Well, here’s some shocking news: There’s no longer a Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month.
Calm down, calm down…it’s now to be known as Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining. I suppose the Month was dropped from the name because for the past several years the popular event has spanned more than the original month of September. Participating restaurants offer special MagDinMo, um MagDin, menus featuring three courses for a prix fixe of $35, plus tax and gratuity. As in previous years, $1 from each sale will go to local charities. This year’s beneficiaries have not yet been selected.
This year’s restaurant promotion will run from Aug. 23 through Sept. 30 and will feature a record number of participants: 120. Eleven restaurants are first-timers, including Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Jaleo by José Andrés.
The latter is bound to be a popular choice not just because it’s new and it’s the only restaurant on the list that’s owned by a chef nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (get busy, Wolf). Jaleo is offering five courses instead of just three for the same $35 fixed prix.
Other restaurants of note include:
- Fiorenzo at the Hyatt Regency Orlando
- Tapa Toro
- American Kitchen Bar & Grill
- Soco Thornton Park
- Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
- Rocco’s Italian Grill & Bar
- The Tap Room at Dubsdread
Besides Jaleo and Puck’s place, other newcomers include Bella Tuscany Italian Restaurant; Bites & Bubbles; Enzo’s Hideaway; Menagerie Eatery & Bar; Mia’s Italian Kitchen; Backroom Steakhouse; Edison at Disney Springs; H Cuisine; and Euphoria. (If Euphoria is based on the new HBO series of the same name I’m not eating there.)
You can take a look at all of the participating restaurants and start plotting your dining plan at the Visit Orlando Magical Dining website. As usual, the site is a little wonky — you have to scroll back to the top of a page to continue on to the next one, and some woman in a floating bubble keeps popping up wanting to start a chat.
And something else is missing this year besides the word Month. In previous years, the Magical Dining restaurant listings included a link to the restaurant’s website, which is essential for proper research. There is, however, a handy link to OpenTable so that you can make a reservation.
I’ll have my tips and recommendations for you soon.