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Sep 2, 2009 06:03 AM

Magical Dining Orlando Reviews

Thought I would start a thread and let people rate the restaurant that they tried for Magical Dining month in Orlando.

Lets do two grades. Food Quality and Relative Value (ie savings over normal menu prices), then maybe a comment.


Food Quality = A
Relative Value = A

Comments (Conch Chowder, Yellowtail, Tres Leches). Opentable, Validate parking but still charge $5 fee)

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  1. I'd like to contribute re Vine's, Grille & Wine Bar but alas I can't. The restaurant actually printed its Magical Dining menu this year, an improvement over last year, but the rule is that both diners have to order from it. That's tacky and dumb--considering the dining room was empty--since I may have given it a shot while my husband ordered an appetizer, a soup and an entree. But nope, no dice. The choices weren't nearly as tempting as last year's anyway. So, we paid full price, had extremely mediocre service and now have a tainted image of what has been one of our favorite restaurants.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rona Gindin

      I tried the magical menu at Vines last night. Interesting that they have a rule about both people having to order from the Magical Dining menu. Seems counter productive to me. Vines sent out a email this morning touting the menu for September, and failed to mention this restriction.


      Food Quality = B
      Relative value = B

      I sat at the bar to order the meal and they mispriced both drinks that I ordered (A glass of wine, and a Martini), I just deducted the mistakes from the gratuity, instesd of getting it corrected.. (antipasta, tenderloin, beignets w/chocolate). and they are opentable.

      1. re: herbert1

        They're getting chinzy. Since we were ordering off the regular menu, we presented our card and were told we'd each receive a free drink. I asked limitations and two waiters shrugged, "Any drink. A glass of wine. A cocktail." I ordered a $14 glass of wine--not high for that menu--and my husband asked to be given something comparable towards an appetizer. While I see now on the website that the beverage is "up to $10 value," I was not told that. So, they comped me $10 on the wine but comped my husband only $9 on the appetizer. It's not a big deal but, again, if you're going to participate in a program designed to bring in local business, don't nickel and dime the folks you're going after.

        1. re: Rona Gindin

          I received an email from one of the managers at Vines, the all or none restriction has been dropped on the special menu. I also was told that the free drink issue has been clarified with the servers.

    2. Great idea, Herbert!

      I hit 310 Park South with friends this past week. Several of us ordered Magical Menu and several ordered the regular menu, the meal was enjoyed by all.

      From the Magical menu:

      Food Quality = A
      Relative Value = B

      2- Gator tail, pork tenderloin, chocolate trifle
      1- Salad, snapper, Pistachio gelato topped with berries.
      1- Salad, mushroom ravioli, chocolate trifle

      Gator tail, 310 salad, pork tenderloin, mushroom ravioli, chocolate trifle and Pistachio gelato all were enjoyed.

      I ordered the snapper, which came over a fennel salad and was topped with olive tapenade. The fish was nice, cooked well, but the fennel and the olive tapenade were both cold, which didn't really mesh well with the dish. Easily corrected if they roasted or sauteed the fennel salad and warmed up the tapenade a bit. According to our server, this is an entree that is going to be part of their regular menu sometime soon. The Pistachio gelato, was really tasty, tons of Pistachios in the gelato, really, really good.

      Everyone enjoyed the meal, service was attentive and the Magical menu items were enjoyed as much as the regular menu items.

      1. J Alexander's

        Went with a group, and the the thing about this place is the portion size of the apps and desserts are absolutely huge. Most of us were pretty full just from the apps....

        Food Quality = B
        Relative Value = A

        Everything was good, the prime rib in the center had a slight 'mealy' texture even though it was cooked medium rare. (Onion rings, huevos rolls, queso chips, prime rib, filet, salmon, carrot cake, chocolate cake, cream brulee) Service was very good, took a lot of food home. It's on the casual list, so it's $20, I can't believe the quantity of food that was served for that price.

        4 Replies
        1. re: herbert1

          I was there this past Friday, and you are right about the amount of food. Even our server couldn't believe how much food they were "giving" away. The app portions are huge, we had the queso and hervos roll and bothe were good. I had the hawiann ribeye which was very tasty. not a prime cut of meat bu good none the less.

          By far the best value of what I have seen from all the restaurants on the list.

          One thing to watch though is they show you what the total would have been on the bill and then the server just writes in the actual total in pen. OUr server was off by $25 with his math. I think he was trying to scam us.

          Other than that, its worth the trip.

          herbert was it crowded when you went? i was surpirsed how dead it was when i went

          1. re: fsupilam33

            We went prime time on Sat, so yes the restaurant was full.

            The exact same thing for nearly the same amount happened on our bill, the server claimed it was because only 5 of us had showed up for the reservation made for 6 and she changed the bill. Definitely people should be checking the bills....

            The 'Collosal Onion Rings' (appropriately named) app was probably 3 or 4 times as big as they should have been. It doesn't make sense to me to be serving such big apps (the onion rings were $6.95 on the reg menu). The Huevos Rolls were twice the size they should have been. The Queso dip was about the right size. We thought all the apps were good.

            Both of the cakes (chocolate and carrot) were at least twice as big as they should have been. They were both good as well.

            Can anybody explain why restaurants would do these size portions?

            1. re: herbert1

              we went friday at eight and there were plenty of tables.

          2. re: herbert1

            I had a very similar experience. My husband and I both had the prime rib (although ours was very good all the way). Desserts were good (creme brulee) to great (carrot cake). The apps were gigantic and heavy; the quality wasn't bad but they were not really impressive either. Tomato/cuke salad or something light like that would fit much better with a menu like this; hopefully they will add an option like that next year.

            Even so, it was a very good experience and a great value. We'll be back for the prime rib and carrot cake but will skip the apps after September.

            Our server wrote up the ticket the same way but her math was entirely accurate (I double checked since it's a bit odd to write a ticket that way); the only possible irregularity was that I wasn't sure if they were charging tax based on the discounted price or the normal price but that amounts to around a dollar difference so I didn't worry about it. She was friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.

            PS. I had a good cocktail off their house-list. It was a variation on a screwdriver and the juice tasted fresh-squeezed.

          3. My wife and I went for the first time to Emeril's Tchoup Chop. The restaurant had a big curtain up to cordon off half the space, and it was definitely not packed (mid-week in the summer in a down economy will do that).

            They brought us out a complimentary amuse as orlando locals (i'd had this happen at the regular Emeril's as well), which was nice. We tried both appetizers. They were both good but not really memorable. I think the spring rolls were the better of the two. My wife had the braised short ribs, I had the pork tenderloin. Both of these were solid, the pork tenderloin was really good and the short rib was just good. The dessert trio was ok, the key lime tart was the lone standout of the group.

            I'm glad I tried it but don't think I'll head back any time soon. I've definitely had more inspired food at Emeril's on citywalk.

            Next up: one of Restaurant K, Nonna, or The Palm.


            Food Grade: B+
            Value: B+

            1. Ocean Prime

              I went with my partner the other evening for an anniversary. The ambiance and decor are really top notch, the service was classy, friendly and attentive so for that I give them A. However the food is just okay
              Crabcake = B . Lots of crabmeat but a bit flavorless, Ive had better
              Ocean Prime House Salad - B . it was just ok

              I had the 7 oz filet mignon = B , thought it was good but nothing to call home about
              My partner had the pecan crusted mountain trout = C . the pecan overpowered the trout and the sauce that accompanied the fish was a bit oily.

              Chocolate Peanut butter pie = B
              Creme Brulee = B

              Quality = B
              Value = B

              It was ok, not bad, but not the best I ever had