Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month is Bigger Than Ever in 2017 Offering a Variety of Ways to Enjoy it! Here are my favorites!
Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month is back for it’s 12th year with a record 110 restaurants participating! Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors. From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues, theme park restaurants and independent restaurateurs abound, giving you plenty of options to dine out.
What is Magical Dining Month?
The best restaurants all around town – from Downtown to Restaurant Row, Disney to Universal, and even neighboring towns such as Mt. Dora and Sanford take part in Magical Dining Month to promote dining out in Orlando. From August 25 – October 1, 2017, 110 restaurants will offer a three-course prix fix menu with choices of appetizer, entree and dessert, for only $35 plus tax and gratuity. Whatever cuisine you’re craving, chances are you will find it, from our popular Southern favorites to the exotic flavors of Africa and beyond.
The program organized by Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, is sponsored by American Express. Each year a local charity is selected to benefit from receiving $1 from each meal served. This year, due to the immense growth and popularity of the program, Magical Dining Month has selected two Orlando nonprofit organizations. Freedom Ride, Inc. offers therapeutic horseback riding programs that enrich the lives of children and adults with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. BASE Camp Children’s Foundation provides a base of support for children and families who are facing the challenge of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.
Last year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining raised a record $195,125 for the Russell Home for Atypical Children enabling the organization to modify and refurbish the girls’ dorm as part of the home’s major renovation project. The dorm will be named after Visit Orlando and Magical Dining Month.
When you dine out with Magical Dining, you can feel good about the benefit to this great community.
*** UPDATE: DUE TO THE IMPACT OF HURRICANE IRMA, IN AN EFFORT TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AND GIVE RESIDENTS MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR A NIGHT OUT VISIT ORLANDO HAS EXTENDED THE MAGICAL DINING PROGRAM THROUGH OCTOBER 12, 2017.
Please refer to the program website for more updated information.
How To Get The Most Out of Magical Dining Month?
Follow my tips to get the most out of this dining extravaganza! With 110 restaurants, you must plan ahead and choose wisely. This is haute cuisine at a hot price and you don’t want to miss it!
For a full list of restaurants, menus, more information and reservations via Open Table, check out the website for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month.
Best Ways to Enjoy Magical Dining in Orlando!
It’s time to plan your next outing. I have listed some of my restaurant recommendations in each category, but in all fairness I have not tried all 110 restaurants so if I’ve missed your favorites, please share as I’m always looking to try new places.
1. Disney Dining Fun!
For the first time, six restaurants from Walt Disney World Resort hotels join the Magical Dining Month program’s line-up and this has every Disney Foodie excited!
Explore Africa at Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. There is no park admission required as the resort is separate from the park. The best part is the resort is located along the Animal Kingdom savannah so you also get a chance to see giraffes, antelopes and other animals roaming about. Arrive early for a truly unique experience and check it out before dining in one of the best signature restaurants in Walt Disney World Resort.
The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, The Grand Floridian Café at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and The Turf Club round out the list of Disney restaurants in the program. They offer plenty of the Disney magic and are very family friendly.
2. The Hot New Restaurants in Town!
You know that new restaurant you’ve been dying to check out? Magical Dining Month is your chance to go at a lower cost and see what the buzz is all about.
1921 by Norman Van Aken, Bulla Gastrobar, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, DoveCote Brasserie, Earls kitchen + bar, Hemisphere, Paddlefish, and Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar are my new favorite restaurants which opened this past year.
Here’s a full list of the new restaurants in the program. Some are brand new recently opened within the past year and others have been established and joining for the first time.
1. 1921 by Norman Van Aken
2. Andiamo Italian Bistro & Grille
3. Antonio’s Maitland
4. Boatwright’s Dining Hall
5. Brio Mall at Millenia
6. Brio Winter Park Village
8. Café d’Antonio
9. Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen
10. Ciao Italia
11. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
12. DoveCote Brasserie
13. Earls Kitchen + Bar
14. Grand Floridian Café
15. Hemisphere Restaurant
18. Luke’s Kitchen
19. Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando
20. McCoy’s Bar & Grill
21. Nagoya Sushi – Dr. Phillips
22. Nagoya Sushi – Winter Springs
23. Olivia’s Café
24. Paddlefish Restaurant
26. Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar
27. Shogun Japanese Steakhouse
28. Smiling Bison
29. The Stubborn Mule
30. The Turf Club
31. The Wave
32. Umi Winter Park
33. Yuki Hana
Click to read all about my fantastic entree at 1921 by Norman Van Aken:
3. Looking For a Fancy Steakhouse in Orlando?
For a “Big Night Out” there’s no better place than a fancy steakhouse but the price stag may keep you away. Magical Dining includes some of the best steakhouses in town, many of which are not only offering the $35 per person menu but also offering ways to upgrade the selections to larger cuts of beef, at a fraction of the regular cost.
