As many Central Floridians know, the month of September is Magical Dining month. If you’re not familiar with the month long event it is a program where participating restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinners at the exceptional value of $33 per person. One dollar from each meal sold will benefit ELEVATE Orlando.

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Last week I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite downtown Orlando restaurants: Citrus Restaurant and Bar. It’s an award winning destination, and for a good reason! Recently it was voted both “Best Power Lunch” and “Best Downtown Restaurant” by Orlando Magazine. Whether you’re there for lunch or dinner, it’s a great spot to dine, relax and soak in the downtown Orlando atmosphere. Many of their dishes contain local, fresh ingredients with a twist on traditional Southern fare.

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As I said above, while dining here for Magical Dinning Month I had the opportunity to try some fabulous dishes. I tried the Panzenella Salad, which is made with local sourdough bread, better boy tomatoes, pecorino, and tossed with a tarragon vinaigrette. It had the perfect balance of flavors but wasn’t as “bready” as the traditional rustic Italian Salad. The Roasted Brussels Sprouts with lamb bacon, ricotta salata and sorghum vinaigrette were roasted to perfection and had that “melt-in-your-mouth” taste. These are not the Brussels sprouts your mother used to force you to eat. You’ll want another order… and the recipe!

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Following the appetizers, the main courses I sampled included the Shrimp and Grits with a saffron etouffee with house tasso and sweet peppers, and the Roasted Lake Meadow Naturals Chicken with vegetable hodgepodge and a bourbon beurre blanc. Both dishes were fabulous but if I had to pick one I’d say the Roasted Chicken was my top choice. It’s roasted perfectly with crispy skin, and the bourbon beurre blanc really makes this dish out of this world. Traditional Shrimp and Grits these are not, but it’s a contemporary twist on the classic. The grits were creamy and the saffron étouffée had strong powerful flavors but not overwhelming.

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To end an already excellent meal, I indulged in a Key Lime Chiffon Bar with coconut milk chantilly and a passion fruit coulis, and a Double Chocolate Brownie with candied pecans and vanilla ice cream. The Key Lime Chiffon Bar was light, yet creamy, and if you’re looking for a refreshing Florida dessert to end your meal, go with this. I’m a little biased, because I’m a big fan of key lime “anything,” but what can I say? It was pretty fabulous. For those traditional chocolate dessert lovers out there, you’ll love the big fudge-like brownie that’s topped with pecans and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. As a dessert lover I’d definitely go back for both, and if your dining as a couple I suggest one gets one and one gets the other, so you can sample both.

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Overall my experience at Citrus Restaurant and Bar was wonderful and if you’re in the Orlando area it’s definitely worth the trip. There wide range of menu items are perfect for a crowd with a variety of different tastes, not to mention it’s twist on traditional Southern food, that is fresh and lively. It’s at the top of my Orlando go-to restaurants, and I’m sure once you try it, it will also be on yours. Visit their website to make a reservation here.