Heat Things Up at These Restaurants with Fire Pits and Fireplaces

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Guide to Fireside Dining in Orlando

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.

Note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated

Wekiva Island

No matter the time of year Wekiva Island is a must-do. During chilly weather the cozy outdoor fire pit is lit. Usually on Saturday nights there is a dinner special at Without A Paddle Cafe. 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 locations at Sunset Walk at Margaritaviile Orlando Resort and in Orlando offer their own wonderful outdoor bar and dining areas. There are multiple tables and lounge seating areas situated around individual fire pits. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor area.

Rock and Brews | Image credit: Dani Meyering @thisfloridalife

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

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, reopening in February 2022. Inside the original part of Animal Kingdom Lodge, known as Jambo House, you can also dine at Boma – Flavors of Africa. This is one of the best-loved buffets at Walt Disney World.

Here at Jambo House you will also 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 browse one of the largest wine lists of South African wine in the world at Victoria Falls Lounge. 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.

Over at Kidani Village, the newer building at Animal Kingdom Lodge is Sanaa. This beloved restaurant has views of the Africa savanna. If you dine around sunset you can catch some great views of the animals. Then after dinner head outside to Kidani Village's savanna overlook, complete with a firepit.

Tangerine at Swan Reserve

The newest addition to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort is the Swan Reserve. This intimate, boutique wing is perfect for couples. It's away from the hustle and bustle of the massive Swan and Dolphin, and yet is just a few steps away when you want to access the resort's full amenities. All of Swan Reserve's dining locations are on the second level, including a terrace style pool. Here you will find Tangerine. This casual poolside eatery has a lovely bar and a cozy circular firepit. You can dine and drink at the firepit or enjoy after your meal.

Firepit next to Tangerine at Swan Reserve | Image credit: Dani Meyering @thisfloridalife

The Venetian Chop House at Caribe Royale

One of the most romantic restaurants in Orlando is located inside a resort — of course. The Caribe Royale is a lovely Florida-Caribbean themed resort where every room is a suite. You can dine at The Venetian Chop House, even if you are not a guest staying at the Caribe Royale you are still welcome to dine at The Venetian Chop House, which has a lovely dining room and also a relaxing outdoor dining area. Many of the tables at the outdoor dining area have individual small firepits. For an impressive date, you can't go wrong here, just make reservations in advance.

Bigfire

Occupying the two-story space that used to be home to Emeril’s, Bigfire is Universal Orlando’s hottest 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.

Fireside dining in Orlando at Bigfire
Tableside S'mores at Bigfire | Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort

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.

Image credit: Disney's Wilderness Lodge

AC Sky Bar

The epitome of a downtown Orlando rooftop bar, AC Sky Bar will make for an unforgettable date. Enjoy cocktails, flatbreads, small plates and more. The La Quercia Prosciutto & Manchego Cheese as well as the Seared Tuna Crudo are great for sharing. Many tables have small firepits embedded within them, making this a unique fireside experience. First come, first served except for Sunday Brunch — reservations recommended.

Island Time

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. They even have s'mores kits so you can make the most of your fireside experience.

Thornton Park Date Night - Island Time patio
Outdoor patio and fire pit at Island Time | Image credit: Island Time

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.

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.

BEYOND ORLANDO

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.

Image credit: Third Wave Cafe

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.

Making pancakes at De Leon Springs
De Leon Springs | Image credit: Hannah Green

ALSO TRY

Feature image credit: Universal Orlando Resort


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