Snuggling season is upon us! It’s time to cuddle up with your honey. After a long day or week, make time for a fireside dinner with your flame. There’s something primal about gathering together around the fire. Reconnect at these cozy venues which feature fireplaces and fire pits.
During the fall and winter months, Wekiva Island hosts Firepit Fridays. During this weekly evening event, you can sit by the Wekiva River and enjoy a fire cooked meal. The menu changes each week and is typically around $13/person. Firepit Fridays kick off at 5pm and continue until the food runs out, so get there early for the food and stay late for the live music beginning around 7pm. Also on property, The Tooting Otter Wine Bar is a very rustic and woodsy atmosphere that is ideal for date night. You can enjoy this delightful wine bar year round with wines available by the glass on draft as you cozy up together.
Rock and Brews
Rock and Brews is a lively casual restaurant perfect for any music fan. Owned in part by KISS frontmen Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, you know you are going to have a rocking good time here. The pub grub will satisfy and the craft beer selection is great. Plus the specialty cocktails will make you want to raise your glass. Both the original Oviedo location and the new location at Sunset Walk at Margaritaviile Orlando Resort offer their own wonderful outdoor bar and dining area. There are multiple tables and lounge seating areas situated around individual fire pits. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor area.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Walt Disney World’s wildest resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is home to three signature dining restaurants. My recommendation for an unforgettable date night is Jiko – The Cooking Place. Jiko is located inside the original building at Animal Kingdom Lodge, known as Jambo House. Here you will find a massive multi-story lobby that will make your jaw drop. In the back right hand side of the lobby you can cozy up to an indoor fire pit. Grab a pre-dinner cocktail at Victoria Falls Lounge and then grab a seat in a comfy chair around the beautiful fire pit. After relaxing by the fire enjoy a delectable meal at Jiko, and make sure to browse one of the largest wine lists of South African wine in the world. Want to top off your adventurous date night? Head back to the lobby and then out to the African savanna where nighttime animal viewing is available and a large outdoor firepit under the stars awaits.
This casual cafe is straight out of Key West. Island Time is located in the Thornton Park District, which in itself is a fun area to visit. This small, charming cottage has a relaxing island vibe. Boozy cocktails, like a Popmosa – that’s a mimosa with a popsicle in it, and drink specials help create a celebratory atmosphere, and the small outdoor fire pit is literally the hot spot in town on a chilly night.
Occupying the two story space that used to be home to Emeril’s, Bigfire is Universal Orlando’s newest restaurant at CityWalk. The spotlight is on open-fire cuisine with fresh ingredients and hearty flavors. A center stage kitchen with open fire cooking makes for an exciting and warm atmosphere. Open only for dinner, you’re sure to have a memorable evening as you dine on hearty entrees like Beef Burgundy Dutch Oven, Beef Short Rib Pasta, or Hearthstone Seafood Bake. But before you sink your teeth into those entrees, start your meal with the Skillet Roasted Mussels. If you somehow can save room for dessert go for the Tableside S’mores. Toast your fire inspired dinner with a cocktail or dessert drink.
Linda’s LaCantina Steakhouse
You’re going to feel like you’ve gone back in time when you step inside Linda’s LaCantina Steakhouse. This Orlando landmark has been serving guests since 1947! The dining room and lounge are decidedly old school. What makes this a special spot for a cozy date night is the fire fountain inside the lounge. Step down into the lounge seating area that surrounds a dancing flame and intriguing fountain. Grab a round of drinks and relax here before dinner.
David’s Club Bar & Grill – Hilton Orlando
Open for dinner every night, David’s Club Bar & Grill at Hilton Orlando has a fantastic outdoor dining area with individual fire pits with seating for groups of four. This elevated sports bar and restaurant is casual enough for a relaxed night out, but elevated enough to make it special. You can also find two poolside fire pits on hotel property.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Perhaps the coziest destination in Orlando is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Modeled after great American lodges in the Pacific Northwest, you will feel like you are in another part of the country the moment you set foot on Wilderness Lodge territory. While there are multiple dining options here, I recommend Territory Lounge. Sit at the bar or find a table for two. Make sure you look around at all the decor around and above you. The ceiling is a beautiful frontier-era style map and painting. Only small plates and desserts are served here; on a chilly night go for the Mushroom Bisque and the Chardonnay Fondue. Don’t overlook the Bao or Pork Sliders. Afterwards, head into the lobby and sit by the large fireplace inspired by the Grand Canyon.
Bahama Breeze – Altamonte Springs and International Drive locations
You know you’re in for a dining experience that feels like a vacation when you’re at Bahama Breeze. Most locations have spacious outdoor bar and patio areas including seating around a fire pit in a gazebo style setting. The Altamonte Springs location and the International Drive locations are some of the original Bahama Breeze locations, both offering a substantial amount of seating around the fire.
Third Wave Wave Cafe – New Smyrna Beach
You may think of the beach during summer, but there is something enchanting about being by the ocean when there’s a chill in the air. Located on New Smyrna Beach’s popular Flagler Avenue is Third Wave Cafe. Seasonal ingredients that are sustainably grown or harvested are used to create dishes inspired by old world and southern coastal traditions. Dine outdoors in the garden amid twinkling lights and flickering torches. The fire pit and fountain, called the Fireball, is the centerpiece of this enchanting space. FYI: Third Wave Cafe is closed on Tuesdays.
The Garlic – New Smyrna Beach
This Italian eatery is an icon in New Smyrna Beach. The Garlic is especially charming during the holidays but no matter when you visit, the atmosphere is incredible and unique. Inside, there is an intimate dining room with a wood fired pizza oven that reaches temperatures of 900° Fahrenheit. Outside you can gather around the fire pit with a round of drinks. The outdoor bar surrounds another wood burning pizza oven. There’s live music every single night of the week.
The Old Sugar Mill – De Leon Springs State Park
When winter rolls around and there’s finally a little chill in the air, it is time to head to De Leon Springs. Sure, swimming in the crisp spring water may not sound too appealing (although I’ve done it), but dining at The Old Sugar Mill is a must! This casual dining spot is inside a replica of an 1830s sugar mill. There is no air conditioning or heat. The warmth is provided by two fireplaces and the griddles that are on each table. Here you can cook your own pancakes. Select a variety of toppings to place on or in your pancakes like fresh blueberries and bananas or pecans and peanut butter. They even have vegan pancakes.
- Fire Lounge at ICEBAR Orlando: Warm up with a round of drinks topped with a flame
- Make your own S’Mores at Wondermade
- The Goblin Market: Sit by the fireplace, dine in a library, or enjoy the outdoor terrace
Feature image credit: Universal Orlando Resort