When it comes to vegan food in Orlando, a good place to start is Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Winter Park. Featuring a 100% vegan menu that can accommodate soy and gluten-free diners, Ethos is a place to be for folks of all dining variety- and even those who are "normal."
As I made my return home for spring break after an cold, review-restricting semester, I suggested that my mom, sister, and I stop at Ethos after picking me up at the Orlando International Airport for a celebratory lunch that's safe for our varied diets as I am gluten and dairy free and my sister is vegan.
Once safely landed and inside the restaurant, I was not too hot on a heavy lunch entree as my Chipotle breakfast at the Baltimore airport was still keeping my appetite at bay. As I browsed the extensive menu in search of something I thought I could eat, I immediately noted their labeling system, which made reading the menu a breeze. All foods are dairy, egg, honey, and meat free and symbols denote which items are (or can be adapted to be) gluten and/or soy free. See the full menu here.
My collegiate sweet tooth kicked in mid-menu as I gravitated towards the dessert section of the menu. Seeing that they had non-dairy milkshakes in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, I knew immediately what I'd order: a chocolate milkshake. As I ordered, I let my waitress know I was also gluten-free, but she said no alteration was needed to make it safe.
When it came out a short time later, I was excited to see the shake served in classic style with whipped cream and a cherry on top. The shake itself and the whipped cream are soy-based.On my first spoonful, I loved the spot-on authentic taste and texture of the whipped cream. While not a big fan of it, Ethos' was one of the best I've tried yet. The shake itself was not as thick as I would have liked, but had a nice consistency and rich chocolate flavor. It made me really nostalgic as milkshakes were a childhood staple that I relied on for celebration or pick-me-ups.
Before leaving, my mom expressed interest in trying out a milkshake after her salad and soup combo, so we ordered a vanilla shake to go. My initial impression of the drink was positive as I liked the creamy vanilla-ness of the shake, but soon thereafter was turned off by the unmistakable "soy" flavor that shone through and ruined it for me. As a nonbeliever in soymilk for this very reason, I couldn't even finish the drink halfway, and my mom agreed with me that the soy was too much.
Ultimately, the chocolate emerged as the real winner here, but both milkshakes were not as good as others I've had. However, I must stress to readers of all dietary alignments that Ethos is a great option that has the ability to cater for those with a hodge podge of dietary needs. I hope to go back in the future for the black bean soup- which my mom sings her praises for- or sample more of their gluten-free options.
Cuisine: Vegan dishes with gluten and soy-free options
Ideal For: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Price: Varies, see menu prices here.
Accessibility: The restaurant itself is fully wheelchair accessible
Special Features: Place take-out orders at 407-228-3898 for quick service you can take on the go.