Something Local: Date Nights

date night

I have been living in the Orlando area for almost 8 years and in that time have done my fair share of searching for cool and trendy spots for weekend (and week day) date nights. There are only so many times you can visit the same restaurants and the same bars before you start to get tired of the routine. Here are some Orlando date night suggestions that you may not yet have explored:

Restaurants-

Pig Floyd’s: Mills has become one of my favorite gastronomy strips in Orlando as it has so much culturally inspired cuisines, many of which with an Asian flare. Pig Floyd’s is a BBQ joint that is small but intimate and rustic with great brews on tap as well as a wide outdoor seating areas for those warm Florida nights. The food is not only some of the best BBQ I have had as it practically melts in your mouth, but is packed with wonderful, fresh flavors of Asian and Indian influence. My recommendation, especially if you like an Indian flare, would be the Chicken Masala Tacos- doesn’t sound like BBQ but it is pure awesomeness.

Hawkers: Another Mills restaurant that, like Pig Floyds, is very reasonably priced, especially for the amazing food that they offer, but also has a bit of an Indian flare to their Asian fare. I have ordered something new every time and have yet to be disappointed. They also have a great (and wide) variety of craft beers and wines. Although it may take some time to get a table on a weekend night as they do not except reservations and it is a popular joint, the wait is well worth it! My recommendation for one of their lite bites to start things off are their boiled pork pot stickers.

K Restaurant: K is located in College Park and, although it can be a bit pricey, the food and staff are full of personality and great flavors. Every time I have eaten at K I have always had a waiter that has made me laugh and elevated my experience. A great thing about K is that you can BYOB for a small corkage fee. It is a beer and wine only restaurant but, if you bring your own favorite bottle of vino, it can really cut down on the overall all cost of the meal. My recommendation would be the Mac n’ Cheese, like velvet on your tongue.

Enzo’s: If you are looking for great, homemade Italian food with a view, visit Enzo’s on the Lake- technically in Longwood. It is a family owned and operated restaurants that has just about any kind of Italian dish you could ask for. It is always crowded so, like K, it is good to make a reservation in advance. If you are a pasta fan their Bucatini Alla Enzo is a melt in your mouth dish with salty pockets pf prosciutto perfection.

Bars-

BART: Although it has a bit of a hole in the wall look, BART on Mills features craft and microbrew beers as well as great art from local artists draped on its walls and video games from the 60’s and 70’s.

Quantum Leap Winery: Although I have yet to try this place out, it has made it on my list of to do’s in the area. Quantum Leap is Florida’s only sustainable winery and not only does it offer wonderful wines but also offers various local food trucks and live music on certain nights.

Imperial Washburn Imports: Located in the Ivanhoe Village, on your way to downtown Orlando, this place has a personality unlike any bar I know. Imperial features furniture, often rustic in nature and made of reclaimed wood with an Asian twist that has been imported from across the globe. Not only do they offer great beers and wines but have also recently added light bites to their menu.

Lucky Lure- Although this bar might have more of a worn out feel, what is so great is that it is completely open up so that, on those warmer but cool nights we are graced with, you can sit down with a cold beer and feel the gentle breeze while being surrounded by great company.

Eden Garden at The Enzian- Like Lucky Lure, this bar is completely open to the great outdoors and provides you with plush green scenery as you are tucked within the trees. Eden’s is a full bar and often offers tasty, themed specialty cocktails for events and holidays. They also have a full menu with great food options. What is so nice about Eden’s is that you can actually take your food and drinks with you into the move theater (which basically feels like your living room) and watch a movie. You can even order more throughout the show. Aside from the scheduled nightly showings, The Enzian also offers Wednesday night pitcher shows out on the lawn beside the bar where you and your date can enjoy a free movie on the big screen and a cheap bucket of beer. How great is that?

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