Soul food represents a cherished American staple. Rich in history and steeped in family tradition, these recipes offer the epitome of comfort food and regional flair. Soul food recipes also offer a great way to step outside the box and experience a unique medley of flavor profiles from the American South, West Africa, and Western Europe. A look at the best soul food you must try in central Florida can provide the perfect inspiration for expanding your culinary horizons.
Top 10 Soul Food Restaurants You Must Try In Central Florida
1. P & D Soul Food Kitchen
Featured in the Orlando Sentinel, this eatery sells savory favorites such as baked chicken, roasted turkey wings, fried pork chops, and smoked oxtail. After selecting a mouthwatering main dish, you can choose from sides that include macaroni and cheese, collard greens, potato salad, okra and tomatoes, cornbread, or even succotash. With curbside pickup and delivery available, this Orlando restaurant is an ideal way to grab food for the soul.
2. Nikki’s Place Southern Cuisine
As the name implies, Nikki’s Place takes pride in supplying patrons with Southern comfort food. For breakfast, you can chow down on steamy goodness like shrimp and grits, smoked ham, salmon patties, and even grilled tilapia or fried catfish. Stopping by for lunch? Try a fried pork chop or smothered rib tips. For dinner, you can feast on fried chicken wings, meatloaf, or Carolina beef stew. With delicious sides and substitutes, this is a great option for those craving home cooking.
Looking for soul food with Caribbean infusion? Seana’s soul food is the way to go. Foremost, the restaurant features staples like fried chicken, pork chops, sweet potatoes, and candied yams. However, you can also sample Caribbean flavors like fried whiting or snapper, jerk chicken pasta, and seafood macaroni and cheese. The restaurant tops the food listings off with a stunning Caribbean cocktail menu, making it an excellent choice for feel-good vibes.
4. Oley’s Kitchen & Smokehouse
Those searching for authentic American barbecue need look no further than Oley’s Kitchen. For over 30 years, this Orlando smokehouse has provided diners with flavorful breakfast, lunch, and dinner straight from the grill. Popular menu items include chicken and waffles or brisket omelets for breakfast, jerk chicken sandwiches for lunch, and pulled pork or barbecue ribs for dinner. The menu features sauce styles ranging from Memphis to Mississippi – guaranteed to satisfy any palette.
5. Rooted Garden
Rooted Garden combines All-American favorites with the rich flavors of the African diaspora. For example, you can easily order shrimp and grits along with home fries for breakfast, and then stop by for lunch and pick up anything from American grilled cheese to oxtail soup.
6. Sunshine Soulfood Cafe
Sunshine Soulfood Cafe is an all-day eatery designed to leave you with a cheery disposition. For breakfast, feast on corned beef hash and omelets, or go all out with Sunshine breakfast specials. Lunch and dinner options include everything from turkey and gravy to ribs and chitterlings.
7. Carter’s BBQ and Soul Food
Lake Wales, Florida
Those interested in old-fashioned cooking can enjoy fast delivery or pickup from Carter’s BBQ. Committed to the slogan of “just plain good,” this eatery features entrees like whole slabs of ribs, side dishes like corn fritters and hush puppies, and desserts like peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.
8. Eat N Wash
Eat N Wash offers a unique approach to surf and turf by combining African American and Cajun food favorites. Diners can enjoy entrees ranging from savory steak and snow crab to lobster served with fried chicken wings.
9. Jesse’s Rib Shack
Jesse’s Rib Shack is a no-brainer if you are interested in every type of barbecue imaginable. Grab a rib sandwich or rib tips or go all out and select a full rack of ribs with special sauce. Complete your order with Jesse’s signature seafood rice along with pineapple lemonade or sweet tea.
10. The Licking
As a world-famous soul food restaurant, The Licking provides chef-inspired favorites rooted in ethnic tradition. Diners can munch on bistro-style appetizers like fried broccoli and chicken rolls, feast on entrees like fried lobster, and enjoy delectable desserts like red velvet cake.
The Bottom Line
A representative of American history and cooked to perfection, soul food is a great way to experience the vivid flavor and warm comfort all at once. Whether you want to support local businesses or sample food that is straight from the heart, it does not get much better than the best soul food you must try in central Florida.