Ah, brunch. That magical, mystical meal in which you can eat breakfast at lunchtime, convince yourself that mimosas are an entirely proper vitamin C delivery system, and imbibe during the day without judgment. I love brunch, and in fact, when I’m running behind on book deadlines and must spend Saturdays and Sundays working, I’m saddest about having to miss one of my favorite meals of the week. If you’re here on vacation, there are a plethora of brunch options near the theme parks, and if you have kids, you absolutely can’t miss one of the wonderful character meals offered throughout the tourist district. Beyond that, Orlando is a city that loves food as much as it loves leisure, so prepare to be rocked by any of these five relaxing brunch options (or by many of the other brunch offerings across the city, many of which offer decadent buffets or all-you-can-drink mimosas). See you at the waffle station!
With four locations in Orlando, this local chain is at their best on Saturdays and Sundays, especially in the Thornton Park (downtown Orlando) location. Make sure not to miss the Dexter’s Benedict (the in-house take on eggs benedict, served on French bread) and the Maple Leaf Farms Duck Bacon. The mimosas come in seven flavors, and the bloody Marys are perfection. Dexter’s serves a nice breakfast Monday through Friday too.
This restaurant inside downtown Orlando’s Grand Bohemian Hotel hosts a popular Sunday Jazz Brunch, featuring live music and an expansive buffet (plus an a la carte menu, from which you can order as part of the buffet price). Choose from fresh waffles, an omelet station, a prime rib carving station, a seafood display, an antipasti display and more. Great people watching.
Villa de Flora
Inside the sprawling Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center (near Walt Disney World), this huge buffet is in a Mediterranean-style setting. From an antipasti display to a huge selection of baked goods, and from soups and salads to seafood paella, smoked salmon and breakfast specialties, this brunch has it all.
Maxine’s on Shine
This is one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando, a secret gem among locals. Tucked away on a residential street in the downtown area, this delightfully colorful family-owned restaurant, run by a hardworking husband and wife team, offers a “Rejuicination Brunch” on weekends. Local soft rock and folk musicians play while you dine on specialties like the out-of-this-world chicken and waffles or the ridiculous but delicious Warnin’ In Da Mornin’ bloody Mary with a beer floater and bacon stir.
Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues
A choir rocks your world with contemporary and traditional gospel songs while you sample every Southern-style brunch specialty you can think of at this all-you-can-eat buffet. Choose from a 10:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. seating every Sunday; be sure to pick your seats and buy your tickets in advance. Not hungry enough for a huge buffet but still craving a show? Venture downtown to the wonderful Hamburger Mary’s, where the weekly drag queen Broadway Brunch offers dramatic show tunes and raunchy jokes – free with the price of your meal.