The Edible Orlando team shares favorite dining finds
This neighborhood fave on 17-92 in Sanford describes itself as a “Japanese style tapas restaurant,” and appetizers are indeed the largest category on Chef Junichi Takazoe’s lengthy bill of fare. While his care is evident even in expected offerings like edamame or tempura, you’ll want to sample harder-to-find choices like Jimotti’s Chicken “Kara-Ague” (chunks of deep-fried marinated chicken thighs), Take A Chance (lightly fried jalepeño peppers stuffed with ahi tuna) or Takoyaki (a batter-based snack that looks like a hush puppy filled with bits of octopus).
Chalkboard specials tout the freshest offerings for sushi as well hot dishes showcasing seasonal fish or organic pork; a bowl of broth-free Summer Ramen features chilled noodles with thin slices of pork, seaweed, cucumber and a marinated soft cooked egg topped with a vinegary sauce. When the weather cools, we’ll be back to wade through the selection of stocks available for hot ramen, including tonkatsu (pork-based), shoyu (soy-sauce based) miso and more. 2545 South French Ave., Sanford; jimotti.com
Mynt Fine Indian Cuisine
Turmeric, cumin, cilantro, cardamom, curry leaf … the piquant aromas of Indian cuisine welcome diners to Mynt Fine Indian Cuisine in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square, the place we head when we’re in the mood for comfort food with a kick. The dining room is small, just 20 seats or so, but upstairs a second dining room with a full bar efficiently handles the overload, with waiters swiftly climbing the stairs with sizzling platters that scent the air.
Whether you’re a newcomer or know the culinary ropes of Indian cuisine, this is classic fare: samosas, bhindi jaipur made with fresh okra, spinach pakora, paneer tikka masala, tandoor chicken—something familiar, something new each visit. Neophytes might request mild spices, but if you love heat, the big, bold dishes will have you dabbing your brow.
Lunch is a bargain ($9-12), served in a stacked tiffin (a sort of Indian lunch box) that holds a main course such as korma, vindaloo, sagwala or masala, as well as an appetizer, soup, naan, steamed rice, papad and dessert. And Sunday brunch is a good way to indoctrinate and try a little of everything . 535 W. New England Ave., Winter Park; myntorlando.com
Hunger Street Tacos
Hunger Street is our go-to for authentic Mexican street food. It’s owned and operated by a guy who knows his stuff—Joseph Creech was born in Mexico and lived there until he was 6. When he returned to Mexico in his 20s, he became “obsessed” with the fresh, scratch-made food served on carts and in windows throughout the country. It was also there that he met his would-be wife, Seydi, a Mexico City native.
Fast-forward several years back in Florida, Creech began cooking Mexican favorites for his wife, who missed the flavors of home, and slowly, Creech’s passion for cooking classic street foods morphed into a restaurant business.
You can expect traditional Mexican flavors—standouts include juicy brisket tacos with spicy-creamy avocado-tomatillo salsa, perfectly saucy chicken tinga tostadas (chicken simmered in a spiced red sauce served over a crisp corn tortilla), addictive potato chips with hot sauce and lime and a super-authentic flan.
Draft and bottle beers and sangria round out the menu. We prefer to go on the early side to snag a table. 2103 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; hungerstreettacos.com