A wave of new openings has hit the Orlando area like an epicurean tsunami. From Spanish cuisine to small plate tapas, the local culinary landscape has just gotten a little more delicious. Here are a few place critics are raving about:

This cozy hipster hangout calls itself a “modern American tapas restaurant” and features an imaginative menu laden with lots of seasonal and local fare. While many critics agree that Scratch (pictured here) is still working through a few kinks, the food has received a lot of praise, including very kind words from restaurant critic Scott Joseph, who sees Scratch’s trajectory as catapulting to the top of Orlando’s list of best restaurants. Read his full review here.

223 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park
(407) 325-5165

Smiling Bison
Chic pub grub and lots of craft beer are served up in an unfussy atmosphere at The Smiling Bison, but most importantly, they serve Poutine! Rona Gindin, restaurant critic for Orlando Life Magazine, doesn’t give restaurants an approving nod very often but when she does it typically means that some serious culinary achievement has ensued. Here’s what she had to say: “The Bison, which has the feel of a happily disheveled dive bar, dishes out expertly prepared repasts, made mostly from locally raised ingredients.” Read her full review here.

745 Bennett Rd. Orlando
(407) 898-8580

Txokos Basque Kitchen
The much-anticipated sister endeavor of recently James Beard award nominated Henry Salgado (of Spanish River Grill, New Smyrna Beach) opens today and early reports all point to greatness. Txokos (pronounced CHO-kohs) will specialize in Basque region cuisine, centered on fish and cured meats. There will be a Gin Tonic menu, cocktails, beer, all-Spanish wine list and a weekday Pintxos (tapas) Happy Hour.

Located at the East End Market
3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando
(321) 972-8852

Also new or opening soon: The Coop (from 4Rivers), Strand, and South + York.

I’ll be visiting all of these restaurants within the next 6 weeks and will share my thoughts once I do. If you’ve been to any or all of them already, leave a comment on this blog post and let us know your impressions.