See below to find out how to win dinner for two at one of three participating restaurants.
There are so many reasons for wanting August to be over, but the best reason is that once August is over September is here. And if it’s September it’s Orlando Magical Dining Month.
For the uninitiated, Orlando Magical Dining Month, or MagDinMo, is presented by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Now in its fifth year, Magical Dining Month offers an opportunity to visit some of the area’s best restaurants at great savings. All participating restaurants will offer a special three-course menu for $30 per person (plus tax and gratuity, of course). In the great majority of cases, this represents a huge savings.
Take Ocean Prime, for example. The upscale seafood (Ocean) and steak (Prime) restaurant on Sand Lake Road has as one of its Magical offerings its 7-ounce filet mignon. On the a la carte menu, the same steak goes for $31. So for $1 less, you get the same steak (no, they don’t cut it down, it’s the same size) plus a starter and a dessert. At OP you can choose calamari, salad or French onion soup to begin and finish with creme brulee or sorbet.
There are about 50 participating restaurants this year, including some newcomers like La Nuova Cucina and Crave, and some that are just new to the program, like Citrus and Hue.
What are some of the ones I’m recommending? Definitely Ocean Prime, but also Norman’s (no brainer — one of the area’s costliest restaurants), Luma on Park, Funky Monkey, La Nuova Cucina, A Land Remembered and Cala Bella at Rosen Shingle Creek, The Capital Grill, The Ravenous Pig, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, La Luce by Donna Scala and Primo by Melissa Kelly. I’m also looking forward to visiting several others — I like saving money, too.
Here’s what I do before I visit one of the MagDinMo restaurants: I take a look at the menu they’re offering for $30, then I call up the regular menu on their Web sites and do the math.
Speaking of math, the restaurants have pledged to donate $1 from each MagDinMo meal to charity. This year it’s Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida. So eat a lot and those dollars will add up.
By the way, the restaurants will be offering only the $30 menus. In past years there was also a $20 list that included more casual restaurants and in some cases a lunch offering from some of the fancier ones. One caveat: be sure to ask for the Magical Dining Month menu when you are seated; some restaurants don’t hand them to you if you don’t ask.
To help kick off Orlando Magical Dining Month, I’m giving away dinners for two to three of the participating restaurants. The drawings will be Monday, Tuesday, August 30 and 31, and Wednesday, September 1 — kickoff day! (Buh-bye, August!) To be eligible to win, all you have to do is be on my newsletter list. (If you’re already signed up, you’re already entered — no need to sign up again.) Just find the box over on the right side of the screen and enter your e-mail address. Don’t worry; you’re in a spam-free zone. Needless to say, the certificates must be used during the month of September.
Once again, here’s a link to the official Orlando Magical Dining Month Web site.