Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining promotion has kicked off for 2023, and we were invited to experience the Magical Dining menu for AVA MediterrAegean in Winter Park.
Situated on Park Avenue, AVA MediterrAegean serves up cuisine influenced by the Mediterranean, especially the Cycladic Islands of Greece, which are located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, hence part of the restaurant’s name.
Meaning life, water, island, bird in Greek, ‘AVA’ is a celebration of splendor, freedom, escapism and joy.
The atmosphere is upscale but not stuffy. Decor is white with neutrals, and there is a variety of seating to accommodate most size parties. Music is playing upbeat Mediterranean tunes, but not so loud you can’t hear your dining companion.
Due my allergies to seafood, there were certain dishes I couldn’t try, and my server Mikeas was very proactive in letting me know which dishes could cause problems. I appreciated that.
My guest and I shared our appetizers, which were “The Greek Spread” featuring hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, served with garden vegetables and warm pita triangles for dipping, and the Horiatiki, a Greek salad with ingredients listed on the menu as PDO aged-feta, heirloom tomato, persian cucumber, greek mountain oregano, and kalamata olives.
The dips were some of the best we’d had, not just in taste, but texture, which seemed whipped smooth. The salad was also delicious, with a square of feta topping the salad that was cut into chunks tableside. However, instead of olives, our salad had slices of green pepper, which I actually preferred as I’m not a fan of olives.
For the main course, my guest had the Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, which she said was light and buttery, and it must have been delicious because she devoured it. She also enjoyed the fennel salad it was served with.
I opted for the Creekstone Farm Prime Flank Steak, served with green harissa, sun dried tomato, and eggplant caviar. It was cooked to order, simply seasoned, and served cut into slices. I appreciated the slight char given to all edges, as it lent flavor and texture to the steak.
With so much tasty food, we were near full, but still had dessert to enjoy.
I chose the Baklava, which is one of my ultimate favorite desserts, though this version was different from any I’ve tried.
The layers of of crispy phyllo dough and honey nuts weren’t piled on top of one another, but rolled, like a cinnamon roll, creating a softer version of the treat. The restaurant paired it with a pistachio orange blossom ice cream that it placed on top of the warm Baklava coil. So delicious and so decadent!
Speaking of decadent, my guest went with the Chocolate Fondant, a molten chocolate lava cake, with a center of caramel, with almond crumble and mastiha liquor gelato. Oh, and it was topped with a chocolate coin featuring the restaurant’s logo. It was rich, but not so rich you couldn’t finish it, and if you’re a chocoholic, you’ll definitely not want to miss this.
Since neither my guest nor I drink alcohol, we were pleased to see two non-alcoholic cocktail options.
The Heir of the God, featuring lemon, ginger, pineapple, and passion fruit had a sweet and fruity taste with a bit of kick, while the The Longevity, featuring tonic cucumber, lime, and almond syrup, was a delicious crisp and tart drink.
Honestly, I tried to find something to complain about, but I couldn’t. This restaurant earns our gold star for great food, with great service (not just to our table but to others in the busy restaurant), in a lovely atmosphere.
I highly recommend putting AVA MediterrAegean on your dining list, especially during Magical Dining, where their MD menus are priced at $60 per person. Drinks are additional, as are tax and gratuity.
Pro-tip; Make reservations to arrive early to enjoy the restaurant’s “Golden Hour” specials on drinks and lite bites at the bar Mon-Thurs from 5pm-6pm, before your meal.
Disclaimer: CSO was hosted to try out the Magical Dining menu. As always, my opinions are honest, and my own. I’m also planning a return to try some more of the regular menu items that caught my eye.
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