September in Orlando is magical dining month, and this month I made it my business to sample some of the best restaurants in Orlando with wonderful magical dining meals available! For those of you unfamiliar with magical dining month, each September select Orlando restaurants offer a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for $33. This might seem like a lot of money, but many of the restaurants offering magical dining menus are quite expensive (they really are the best restaurants in Orlando), and 3 courses for $33 is a deal.
Some of the restaurants on the list are chains, like the Melting Pot or Mortons, and some are local restaurants, like Le Coq Au Vin and Luma on Park. Most of the restaurants fall in the price range of “special occasion” for me, so it was a real treat to get to eat at these without having anything to celebrate! I knew about magical dining for a while, and budgeted accordingly. I also limited myself to only a couple of restaurants. For foodies, tourists, or locals, magical dining is a great treat. I highly recommend it to out of town visitors. A lot of folks are amazed by the wonderful variety of restaurants Orlando has to offer!
The list is quite substantial and seems to grow every year! For a complete list of restaurants, look at: http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldining/
I chose Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Capital Grille from this vast list of restaurants based on where friends were going, so I can’t exactly say that these would have been a top choice of mine from the list. Especially considering I eat a vegetarian and occasionally pescatarian diet, and both of these are steakhouses. However, both locations had seafood choices on their prix fixe menus, and I did enjoy both of my meals! My only complaint about magical dining month is the lack of vegetarian options.
Here is an overview of what I had to eat at each restaurant with their regular prices listed:
STEAK HOUSE SALAD ($8)
Iceberg, baby arugula & baby lettuces with grape tomatoes,
garlic croutons & red onions
BARBECUED SHRIMP ($28)
Large shrimp sautéed New Orleans-style in reduced white wine, butter, garlic & spices.
Served on a bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes
SEASONAL DESSERT ($8)
Berries & Cream with cheesecake
Fresh seasonal berries with sweat cream
In total I had $44 of food for $33. The food and overall service was okay – I felt that the salad was nothing special, and that the cheesecake had a slightly burnt flavor. However, the main course, the barbecued shrimp, was fantastic. The “barbecue” was more of a creamy garlic and butter sauce with a hint of spice (no smoked flavor), but that suited my taste just fine as I’m not a big barbecue fan. I don’t think I would have been happy spending $44 on this meal, but for $33 it was a satisfying meal out.
CLAM CHOWDER ($9)
A New England favorite seasoned with our own blend of spices.
SEARED CITRUS GLAZED SALMON ($32)
Served over haricots verts, fresh asparagus and roasted cippolini onions.
CLASSIC CREME BRULEE ($9)
The perfect caramelized sugar crust over the creamiest of custards.
*Side items served family-style: Fresh creamed spinach & Sam’s mashed potatoes ($9 & $9)
In total $50 of food, not counting the shared sides, for $33. This meal was absolutely delicious – everything, from the fantastic service to the bountiful bread baskets and salted butter, was perfect. My salmon was good, a bit overcooked for my taste, but accompanied perfectly by the cippolini onions and vegetables. The crème brulee was particularly stunning.
In all, my magical dining experiences were a success. The servers at Capital Grille were a highlight – they were fantastic and really made dining there feel special (and made me feel like I was ordering $50 worth of food, and not $33).
I recommend visiting Orlando in September to any food lovers out there!