Scott's recommendations for Magical Dining Month

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Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is in full swing, and from now until the end of September, you can dine in some of the area’s best restaurants -- not to mention some of the usually priciest -- for a terrific bargain.

During Magical Dining Month, participating restaurants offer a special three-course menu for a flat rate of $30. The table d’hote usually includes an appetizer, soup or salad, an entree and a dessert. In most cases, there are two or three choices in each category.

Three courses for 30 bucks is a pretty good deal. For some of the restaurants, it’s an outstanding deal. But you have to do a little research and cost comparison analysis to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your dining dollar.

Here’s what I do when Magical Dining Month comes around. I look over the list of restaurants, which can be found at the official website (I’ve got a link to Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month for you here), and check out the Dining Month menus for the restaurants I’m most interested in visiting.

Then I go to the restaurant’s website and check out its regular menu. I’ll note the regular prices of the items on the special menu, add them up and decide if it’s a good deal or not. Sometimes I find that it’s better to just visit the restaurant another time and have just an appetizer and an entree for less. Other times, I find that an entree alone is over $30, so getting two extra courses for $30 is a no-brainer.

One caveat: You may have to request the Magical Dining Month menu when you’re seated. Some restaurants don’t offer it without asking. And you must order from the special menu -- you can’t order the items you know are offered on the deal from the regular menu and expect to get the $30 price. Just so you know.

Oh, and you should know that one dollar of every Magical Dining Month dinner goes to a charity. This year Edgewood Children’s Ranch is the beneficiary.

Here are some of the participating restaurants I’m recommending:

The Oceanaire Seafood Room -- some of the best seafood in town. Great savings during Magical Dining Month.

La Luce by Donna Scala -- fun, eclectic Italian at the Bonnet Creek resort. Extra fun if Scala is in town.

K Restaurant -- Kevin Fonzo’s find cuisine can be pricy at times; go during September!

The Capital Grille -- seriously good steaks, but a night here can be costly -- except during Magical Dining Month.

The Venetian Room -- One of the area’s last remaining old-school fine dining restaurants.