Kick dinner up a notch at one of these spicy spots where chefs whimsically play with complex flavor combinations that pack a delicious punch.
Bricked walls and dark wood tables with cushy, pillow-laden chairs give this charming Indian eatery a contemporary veneer, but the menu remains traditional with classic Indian cuisine at the forefront. At lunch and dinner, items can be customized from a wide spectrum of mild to hot sauces, which are best sopped up with one of the six different types of naan bread offered. Those with a brave palate ought to try the Chicken Vindaloo, a volcanic dish best enjoyed alongside a velvety smooth and cooling mango lassi. 7724 W. Sand Lake Road.
Thai Thani (Thai)
All the typical Thai favorites, including curries, Phad Thai and Satay, are unfailingly served with a relentless dedication to traditional Thai cuisine. Menu standouts include Phad Poong Karee, a yellow curry stir-fry packed with seafood and veggies, and the Phad Panang, a spicy dish prepared with coconut milk. Order a few dishes to share followed by a dessert of deep-fried sliced bananas that are served wrapped in pastry and slathered in honey. 600 Market St., Celebration; 10025 International Drive.
This hole-in-the-wall eatery in the up-and-coming Mills 50 District touts itself as Cajun, but don’t be surprised if you get hints of Vietnamese flavors thanks to the owner’s heritage. A menu packed with seafood, including a fiery gumbo, catfish po’boy sandwiches, sweet, steamed snow crab, crawfish and blue crab, gives a nod to Louisiana, but über-hot sauces, like the much-loved sha-bangin sauce, take spicy Cajun to a whole new level. Be sure to save room for the fresh beignets. 1242 E. Colonial Drive.
Cocina 214 (Mexican)
This Tex Mex eatery boasts a clandestine locale down a Park Avenue side street and arguably the area’s best house-made guacamole. Test that claim by ordering the Guacamole Trio, which comes with three varieties made with blue cheese, mango pineapple and habañero, all of which make for a delightful app alongside one of Cocina 214’s craft margaritas. Praised for their plethora of vegan and vegetarian offerings, chefs also crank out a mean plate of blackened fish tacos, which, when doused with the house-made coconut habañero salsa, can open up the sinuses for weeks. 151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park.
This African-inspired eatery inside Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge wows with glimpses of giraffes, zebra and ostriches freely roaming by the window, but the Indian-style cuisine gets its share of applause, too. Inside a dining room with colors reminiscent of a Savannah sunset, guests enjoy Indian-style bread service, delicious butter chicken and a slew of other kid-friendly dishes best enjoyed family-style. 3701 Osceola Parkway.
Spice Road Table (Moroccan)
This new, small-plates restaurant located in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase uses colorful décor and aromatic flavors to transport diners across the globe. Located right on the water with terrace seating in full view of the World Showcase Lagoon’s nightly fireworks show, this coveted spot is the ideal place to sip sangria while sharing a series of 12 small plate offerings, such as the zesty Moroccan merguez sausage and the tzatziki-laden lamb slider. Admission required.