If you love dining, it helps to have 60 or 70 million people pour into your city each year who, each night, are looking for something good to eat.

Orlando has been named the best “foodie” city in America by WalletHub, in a new survey of 150 cities with comparisons of numbers of restaurants and food stores, types of restaurants and food stores, and prices for food, beer, and wine.

Florida — not the West Coast or East Coast — is America’s foodie Mecca, according to WalletHub, a website that loves creating listicles, but does so based on its own detailed research and methodology, rather than on someone’s opinion.

Portland, Oregon, grabs the No. 2 spot behind Orlando, while Miami and Tampa come in at third and fourth, followed by San Francisco. Fort Lauderdale is 12th.

Orlando received top marks in the country for its number of restaurants per capita; number of ice cream and frozen yogurt shops per capita; and number of gourmet specialty food stores per capita. It also got the country’s top score for “diversity, accessibility, and quality” of food.

“This comes as no surprise to Orlando residents and visitors who enjoy diverse dining options that cater to any palate at the region’s 5,000-plus restaurants,” the Orlando Economic Development Commission declared in touting the new survey on its website.

Of course, Orlandoans must compete with hordes of visitors to get reservations or stand in lines at many of those places.

Miami tied Orlando for first place for the number of restaurants per capita and for number of specialty food stores per capita, and finished second in diversity, accessibility and quality of food. Tampa tied for first place in the number of craft breweries and wineries per capita, and placed fifth in diversity, accessibility, and quality of food, behind San Francisco and Portland. Cape Coral was second in the country, to Santa Rosa, California, in the ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food restaurants.

If you want cheap groceries, you’re best bet is a Texas city. If you want coffee shops, they’re most common on the West Coast.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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