• Lisa Marie

Maggiano's Little Italy: One of my favorite dining locations in Orlando

Maggiano's Little Italy is much more than another restaurant along Orlando's busy International Drive. It is actually one of my favorite dining locations in Orlando. The food is authentic, made from scratch, and they have some of the most talented chefs in Florida.

On my last trip to Orlando, my husband and I stopped by Maggiano's randomly after leaving the Improv Comedy Club. When we walked in, the restaurant reminded us of a family style restaurant that we visited in New York named Carmine's.

From the moment we sat down, the service was top notch. The server was very educated about the menu and gave us great tips on our choices. There seemed to be a passion and a pride in the restaurant from the staff members. They knew that they were offering great service and excellent food, and they couldn't wait for us to be a part of this family affair.

For our drinks, we ordered a moscow mule and a sangria. They were both incredible! We were off to a great start!

For our entrees, I ordered the spinach salad and my husband ordered the Chicken Francese. The spinach salad was perfect for a late night dinner, it was light and had great texture because it came with blue cheese, pine nuts, apple-wood smoked bacon, and white balsamic vinaigrette. I added salmon to the salad, and it was done to perfection. My husband ordered the Chicken Francese. He praised his food after each bite, until I couldn't help myself..I had to take a bite. He wasn't exaggerating. His dish was incredible!

For dessert, our server suggested that we get the sampler. It had about four to five desserts to choose from. My husband, aka the sweet tooth king, could not resist the suggestion and ordered the dessert sampler for us. I had planned on tasting a small bite of each treat just to get a "sample" of each one. However, my plan quickly crumbled as each dessert that I tasted made me close my eyes and stomp my foot because of it's sweet goodness. I was blown away. The crazy part is that I don't like cheese cake. Okay, let me rephrase that. I hate cheesecake, all cheesecake. New York cheesecake, Florida cheesecake; I usually don't like any cheesecake. However, Maggiano's Little Italy makes a ricotta cheesecake from scratch in their kitchen and it was breathtaking. It was so light. It didn't taste like the cheese blocks that I am usually served. "How could this be cheesecake?" I wondered. It was sooooo good!

The food, staff, and Chef Delfino were so impressive that we went back the very next day for Maggiano's Little Italy's brunch. Just when we thought that the food couldn't get any better, the brunch displayed Chef Delfino's culinary expertise in a totally different light. Our server was just as friendly as the one we had the night before. He helped us make suggestions and I decided on the "Meatball Benedict" and my husband ordered the "Lemon Ricotta Pancakes."

The Meatball Benedict came with an English muffin, pouched eggs, oven dried Roma tomatoes, Hallandaise sauce, and crispy Vesuvio potatoes. Are you ready for another foodie confession? I don't like eggs. I don't like the consistency, texture, or smell. I only ordered the Meatball Benedict because the staff raved about it and I wanted to share it with our followers. Who knew that you could eat meatballs for breakfast? However, I cut into my meal and my palate rejoiced while it enjoyed the English muffin, meatball, hallandaise sauce, and the eggs. Wait a minute...yes, I just said eggs. The eggs that I had once despised had turned into a dipping sauce for my potatoes. How was it possible for Chef Delfino to get me to bask in another food item that could make me nauseous by the thought of it? My husband enjoyed his lemon ricotta pancakes and sides just as much as I enjoyed my breakfast. What a treat!

Extra information: The restaurant has banquet rooms for large parties or events.

Would I recommend it: Needless to say, we'll be stopping by Maggiano's Little Italy on every trip to Orlando. I definitely recommend it! Make sure that you stop by, tell them we sent you, and enjoy an experience of a lifetime.

Visit Maggiano's at Pointe Orlando - http://locations.maggianos.com/florida/orlando/9101-international-dr./

Call (407) 241-8650 or make a reservation online today!

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