The internet is a magnificent tool, offering all the knowledge of the library of Alexandria at our fingertips.
We can use it to reach across the world, to share news and information and entertainment.
On the internet, we can explore new worlds, hobbies and learn about places we will likely never visit.
Sure the internet is a double-edged sword. It can be used for good. Or it can be used for ill. However, you have to think the net positives brought on by the World Wide Web outweigh the negatives.
Or you do until you search for kosher restaurants in Orlando, Florida.
It can be difficult to find Kosher restaurants in Orlando, but it’s not impossible
It’s at the point that a Brazilian steakhouse pops up with various sausages and meats and poultry wrapped in bacon that you realize the internet may well be fatally flawed. It seems the algorithm delivered me this clearly non-kosher restaurant because some reviews mentioned they used kosher salt.
Of course in a city the size of Orlando, it should be relatively easy to maintain the observance of kashrut.
Major grocery store chains advertise their “massive” kosher section with meat, fish and poultry all properly prepared. And speaking of kosher grocery stores, there’s always the Kosher Grocery Store Orlando. And we will get into that a bit later.
However, the restaurant business is tough under the best of times.
Today, with the added costs of being kosher combined with some diners staying home, many popular kosher eateries have had to close their doors. Some, for good.
So, unfortunately, our list of the best kosher restaurants and delicious kosher food options in Orlando is going to be a short one.
But kosher foodies rejoice, keeping kosher on the road in Orlando is possible.
And the most practical way to do it is to stay near the major theme parks.
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1. On-site at Disney and Universal
Do Disney and Universal offer kosher food?
For the record, both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios offer in-park kosher meals.
Universal requests a 72-hour notice by email at [email protected]. You must provide a reservation number, dining location, date and time, size of dining party, and quantity of each meal needed.
But be forewarned. Unless someone is playing a cruel prank, the prices are outrageous.
In fact, the six listed meals – chicken piccata, Moroccan salmon, beef skewers, stir fry chicken, Mediterranean grouper and beef kafta are all listed for $85 per meal.
Disney requires a 24-hour notice and guests should call (407) 824-1391. With an advance request, the airline-style kosher meals can be delivered to any sit-down restaurant at the park – from the Magic Kingdom to EPCOT to Hollywood Studios and even Animal Kingdom.
Still, buffet-style meal restaurants will not offer an all-you-can-eat option, it will be one kosher meal or one kosher entree.
Disney does not list kosher meal costs on its website. I’ve seen adult meals listed at $65 and kids about half that price on other blogs. But, I’m not sure about the accuracy.
Still, that’s high for an airline-style meal.
Since Disney does allow outside food and drink. The best option for both taste and cost might be to pack a lunch.
Universal is more strict about allowing outside food and drink into the park. Although, an exception is available for special dietary needs appears to include those who keep kosher and halal.
Policies for each park can change without notice. I would certainly confirm with either park before buying a lot of food for picnic-style meals.
2. The Kosher Grill
Located near Universal Studios on International Avenue and within walking distance of the new Dockside and Surfside Resort, the Kosher Grill is not an unreasonable drive from Disney as long as traffic isn’t crazy.
The Kosher Grill offers (what is generally considered to be) the region’s best Israeli food. It is in fact, certified by the RCF-Rabbinate of Central and North Florida.
“We have a full-time Mashgiach on-site during all hours of operation, to ensure the highest level of kashrus possible,” management says on its website. “All meat is Glatt Kosher and Chassidishe Shechita. All fish is certified Mashgiach Temidi. Bread is Pas Yisroel. All leafy greens, herbs and vegetables are washed and checked via the most proven Shmata method.”
In addition to its daily menu, the restaurant offers a special Shabbat menu for the Sabbath.
The Shawarma, Kufta Kebabs are quite popular but slightly on the expensive side at $28. Sandwiches including the Falafel Sabich range from $9 to $15. The 11 oz ribeye earns raves but at $39.99 slightly pricey, which is not too surprising considering the efforts taken to ensure the meat is properly prepared.
3. The Kosher Eatery
Located to the Southeast of Disney, the SEO-friendly Kosh Eatery is a dairy and meat Kosher restaurant and caterer that offers the Kosher Trifecta of dairy, meat and sushi.
Also, under the supervision of the RCF Rabbinate of Central and North Florida, the Kosher Eatery is closed on the Sabbath. It opens seasonally on Fridays from 11 am to 3 pm.
If you want a kosher taste of the South, try the smoked beef brisket for $27 or the fried chicken for $22. Other options include comfort food like burgers, hot dogs and BBQ pulled chicken. Sushi options and pizzas, pasta and salad round out the menu. The restaurant has two separate entrances, one for meat and one for dairy.
4. Do it yourself
I know we don’t go on vacation to cook, but in the day of AirBNB, it may be more practical to visit one of the several Orlando area grocery stores that promise robust kosher options.
And if you want kosher groceries in Orlando, seek ye out the Kosher Grocery Store Orlando or a Winn Dixie – specifically the one on S. Apopka Vineland Road.
I’m a little shocked Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Publix doesn’t take the title. But Winn Dixie – which is not far from Downtown Disney offers Glatt Kosher meats and Chalav Yisroel Dairy products.
What is your favorite kosher eatery? Let us know in the comments!