By Emily Wells | STC Student Member
While most people think of theme parks and other attractions, Orlando has something else to offer: amazing food. And with the official 2018 Summit hotel located right on International Drive (I-Drive), the choices are endless. From chain restaurants to mom-and-pop diners, Asian to Coastal Florida cuisine, I-Drive offers options for everyone.
If you’re looking to stay in the hotel, you have three popular options right in the hotel: Urban Tide, featuring seafood and Coastal Florida cuisine; Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, featuring Milan-inspired dishes prepared in an open kitchen; and The B-Line Diner, featuring comfort food served 24 hours a day.
For those wanting to stretch their legs, try one of the restaurants at the nearby Pointe Orlando. The Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar serves Asian-American cuisine and has over 100 different wines. The food was so good, Executive Chef Ashley Nickell was featured on the Food Network, where Gordon Ramsay said she was “born to cook” on Hell’s Kitchen. Another option is Taverna Opa, a Greek restaurant known as much for its food as for its hopping entertainment, including nightly belly dancing and live music. If you’re looking for a more relaxing atmosphere, try Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. Be taken back to 1950s Havana for some delicious Cuban cuisine and drinks. Or, if you’re looking for some Italian, try Maggiano’s made-from-scratch food, including a delicious bruschetta bar.
Looking for a quick or familiar meal? Don’t worry, there are many chain restaurants in the area including McDonald’s, TGI Fridays, Johnny Rockets, Red Lobster, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Friendly’s, and Denny’s.
Want to explore on your own?
If you’re looking to explore further down I-Drive, as part of the Hyatt Regency Orlando resort fee, guests receive two tickets for the I-Drive Trolley every day. Running daily from 8:00 AM–10:30 PM, the Trolley has two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line. Arriving every 20-30 minutes, the Red Line trolleys stay on I-Drive while the Green Line trolleys cover other roads. If you take the Trolley, you can visit I-Drive 360, home of the Orlando Eye and even more food choices, such as Tapa Toro, serving up delicious Spanish cuisine and entertainment; Tin Roof Orlando, where musicians gather to play and where the food is “better than bar food”; and Yard House, serving up an eclectic collection of food (including a vegetarian menu) and over 100 beers on tap.
Finally, if you’re looking to try new food while saving money, there are several ways to do so. To start, both AARP and AAA offer discounts at local restaurants. Another option are websites Restaurant.com and RetailMeNot. Restaurant.com offers discounted certificates for local restaurants, such as a “spend $5 for $25” certificate, while RetailMeNot offers coupons for many chain restaurants such as Chili’s, Applebee’s, and Red Lobster. While these can provide amazing deals, make sure to read the fine print closely, as some certificates or coupons require a minimum spending amount or are only valid at certain times. Finally, Groupon offers great deals both attraction and food-wise in Orlando, giving you the chance to explore our city without draining your wallet.
Meetup opportunities during the Summit
Speaking of eating during the Summit, the Florida Chapter is hosting two get-togethers in honor of STC’s 65th Anniversary. These will be geared towards allowing attendees to meet, socialize, and network with other attendees while they enjoy some amazing Orlando cuisine (including at several restaurants discussed in this article). The first is a Pub Crawl, which will take place on Monday night, May 21. The second is a Diner Meetup, which will take place on Tuesday night, May 22. If you would like to learn more about these events, please visit The Florida Chapter’s Facebook page (@stcorlando).
No matter where you choose to eat, have a good time and a good meal, and enjoy your time in Orlando and at the Summit. We’ll see you soon!