It’s been less than a year since my husband Jason and I got married, so we’re still very much in the honeymoon stage. That means that we’re often thinking about special places to celebrate anniversaries, milestones, or other special occasions. I’ve thus become an inadvertent expert on the most romantic spots in the Central Florida, and if you’re anything like me, the way to your heart is—at least in part—through your stomach. With childcare readily available at many local resorts, you might even have the chance to get away for an evening alone with your partner during a full-on family vacation. Or if you’re lucky enough to be visiting Orlando for a conference, the restaurant scene provides a good reason to bring your partner along for the trip. Here’s where to go to celebrate a special occasion or to say, “I love you” (or even just, “I really, really like you.”) with a memorable meal.
The Chef’s Table at the Edgewater
Located in the quaint downtown area of the Orlando suburb of Winter Garden, the Chef’s Table is my hands-down choice for an unforgettable romantic meal. Chef and co-owner Kevin Tarter is a veteran of Disney’s Victoria & Albert’s (see below), and here, he creates a luxurious, decadent prix fixe three-course meal that you’ll never forget.
Victoria & Albert’s
Located inside Disney’s magnificent Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, this AAA Five Diamond restaurant is one of the most coveted reservations in town. The prix fixe menu in the main dining room includes seven stunning courses (10- to 12-course menus are available in the more exclusive Queen Victoria’s Room or at the Chef’s Table), and the wine list boasts more than 700 unique selections. It’s pricey, but truly Orlando’s crème de la crème.
Although the restaurant is now a national chain, its first location was in Orlando, nestled on the shores of Little Sand Lake. From the patio, you can see the Disney and SeaWorld fireworks in the distance. The seasonally inspired entrees—all under 475 calories—range from caramelized sea scallops to oak-grilled filet mignon. It’s a great place to enjoy an intimate meal without breaking the bank.
The Venetian Room
This AAA Four Diamond restaurant offers a range of creative, upscale menu options and is a perennial favorite among both locals and visitors to the area. Located inside the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center, just minutes from Disney World, the restaurant also features an extensive reserve wine list.
Christener’s Prime Steak & Lobster
Formerly called Del Frisco’s, this classic steakhouse is off the beaten tourist path. Dark wood paneling and dim lighting set the mood, and the prime-aged steaks and fresh cold-water lobster tails, imported from Australia and New Zealand, seal the deal. It’s old school romance at its finest.