Scott's recommendations for Magical Dining Month


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.