As a born and bred Orlandoan, I have watched Baldwin Park blossom from a vast military plot of neglected overgrowth into a bustling community home to restaurants, parks, and residences. As a young girl, I remember riding my bicycle past the enormous, landlocked Naval warship that towered hauntingly over the grounds. It’s name? The Blue Jacket. Now in the very same spot is Blue Jacket Park, a recreational field often used for frisbee, football, and family gatherings.
Nestled up next to Audubon Park and Winter Park, the sprawling Baldwin Park community encourages residents and visitors to gather in the quaint downtown area. This lively stretch of New Broad Street ends with a splash at the elegant fountain overlooking a serene Lake Baldwin. Come here to enjoy the walkable streets and the sunsets that shimmer over the lake and down the main street. Explore the best of this district with our culinary map as your guide.
Colibri Mexican Cuisine
You can’t get better views of Lake Baldwin than at Colibri, a Mexican restaurant serving a fresh menu of traditional favorites and contemporary inventions. Stop here for happy hour, served Monday through Friday from 3-6pm. With $4 margaritas and $5 sangria, you can do some damage while waiting for a sunset overlooking the lake. For a mid-week nosh, don’t miss $3 Taco Tuesdays.
The Nest Bar
The Nest Bar is the sister bar to Colibri. Located right next door, this trendy cocktail bar is a “mixology affair.” Serving cocktails, beer, wine, and light hors-d’oeuvres, this elegant spot is an excellent place for a first date. Freshly-squeezed juices and housemade syrups elevate the cocktails here. Give a nod to Baldwin Park’s military backstory and try the “Army Navy,” a cocktail comprised of gin, orgeat, lemon juice, and angostura bitters. Light bites on the menu include empanadas, ceviche, a charcuterie board and more. Live music on Friday and Saturday evenings completes the date night vibe.
For a no-nonsense, laid back date night of beer, wings, and an epic sunset, head to Gator’s Dockside. The wrap-around patio at the Baldwin Park location of this chain offers excellent views of the bustling bike trail, central fountain and docks leading out onto Lake Baldwin. Come here for the comfort of sports bar environs and pub activities like trivia. With local and national beers on tap, there’s something for everyone.
Every neighborhood needs a French café, and Cafe 906 fills the bill for Baldwin Park. This cozy nook of a coffee shop serves traditional French pastries, like pan au chocolate, as well as sandwiches made on crusty baked baguettes. Customers crave their homemade crepes and quiches. Make it a brunch date at Cafe 906 to wake up to European espresso and a Croque Monsieur.
Seito Sushi Baldwin Park
Seito Sushi is fast approaching its 20 year anniversary as one of Orlando’s favorite places for sushi and new Japanese cuisine. Seito’s elegant environs make for a cozy and intimate date night. An outdoor patio lures guests outside in mild evening weather. Sushi, bowls, ramen, and small plates occupy the menu, offering a little something for every appetite. Feast on $6 bites during happy hour served Monday-Friday from 5-7pm and drink specials on weekends from 12-3pm and 5-7pm.
The Osprey Tavern
The Osprey Tavern oozes with charm thanks to the open concept, rustic wood details, Florida landscape art lining the walls, and impressive design elements. A date night here is sure to feel comfy and luxurious amid the glow of soft lighting and leather-backed booths. Like a true tavern, Ospery’s menu of New American cuisine is influenced by seasonal produce. The menu of comfort food includes savory items like cottage pie and housemade bolognese alongside Florida favorites like wood-grilled oysters and fresh Florida tilefish prepared by Executive Chef Elek Kovacs. End the night on a sweet note with delectable desserts dreamed up by Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci. For a one-of-a-kind experience, book the Chef's Table with friends to feast on a custom multi-course menu.
Farris & Foster’s Chocolate Factory
If your idea of a sweet date night entails a touch of sugar, then swing into Farris & Foster’s Chocolate Factory. This locally-owned chocolate factory cranks out house-made fudge, caramels, truffles, and peanut butter cups, to name a few. Stop by to pick-up a sweet after-dinner treat. For more chocolate fun, call and reserve a spot for the Friday night Chocolate Date Night parties at 7pm and 9pm. Create up to a pound of chocolate for you and your sweetie to take home for $34/couple.
Tactical Brewing Company
Tactical Brewing Company, though relatively new to the Orlando craft beer scene, has solidified itself in the Orlando craft beer canon. Aiming simply to create good craft beer and a welcoming community environment, Tactical does just that. Perhaps unintentionally, this veteran-owned brewery is a poetic reflection of Baldwin Park’s military past, serving as “a community hub for veterans, first responders, and beer lovers alike.” Visit on a Sunday to try one of the unique beer slushies or beer mimosas.
Provisions & Buzz Co.
For elevated new-American fare, make a date at Provisions & Buzz Co. Or, stop in here on a lazy weekend for a boozy brunch and breakfast dishes like Chicken & Waffles or a dish enticingly entitled “Muffin Explosion.” Thursday nights boast $6 burgers from 5-10pm for late-night appetites.
A relative newcomer to Baldwin Park, Tutto Caffe offers a quiet respite complete with leather sofas and chairs. Cozy up with a cappuccino or latte and a panini, croissant or salad for a comfortable and casual breakfast or lunch date. As an added bonus, the cafe also serves wine.
Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know your go-to Baldwin Park date night haunt in the comments! See more posts in our Culinary Map series here.
Disclosure: Seito Sushi Baldwin Park and Osprey Tavern are some of our valued advertising partners.
Feature image credit: Seito Sushi Baldwin Park