We are looking for non-chain restaurants in Orlando & Miami for a family with young kids (2 & 4)
September 8, 2009 12:09 PM   Subscribe

We are looking for non-chain restaurants in Orlando & Miami for a family with young kids

We are traveling to Florida soon and are looking for recommendations for dining out with kids (2 year old and 4 year old).

Most of our meals will probably be lunches (if that matters). Assume that they both aren't too picky of eaters (so we don't need to do the diner/mac cheese/corndog route).

Cuisine - We would be most interested in non chain type restaurants. examples: authentic cuban food, fresh seafood, italian, mexican

Price - not too expensive since we are with younger kids although we would be willing to splurge a couple of times.

Location - Orlando/Miami although we have a rental so we will be all over the state really.

posted by rdurbin to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's some good local seafood to be had at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, about an hour east of Orlando, if that's not too far out of your way. Little kids would not be out of place; ambience is very casual. There are also some pretty good authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Orlando, if that interests you.
posted by molybdenumblue at 12:18 PM on September 8, 2009

Also: Caribbean food! Lots of Jamaican delis and bakeries in and around Pine Hills area in Orlando (be warned that there are some pretty dodgy neighborhoods nearby). My Bahamian friend likes the Sunshine Bakery best.
posted by molybdenumblue at 12:28 PM on September 8, 2009

Miami on the cheap filter: I really like the Last Carrot in Coconut Grove, Miami. For pizza, Casola's is pretty good, and has insanely ginormous slices. And it ain't much to look at, but Taco Rico in Coral Gables is really cheap and delicious - and serves bottomless chips with an array of salsas.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:58 PM on September 8, 2009

One of my favorite lunch places in Miami is Caciques - very filling and inexpensive Cuban food located on a bustling corner in downtown Miami. Within a stones throw of the Miami Art Museum and Natural History museum as well as MetroRail's Government Station.

Also, I love lunch or dinner at the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne - decent seafood with a great view of downtown Miami's skyline.

I'd also recommend Casola's - its a great late night spot.
posted by cinemafiend at 1:50 PM on September 8, 2009

What about Haitian? Tap Tap Haitian on South Beach is fun, delicious, and cheap.

I also recommend Pita Hut on Miami Beach - delicious and cheap. I see lots of kids there. I've never been to Israel, but I hear the food is authentic.

Lime Fresh on South Beach is also cheap, fresh, laid back. I've never been disappointed.

Also, Big Pink on Miami Beach - this place is full of kids - huge menu, usually delicious. It's the kind of place where just about everyone can find something they like - breakfast all day, and otherwise a whole bunch of "American" type food.
posted by semacd at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2009

If you're doing Disney, check out some of the restaurants in Lake Buena Vista and specifically inside Downtown Disney. Late at night it gets to be a bit of a party atmosphere, but if you're there after a day at the parks you'll really enjoy Wolfgang Puck's or Bongo's. This would be the one time to splurge.

Conversely, Universal CityWalk has some great restaurants - Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Margaritaville, and Pat O'Brien's come to mind, as does NBA City and Hard Rock Café. I believe the first and the last are chains - but they don't feel like chains: each one has its own unique environment and ambience.

If you're a bit north of Orlando in Seminole County, my personal place of residence, check out Seasons 52 in Altamonte Springs. A bit pricey, but seriously some of the best food ever.

If you're making the trek into downtown Orlando, on Colonial Drive/SR 50, there's the Little Saigon neighborhood in the area. Very nice for authentic Vietnamese food.

Check out this list and I'll be glad to take any further questions, regarding Orlando cuisine: Family-Friendly Food in Orlando
posted by seandq at 4:28 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Skip all the Universal restaurants except Emeril's. Others are nothing special. Good French place near downtown called Le Coq Au Vin. Season's 52 is usually good but it is a Darden brand. Still a nice place. There are 2 located at opposite ends of O'town metro area so one should be close to you. Antonio's is locally owned. Only been to the one in Maitland but it is great. If you like Thai I highly recommend Thai Delight. It has a huge local cult following. Not pretty and service can be slow. Also be forewarned Fox News on the TVs and pictures of "W", but the food is awesome. Cash only. Good German place in Sanford called The Willow Tree Cafe. Usually live German music on Weekends. Family type of place. For Hot dogs only place is Hot dog Heaven. Have a great trip!
posted by white_devil at 11:01 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Good German place in Sanford called The Willow Tree Cafe. Usually live German music on Weekends. Family type of place.

Throwing my two cents behind this one too. I've gone here many a time so I guess it just slipped my mind. My favorite is seeing the owner, Theo, come down midday in a Willow Tree shirt and pajama pants. Just adds to the atmosphere of the place, which is, dare I say, w√ľnderbar.
posted by seandq at 8:29 PM on September 9, 2009

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