Far Out!

The flatbreads shine at Lake Nona’s Canvas, which is worth the drive for its takes on Latin, Caribbean and Cuban creations.



The Mussels Tomatillo is a flavorful starter at Canvas, which also demonstrates a deft hand with shrimp dishes.

Courtesy of Canvas

It surprises me sometimes how far you can travel and still be in Orlando. It’s even more surprising when you can travel a seemingly endless distance from downtown to the burgeoning Lake Nona area and still find a good meal. But such is the case with Canvas Restaurant & Market, where interesting dishes can be found in an area still in its infancy.

Canvas, a restaurant offering “new American cuisine,” opened in early 2015. Part of the Tavistock empire that owns a vast chunk of Lake Nona, it was developed in partnership with Concentrics Restaurants, which also helped build Luma on Park and Prato in Winter Park, and owns Slate on Sand Lake Road. Canvas is a multi-cultural mélange of tastes and ingredients led by Executive Chef Bryan Thoman, who previously guided the kitchens at the Brio Tuscan Grille chain. 

The Canvas menu takes inspiration from many places. Influences of Latin, Caribbean, New Orleanian and Cuban (a la a nice sandwich of marinated pork belly and house-cured ham; $12) appear, and the items swing from super casual to moderately upscale.

An interesting variation on standard Southern fare, the smoked fish dip ($13) is served warm, mixed with spiced cream cheese and a crisp house-made Parmesan-coated flatbread cracker. Which shouldn’t be confused with the separate flatbread offerings, where the base is a thicker, slightly chewier dough somewhere between cracker and pizza and fired in a wood-burning oven. Of note is the shrimp and chorizo, slathered in a parsley and cilantro  chimichurri sauce  and Mexican cotija cheese. The “Margarita” flatbread departs from the traditional Margherita pizza recipe to include rich roasted tomato confit, shaved Northern Italian Grana Padano cheese and (note to those with nut allergies) almond-based pesto. The flatbreads, including a braised short rib variety, are $12-$14. 

Canvas Restaurant & Market
13615 Sachs Ave.
Orlando (Lake Nona)
407-313-7800  
canvaslakenona.com
Entrees: $12-$29

Mofongo, a Puerto Rican mash of green plantains, is another rarity found here. I liked the shrimp mofongo entrée ($28) although it was a bit small for the price. Pan-fried shrimp (Canvas does shrimp very well) are served in a crispy plantain shell with a subtle citrus broth and roasted dried tomatoes. Excellent shrimp and good plantains, very missable tomatoes. Better all around is a great take on mussels ($14), meaty shellfish served in a blend of tart tomatillo and spicy chili.  

A dish of pan-cooked scallops ($29) comes dolloped with bright Meyer lemon and augmented with wood-roasted asparagus. It’s a nice blend of textures and smoky/acidic flavors.

 The wall-length glassed-in patio dining area provides a wonderful view of lake and sunset. In the distance are several of the area’s acclaimed medical centers and land still occupied, at least for the moment, by cow pastures. There’s a slightly industrial feel to the brick-walled restaurant that’s punctuated by wood tables and a wraparound bar overhung by lighted bottles and bright yellow panels. Entry to the restaurant means walking through the market, where breakfast and lunch items and a selection of books, housewares and local goods are available.

Back in August there was still enough continuing construction in the Laureate Park Village development that things seemed a bit unfinished outside, but you will notice the stained glass greenhouse in the parking lot, which is a sculpture by Brooklyn artist Tom Fruin. Canvas is just a stone’s throw from Orlando International Airport, and that stone has a much straighter path than those of us negotiating the circuitous 20-minute drive from Orlando. But if you allow for some extra drive time, there’s a lot to enjoy. 


Choice Libations
The popular bar hosts a specialty cocktail menu using a variety of Florida libations. St. Augustine vodka appears in a plum and
lychee infused drink called “Florida to Chinatown,’’ and beers from Orlando Brewing Company, Crooked Can Brewery, Coppertail Brewing Company in Tampa, and Two Henrys Brewing Company in Plant City are featured on tap. 

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

College Guide List 2019

2019 Premier Veterinarians

The 2019 Central Florida List is OUT! Each year Orlando Magazine publishes the Premier Veterinarians List. Take a look at the full list now.

2018 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Real Estate All Stars 2019

Let Orlando's best real estate agents help you find your dream home!

Retirement Living 2019

This feature highlights several great retirement communities that Central Florida has to offer.

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2019

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2019

Our annual list featuring 220 of the area's finest dental professionals.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Health Hub: Take The Feel Whole Challenge With Us

Now is the best time to start! Come take the Feel Whole Challenge with us!

Upgrade Your Specs! Oxford Eyes In Ivanhoe Village

Get ready for Fall with the latest eyewear trends and avoid those busy malls!

Focus On With Dr. Sadek: Women’s Health and Epilepsy

Did you know women face additional challenges with epilepsy due to hormones?

Health Hub: Why Are Flu Shots Important?

Fall has arrived, and with it, the start of flu season. While you can get the flu at any time, cases typically rise in October and hit their peak around the holidays. Learn why it's important to get your flu shot!

Special Olympics Florida Celebrates Its Annual Champions Gala

This annual exclusive event honors community leaders and fundraises for statewide athletics!
Edit Module