Eat Out: 12 Thanksgiving Day Feasts
Plan your day away from Grandma's house with Orlando's bountiful spread of Thanksgiving Day buffets and feasts fit for the whole family.
Thanksgiving With International Flair
1. Located at the popular Orlando Eye ferris wheel, Tapa Toro invites your family to celebrate a festive Thanksgiving dinner. Guests will enjoy all-you-can-eat seasonal paella, farro salad with cranberries, and a sweet potato tart with marshmallow and whiskey caramel sauce. Flamenco dancing and music will be provided for the ultimate family entertainment. $30 per person.
2. Trade in turkey at home this year for lamb and late-night dancing at the ever-popular Taverna Opa on International Drive. Open from noon until 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Taverna Opa is serving a Greek-style prix fixe feast all day long. Enjoy your choice of appetizer and entree, plus indulge in dessert, with specialties like Greek salad, keftedes, spanakopita and sweet loukoumades, or order your favorites from the regular menu. $25 per person.
3. Every day of the year, you can enjoy a family-style Thanksgiving dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom. Step back in time inside the New England Colonial-style restaurant. The Patriot’s Platter comes with roasted turkey breast, pot roast and carved pork roast, and is accompanied by traditional sides like stuffing, vegetables and mac ’n’ cheese. Parents might be thankful they can now order beer or wine to wash it all down.
All Everyone Can Eat
4. Hotelier Harris Rosen, owner of the many Rosen hotels on and around International Drive, is a firm believer in buffets and offers some of the best holiday treats in Orlando. Of course there is turkey, stuffing and prime rib on the menu at Rosen Plaza, but the turkey-averse will also find a stir fry station and Gulf shrimp, house cured smoked salmon, and one of the best dessert presentations on I-Drive. $42.95 for adults / $18.95 for children 4 – 11 / children under 4 are free!
5. Rosen Shingle Creek offers a 25 percent discount to Florida residents for their Thanksgiving Day Buffet at Café Osceola. The view of the grounds is impressive; the view of the buffet is better. Unlimited mimosas and champagne make for a well-lubricated meal along with holiday favorites. $68.95 for adults / $29.95 for children 4 – 11 / children under 4 are free!
6. Rosen Centre’s elaborate all-day brunch goes from turkey and stuffing to omelettes, waffles, pasta and paella stations, Maine lobster bisque and market salads. Featured are specialties from various Centre restaurants—98Forty’s mango crab "martinis" and Banshoo’s Sushi Bar’s California rolls. Not to mention ample desserts including a chocolate fondue fountain. Prices include valet parking, champagne and mimosas and all Rosen buffets offer meals free to kids under four. $45.95 for adults / $17.95 for children 4 – 11 / children under 4 are free!
A Casual Delight
7. Pom Moongauklang, or as we like to call her, "The Serene Highness of Sandwiches," has been running hipster-and-beyond haven Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria since 2005. The always creative Milk District on Bumby Avenue near downtown is home to some of the oldest and newest alternative eateries in town, but none finer than the handcrafted goodies at Pom Pom's. And Ms. Moongauklang's most popular item is the timely Mama Ling Ling’s Thanksgiving. A pressed feast of sliced turkey, Gouda cheese and thick layers of stuffing, mashed potatoes and ginger cranberry chutney (with gravy, natch), completes the holiday.
A Musical Feast
8. You won't find the American invention of corned beef and cabbage at celebrity chef Kevin Dundon's Disney Springs eatery, but you can enjoy (paradoxically) a totally authentic Thanksgiving spread—granted, with some wholly Irish embellishments. A continual Orlando magazine Dining Awards Best Restaurant winner, Raglan Road accompanies almost everything with a song and a fast dance, and Thanksgiving Day is no exception. While the regular menu is available, roasted herb and butter turkey breast served on mashed potatoes, with delicious sides such as apple, sage, and sweet onion stuffing, smoked bacon Brussels sprouts, duck fat-roasted potatoes and cranberry-plum chutney — with plenty of gravy — are the highpoints. Kids love the high-stepping dancers, adults like the flights of imported Irish brews. $27.95 per person.
T-Day With a Minion
9. There might not be a song about rockin' around the Thanksgiving table, but there certainly is a Thanksgiving getaway at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal. The Kitchen is known for a kid-friendly rock star attitude (the Kid's Crib play area is a delight for parents who want to dine without distractions), and the all-day, turkey-day buffet is a particular pleasure. Seafood bar, turkey, country ham, smoked New York strip and roasted Atlantic salmon join a kid's buffet, face painters and appearances by Minions, SpongeBob and Dr. Seuss characters. $48.00 for adults / $18.00 for children 4 – 12 / children under 4 are free!
10. For the ultimate Thanksgiving meal, head to Eddie V’s on Sand Lake Road, where an abundance of fine dining restaurants has earned the area the name “Restaurant Row.” Enjoy beautiful views of the lake while savoring sliced turkey, brioche sage stuffing, cranberry chutney, whipped potatoes, green beans, roasted butternut squash and—if there’s still room—a pumpkin pie tartlet with whipped cream and praline sauce. $39.00 for adults / $15.00 for children.
Party of Fore!
11. A prime, peaceful brunch spot overlooking manicured lawns in the heart of Orlando would be the perfect place for a family Thanksgiving repast, and indeed it is in the form of The Taproom. Nestled like a piney woods lodge at the entrance to Dubsdread Golf Course, the Thanksgiving buffet menu includes choices of roasted turkey with sage stuffing, prime rib with au jus, homemade cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole with pecan marshmallow crust and Yukon gold smashed potatoes. $36.95 for adults / $12.95 for children under 10.
Holiday of Lights
12. Escape the confines of Orlando for a magical road trip to St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city. A grand holiday tradition is the lighting of more than 3 million lights throughout the city, which occurs on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, turning the landmark Bridge of Lions and King Street into a sparkling spectacle. St. Augustine's branch of Columbia Restaurant, founded in Ybor City in 1905, is in the heart of the Historic District, offering a slice of Old Havana along with roast turkey accompanied by the famous Columbia stuffing: Italian sausage, ground beef, chopped chicken livers, apples, water chestnuts and raisins. $21.95 for adults / $5.95 for children under 10.