The Most Historic Restaurants in Orlando

In a city often known for theme park thrills and sunshine, it might seem like a haven for the new and flashy. But Orlando boasts a hidden treasure trove of culinary history. Scratch beneath the surface of this vibrant metropolis, and you'll find a treasure trove of culinary time capsules.

Prepare to abandon the ordinary and pull up a seat at the tables of time, where Orlando's most historic restaurants serve up not just meals, but mouthwatering morsels of local lore.

Originally written in collaboration with Scott Joseph, and updated December 2023 by Meghan Roth and Dani Meyering

Ad for Orlando World Center

Beefy King

Beefy King, the only surviving link from a former sandwich chain, has been serving sandwiches since 1968. The sandwiches are inarguably very good, but it's the friendly folks who run the place that have kept it going so long. Beefy King has become a landmark in Orlando, Florida and three generations have operated the family-owned establishment.

Enzo's on the Lake

Enzo Perlini opened Enzo's on the Lake in 1980 in an old house. It still packs in locals, and I know of one well-known celebrity who regularly drives from his Isleworth home to dine at the Longwood restaurant – after all, it's one of the most romantic restaurants in Orlando.

Lake Patio for Private Events at Enzo's on the Lake
Lake Patio at Enzo's on the Lake – image by Dani Meyering

In 2022, Enzo's on the Lake changed ownership, and Dr. John Khalil and Logan Berkowitz became the new owners. They have taken over the reins and are determined to keep the restaurant's proven formula of success.

Victoria & Albert's

Victoria & Albert's has been in operation for over 30 years, almost all of them with the same executive chef, Scott Hunnel. And for about half of them, Vickie & Al's has been top rated among the country's most respected guides. It's one of the finest dining experiences you'll ever have and certainly one of the most romantic places at Walt Disney World.

Image of the Dining Room at Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort
Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort – The Dining Room – Image Credit: WDW News

The restaurant underwent an extensive renovation and reopened in July 2022. The renovation changed the décor from wood tones to a much brighter environment and added new murals and fixtures.

The Tap Room Restaurant at Dubsdread

Did you know that The Tap Room Restaurant at Dubsdread has been around since 1924? Carl Dann, a man who never passed fourth grade, used his natural business sense and charismatic personality to make up for his lack of education. He founded the Dubsdread golf course, Orlando’s oldest public golf course, in 1924 and opened Dubsdread Restaurant.

Steve Gunter and his former Sam Snead’s partner took over operations of the restaurant and event venue in May 2001, opening The Tap Room at Dubsdread and Dubsdread Catering. The restaurant remains in the same building as when it opened almost 100 years ago. Located on Par Street just off Edgewater Drive, the Tap Room is the gathering spot for neighbors and the city’s elite.

Image of the outside of The Tap Room at Dubsdread at sunset
The Tap Room at Dubsdread – Image Credit: The Tap Room at Dubsdread

Chatham's Place

Over the years, Chatham's Place has kept the same name despite changes in ownership and location. The original location was located in Windermere when Louis Chatham and his brother Randolph first opened the restaurant. In 1989, they moved it to its current spot in an office building across from the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips.

Linda's La Cantina

Don't let the name fool you, La Cantina is a steakhouse that has been serving the Central Florida area since 1947. Even though the restaurant has changed hands and locations over the years, it is still a staple in Orlando.

Having been through their fair share of history and tragedy of a restaurant engulfed in flames, the family members in charge of La Cantina have persevered with their vision for a steak lover's oasis. Linda, the current restaurant's namesake and one of the owners over the years, retired in 2001 but the restaurant's success has continued, making it a classic steakhouse in Orlando.

Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar

Lee & Rick's opened in 1950, as a 9-stool establishment that only served oysters. Lee & Rick ran the restaurant out front and raised their family in the back portion, which served as their home. Today Lee & Rick's is operated by their oldest son and his family, continuing the tradition of this family-run establishment.

Today, the famous concrete shucking bar totals 80 feet in length, seating up to 50 people is a spectacle of delight as oysters are individually shucked for your entertainment, as well as an assurance of their freshness. Lee & Rick's was the first restaurant of its kind to be opened in Central Florida and remains one of the best places for seafood in Orlando

The Town House Restaurant

Located in the heart of Oviedo, the Town House has been serving up good times since the 1950s. At Town House Restaurant, you can get delicious, Greek diner-style gyro meat and fresh, bright tzatziki sauce alongside your eggs right next to a country gravy-slathered house-made biscuit.

The restaurant, which is family-owned and operated, moved to a newer, bigger building in 2016, when road construction closed the original location. Many locals groaned about the loss of a treasure but in its newer space, though, weekend waits are shorter, the food’s just as good, and the old sign has a charming place on the facade.

High Tide Harry's

Since 1995, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious seafood to the Orlando community. They offer delicious burgers, ribs, shrimp, lobster, fresh fish, and more. They are coming up on 30 years in business and have four straight years of winning Best Seafood in Orlando (2019-2023).

Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster – 30th Anniversary

There must be something about beef that keeps a restaurant going, as Christner's is observing its silver anniversary this year. The restaurant has been under the same ownership for the entire quarter century, but not the same name. Nearly 30 years ago, Russ Christner convinced his friend Dale Wamstad to let him open an Orlando version of Wamstad's well-known Dallas steakhouse, and so the world's second Del Frisco's came to Lee Road.

When Christner died in 2005, his wife, Carole, son and daughter-in-law continued to operate the restaurant. When the twenty-year agreement between Christner and Wamstad ended in 2013, so did the Del Frisco's name. Luckily, Christner's survivors have kept up the same great quality of steaks and seafood throughout the years.

Christner's - Most Historic Restaurants in Orlando

More historic eateries in Central Florida:

I don't know if any of these restaurants will reach the historic heights of some of their European counterparts, but I like it when good restaurants endure. Having longtime restaurants lends credence to Central Florida's claim as a dining destination.

Feature image credit: Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster