Your guide to pairing Magical Dining Month restaurants with Orlando attractions for 2017.
A date night during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining® is a slam dunk. With so many local attractions and experiences to explore, extend your evening before or after dinner with fun and excitement while only parking your car once. To help you, we've matched a dozen restaurants participating during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month with nearby activities and attractions. So, pair up your dining experience from Aug. 25 to Oct. 12, 2017, and experience Orlando's fun side along with bargain $35, prix-fixe menus.
Learn more: Orlando Restaurants
Prato & Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
Arrive in the late afternoon to the picturesque neighborhood of Winter Park (about 20 minutes from downtown Orlando), and hop on board the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour's last departure at 4 p.m. This narrated tour will peel back the layers of Winter Park's lovely chain of lakes and its lakeside landmarks, while it navigates through three lakes joined by two immensely charming canals.
Back on land, head over to Prato, a gorgeous Park Avenue mainstay paying homage to rustic, scratch Italian fare. Highlights from Prato's Magical Dining Month menu include Prato Meatballs, Ravioli "Tre Formaggi Erba" and Tiramisu Gelato.
Amatista Cookhouse, BiCE Ristorante, Mama Della's Ristorante or The Kitchen & Universal CityWalk
Packed with bars, restaurants and live entertainment, Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort is a must for couples looking to dance, sip and sing! Take to the stage with a live band at Rising Star, a karaoke bar on steroids; dance the night away at Red Coconut Club; or sing along with the dueling piano players at Pat O'Brien's. You can also challenge your putting skills at Hollywood Drive-In Golf.
Of course, you'll be able to tackle this and more after enjoying a Magical Dining meal at Amatista Cookhouse (Loews Sapphire Falls Resort), BiCE Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel), or Mama Della's Ristorante or The Kitchen (Hard Rock Hotel), all of which connect to Universal CityWalk via free water taxis and shuttles.
Earls Kitchen + Bar & The Mall at Millenia
Get your retail therapy fix at The Mall at Millenia, one of Orlando's finest shopping malls. There you'll be captivated by the breathtaking glass ceilings and one-of-a-kind art pieces. This architectural wonder is home to more than 150 of the finest stores, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Gucci and Jimmy Choo.
To replenish after a triumphant shopping expedition, head on over to Earls Kitchen + Bar, the mall's newest epicurean addition. Inside the sleek yet comfortable space, you can select from several Visit Orlando's Magical Dining menu options such as Earl's Clam Chowder, Sirloin Steak and Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding.
1921 Mount Dora & Segway of Central Florida
It'll take about an hour to travel to Mount Dora from Orlando, but this charming, Old Florida town is totally worth the miles. Stroll its picturesque, boutique-lined streets or sign up for a Mount Dora Segway tour for a guided glimpse into the town's history, architecture and antique stores.
Afterward, break bread at 1921 Mount Dora, where chefs pay homage to Florida cuisine through local farms and fisheries. The restaurant is also a wonder by itself, with an amazing art display and décor items from the nearby Modernism Museum.
STK or Morimoto Asia & Disney Springs
Disney Springs® never seems to cease surprising and delighting us with new stores, experiences and attractions. Explore this newly reimagined entertainment hub, enjoy live performances by street performers or take flight above it all in a tethered, helium-filled balloon with Aerophile.
Pair these experiences with a Magical Dining dinner at STK — a hip and modern steakhouse — or Morimoto Asia, where upscale cuisine from China, Japan, Thailand and beyond wow with a beautifully designed interior décor that's nothing short of jaw dropping.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room & Main Event Orlando or Improv Comedy Club
After feasting on Crispy Shrimp Diablo, Surf & Turf and Key Lime Pie (just a few of the offerings on Oceanaire's Magical Dining Month menu), head on over to Main Event Orlando, an indoor entertainment complex featuring arcade games, virtual reality experiences, bowling, cocktails and more.
If you're looking for laughter, grab tickets for Improv Comedy Club, host to standup comics from across the country nearly every night of the week.
Vincenzo Cucina Italiana & The Wheel at ICON Park
Few Orlando experiences compare to a ride on The Wheel at sunset. Hop on board this 400-foot tall rotating wheel to see the sights near and far. As part of ICON Park, The Wheel sits adjacent SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando, also worth checking out on date night.
For dinner, wander over to Vincenzo Cucina Italiana, just a short walk north in a neighboring plaza. Here you'll enjoy "treat-you-like-family" service and home-cooked Italian fare, such as Carpaccio Di Manzo, Carne di Maiale and Gelato Italiano, just a few items on their Visit Orlando's Magical Dining menu.
Luke's Kitchen & Enzian Theater
The newest brainchild from Chef Brandon McGlamery (Luma on Park and Prato), a recent James Beard nominee, Luke's Kitchen was a welcome addition to Maitland, a small Orlando suburb slightly north of Winter Park.
Dive into the restaurant's elevated Americana cuisine — including Deviled Eggs & Braised Bacon, BBQ Spare Ribs and Ice Cream Sandwiches — before driving less than two minutes down the road to Enzian Theater, the area's only indie cinema. Inside you'll cozy up in couches and cushy chairs, while servers deliver everything from cocktails and craft brews, to popcorn and truffle parmesan fries.
Date Night and More During Visit Orlando's Magical Dining
With so many ways to enjoy a great evening paired with fine-dining during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, the hardest part will be deciding which dinner pairing to enjoy first. For a full list of restaurants participating in this year's Magical Dining Month, visit MagicalDining.com. There, you can browse menus, make reservations to your favorite spots and even download a Restaurant Checklist.
Kristen Manieri is the founder and editor of Orlando Date Night Guide, the area's most comprehensive online resource for couples. Housing thousands of ideas and recommendations for date night — including cooking classes, hidden gem restaurants and unique experiences — Orlando Date Night Guide will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in October 2017.
Cover image courtesy Prato in Winter Park.
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