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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.

Normans

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.
    RonaGindin.com

    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.

      Vines

      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 sandlakerestaurants.com 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.

            Ratings:

            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
              appetizer:
              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

              1. Paxia

                Food quality = C
                Relative Value = C

                Place was pretty dirty, also the customer service was poor.

                1 Reply
                1. re: herbert1

                  Herbert-

                  It's sooooo hit or miss there, which is why I rarely go. 2 for 1 margaritas from 5-7 are good, though.

                  I was there last week with friends and enjoyed the Magical Dining menu- Crab flautas, seafood enchiladas and fried ice cream. Crab Flautas were good, though nothing special. The crab filling was missing something in the flavor component. The seafood enchiladas were great, a nice mix of shrimp and scallops with a really good sauce which was creamy but still a red sauce. (The Mexican equivalent to Italian Pink sauce?) Fried ice cream came to the table flaming, but was coated in unsweetened toasted coconut...which was scorched and just awful. Ice cream was offered in Chocolate and Vanilla- I chose Chocolate and sadly, it was not at all chocolatey.

                  Service was slow and bad for us, too- but the place was clean last Friday. Decent dinner crowd.

                  I'd agree with your rating, though I had a better experience.

                  Food quality = C
                  Relative Value = C

                2. K Restaurant

                  Food quality A+
                  Relative Value A

                  Party of 2, GNO.

                  I enjoyed the Magical Dining menu ($30) - Fried green tomato with crab app, Mahi Mahi over fava corn succotash, Apple Tarte with cream and caramel sauce.

                  Friend enjoyed the regular Prixe Fixe which changes daily ($23) and had the Heirloom tomato salad, Salmon with mustard glaze and veggies over rice and cheesecake with figs.

                  A complimentary amuse bouche was brought out, a delightful melon mint gaspacho. I heard "mint" and thought that was all I would taste...not so. Cantaloupe, Honeydew and the tang of sweetened lime rounded out the soup. The mint flavor was very, very mild- though the green specks were visible. My friend and I were so taken with the soup, we wished we could have had round 2. :)

                  Apps were delish. I have had the FGT and Crab app several years ago and it's awesome...fresh, not at all greasy and a generous helping of crab salad. (Crab, a bit of grained mustard, corn) I wish it were on the menu regularly. My friends tomato salad was a tasty combo of 4 or 5 varieties of halved grape sized tomatoes in red, yellow, orange, green, halved and lightly dressed and then topped with shaved parm and micro greens.

                  Our main courses were both fish and both wonderful. My friend took the recommendation of our server and went with Med rare on the salmon and was very pleased. The rice was very flavorful and the dish was topped with a nice medley of veggies. My Mahi was very tender and flavorful, the succotach was a nice combination of sweet corn just off the cob, fresh and tender Fava beens, tomatoes, onion and seasonings. Really tasty.

                  Desserts were petite in size, but big on flavors. Thumbs up on both- and really good coffee. I'm a decaf drinker so I like to mention when I get a stellar (bold and flavorful) cup of decaf. My friend was drinking fully leaded and tried mine, agreed that there was not a flavor difference.

                  I had a reservation and we dined early. By 7:15 or so every table was booked, so consider reservations.

                  1. I think this will be the last two for me....

                    Funky Monkey Wine Co

                    Food Quality = A
                    Relative Value = A

                    Great evening (Thursday, tonight), though prepare to settle in as it's not a quick in and out place. We arrived early and the place was hopping as we received our entree's. Reservations are a good idea. Most of the folks in our party had a promo GC that could not be used with the Magical Dining menu, which we all knew going in so that wasn't an issue. One person ordered the MDM and got a great meal, huge portion. She ordered the pork tenderloin and loved it.

                    Based on my bill total and the MDM offer, this is one heck of a deal if you like those options. Everyone at the table enjoyed their meals and their selections from the wine list. Will go back, for sure!

                    Early in the week I hit Hannibal's in Winter Park. Quiet evening.

                    Hannibal's On The Square

                    Food Quality = B
                    Relative Value = C

                    Went with a group, all enjoyed. Mushroom soup was a stand out, big raves, salad was just OK. Most ordered the Blue Cheese Burgers and loved them, all were cooked to order and with a melted blue cheese pocket in the center. Two of us had the trout, it was tasty but is a petite portion and the burger seems to be the better choice if you are hungry.

                    Desserts were not stellar. Apple tart was reported to be OK and in need of cinnamon and spices. Bland. The chocolate cake was OK, not super chocolatey and it could have been more moist.

                    1. I went to Ocean Prime the other night for the Magical Dining Month special and here is my report (pictures are at: http://tastychomps.blogspot.com/2009/...

                      )

                      The place is definitely swankified, shades of blue glow through out the glamorous restaurant. The decor is beautiful to the point of decadence, as if from a scene in the Great Gatsby. Live music plays in the bar lounge area, on this evening a guitarist singer, on other evenings live piano and more.

                      We are seated at our table and are greeted by our charming waitress, who throughout the meal is attentive and friendly.

                      But decor can never make up for great food, and in this case, our meals were just good

                      I begin with the crab cake served atop a yellow corn cream. The crab cake was good, filled with crab meat, though I have had better crab cake else where with more flavor. The yellow corn cream was a nice subtle touch to the cake.

                      For one of the sides, I order the truffle mac and cheese (not on the magical dining menu). The truffle mushrooms on top of the mac and cheese gave it a strong powerful flavor, pretty good though it may not be to everyone's tastes.

                      For entree, I order the 7 oz Filet Mignon, a deal with the $30.00 since this alone is usually $31.00 on the regular menu. The filet mignon was excellently cooked, medium rare and tender.

                      My partner however did not enjoy her entree as much, as the pecan crusted mountain trout was overwhelmed by the pecan taste and brown butter sauce accompaniment. It was a bit disappointing since Ocean Prime is supposedly known for its seafood. Maybe other items are better?

                      For dessert I chose the creme brulee, a huge bowl of creamy egg custardy goodness, probably 3 times the amount usually served for creme brulee. My partner orders the chocolate peanut butter pie, which was actually pretty good.

                      Food Quality: B
                      Food Value: B-
                      Atmosphere: A
                      Overall: B

                      1. Nonna

                        Food Quality = B+
                        Relative Value = A

                        1. One last review that I guess will only help people thinking about going out to dinner tonight.

                          We went to The Palm last night for their Magical Dining Month menu. It was a great, classic meal and a fantastic bargain.

                          We started with the soup of the day (chicken rice) and the caesar salad. The soup looked a little like it came out of a campbell's can but was very well executed. Very flavorful and served piping hot. We each had the 9oz filet, which had a nice crust and was perfectly medium rare. The meal comes with the family style half-n-half (cottage fries and onion rings) as the side. Our waiter accidentally brought us creamed spinach and mashed potatoes instead. Then he brought us the half-n-half he forgot. The mashed potatoes were a highlight, very light and fluffy. Desserts were very solid renditions of key lime pie and creme brulee.

                          I am still stuffed the next morning.

                          Considering that the filet alone sits on the menu at $39.50, the magical dining menu is a great value. Even without our bonus mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, the menu price on the $30 magical dining meal is around $60.

                          Food Quality: A
                          Relative Value: A++++

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pfibiger

                            i wish this deal lasted all year! sighs