Hungry visitors have plenty of dining options at this year's Orlando Fringe Festival, two weeks of theatrical revelry continuing through May 28.
There are food and beverage vendors on the lawn between the various performing-arts facilities in Loch Haven Park, where much of the Fringe is located, and the nearby neighborhoods offer an eclectic assortment of restaurants before and after the festivities.
New this year is TheDailyCity.com Food Truck Court. From noon-8 p.m. May 18, 19, 25 and 26, three mobile food vendors will assemble outside the Visual Fringe building, 1427 Alden Road. Food offerings on The Green at Fringe are always a huge draw but the trucks will spice up the choices.
Restaurant choices near the Fringe include:
Anh Hong, 1124 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando; 407-999-2656: Try the papaya salad with shrimp and pork or any of the rice vermicelli entrees.
Atilla's Bar & Grill Turkish Kitchen, 1326 N. Mills Ave.; 407-898-0999; steakandsaladorlando.com: Fresh salads, juicy steaks and Turkish fare.
Bananas Modern American Diner, 924 N. Mills Ave.; 407-480-2200; bananasdiner.com: This is ground zero for comfort food in the Mills 50 district. From-scratch meatloaf, chicken pot pie and Thanksgiving dinner year-round. What's not to like?
Chuan Lu Garden, 1101 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando (adjacent to Ginza Japanese Steakhouse, between Thornton and Mills avenues); 407-896-8966; Chuanlugarden.com: This is the place for Sichuan cuisine at its best. Try the medium-spiced chong qing lazi chicken, cumin lamb and hand-pulled Lanzhou-style style noodle soup.
Dandelion Communitea Café, 618 N. Thornton Ave.; 407-362-1864; dandelioncommunitea.com: The focus here is on organic vegetarian cuisine with a preference for locally sourced ingredients. I love the giddyup (spring greens, blue corn chips, chili, diced tomatoes and scallions with organic dairy cheddar and green goddess dressing).
Forbidden City, 948 N. Mills Ave.; 407-894-5005: The honey garlic chicken is fab at this longtime neighborhood favorite. And keep plenty of water on the table for the fiery Hunan shrimp.
Funky Monkey Wine Co., 912 N. Mills Ave.; 407-427-1447; funkymonkeywine.com: A wonderful concept with good pours, sushi and daily specials. For an appetizer, order the Monkey balls (seasoned rice, soy, green onions, cream cheese, sesame oil and herbs) and you won't be disappointed with how the kitchen handles beef and seafood.
Gargi's Lakeside Italian Ristorante: 1414 N. Orange Ave., 407-894-7907; gargislakeside.com: Perhaps one of the best sunsets in Orlando. From the menu, don't miss the manicotti or chicken Francese or piccata.
Hawkers Asian Street Fare, 1103 N. Mills Ave.; 407-237-0606; hawkersstreetfare.com: Menu fuses Malaysian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian fare into an impressive menu. The fried spring onion ginger wings with five-spice seasoning sauce on the side excels in restrained seasoning, leaving just the right hints of everything promised. The jicama salad is a riff on a Malaysian pasembur salad, featuring shredded jicama, cucumber, carrots and bean sprouts tossed in a sweet-sour dressing. Try the tacos with an Asian twist of five-spice fish and roast duck.
King Cajun Crawfish, 914 N. Mills Ave.; 407-704-8863; kingcajuncrawfish.com: In the heart of the Asian district, the flavors and textures of New Orleans cookery ring true in this hole-in-the-wall. The sandwiches are generous and the crawfish wonderfully messy with a nice kick of heat.
Little Saigon, 1106 E. Colonial Drive; 407-423-8539; littlesaigonrestaurant.com: Award-winning restaurant with exceptional noodle soups and rice plates.
Pho 88, 730 N. Mills Ave.; 407-897-3488; pho88orlando.com: Try the beef noodle soup or one of the dozen bánh mì (Vietnamese sub) selections.
Tako Cheena, 932 N. Mills Ave.; 321-236-7457; Tako Cheena by Pom Pom on Facebook: The restaurant's small menu has nuances of the Caribbean and Asia, with touches of Latin America in an ultra-hip deli configuration.
Viet Garden, 1237 E. Colonial Drive; 407-896-4154; vietgardenorlando.com: Economical restaurant is good for groups and offers Thai selections as well as its namesake fare.
White Wolf Cafe, 1829 N. Orange Ave.; 407-895-9911; whitewolfcafe.com: Bohemian White Wolf is known for great breakfasts (fluffy pancakes and eggs), lunches (soups, salads and sandwiches) and dinners (steaks, chops and lobster mac and cheese).
Wolfies Pizzamia, 1905 N. Orange Ave, Orlando (a few doors down from White Wolf Café); 407-237-0921; wolfiespizzamia.com: White Wolf Café has a sibling. With its architectural and eclectic trimmings, Wolfies' dining room is a chip off the old block. Wolfies Pizzamia spotlights Italian fare with a from-scratch approach complete with house-cured meats.
Find more dining ideas during Fringe at OrlandoSentinel.com/restaurants.
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