8 Must-Visit Vegan Eateries When Vacationing in Orlando

Anyone who has spent a solid 12-hour day at Disney knows that it’s only fun until you get hangry. In Orlando, there are so many parks to explore and activities to try, but without proper fuel, one quickly turns into the grouch of the group. Fortunately, Orlando has mimicked Disney in scaling up its vegan options, now offering a plethora of cuisines to suit almost any craving. Check out these eight vegan-friendly restaurants before or after your day at Epcot or Universal Studios so you can keep your inner-grump at bay.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Dixie Dharma
Located inside Market on South, an exclusively plant-based shared market and food hall, Dixie Dharma is home to mouth-watering vegan southern comfort food. Open seven days a week, the restaurant offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Popular options include the Carolina BBQ Pulled Jackfruit with garlic pickles and crispy fried onions on Texas toast; the Hail Kale Salad with pickled red onions and watermelon rind, naan croutons, blackened corn and garlic tahini; and the Orange Bird—a sloppy joe sandwich made with Florida orange-infused barbecue sauce and creamy coleslaw on a toasted potato bun smeared with roasted garlic. Of course, the eatery also serves three flavors of mac and cheese, as any good ole southern restaurant should. Choose from Original, Garlic, or Buffalo—you really can’t go wrong!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Valhalla Bakery
Also located within Market on South, Valhalla Bakery offers a tempting array of vegan doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cookies, and more. Every morning it receives a delivery of freshly made doughnuts from its sister store, Valkyrie Doughnuts. One of the bakery’s most popular items is the Brookie—half chocolate chunk cookie, half dark chocolate brownie, topped with a velvety ganache (you’ve walked all those miles at Disney World; you deserve to have both!). For those who have truly worked up a sweet tooth, look no further than the Death Bar—a fudgy brownie smothered in peanut butter crunch, Oreos, chocolate chips, and ganache. Finally, if you’re celebrating a special occasion during your Orlando trip, contact the bakery within 48 hours and order a special vegan cake. As the Mad Hatter says, “A very merry unbirthday to you!”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Valkyrie Doughnuts
Get your sugar fix before you play all day at the parks with one of these Homer Simpson-sized vegan doughnuts. Flavors rotate daily, but you can always count on this bakery to update its Instagram bright and early with its daily offerings. Some of the flavors on rotation include Churro, Blueberry Cheesecake, Matcha Berry, Fruity Pebbles, and Strawberry Passionfruit. Again, if you’re celebrating, or just want to go all-out on your vacation with a couple of friends, order the BFD (Big Fu*kin’ Doughnut) which is equal to the size of eight doughnuts combined (and must be ordered 48 hours in advance). To stay on-trend with other gourmet doughnut shops, Valkyrie also offers vegan soft serve and ice cream doughnut sandwiches. Go ahead; embrace that inner child on your vacation with a good old-fashioned sugar rush.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Leguminati
Located inside the trendy Hourglass Social House, Leguminati serves a mash-up of bagels, sandwiches, and bar food with its own unique twist. In the morning, try the Capers & Cream which features lettuce, tomato, red onion, rice paper bacon, capers, and cream cheeze on a locally made Olde Hearth bagel. Other breakfast items, such as the fully loaded Brunch Wrap and Breakfast Nachos, are also served all day long. If you’re not in a breakfast mood, choose from one of the other decadent options such as The Mary Popper sandwich made with roasted jalapeños, cream cheeze, fried onions, and sliced cheeze all pressed together on a fluffy Italian roll. There’s no other way to describe it—it’s simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. The Vegan Hot Dog Cart
Disney may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but just outside its pearly gates you’ll find the Number One Vegan Dog in America (according to PETA): The Vegan Hot Dog Cart. An outpost of Dixie Dharma, this no-frills food cart in downtown Orlando specializes in over-the-top plant-based hot dogs from 9pm to 3am every night of the week. These loaded dogs will surely curtail that hunger after a 14-hour day of Disney magic. There are options for every taste bud, but the true standout is the El Boricua made with fried onions, cheeze, garlic aioli, banana peppers, ketchup, and mustard. Enjoyed a few adult beverages that evening, or just incredibly indecisive? The Drunk Dog is topped with everything. Why choose when you can have it all?  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Loving Hut
As the fastest-growing international vegan fast-food chain, you may already be acquainted with the Loving Hut. Many of the Asian-inspired menu items are standard throughout all of its 200 international locations (with 38 in the US), but each eatery also adds its own unique dishes as well. Stick to the tried-and-true Fabulous Pho or Wonton Soup, or branch out and sample the Grilled Teriyaki Plate or Noble Rice dish. Most of the meals are comprised of vegan meat, veggies, rice or noodles, and an incredible sauce. You’ll get a solid, tasty meal that won’t weigh you down for the rest of your vacation.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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7. Winter Park Biscuit Company
Make your reservations now; Mary Mattern’s Winter Park Biscuit Company is a new Orlando pop-up that has consistently sold out within days of releasing tickets. Fans follow her Instagram account on the daily in hopes of finding a future pop-up announcement. Her savory vegan baked goods are definitely worth leaving the park early. She makes three different kinds of biscuits including flaky Layered Biscuits, traditional Drop Biscuits, and melt-in-your-mouth White Lily Fluff Biscuits. However, her pop-ups offer more than buttery carbs. Ticket-holders enjoy biscuit sandwiches in the form of Sausage, Egg, and Cheese; Crabby Patties; and Fried Chik’n Sandwiches made with “gator” sauce. Princess Tiana’s beignets simply can’t compete with Mary’s divine biscuits!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Ethos Vegan Kitchen
Technically not within the city limits of Orlando, Ethos Vegan Kitchen can be found just north in the town of Winter Park. The restaurant’s down-home fare and unparalleled hospitality is definitely worth the Uber drive. The extensive menu covers appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, main dishes, desserts, and even a kid’s menu. Can’t decide? Guest favorites include Yo Mama’s Lasagna made with five layers of noodles, vegan ricotta, veggies, and mozzarella; and Sheep’s Pie—a vegan play on the traditional Shepherd’s pie. As much as you’ll want to try everything on the menu, save room for dessert; the Chocolate Amaretto Mousse with whipped cream and sliced almonds will transport you to a whole new world.

 

Jennifer Winters is a self-proclaimed health geek residing in Connecticut with her husband and two children. 

Image credit: Dixie Dharma