Ever pondered where to discover entertaining locations to dine in Central Florida? Trust me, it’s not all about the theme sites. I’ve been on a mission to uncover the most distinctive establishments around here, and let me tell you, the adventure has been nothing short of spectacular.

My excursions have lead me to some of the most distinctive dining experiences you can imagine. From the ominous, ghostly ambiance of Cocktails & Screams to the warm, inviting atmosphere of Nile Ethiopian, where the injera is as authentic as it comes, there’s no scarcity of exceptional restaurants in Central Florida.

So, if you’re ready to liven up your culinary routine with some genuinely distinctive locations, stay with me. I’ve got the inside information on where to locate the most entertaining restaurants in Central Florida that will transform your next meal into an adventure.

Unusual & Quirky Restaurants in Central FL

Ready to explore Central Florida’s finest eateries? We’re descending into a world where every meal is an adventure, from high-end culinary delights to the most endearing concealed treasures. Let’s embark on a voyage to discover the quirkiest sites to dine in Central Florida.

Ever thought about dining in a place where Halloween is celebrated all year round, or perhaps savoring a meal in a historic residence from the 1920s? Central Florida’s dining environment is as vibrant and variegated as it gets. Here’s your ultimate guide to the most distinctive restaurants in Central Florida.

1. Nile Ethiopian

NILE ETHIOPIAN, Orlando - International Drive - Menu, Prices & Restaurant  Reviews - Tripadvisor

If you’re searching for a dining experience that’s genuinely out of the ordinary in Central Florida, let me point you towards Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. Since opening its doors in 2006, this treasure has been dishing out award-winning delicacies that are as genuine as they come. Take it from me, as someone who’s always on the hunt for distinctive places to dine in Orlando, Nile offers an adventure that’s hard to rival.

Nile serves up authentic Ethiopian dishes that are a feast not just for the taste senses but for the spirit. Whether you’re desiring some substantial sirloin, delicate lamb, or something on the greener side like vegetarian or vegan options, Nile’s got it all. And the spices? They’re the genuine deal, transporting you directly to Ethiopia with every bite.

2. Babushka’s

Ever fantasized of a meal so comfortable it feels like a loving embrace from grandma? Welcome to Babushka’s, where every dish is a spoonful of affection and solace. This establishment is all about bringing that peerless Babushka cuisine out of Eastern Europe and directly into the center of the Tampa Bay Area. And let me tell you, it’s one of the finest restaurants in Central Florida for anyone yearning a taste of home or adventure.

The narrative of Babushka’s starts off in 2018, prompted by a Russian student at USF who observed a glaring void in the local culinary scene: a significant dearth of Russian & Eastern European flavors. Fast forward to now, and this site is dishing out the kind of dishes that not only satisfy your tummy but soothe your soul too. Think classic Borscht that echoes with every serving, Pierogi that are little packets of delight, and Blinchiki that’ll sweeten up your day like no other.

3. El Ambia Cubano

Imagine stepping into a place where you’re not just a customer, but a cherished friend. That’s El Ambia Cubano for you, Melbourne’s heart and essence of Cuban cuisine since 2009. This restaurant offers a glimpse of Cuba right in the center of historical downtown Melbourne.

The tale behind El Ambia is as flavorful as its cuisine. The proprietor, a heroic aviator, navigating his way to freedom from Cuba, lands in Melbourne and resolves to scatter a little piece of his homeland’s enchantment in this corner of the globe. El Ambia Cubano is his tribute to Cuba. It’s a place where nostalgia for his country transforms into jubilant gatherings around authentic Cuban dishes.

4. The Edison

Stepping into The Edison feels like you’ve time-traveled back to the booming ’20s, but with a twist. Located in Disney Springs, this location is an absolute spectacle. Picture this: a space that’s part power facility, part Gatsby-esque party scene. I was taken away by the atmosphere the instant I strolled in!

With its seven distinct areas to investigate, you’re in for a treat whether you’re here for a meal or a full-blown night out. The waterfront balcony? A fantasy for vistas. And the decor? It’s like strolling into a futuristic fantasy.

5. Mazzaro’s Italian Market

Tour Mazzaro's | Mazzaro's Italian Market

If you’re seeking an Italian excursion without the flight, Mazzaro Italian Market in St. Petersburg is my go-to destination. Believe me, entering into Mazzaro’s is like teleporting to Italy. The atmosphere is vibrant, and the cuisine is out of this world.

I’m talking about a charcuterie counter where the sandwiches are so delicious, you’ll believe you’ve died and gone to Italian paradise. The pasta is freshly prepared every day. It’s a carb lover’s fantasy come true. But wait until you reach the coffee bar – their flavor is so robust, every drink feels like a little Italian embrace.

6. Street Cafe

Discovering Street Cafe in Lakeland was like finding a piece of Egypt I never knew I was missing. This intimate location is a must-visit for anyone desiring authentic Egyptian delicacies. One bite and you’re transported to the center of Cairo.

The menu excels with Egyptian staples. From the richly fragrant shawarma to the comforting koshari, every morsel is a celebration of tradition. I heartily recommend having baklava here. It’s unadulterated delight, concluding your meal on a saccharine note.

7. Colorado Fondue Company

Colorado Fondue Company in Casselberry, Florida, is where the magic occurs. This place takes the fondue game to a whole new level. Imagine barbecuing your meats on a searing 750°F rock right at your table – it’s an extraordinary experience. And let me tell you, the flavors are out of this world.

The atmosphere here is always vibrant, particularly when the holidays come around. They go all out with the décor, converting the place into a festive wonderland. It’s the kind of location that makes any dinner feel like a celebration.

8. 1921 Mount Dora

When I fell upon 1921 Mount Dora, it was like uncovering a secret location in one of the top places to live and visit in Central Florida that I just had to share. Tucked away in Mount Dora, this restaurant is a standout not just for its cuisine but for its home—a genuine 1921 building that’s as full of character as its menu.

Dining in this historic location feels like a mini escape. It’s intimate, it’s unique, and it’s got stories engraved into every corner. Trust me, the atmosphere here is something you won’t find anywhere else. It’s like dining in a piece of Florida history, but with a modern twist.

9. Yellow Dog Eats

Photos & Videos | Yellow Dog Eats

Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha is a location that’s all about enjoyment, flavor, and a dose of eccentricity. From the instant I learned about it, I knew I had to check it out. Let me assure you, it did not disappoint! This place is a feast for both the sights and the taste receptors, situated a bit away from Orlando’s bustle.

Walking in, you’re greeted by an atmosphere that’s unmistakably Key West meets rustic appeal. The décor is eclectic, filled with vibrant colors, quirky paintings, and, of course, photographs of canines everywhere. It’s like entering into a different universe.

10. Jacks London Grill

Jacks London Grill is where the spirit of London meets the sunny atmosphere of Central Florida. Located in St. Petersburg, this genial neighborhood pub is a sliver of British paradise right in Central Florida. For anyone seeking authentic British fare like fish and chips, scotch eggs, or Shepherd’s Pie, this location is a must-visit.

The magic behind Jacks? Peter Leonavicius, a London expatriate who made his way to Tampa in the ’80s. After lending his hand to several local establishments, he decided it was time for something of his own – a place that feels like an informal gathering but serves up dishes with the kind of attention you’d expect in a fine dining establishment. And let me tell you, Peter’s commitment to handcrafted deliciousness, from the sourdough bread to the desserts, really sets Jacks apart.