My fave steakhouse picks: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House (don’t miss their happy hour!), Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (Three locations: Lake Mary, Orlando & Winter Park), STK in Disney Springs, The Capital Grille (I-Drive, Mall at Millenia), A Land Remembered and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.
4. Romance doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
Looking for a great restaurant for a romantic date night out? Three of my favorite romantic restaurants are on the list: Urbain 40 with their Rat Pack era inspired lounge, A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, and Luma on Park for that perfect Winter Park chic. Also check out Boheme Restaurant in Grand Bohemian Hotel, Chez Vincent, Christinis Ristorante Italiano, Le Coq au Vin Restaurant, and The Melting Pot (Orlando, Longwood).
5. It’s a Family Affair!
Don’t leave the kids at home. Make Magical Dining family night! Amatista at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Benihana (Orlando,Lake Buena Vista), Seasons 52, Shogun Japanese Steak House, The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando and all the Disney restaurants are perfect for the entire family with kid friendly menus and ambiance.
6.Dinner With A View!
When you want more than just a great meal, take in the sunset and lake views at Paddlefish, Canvas Restaurant & Market, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Eleven at Reunion Resort, and Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando. For an underwater view, check out SeaWorld Orlando Sharks Underwater Grill (park admission is not required!)
7. Fun Night Out With Friends!
Gather the guys and the girls and head out for happy hour followed by Magical Dining. It’s the best value and fun! KASA Restaurant & Bar, RusTeak at College Park, The Stubborn Mule, The Smiling Bison, The Osprey Tavern, Bulla and Vines Grille & Wine Bar offer great HH cocktails and bites.
8. Dine With Award-Winning Chefs!
Orlando is proud of its local award-winning chefs which have catapulted the region into the culinary mecca that it is today. If you’ve never been to their restaurants, this is a great time to do so! If you have, chances are you want to go back. Brandon McGlamery, 2016 James Beard Foundation nominees three restaurants, Luma on Park, Prato and Luke’s American Kitchen are all part of the program. 2016 James Beard Foundation nominee Kathleen Blake’s The Rusty Spoon,, James and Julie Petrakis’ famed The Ravenous Pig and Greg Richie’s Soco in Thornton Park are at the top of my Orlando “Must Eat” spots.
9. Dinner and a Movie!
Dinner and a movie is always fun! For an even more fun night, how about doing dinner and a movie at Disney Springs or Universal City Walk? A variety of venues for drinks before and after, combined with Magical Dining dinner and a movie with stadium seating.
At Disney Springs, combine movies at AMC Theaters with dinner at Morimoto Asia, Paddlefish, STK or take a short ferry to Disney Saratoga Springs The Turf Club.
The Turf Club at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort located near Disney Springs makes for a fun date night or girls night out. Start with cocktails at Disney Springs Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, then walk next door to the boat dock and take the 5 minute ferry to the resort. There you’ll dine on a menu of American classics in the racing themed resort. Afterwards, take the ferry back to Disney Springs and catch a movie at AMC Theaters or live music at the various venues.
Click and check out our Fun Evening at The Turf Club:
Universal City Walk
At Universal City Walk, combine movies at AMC Theaters with dinner at Loews Portofino Bice Restaurant or Loews Hard Rock Hotel The Kitchen, just a short boat ride away.
10.Make A Night Of It!
These resort restaurants offer the perfect opportunity to get away for the night and there are plenty to choose from. Here are some of my picks I’ve enjoyed in the past: A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Everglades at Rosen Centre (which is offering a special rate of $219 including a one night stay and dinner for two!), Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando (the only five diamond resort in town!), Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn (voted by Conde Nast as one of the top boutique hotels in the country!) and Urban Tide at Hyatt Regency Orlando.
11. Get Inspired To Travel!
Take a culinary journey around the world! Jiko, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Ravello, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, Kabooki Sushi, Umi Winter Park, Mango’s Tropical Cafe, Morimoto Asia, and Tapa Toro will let you explore your adventurous side without the need for passports. Hemisphere located at Hyatt Orlando International Airport is the perfect place to watch the sunset view of the runway while dining on a truly elevated International menu. That will definitely inspire you to book your next flight!
Click to see all 12 dishes available on the Ravello Magical Dining menu! The Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is not to be missed!
This was our dinner dreaming of travel at Hemisphere located at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport. The Raspberry Chocolate torte for dessert left us in a dreamy state. We were ready to buy a ticket and fly off to Rome or Paris!
Follow Go Epicurista on Instagram to see my Magical Dining visits. So far I have dined at Jiko, Ravello, Paddlefish, 1921 by Norman Van Aken, Morimoto Asia and The Turf Club and have enjoyed all of them! I still have more to go! Fall is the best time of year for foodies to visit Orlando and for locals to get out there, celebrate and Make Someday Happen!
Where are you planning to dine out this Magical Dining Month in Orlando? No matter where you go, make it a great celebration with friends.