow Dog Eats

Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha is a spot that’s all about fun, flavor, and a dash of quirkiness. From the moment I heard about it, I knew I had to check it out. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! This place is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds, nestled a bit away from Orlando’s hustle.

Walking in, you’re greeted by a vibe that’s unmistakably Key West meets rustic charm. The decor is eclectic, filled with bright colors, funky paintings, and, of course, photos of dogs everywhere. It’s like stepping into a different world.

But let’s talk food because that’s where Yellow Dog Eats truly shines. Their  pork nachos and sandwiches are legendary. I mean, diving into their famous pulled pork sandwich, with that unique BBQ sauce, is an adventure in itself. It’s the kind of meal that makes you pause after the first bite just to savor the moment.

Whether you choose to chill on the cool indoor patio or grab a spot upstairs, it’s the perfect place to unwind. The staff are super friendly, making you feel right at home from the get-go.

If you’re looking for unique restaurants in Orlando, Yellow Dog Eats is the place. Don’t forget to bring a pic of your pup to add to their collection and maybe leave your mark on their wall!

Yellow Dog Eats serves up fun, flavor, and quirkiness, a feast for both eyes and taste buds.
Yellow Dog Eats serves up fun, flavor, and quirkiness, a feast for both eyes and taste buds.

10. Jacks London Grill

Jacks London Grill is where the heart of London meets the sunny vibes of Central Florida. Located in St. Petersburg, this friendly neighborhood pub is a slice of British heaven right in Central Florida. For anyone craving authentic British fare like fish and chips, scotch eggs, or Shepherd’s Pie, this spot is a must-visit.

The magic behind Jacks? Peter Leonavicius, a London native who made his way to Tampa in the ’80s. After lending his touch to several local eateries, he decided it was time for something of his own – a place that feels like a casual hangout but serves up dishes with the kind of care you’d expect in a fine dining establishment. And let me tell you, Peter’s commitment to homemade goodness, from the sourdough bread to the pies, really sets Jacks apart.

It’s not just the food that makes Jacks London Grill one of the coolest places to eat in Central Florida. It’s the atmosphere, especially during the World Cup, when the pub transforms into a hub of soccer fandom. Pints, cheers, and the beautiful game – it’s like being in London without leaving the state!

If you’re in the mood for a taste of Britain or just looking for a fun place to catch the next match, head over to Jacks. Trust me, it’s an experience that’s as authentic as it gets.

Discover London vibes in sunny St. Petersburg at Jacks London Grill, serving authentic British fare.
Discover London vibes in sunny St. Petersburg at Jacks London Grill, serving authentic British fare.

11. Sazon Fry & Grill

Craving a fusion of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican flavors that’ll transport your taste buds straight to Latin America? Look no further than Sazon Fry & Grill in Lakeland, FL. From the moment I stepped in and was greeted by the warm, welcoming staff, I knew I was in for a treat.

We kicked things off with the empanadas, and let me tell you, they’re incredible! But the real game-changer? The nachos. Imagine the best nachos you’ve ever had, then elevate that thought because these chips are made to order, delivering a crunch that’s simply unmatched.

The friendly and helpful waitress made the experience even more memorable, ensuring this spot is firmly saved in my go-to list for future dining adventures. And the cherry on top? The live music that fills the air with vibrant Latin rhythms, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the dining experience.

I’m already planning my next visit back to this unique restaurant in Central Florida. Whether it’s the mouth-watering empanadas, the unbeatable nachos, or the lively atmosphere, it’s a spot that’s not to be missed.

Experience Latin fusion at Sazon Fry & Grill, where Venezuelan and Puerto Rican flavors collide for a taste of Latin America.
Experience Latin fusion at Sazon Fry & Grill, where Venezuelan and Puerto Rican flavors collide for a taste of Latin America. | Image Source: https://www.yelp.com/

12. Cocktails & Screams

Looking for one of the most unique bars in Orlando that keeps it spooky all year long? Cocktails & Screams is your go-to spot. Orlando’s only Halloween-themed bar, this place is an absolute must-visit for anyone who believes it’s never too early (or too late) to get into the Halloween spirit.

From the moment you walk in, you’re transported into an endless spooky season. With live music that sets the eerie yet inviting atmosphere and a cocktail list that’s as creative as it is delicious, you’ll find yourself enchanted. The vibe here is all about celebrating the macabre with a fun twist.

In the mood for a night out that’s out of the ordinary? Cocktails & Screams is the place to be. Stop in for a spell and stay for the boo’s – it’s the kind of place where every night feels like a Halloween party. It’s one of the most unique bars in Florida, perfect for those who love a good fright with their night out.

Cocktails & Screams is one of the unique restaurants in Central Florida.
Experience year-round spookiness at Cocktails & Screams, Orlando’s only Halloween-themed bar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Central Florida

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Central Florida? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Central Florida’s most unique restaurants.

What food is Orlando known for?

Orlando is a melting pot of flavors, but if there’s one thing you’ve got to try, it’s the seafood. Being so close to both the Gulf and the Atlantic, the city serves up some of the freshest catches around. What’s more, Orlando’s theme parks bring in a world of flavors, from butterbeer in the Wizarding World to the global tastes at Epcot’s festivals. I recommend diving into the local food truck scene for some real gems. Think gourmet tacos, fusion dishes, and, of course, Florida’s citrus-packed desserts!

What is Florida’s favorite sandwich?

Ah, the Cuban sandwich! This masterpiece layers ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard between freshly baked Cuban bread. Pressed to perfection, it’s a taste of Florida’s rich cultural heritage in every bite. I’d say, make your way to restaurants in Tampa or Miami, where the debate over who makes the ultimate Cuban sandwich rages on. My advice? Try them both and pick your side!

Cuban sandwich at La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa, Florida
Cuban sandwich at La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa, Florida

Which part of Florida has the best food?

This is like asking me to pick my favorite song – impossible! Each part of Florida brings its own flavor to the table. South Florida, with Miami’s vibrant Latin American cuisine, offers dishes that are as colorful as they are delicious. Central Florida, home to Orlando, is a theme park foodie’s dream, plus it has a burgeoning local food scene. And let’s not forget about the Gulf Coast, where seafood reigns supreme. Honestly, the best part is wherever you find yourself hungry!

What is the official state food of Florida?

While Florida doesn’t have an “official” state food, key lime pie proudly holds the title of the state pie. Originating from the Keys, this dessert is the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with a creamy filling, a crunchy graham cracker crust, and a dollop of whipped cream on top. Trust me, nothing says Florida like enjoying a slice of key lime pie under the palm trees.

The top restaurants in Central Florida for all types of travelers
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