When a late-night craving strikes, visitors to (and residents of) Orlando are well taken care of. Neighborhoods around downtown offer something to suit every taste, from fusion tacos to fluffy pancakes. Fear not the after-dark snack emergency—here are our top picks for a case of the midnight munchies.
Serving up Asian fusion tacos and burritos, Tako Cheena opened to almost instant popularity a few years ago in the Mills 50 District—so much so that it has outgrown its small space and will soon open a second, larger location, right up the street. Open from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday, the menu offers a variety of house “takos,” as well as a rotating empanada selection, Asian hot dogs, and creative burritos such as the Thai Panang chicken burrito, featuring jasmine rice, bell peppers, and peanut sauce. As for tacos, don’t leave without trying the both the Indian yellow curry crispy tofu and the Chinese BBQ char siu pork belly varieties.
With locations both downtown and in the up-and-coming Milk District, Gringos Locos has your bar-time queso needs covered. Both locations are open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., although the Milk District space is much smaller, so you may be dipping your chips outside or on the small patio behind the restaurant. Not to overemphasize tacos too much, but you must try the Double Ds: a double decker taco with queso spread on a soft tortilla, wrapped around a crunchy taco shell. Take your pick of meats, and throw on some cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream, and you’ll be full at least until breakfast. And did we mention that queso?
A bit further east from downtown (and a definite Uber-ride away) is Oblivion Taproom, a hopping bar and late-night dining destination in one. Home to one of Orlando’s best burgers (as well as tap lists), you’ll want to come hungry and thirsty. Open from Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., you can sample the full menu until close. Each night the kitchen offers featured specials like beef stroganoff or a Monte Cristo sandwich, but you’ve got to try one of the burgers, such as the Jala-Pine-O, with grilled pineapple, bacon, and jalapeño cream cheese. Trust us, get the tots for your side. Oblivion also hosts lots of special events from movie nights to keg tappings; check its Facebook page for the most up-to-date info.
IHOP (yes, really)
North of Thornton Park on the main east-west thoroughfare Colonial Drive is an institution you’ll be well acquainted with: that Old Reliable of breakfast joints, IHOP. And although it’s part of a national chain, it nonetheless deserves inclusion in this list, for where else can you get a T-bone steak and eggs with crispy hash browns, or a stack of chocolate chocolate chip pancakes at 3:30 in the morning? Nowhere, my friends. Open 24 hours, seven days a week, IHOP offers the late-night Orlando crowd a fantastic breakfast, served by friendly waitstaff. And the best part is that if you eat first breakfast at 3 a.m., you’ll be hungry again by 9 a.m. — just in time for second breakfast.
The Vegan Hot Dog Cart
“Vegan” isn’t a word used to describe hot dogs very often, but in the case of the Vegan Hot Dog Cart, you’ll be glad it does. Long a staple of the Orange Avenue bar scene, you know it’s good when tipsy bar-goers line up night after night. The always-busy food truck is open seven nights a week from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m., with some daytime weekend hours too. So what’s on the menu? You’ll start with a basic soy-based dog (as the cart says, “free of lips, toes and a#$holes”…well, you get the picture) and top it how you like, with choices including fried onions, sweet relish, Sriracha, cheeze, chili, onions, and jalapeños. One bite of this flavorful frank and we guarantee you’ll never miss the meat.