Updated September 23, 2020
Magical Dining 2020 extended through October 31. With reduced capacity for indoor dining, you’ll want to do your research and reserve early. Several restaurants are also offering take-out and delivery options for Magical Dining 2020, contact them directly for details.
Many restaurants go off-menu for the $35 Magical Dining prix fixe, or offer tasting portions of regular items. Not so at Sear + Sea, the stunning restaurant inside the brand new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa. Do the math and you’ll find that not only are the indulgent portions of lobster bisque, wood-grilled filet mignon and branzino with crispy quinoa, preserved lemon and cauliflower irresistible, they’re one heck of a bargain to boot.
It’s not easy to get a weekend reservation at Jaleo, but Kendra scored one and enjoyed not three but five courses of tapas for a magical $35. The shrimp with garlic were as delicious as ever, and humble chicken croquettes were every bit as indulgent as foie gras. Treat yourself to a salt-air margarita for the full experience.
Pam loved the lineup at Luke’s Kitchen and Bar, which includes beef carpaccio with spring onion and crispy potato, a pork steak with black-eyed peas and shishito and cobia with clams and broccolini.
We sat outdoors at Umi early on a Sunday evening, and enjoyed the people watching on Park Ave almost as much as the generous serving of chirashi (pictured above) as an entrée. A yellowtail “karupatcho” (think carpaccio) with spicy citrus black bean water, scallion ginger oil cucumber rolls, cherry tomato and truffle salt was a standout starter, as was the vegan “Lemon Kiss” roll with roasted cauliflower and asparagus.
While it’s impossible to enjoy all of the $35 prix fixe menus on offer, the ones below are on our short list to try.
At Artisan’s Table, start with tuna tostadas with seared ahi and a chipotle, lime, corn and edamame relish; bites of panko-breaded pork belly with sticky rice, house tonkatsu sauce and pickled-mango relish; or a salad with roasted beets, burrata, toasted walnuts, balsamic reduction and truffle oil.
Main courses include braised bone-in short ribs with popcorn grits, Coca-Cola glaze and fried zucchini strings; crunchy sesame-seed-crusted fried shrimp, house-made Chinese sausage and broccoli noodles; dark-beer-battered salmon, fried fingerling potatoes and slaw; or half of a chicken glazed with lavender honey along with a warm barley and rice-berry salad and lemon-dill vinaigrette.
For dessert, choose from a Basque cheesecake with butterscotch; brûléed lemon-curd tart or chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and ganache. Dine-in, take-out and delivery available; limited outdoor seating.
The Strand’s summery, Southern-style starters include poached shrimp with fried green tomatoes, chow chow and tarragon aioli; a grilled peach salad with praline bacon, blue cheese and citrus vinaigrette; or steak-and-cheese flatbread with peppers, onions, horseradish and crispy shallots.
Mains feature blackened red snapper with lime compound butter and Anson Mills cheese grits; coffee-rubbed, grass-fed flank steak with patatas bravas and bordelaise (pictured); or grilled Spanish octopus with fried new potatoes, roasted-garlic aioli and citrus-cilantro vinaigrette.
End your meal with pistachio cake; chocolate terrine with orange cream and toffee crumble; or peanut butter pie. Dine-in and take-out options available.
At Vinia Wine & Kitchen, start off with Brazilian cheese bread and guava sauce; burrata with pesto and wine salt; or empanadas with shrimp and scallops.
For your entrée, enjoy pasta with 24-hour braised oxtail; pan-roasted cod with honey-roasted butternut squash flan and lemon-sage broth; or roasted pork tenderloin stuffed with blackberries and served with risotto Milanese (pictured).
All diners receive a flight of three small desserts including vanilla gelato dosed with caramel espresso; soft ricotta and cream pie with strawberries and basil; and a chocolate pot de crème with grated dark chocolate and sea salt. Dine-in only.
Begin your meal at The Ravenous Pig with a Southern board of country ham, grilled dates, pimento cheese, sourdough bread, pickled okra and tomato sauce; a salad of local greens, goat cheese, granola, beets and avocado; or crab crostini with preserved lemon and tomato gremolata.
Main courses include shrimp risotto with fennel, beets and olive; smoked lemon chicken with mushroom chicken jus and Carolina Gold rice pilaf; or short rib with garlic whipped potatoes, bordelaise and crispy shallots.
Choose between chocolate cake with tahini and pear or the Chef’s selection of artisanal cheeses for dessert. Dine-in and take-out options available.
Starters at Kabooki Sushi Sand Lake include hamachi sashimi with orange supreme, ponzu, Malaysian lime oil and yuzu tobiko; yucca fritters with spicy tuna, serrano peppers and sweet chili sauce; or salmon ceviche with truffle pate, ahi amarillo, smoked trout roe and sunchoke chips.
For the main event, tuck into a rice bowl scattered with tamago, ohba leaf and pickled cucumber; a Japanese hot pot of 36-hour sous-vide pork jowl, furikake, crispy rice bonito flakes and egg yolk; or four pieces of nigiri with a Hamachi Heats Roll.
Sweets include chocolate lava cake with dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate ganache; carrot cake with carrot purée, cinnamon glaze, walnut brittle, pickled raisins, cream-cheese icing and orange-ginger ice cream; or three scoops of house-made ice cream. Dine-in only.
Visit our dining archives for more inspiration.