Magical Dining is back in full force, running Aug. 27 through Oct. 3, with nearly 100 of Orlando’s best restaurants offering three-course, prix-fixe menus for just $37. Several restaurants are offering take-out options, and many have outdoor seating. A list of every restaurant participating in Magical Dining 2021 can be found on the Magical Dining website.
Since it’s impossible to enjoy all of the special menus, we’re recommending six staycations at some of Edible Orlando’s favorite resorts. Each has a noted restaurant that is participating in Magical Dining 2021 and is within a short distance of other great options.
Home Base: Wyndham Grand Orlando
Located on Disney property in Bonnet Creek, the resort features golf courses, multiple pools, a nightly view of Disney fireworks and the award-winning Deep Blu Seafood Grille. This restaurant’s chefs are known for steak and seafood, and their Magical Dining menu speaks to these strengths, featuring grilled ribeye and seafood cioppino.
Nearby: Disney Springs is only a five-minute drive from the resort. On the west side of the park is Jaleo, a Spanish restaurant by James Beard award-winning Chef José Andrés. The restaurant offers a five–course tapas tasting menu along with an extensive wine and cocktail list. From refreshing gazpacho (pictured above) to rich and flavorful paella, diners will be transported to Spain. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Home Base: Grand Bohemian Orlando
In downtown Orlando, this luxury hotel houses a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant called The Boheme. Inside, the restaurant feels like a gallery with art and rich wood furnishings, and the menu is just as creative. Star appetizers and entrees include lobster and crab bisque and Joyce Farms chicken with butternut mash, but The Boheme’s handcrafted desserts steal the spotlight: blueberry lavender gelato, Nutella lava cake and black bee honey cheesecake shine brightly at meal’s end.
Nearby: Exiting the hotel and heading down South Street for two short blocks, you’ll reach Artisan’s Table. This restaurant incorporates different traditions and flavors into their seasonal dishes. Based upon how guests order, they get a different dining experience: For a more Asian-themed evening, order the peanut chicken skewers, sake-braised short ribs and Vietnamese iced coffee-topped chocolate torte. To capture some of Central Florida’s summery weather, opt for the shrimp cocktail, light ratatouille seafood stew and panna cotta. You can also mix and match dishes. Luckily, there are no wrong decisions!
The Mill’s 50 district is only a 10-minute drive away, which means you can enjoy an evening meal at The Strand. Their cuisine is defined by a contemporary spin on classic flavors, preparations and dishes. For starters, choose between a grilled peach salad, mushroom flatbread or pasta nero (a creamy dish with crab and truffle, one of our favorites). Moving on to entrees, you can enjoy mango salmon, duck confit and coffee-rubbed flank steak. Finish your meal with their summery dessert options, including mango pavlova, peaches and cream pie and chocolate cake de bolcha (a no-bake cake made with cookies). At a place like The Strand, you’ll want to dine with friends so that you can try everything.
Home Base: Caribe Royale
The AAA Four-Diamond Venetian Chop House sits inside this eclectic and sprawling hotel. The restaurant has a gorgeous interior, unbeatable outdoor fireside terrace and award-winning service. The menu is simple and elegant: Whether it is a Caesar salad, pork porterhouse, chicken breast or crème brûlée, each dish is executed with care and excellence. Plus, the chef crafted a special menu for Magical Dining featuring shrimp and scallops on creamy mushroom polenta, veal saltimbocca and apple cinnamon bread pudding.
Nearby: If your evenings have kids involved, there is no better place than Disney Springs, located about 10 minutes away. Terralina Crafted Italian is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, with big pizzas, delicious cocktails and gorgeous views of Lake Buena Vista. The brainchild of James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef Justin Plank, Terralina’s special menu highlights flavors of Italy’s Lake district through the huge chicken parmesan, delicious meatballs and rich tiramisu.
Home Base: The Alfond Inn
Tucked right off of Park Avenue, this boutique hotel has a close connection with the heart of Winter Park. Their restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen, highlights traditional Southern dishes by sourcing fresh, local ingredients and welcoming diners into a cozy setting. Their menu tells the story of Florida by featuring three things central to our heritage: beef, seafood and citrus. If you arrive early, the bar is perfect for an aperitif before dinner.
Nearby: A quick ten-minute walk from the hotel sits the bustling Hannibal Square. VINIA Wine & Kitchen, a chic, intimate and family-owned wine bar and restaurant, is one of this square’s hidden gems. The restaurant’s wine list and food menu highlight Italian and Brazilian flavors. Do not miss the burrata, cheese bread and pasta with oxtail! And you can upgrade your menu to include a wine pairing.
A local-favorite gastropub, The Ravenous Pig is a short walk down Fairbanks. This restaurant serves inventive dishes and homemade charcuterie by James Beard-nominated Chefs (and power couple) Julie and James Petrakis. Their Magical Dining menu is vegetable-forward, as the kitchen turns mushrooms into fluffy beignets and cauliflower into mouthwatering barbeque. Their neighboring Beer Garden is a wonderful place to hang out before or after your meal to enjoy some beers from their on-site Ravenous Pig Brewing Company.
Home Base: JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
Also located in Bonnet Creek, the JW Marriot is a perfect staycation hotel that places you right by the Disney magic in a refined setting. Their Unreserved Food Bazaar offers a creative array of global fare in a European-style marketplace.
Nearby: Paddlefish at Disney Springs is an oasis in the Disney bustle. The restaurant is located on a riverboat with gorgeous views of the water and a rooftop lounge overlooking the park. Southern cuisine inspires the dishes. Plus, guests have a choice to add a reduced-price bottle of wine to their evening. Menu highlights include fried green tomatoes, cornmeal-crusted catfish, shrimp and grits and key lime pie.
Home Base: Hyatt Regency Orlando
Right near Universal Orlando, this hotel hosts Fiorenzo, one of Orlando’s best Italian steakhouses. The chic restaurant has an open kitchen concept and delectable menu. Their pastas, steaks and specialty dishes contain the classic flavors of Italy, and there are plenty options for vegan, gluten free and picky eaters.
Nearby: For decades, Christini’s Ristorante Italiano is one of the top dining destinations in Central Florida, capturing the charm and elegance of classic European dining. Their Magical Dining menu spotlights some of their most popular items, such as Spaghettini alla Pomodoro, Scaloppine alla Marsala (Veal Marsala), Gamberoni alla Scampi (Shrimp Scampi) and Pollo alla Piccata (Chicken Picatta). As a bonus, Christini’s offers enhancements that include shrimp Venezia, sea bass and filet Barolo, as well as an extensive list of reduced-price sharing options of veggies, truffle risotto and gnocchi Bolognese. The quality and portion size is certainly a bargain.
Family-owned Italian restaurant Vincenzo Cucina Italiana (pictured at top) is a staple on I-Drive. Their motto of farm-to-table, seasonal ingredients comes straight from Italy, as do all of their recipes. Choose from burrata, meatballs with polenta or prosciutto and melon for appetizers. Then, pick between tortellini with filet tips, lobster ravioli or chicken marsala for entrees. Desserts include tiramisu, cannoli and limoncello cake. You can enhance your meal with truffle oil on the burrata, shrimp or scallops with the pasta and a shot of limoncello with dessert. Buon Appetito!
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