Orlando Thanksgiving Day Feasts
Make your day away from Grandma's festive with Orlando's bountiful spread of Thanksgiving Day buffets and feasts fit for the whole family.
Gathering family around the Thanksgiving table is an annual tradition worth waiting for. But who says it has to be your table? Orlando offers some choices both upscale and casual for your holiday get-together.
All Everyone Can Eat
1. 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 adverse will also find a stir fry station and gulf shrimp, house cured smoked salmon, and one of the best dessert presentations on I-Drive.
2. 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.
3. 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. And if food isn't entertaining enough, stick around for the ice carving competition at 39 Poolside Bar & Grill.
A Casual Delight
4. 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 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), the holiday is complete.
A Musical Feast
Ragland Road offers a Thanksgiving dinner with Irish twists like loin of bacon with colcannon mash. (Courtesy Raglan Road)
5. 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 turkey glazed in honey mead made in the shadow of Bunratty Castle in County Clare, whipped potatoes and traditional veggies with an Gaelic twist (sage stuffing, cranberry and plum chutney) are the highpoints. Kids love the high-stepping dancers, adults like the flights of imported Irish brews.
T-Day With a Minion
6. 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.
Stick a Fork In It!
Treat the family to a fun after-Thanksgiving meal at The Melting Pot where everything is shareable. (Courtesy Melting Pot)
7. America is often known as a melting pot of cultures, so what better time to celebrate diverse dining than Thanksgiving, and what better place than The Melting Pot? While they are closed Thanksgiving day, locations in Longwood and on Sand Lake Road are a unique choice for before or after holiday family treats. Beef, tuna, shrimp, duck, chicken or pork along with different cooking styles—the possibilities are endless. Fondue is unlike any other dining experience and kids are crazy about taking control of their own food and dipping things in broth, cheese or—especially—chocolate. Make your own Bananas Foster. Who wouldn't like that?
Party of Fore!
8. 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.
Holiday of Lights
9. 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.