Magical Dining: Itta Bena
by Roaming Panda
Apologies for the recent drought in content but between a furious hurricane and a number of other things going on, just been a bit busy. Plus, we will be heading to New York City next week so trying to save up as much as possible for that. Much more content coming soon!
Magical Dining is upon us for the locals of Central Florida. It is a month where several restaurants offer special 3-course menu at a set price. This is an affordable way to try restaurants that might usually be out of your price range. This year's roster is quite lengthy, making the decision of where to go even more difficult. Check out http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants/ for a list of participating restaurants and qualifying menu items.
After reviewing the lengthy list of contenders, we ended up at Itta Bena, a casual fine dining restaurant featuring a contemporary twist on southern classics. My biggest question at first was, "what the hell is an 'Itta Bena?". It sounded more Italian to me and I was thinking it may be some sort of farm equipment I'm not familiar with. Turns out, Itta Bena is actually a small city in Mississippi. Makes more sense now as a Southern restaurant.
The interior goes all in on the Southern theme with a "barnyard-Victorian" kind of feel. It's dark, charming, and romantic, but the dim lighting didn't do much for the pictures I tried to take so I apologize in advance for all the potato quality pics. We came on a rainy Saturday afternoon and there was plenty of open seating. We had a cozy booth in the back overlooking the restaurant. Service was great, the had a good selection of drink options, but the food did come out a little slow. Surprising since they weren't busy at all.
There was so much I wanted to try, and luckily, they had a good selection on their Magical Dining menu. I did add the She-crab Soup since all reviews raved about it, and it did not disappoint. Food quality is superb and we left fuller than we wanted to be. If you're looking for really good modern Southern cooking, Itta Bena has you covered. Well worth a visit.
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