You may have read about the long-lauded Chef's Table at the Edgewater Hotel in Winter Garden. It's sort of a not-that-kept-best-kept-secret. Its $55/per person, three-course dinner is an Orlando favorite. It's also romantic, in part for its charming, unique and laid-back location (the same could be said of its staff), in "the rest" for its rich, delicious, often Southern-inspired fare. Next door, however, is the Chef's Table's offshoot, a small-plate venue known as the Tasting Room. Here the dishes are smaller, supposedly, anyway, some are exceptionally generous, and made for sharing. And really, what's more romantic than that? Plus, they come from the same exceptional kitchen. Fried green tomatoes to grits, pork belly sliders to duck confit flatbread, you'll want to come back and try them all. Become a happy hour regular and you'll manage in no time.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Great cocktails, phenomenal food and hey (wink wink) the Tasting Room's in a lovely circa-1927 hotel, as well. That could be romantic, too.
A.D.'s expert tip: On Friday and Saturday nights, live music from 8-11 pm kicks the romance up a notch.
It's slick and red, chic and modern with a little vintage essence and located in a hopping little corner of downtown. But Kres Chophouse isn't just a pretty face, it offers quality dining the opportunistic carnivore will pair with a Magic game at the nearby Amway Center, live music or dancing at a nearby nightclub (perhaps even some flamenco over at Ceviche) or even a slow stroll around Lake Eola, which bolsters romance as well as digestion. The Mixed Grill at Kres, garlic shrimp, filet mignon and double lamb chop served with asparagus and decadent three-cheese au gratin makes for a generous sample platter.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Cosmopolitan and on-point, intimate, atmospheric Kres makes you forget you're within a plastic novelty cup's throw of downtown's more touristy drink-and-dine options.
A.D.'s expert tip: Yes, it's a steakhouse, but Kres is a swanky choice for an after-work or early date night cocktail, as well.
Upstairs, Maria & Enzo's sweeping Italian eatery rules the roost, but down at Enzo's Hideaway, a clandestine lounge and restaurant themed on Florida's rum-running history, Prohibition Era cocktails wet the whistle and, if you're hungry, hearty Italian fare sates the belly. Salumi and cheese make for a great starter, as do classic meatballs served with polenta. Larger entrees include a hefty lasagna (meat ragu AND bechamel make it extra rich) and Nonna's Pasta, similarly loaded down with meats, cheeses and cream. Steak, chicken and seafood plates are also available and if you're planning on dessert, check with your (likely Italian) server. Portions are hefty, you may want to share!
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Enjoy a specially curated menu featuring two Antipasti selections Salumi E Formaggi, setting the scene for your night of romance.
A.D.'s expert tip: If you pop in for drinks but find yourself hungry, Enzo's tender, prosciutto-infused rice balls are up to the task of culinary mop-up.
Soco offers up loads of plated Southern comfort, though its name is actually a representation of Southern contemporary â" which means you'll find some down-home diner favorites that have undergone an evolution into something more upscale. Think boiled peanut hummus, mac-and-cheese croquettes and chicken and dumplings that infuse the latter with lobster. Its dining room is warm and inviting but its al fresco sidewalk seating infuses meals with a hip, urban vibe that ticks everything up a notch. As appealing for dinner as it is for Sunday brunch or happy hour cocktails, Soco's patio is lively and hip. But the food here is exemplary, and well worth the visit even if the Florida rain is teeming outside.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Whether you sup in its well-appointed interior or opt for an al fresco vibe, Soco is an undeniable winner for date night.
A.D.'s expert tip: Soco's "F-QUE" wings (jumbo and smoked with house-made pepper jelly) aren't just cheeky, they're spicy!
We can't deny that grand hotels, with their opulence and elegance and servers wearing ties, can be romantic. But we're also fans of small neighborhood joints where live music and an oft-convivial vibe can make a pair on a date feel simultaneously a part of something, yet wonderfully invisible amid the good-natured revelry. Maxine's is a cozy, lively place that may inspire a couple to move in for close talking over a bottle of wine and a bowl of buttery, garlicky drunken mussels (just make sure you both have it!). Regular "Parlour Nights" with live jazz (and classical, Latin and classic rock) piano and a twinkly-lit patio don't hurt, either.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fancy-schmancy isn't the only game in town for romance. Maxine's offers up a friendly, quirky, local version you might want to try out.
