We're not talking fancy brunches here; we're talking good, hearty breakfasts to start your day in Orlando. We know you have big plans, but before you hop on the tour bus or head to the theme parks, make sure and get a strong base to keep you going.
Many of Orlando's top chefs agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, they've recently come together to share their favorite recipes with one of Orlando's top food critics, Faiyaz Kara, for the book "Gourmet Breakfasts for the Genius." Even if you're not a genius, but you just love breakfast, you can learn to make some amazing dishes from Kara as well as from Orlando's celebrity chefs like Kevin Dundon at Raglan Road, John Rivers at The Coop, Greg Ritchie at Soco, Norman Van Aken at 1921 and Norman's and many others. Making these recipes at home will be a fun way to recreate your Orlando vacation.
Here are eight of our favorite spots for breakfast, from Winter Park and downtown Orlando, to International Drive and Walt Disney World. Enjoy!
Helmed by Florida's barbecue master, John Rivers, The Coop celebrates the old Southern diner with modern presentations. Located in Winter Park near Hannibal Square, The Coop serves pancakes hot off the griddle, Southern sides, like potatoes and grits, and staples like sausage biscuits and gravy. If you're having trouble deciding, you can't go wrong with the fried green tomato BLT egg sandwich or the chicken and waffle eggs benedict. Now, that's a combo. Opens 7 am Monday-Saturday.
Briarpatch Winter Park
Located right in the heart of the ultra-chic Park Avenue, Briarpatch is the go-to spot for breakfast. Get there early, or you'll have to join the line outside with the Rollins College students. Most long for a desirable seat outside, but the inside features bright and contemporary design and local art. For those with a sweet tooth, the raspberry lemon cream pancakes or the blueberry stuffed pancakes with lemon curd and blueberry syrup are to-die-for. Savory options include truffle fried eggs with grilled vegetables, a ham, brie and apple omelet, and a lump crab meat scramble. Opens 7 am daily and 8 am Sundays.
White Wolf Cafe
Located inside an old antique shop, White Wolf Cafe is a local favorite on the popular Ivanhoe Row near downtown Orlando. Start off with an order of cinnamon rolls with warm vanilla icing before digging into a breakfast sandwich, build-your-own omelet or a traditional benedict. If you're really starving, the "Hungry Like a Wolf," comes with pancakes or French toast, two eggs, hash browns, home fries, grits, and ham, bacon or sausage. Opens at 8 am daily.
Hash House a Go Go
Right in the heart of the International Drive corridor is Hash House a Go Go, convenient to SeaWorld, Universal and the Orlando Eye. The restaurant makes "twisted farm food," featuring old breakfast staples with a contemporary twist. You'll find flapjacks, sausage gravy pot pie, pork tenderloin and tomato benedicts and salmon and pesto egg scrambles. If you've had a big night, order the "O'Hare of the Dog," a 24-ounce Budweiser with a side of bacon. Open 24 hours.
Holler and Dash
With three locations in Tennessee and Alabama, Holler and Dash just opened in Celebration, Florida. You'll find cast-iron skillets of grits and eggs, drunken tomatoes, delicate New Orleans-style beignets and flaky biscuits loaded to the max with pimento cheese, spicy chicken, pickled jalapenos, andouille sausage, kale and country ham. "I've been on a crazy pursuit to perfect the best biscuit," says Brandon Frohne, head chef. "Our biscuits are massive fork-and-knife biscuits. We have 11 chef-crafted biscuits, each with their own personality. Whether you're a fan of sweet heat, savory, we have a little something for everybody." Opens at 7 am daily.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most special and immersive resorts anywhere. Even if you're not staying here, a trip to the lodge is worth it for the animal sightings, amazing architecture and African flavors. The breakfast buffet at Boma features traditional American favorites, with African specialties that will surely delight the taste buds. Load your plate with sweet plantains, spiced potatoes, African fruit fool, hand-carved turkey, quinoa, corned beef hash and fresh Kenyan coffee. Opens at 7:30 am daily.
The most affordable way to enjoy the five-diamond Four Seasons is breakfast, and Ravello is truly top-notch. The spectacular breakfast buffet includes freshly baked almond croissants, assorted artisan cheeses and cured meats, a gourmet omelet station, eggs benedict, granola parfaits and an abundance of fresh fruit. Or, order from the menu with specialties like lemon ricotta French toast with limoncello whipped cream. Disney characters like Minnie, Mickey and Goofy, join the fun on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Opens at 6:30 am daily.
Walt Disney World's classic character breakfast features meals with Mickey Mouse daily at the Contemporary Resort. Enjoy frittatas, carved ham, potato casserole, turkey hash, fruit and sweet treats. The kids will love the classic Mickey-shaped waffles, and you will cherish the photos forever. Opens at 7 am daily.