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September is Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month

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Now is one of the best times of the year to visit Orlando. According to Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel: During the month of September, Orlando's room rates are among the lowest of the year." To pair with the well-priced accommodations, many of the Orlando restaurants are offering deals and special menus to accommodate guests through the Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month. The deal is this: Over 75 restaurants in the Orlando area are offering three-course meals for only $33 for the entire month of September. In addition, $1 from each meal will be donated to the Foundation for Foster Children.

In this article, we want to provide a list of restaurants participating in the event and highlight some of our favorites. If you are planning to visit Disney World, Universal Studios, or any of the other attractions in Orlando, we can't think of a better time to make the 2 hour drive from Jacksonville. September is often considered part of the "low season" for attractions like Disney World and shorter lines and better deals on food are commonplace. So, seize the day on these deals and try one (or several) of these restaurants that are offering special deals through Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month:

Convention Area:

  • A Land Remembered (Rosen Shingle Creek): This restaurant was featured in our top 10 list of the best restaurants in Orlando. A Land Remembered focuses on the history of Florida as set forth in the book by the same title. Go here for great steak and/or a special occasion.
  • Cala Bella (Rosen Shingle Creek)
  • Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
  • Everglades Restaurant (Rosen Centre Hotel)
  • Florenzo Italian Steakhouse (Hyatt Regency Orlando)
  • Fogo de Chao Brazillian Steakhouse
  • Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar
  • Jack's Place (Rosen Plaza Hotel)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
  • Ming Court
  • Napa (Hyatt Regency Orlando)
  • Spencer's for Steaks and Chops (Hilton Orlando)
  • The Capital Grille: We have written about the Jacksonville Capital Grille in the past. We listed their filet as the #10 steak in our Top 10 steaks in Jacksonville article. We are skeptical that the steak lived up to its $35+ price. However, we have heard good things about the recently opened Orlando location and we are hoping to visit the restaurant for a review in the near future.
  • The Oceanaire Seafood Room
  • Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar
  • Vincenzo Cucina Italiana

Disney/Lake Buena Vista

  • Deep Blu Seafood Grille (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort)
  • Hawk's Landing Steakhouse (World Center Marriott)
  • Hemingway's (Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress)
  • Il Mulino New York Trattoria (Walt Disney World Swan)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse: Aside from the impressive indoor Koi ponds, nothing in particular sets this restaurant apart from other similar Japanese steakhouses in the area. As far as chains go, this location produces good food with an entertaining Habachi preparation.
  • La Luce by Donna Scala (Hilton Bonnett Creek): If you are looking for Italian fine dining in Orlando, then this is the place to go. We recently enjoyed the Magical Dining Month prix fixe menu at La Luce and we highly recommend the Beet Salad. Another dish, the Chicken Fra Diavolo, really impressed. This may be the best chicken dish we've had in a restaurant and we plan to talk more about it in a future full review. The Salmon Steak, which we also tried on the night of our visit, wasn't quite on the same level.
  • Mikado Japanese Steak House (World Center Marriott)
  • NINE18 (Villas of Grand Cypress): This restaurant has an excellent staff and great location overlooking the golf course.
  • Siro: Urban Italian Kitchen (World Center Marriott)
  • The Venetian Room (Caribe Royale Hotel): Another pick from our top 10 restaurants in Orlando article, The Venetian Room has a very unique and impressive decor with numerous private alcoves and a grand entranceway. The Venetian Room also achieved AAA Four Diamond status and Florida Trend Golden Spoon Award.
  • Todd English's Bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin): Our #1 best restaurant in Orlando! This restaurant has one of the best atmospheres we've experienced. The subtle house music, mixed with decor that makes you feel like you're under the ocean make Bluezoo an upscale dining experience to remember.

Downtown

  • Citrus Restaurant
  • Funky Monkey Wine Company
  • Kasa Restaurant & Bar
  • Maxine's on Shine
  • Mingo's
  • The Boheme (Grand Bohemian Hotel): Another AAA Four Diamond restaurant, The Boheme is a great place to go for a special occasion where you are looking for unique ambiance and custom food and wine pairings.

Restaurant Row

  • Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
  • Bistro CloClo
  • Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
  • Dragonfly-Robata Grill & Sushi
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
  • Morton's The Steakhouse: If it's as good as the Jacksonville location, then we are all in.
  • Ocean Prime
  • Roy's Restaurant: If you read our articles at all, then you know that the Roy's Jacksonville Beach location is one of our favorite chain restaurants. We have visited the Orlando location too. Although the Orlando Roy's is not as well run as the Jacksonville location in terms of service, the food is still good for the most part.
  • Ruth's Chris Steakhouse: A common chain, the downtown Jacksonville location will likely always be our favorite. Although the Lake Mary, FL location is also excellent.
  • Seasons 52: We are a strong proponent of this chain, which offers a lighter and healthier fare than most restaurants. Add to that the fantastic wine list created by Master Sommelier George Milliotes and you have a great fine dining restaurant.
  • Stefano's Grill
  • The Melting Pot: The Jacksonville restaurant is great for a date night and so are the Orlando and Longwood locations.

Universal/City Walk

  • Bice Ristorante (Lows Portofino Bay Hotel)
  • Emeril's Orlando
  • Emeril's Tchoup Chop (Loews Royal Pacific Resort): This restaurant was featured in our Culinary Competition series. Click here for the article.
  • Islands Dining Room (Loews Royal Pacific Resort)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
  • Mama Della's Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel)
  • Trattoria del Porto (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel)

Winter Park and North

  • Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine: Recommended if you like lamb and traditional Turkish food.
  • Chez Vincent
  • Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
  • Hamilton's Kitchen-The Alfond Inn
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Altamonte Springs)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Longwood)
  • Luigino's Restaurant
  • Luma on Park: Luma was featured on our list of our top 20 favorite restaurants all-time (i.e. in the world as far as we are concerned). The coffee rubbed ribeye that we had here as a special was one of the best steaks we've ever had. The restaurant also offers a great wine list, awesome Winter Park location, and swanky atmosphere. Here's our Culinary Competition article comparing Luma to Jacksonville's own Restaurant Orsay.
  • Mitchell's Fish Market: Some of you may know this restaurant form its St. Johns Town Center location.
  • Park Plaza Gardens
  • Rangetsu Japanese Restaurant & Bar
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House (Lake Mary): One of our favorite Ruth's Chris locations.
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House (Winter Park)
  • Seasons 52 (Altamonte Springs): Highly recommended location (the Jax and Restaurant Row locations are great too)
  • The Melting Pot (Longwood): This location and the Jax Melting Pot are well-run iterations of this popular chain.

Surrounding Areas

  • Bohemian Bar and Grill (Bohemian Hotel Celebration)
  • Eleven (Reunion Resort)
  • K Restaurant
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Alafaya)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Kissimmee)
  • Le Coq Au Vin: This is an excellent fine dining French restaurant.
  • Texas de Brazil
  • The Capital Grille (Mall at Millennia): Newly opened location; we've heard good things!
  • Yuki Hana Japanese Fusion

For more from Jacksonville Fine Dining Examiner, follow us on Twitter @JaxFineDining

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