A.D.'s expert tip: Are you a couple whose preferred romantic outings include a pooch? Maxine's patio is dog-friendly.
What better place to celebrate a romantic dinner than a restaurant whose name means "to love?" Amare is a new casual upscale venue offering Mediterranean cuisine crafted from premium ingredients. It's located in the new Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, a boutique-like hotel within the Swan and Dolphin complex. For wine-lovers, Amare boasts an impressive selection of wines imported from the Mediterranean region, featuring specialized wine flights which are perfect for couples to share and sample. Pair a dinner at Amare with an overnight stay in an Epcot View room at the Swan Reserve for a private after-dinner fireworks viewing. It's easy to love this romantic date night spot.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The fresh, sleek design of this new Mediterranean restaurant boosts delicious, unique food and a top-notch wine selection.
Michelle's expert tip: A pizza with potatoes? Trust us. The amare flatbread sounds unusual but you will amare it.
Oysters are known as an aphrodisiac, right? Test out the theory at one of central Florida's newest upscale restaurants. New Standard opened in January 2020 and is a spot you'll want to hit with your honey. This place doesn't just have oysters. They have an oyster car, a gorgeous uplit piece of custom glass art filled with oysters that arrive fresh daily. The raw bar also features stone crab claws and ceviche. Chef Ryan McLaughlin's menu includes loads of locally-sourced ingredients. If you aren't able to make it for a romantic dinner, New Standard also serves brunch. No need to worry, oysters are on the brunch menu as well.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A new, upscale restaurant with an oyster bar is a surefire way to guarantee a sultry date night.
Michelle's expert tip: Oysters may be the main attraction, but the menu has something for everyone from meat lovers to vegans.
This is the Four Season Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort's signature steakhouse and its Spanish-inspired cuisine is elevated, literally and figuratively. From high up, guests here can take in superb cuisine, creative cocktail and phenomenally romantic fireworks views from the expansive balcony (heaters will be going on chilly nights, so don't let that put you off). Inspired small plates are a wonderful way to experience the many flavors on tap here, but entrees from the duck breast to the halibut to the porterhouse for two are mouthwatering and on point. Truthfully, it would be easy for a planned glass of Argentine malbec to turn into a multi-course dinner here. This isn't a venue you'll leave easy. It's a space in which you'll want to linger.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Four Seasons Resort Orlando luxury: it is never not romantic.
A.D.'s expert tip: Time your visit with the parks' fireworks displays and enjoy a balcony toast while doing so. Could spark fireworks of your own.
One of Walt Disney World's newest restaurants was made for romance. Topolino's Terrace - Flavors of the Riviera is located in the newly opened Riviera Resort. Topolino, the Italian name for Mickey Mouse, is situated on the rooftop of the French-inspired resort. The setting is reminiscent of ancient villages along the Rivera with rich colors, carved details and stonework. The outside view is just as stunning as the inside. Guests are able to enjoy the nighttime spectaculars from nearby Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Adding to the unique experience, diners can watch their meal prepared at the expo kitchen or wood-burning grill. An impressive selection of Mediterranean wines pairs nicely with your meal, whether it be braised lamb shank, filet mignon, classic sole meuniere or a plethora of other mouthwatering dishes.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: One of Walt Disney World's newest has a beautiful setting with European-inspired cuisine that will leave you saying, "oh la la!"
Michelle's expert tip: Time your dinner for an awesome fireworks view while you dine.
If your date wasn't already impressed when you pulled up to Ocean Prime, her jaw will drop when she sees your private, curtained dining booth. The restaurant only has a few of these intimate spaces so be sure to request them when you make your reservation. The booths are situated right by the lounge, the perfect spot to enjoy live music Thursday through Saturday evenings. If you aren't able to snag one of these tables, no worries, your meal will still be memorable. No matter where you sit, ask the staff to add rose petals to your table for an extra special touch. Ocean Prime is known for its incredible steaks and seafood, but don't overlook their vegetarian menu. It's available upon request and includes a sweet potato ravioli that will convert any meat lover. Whatever you do, save room for dessert. The 10-layer carrot cake (We counted. There are actually 10 layers) is a must!
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Amazing food, spectacular ambiance, what more do you need for a romantic evening?
Michelle's expert tip: Plan to spend at least three hours dining. There are several courses you'll want to take your time enjoying.