Two Vegan-Friendly Orlando Restaurants Land Yelp’s Top 100 US Restaurants 2023
Yelp's 2023 Top 100 Places to Eat list is out, and two Orlando vegan-friendly places have made it to the list! See below for their profiles of Selam Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine (which secured spot #9) and Hungry Pants (which secured spot #42).
CONTENT WARNING: Non-vegan dishes are discussed in the post below (and one non-vegan picture), as neither of the two restaurants that made the list are totally vegan. If these images and text are disturbing to you, do not proceed.
9. Selam Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine, Orlando, Florida
Selam Meat and Veggie Combination Special
Having cemented its reputation in Orlando for high-quality East African cuisine, Selam has made repeat visits to Yelp’s top-restaurant lists for the US and Florida. Huge, colorful platters dot nearly every table at this family-style spot, located in a bustling shopping center. Diners scoop up spiced-just-right stewed meats and pureed veggies with injera (the spongy, fermented bread served with Ethiopian and Eritrean food), while Ethiopian music and music videos play in the background. Yelp Elite Daniel H. calls the food “an explosion of flavor in my mouth…like a party for my taste buds that I never wanted to end.”
Don’t miss the Ethiopian coffee ceremony after dinner, which includes a brief explanation of the tradition. A slice of flaky baklava in honey sauce is the perfect finish to this savory meal.
Popular dishes: Shareable meat and veggie (or vegetarian-only) combos, with a handful of small side dishes and fluffy injera, are the overwhelming crowd-pleasers. Other favorites include clay pots filled with traditionally spiced chunks of beef or lamb sauteed in butter, onions, peppers, and tomatoes; fried triangular samosas; and kitfo, which is herbed, buttery minced steak with a house-made soft cheese.
Yelpers say: “Such a fun and delicious experience! Our server was so kind, friendly, and knowledgeable! The chicken samosas…were obviously handmade and fresh. We shared a meat-and-veggie combination special and a veggie plate. I loved all the different flavors and textures…the chicken and beef were both tender and flavorful. I can’t wait to go back.” —Jenna H.
42. Hungry Pants, Orlando, Florida
MDP (Most Delicious Potatoes)
Co-owners Joey Conicella and Alex Marin bill Hungry Pants as a “plant-curious, fast-fine eatery” that serves inventive comfort food for vegans and carnivores alike. Here, diners indulge in “guilt-free, healthy, but OH SO TASTY” dishes designed by the cheerful duo behind Orlando’s beloved Yum Yum Cupcake Truck. While their former hotspot is now shuttered, they brought the same playful spirit to this counter-service diner, which sparkles with baby-pink walls, a whimsical mural, and artfully framed pairs of pants.
Yelpers give thumbs-up to traditional diner items, like the thick grass-fed cheeseburger—but veggies are the stars of the show, with veggie/vegan substitutes for almost every dish. For example, the Belgian waffle, which features “the perfect balance of crispy edges and soft insides,” is topped with vegan butter, a fresh-made fruit compote, and maple syrup. Or try crispy cauliflower-sweet potato tots with chipotle ranch dipping sauce. Yelpers love to wash it down with one of the sake-based cocktails, lavender oat milk, or refreshing sodas like ginger-cucumber. Still craving the sauces after your meal? You can now buy them to take home.
Popular dishes: Often-cited Yelper faves include the Saucy Brussels in sweet and spicy chili sauce or the MDP (Most Delicious Potatoes) roasted sweet potatoes with yogurt and almond gremolata or a vegan cilantro aioli. Don’t miss luscious slices of top-selling pies either, like Sour Orange on South (a “game changer” reminiscent of key lime pie) and vegan Chocolate Silk.
Yelpers say: “Great breakfast/brunch/lunch spot for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. We had the Southwest Scramble, huevos rancheros, and Fruita Exotica plate. All of the food was delicious! The Cauli Tots are amazing; hard to believe they’re cauliflower. The tempeh sausage tastes like sausage, and instead of tortillas they have a delicious giant wonton-like fried tortilla.” —Yelp Elite Lisa D.