Delicious Dishes In Mills 50
Try one of these amazing offerings the next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Mills 50 is home to many tasty bites. Walk a few blocks and you can choose between Hawaiian poke bowls, spicy Sichuan dishes, Filipino ice cream and hot bowls of pho. We are spotlighting seven can’t-miss options. But with so much variety, this list could have easily been three times longer.
Photo Courtesy Michael Cuglietta
The restaurant: Kaya
The dish: umba
Chef Lordfer Lalicon trained in some of New York’s most revered kitchens before settling down in Orlando to open Kaya.
While his menu is seafood and veggie focused, co-owner Jami Salonga Bailey explained that no self-respecting Filipino restaurant would be complete without a standout pork dish. For Kaya, its their humba, a traditional braised preparation, which was a specialty of Bailey’s great grandmother, back in Pampanga.
Kaya’s version features Cheshire pork belly in a savory and slightly sweet sauce of soy sauce, caramelized brown sugar, fermented black beans and star anise. It’s a regular on the á la carte menu and perfect when combined with a bowl of Lalicon’s garlic rice.
Photo Courtesy King Cajun
The restaurant: King Cajun
The dish: Shellfish boil with sha bang sauce
King Cajun is a seafood lover’s paradise, offering baskets of fried shrimp, po’ boys stuffed with crispy softshell crab and, of course, crawfish. It’s all tied together with sha bang sauce.
A decadent, citrusy blend of lemon pepper, garlic butter and a fistful of Cajun spices, the sauce is so popular it’s sold by the quart. It has become a mainstay in my freezer. Many a late night I’ve tossed a generous portion in pasta before falling happily into a food coma.
But the umami-packed flavors shine brightest in King Cajun’s shellfish boils. Be sure to order a loaf of homemade French bread. Once all the crab legs are gone, you’re going to want something to sop up the sauce with. Or, better yet, a plate of warm hushpuppies, perfect for dipping.
Photo Courtesy Deli Desires
The restaurant: Deli Desires
The dish: Smoked jalapeno and muenster cheese bialy
When the 2020 pandemic hit, instead of binge-watching Tiger King, Hannah Jaffe and Nathan Sloan began baking challah bread and selling it via their Instagram page. Then they added bialys to the menu and business took off.
Today, they have a grab and go store on Colonial. Their signature bialy is stuffed with smoked jalapenos and has a slice of muenster cheese baked on top.
Inspired by Jewish delis in the Northeast, you can order your bialy with classics like smoked whitefish, gravlax or corned beef. I prefer mine toasted with a few slices of melted American cheese.
Photo Courtesy Michael Cuglietta
The restaurant: Lazy Moon Pizza
The dish: Calzone
Lazy Moon Pizza is known for humongous slices. But my go-to at this Orlando institution is the calzone. I’m a firm believer that something magical happens when stringy mozzarella is paired with sweet curds of ricotta.
Lazy Moon offers all the classic pizza toppings. I like to invite sliced Italian sausage and sautéed mushrooms to the party. Then, to really kick things up, instead of red sauce I opt for a side of scratch made buttermilk ranch.
Photo Courtesy Black Rooster Taqueria
The restaurant: Black Rooster Taqueria
The dish: Guacamole
Chef John Calloway strives for clean flavors. He believes, so long as the ingredients are sourced fresh and seasoned well, they will speak for themselves.
This simple philosophy is best showcased in his guacamole. The smashed avocados are left chunky and combined with diced onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano pepper and lime juice. But don’t be deceived by Calloway’s unassuming preparation. This guac packs a wallop of flavor. It is served with tortilla chips, which arrive at the table warm and salty.
If you’re really looking to indulge, you can smear the guac on a pork fat taco.
Photo by Lisa Wilk
The restaurant: Smokemade Meats
The dish: Brisket
For Tyler Brunache, barbeque was a hobby. Until he went to Texas to cook with legendary pit master Dylan Taylor. Then his hobby became a business.
Smokemade Meats regularly pops up in the Mills 50 district. Underneath a collapsible tent, they offer a wide selection of meaty goodness. Brisket is the standout. Brunache and his team sell over 1,000 pounds a month.
Each hunk of beef is smoked for up to 16 hours, giving it a dark outer bark of rich flavor and a juicy inside. One bite will transport you to the longhorn state, where things are big and tasty.
Photo by Michael Cuglietta
The restaurant: bb.q Chicken
The dish: Soy Garlic Wings
bb.q Chicken is a Korean chain, committed to unlocking the secret to the perfect fried chicken wing. While I’m not sure they’ve reached perfection, they have come darn close. The battered wings have a glassy crunch on the outside. Inside, the chicken is always tender.
There are a number of flavors to choose from. While some are a bit too sweet for my taste, the soy garlic is just the right mix of tangy goodness with a garlicy kick.
In a city with no shortage of Korean fried chicken spots, bb.q is a consistent mainstay; a little piece of Seoul in our backyard.