This post originally appeared on The Hungry Sprout.
September is a great month to visit Orlando as the city celebrates its restaurants, dining and cuisine by throwing a month long party called Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. Orlando has fast become an incredible destination for foodies with many celebrity and top awarded Chefs opening restaurants here. This is the time of year where you can experience some of the city’s best places to eat on a mere $33 a person. Dinner includes your choice of an appetizer, an entree and a dessert from a special Magical Dining menu.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Magical Dining Month kickoff party sponsored by Yelp and Visit Orlando. Eight of the over 75 participating restaurants set up tables at The Ballroom at Church Street and handed out tastings of their amazing offerings for their Magical Dining Month’s menu.
One of the first we sampled was the Seared Yellowtail Snapper with Lemon Risotto, Broccolini and a Charred Bell Pepper Coulis from Napa at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The fish was perfectly cooked, the broccolini perfectly wilted and pepper coulis perfectly spicy.
Next up was the Vesuvio from Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse, also at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Hand spiraled pasta with butternut squash, baby spinach, fresh pear, ricotta salata and toasted pine nuts in a spicy pepper sauce. Also very well executed.
Cuba Libre was handing out Mango Mojitos along with slow roasted marinated pulled pork with Vigorón slaw.
They also served up some desserts including a delicious cinnamon rice pudding……oh so yummy.
Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse was offering tasting of their filet and shrimp. We didn’t try the filet but the BBQ shrimp were divine.
Hemingway’s at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was offering their famous crab cakes with sweet corn coconut grits.
K Restaurant in College Park offered tastings of their Roasted Pork with berry preserves.
They also served a Seafood Minestrone with clams, oysters, shrimp, summer beans, bacon broth, local greens. I did not realize I was eating a bacon broth until after my first bite but it was pretty tasty, especially if you love bacon.
Perhaps one of my most favorite dishes of the night were the Salted Cod Fritters from Siro Urban Italian Kitchen at the Orlando World Center Marriott. (I may or may not have had more than my fair share of those.)
Siro was also offering a pressed watermelon and heirloom tomato salad- also one of my favorites.
For dessert Siro served their Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with a Raspberry Coulis. Interesting enough as everything Siro served was not part of their magical dining menu. The Panna Cotta is on the menu, but with apricots instead of the raspberry.
Puff N’ Stuff Catering had a display of confections such as Candied Orange tarts and Passion Fruit Caramel Chocolates.
Beverages were being offered by Onli All Natural Sparkling Waters.
In looking over the menus at the over 75 restaurants participating in the event, nearly all have at least one entree that is seafood and not a beef, chicken or pork entree. Several, including The Melting Pot and Cuba Libre have at least one all Vegetarian option. For $33 a person it is certainly worth taking a look over some of the menus. Many of these restaurants are the fancy fine dining establishments that many of us would otherwise probably never have the opportunity to enjoy.
The event runs from September 1 through September 30 with a special preview week that began August 25. For a complete listing of all the participating restaurants and to view the menus visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month.