When romance is in the air there’s bound to be love on the plate. Whether it’s a first date, a milestone anniversary, or something in between – the right place to propose, perhaps? – the right restaurant is required to set the proper mood. Here’s a list of some of Scott Joseph's favorite restaurants for a romantic rendezvous.
Caribe Royal Resort
8101 World Center Drive (at County Road 536 and CR 535)
The Venetian Room, like Victoria & Albert’s, is part of a dying breed of restaurants that strive to offer traditional fine dining with exquisite service. This is the sort of place you go to be pampered by professional waiters who are proud of the fine food they are presenting.
3. Circa 1926
358 Park Ave. N.
One of the area’s newest restaurants, Circa might not look like a place to spend a romantic evening at first. But ask to be seated in the back dining room, where the noise level is lower and the seating more intimate. And after enjoying chef James Slattery’s inventive cuisine, go upstairs for some live music and dancing.
1710 Edgewater Drive
Owner Kevin Fonzo, whose first name lends the initial that identifies the restaurant, has turned the kitchen over to Scott Copeland, who continues to turn out the terrific food that has made this a favorite. The atmosphere is quiet and laid-back, but it’s still a special occasion choice for many couples.
5. Chez Vincent
533 W. New England Ave.
Let’s face it: the French know about romance. And Vincent Gagliano’s little café puts plenty of amour in the air. His coquilles St. Jacques will make you fall in love all over again.
1130 S. Highway 17-92
The lakefront setting of this longtime local favorite is so romantic that many couples choose to have their weddings on the outdoor terrace. Inside, the old converted house offers small dining areas conducive to private conversation.
7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
Situated in an office complex, Chatham’s offers a subdued atmosphere suitable for whispered whatnots. The menu is small but expertly prepared.
One of Winter Park’s most venerable restaurants, Park Plaza Gardens’ food is enjoying a renewed appreciation under the direction of chef John Tan. The main dining room, located in the back away from the bustle of Park Avenue, gives the illusion of dining outdoors while still inside. Ask to be seated in one of the booths.
4000 Central Florida Parkway
Chef/owner Norman Van Aken is arguably one of Florida’s most celebrated chefs. His eponymous restaurant is a jewel of Orlando’s dining scene. It’s a fancy place, and it’s pricey. But what says “I love you” more than dropping a lot of money on dinner? As long as you’re there, you might as well get a room at the Ritz.