By Kristen Manieri
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. If that wasn't reason enough to celebrate, 2015 has seen a record number of newly opened restaurants joining the list of 70+ restaurants offering three-course, prix-fixe menus all September long.
Here are a few we are very excited to try:
With a nod to the gastronomic societies designed to celebrate the cuisine and culture of Spain's Basque region, Txokos at East End Market boasts an exciting menu of meaty small plates (pintxos) and entrees (platos) that are matchless in Orlando's dining scene. True to his intrepid style, Chef Henry Salgado created a series of new, never before served at Txokos dishes to showcase in his Magical Dining Month menu. Standouts include the Serrano Wrapped Cobia and a scrumptious Fresh Fig Tart made with a cornmeal crust and drizzled with brandy sauce.
Chef Greg Richie has breathed new life into the culinary corner of downtown Orlando known as Thornton Park. At his bright and modern space at the corner of Central and Summerlin, Richie unfurls a series of dishes designed to share his love of Southern fare made with upscale twists and some unexpected iterations. Opening daily at 5pm, Soco will feature crowd favorites in its Magical Dining Month menu, dishes that include the much-loved Chicken Fried Cauliflower Steak and Richie's famed Bourbon Banana Pudding.
As if we needed another reason to visit the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Ravello's highly anticipated Magical Dining Month participation will likely tempt many to dine at Orlando's most luxurious resort. Ravello, a modern Italian restaurant and bar, is where Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi's shares his love of fine food. Beef Carpaccio, Pan-Seared Salmon and a watermelon lemon, peach and mascarpone Granita-Cassata are just a few items Schenardi will showcase on his Magical Dining Month menu.
There are many new reasons to head over to International Drive for a Magical Dining night out but we're adding in one of our longtime favorites with Spencer's at the Hilton Orlando. Chef Kevin Spencer, he's not who the restaurant is named after, serves up inventive food and quality steaks with local ingredients in a classy atmosphere. Known for his love of being creative and having fun in the kitchen, this year's menu features fresh takes on the traditional steakhouse favorites with Chilled Colossal Shrimp, Florida Filet & Key Lime Crème Brulee just to name a few.
Even if none of these options tempt you (and how could they not!?), 70 more restaurants stand ready to please your palate with a delectable three-course feast priced at just $33 per person. You can preview all the menus here. This is the perfect opportunity to dine around Orlando at deep discount. Magical Dining Month runs from August 24 to September 30, 2015. Happy eating!
Eat for a good cause. Visit Orlando's Magical Dining will benefit ELEVATE Orlando in 2015, with $1 from every meal donated to the local charity. ELEVATE Orlando meets the complex needs of urban youth by providing both character education and life skills training to help to move students from poverty to self-sufficiency.
Kristen Manieri is the founder and editor of the Orlando Date Night Guide, which houses hundreds of ideas recommendations for sharing fun and meaningful quality time together in Orlando. From cooking classes to hidden gem restaurants to unique and exciting things to do, you'll find the best of Orlando's date night offerings inside the pages of this comprehensive online guide.