Heat things up at these restaurants with fire pits and fireplaces

Cuddle season is upon us! It’s time to snuggle up with your honey. After a long day or a week, take the time to dine by the fire with your flame. There is something primordial in gathering around the fire. Reconnect in these warm places with fireplaces and hearths.

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

Wekiva Island

Whatever the time of year, Wekiva Island is a must. In cold weather, the cozy outdoor fireplace is lit. Usually on Saturday night there is a special dinner at Without A Paddle Cafe. Also on site, the Tooting Otter Wine Bar has a very rustic, woodsy feel, perfect for a date night. You can enjoy this charming wine bar all year round with wines available by the glass on tap while you get cozy together.

Rock and beers

Rock and Brews is a relaxed and lively restaurant, perfect for any music lover. Partly owned by KISS vocalists Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, you know you’re going to have a great time here. The pub grub will satisfy and the craft beer selection is excellent. Plus, the specialty cocktails will make you want to raise your glass. Both the original Oviedo location and the new Sunset Walk locations at Margaritaviile Orlando Resort and Orlando offer their own outdoor bar and dining area. There are several tables and seating areas located around individual fire pits. Dogs are welcome outside.

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 gourmet restaurants. My recommendation for an unforgettable evening is Jiko – The Cooking Place, however, it is still temporarily closed. Inside the original part of Animal Kingdom Lodge, known as Jambo House, you can dine at Boma – Flavors of Africa. It’s one of Walt Disney World’s most popular buffets.

Here at Jambo House, you will also find a huge multi-story lobby that will leave you in awe. In the rear right corner of the hall, you can make yourself comfortable in an indoor fireplace. Grab a pre-dinner cocktail in the Victoria Falls Lounge, then take a seat in a comfy chair around the beautiful fireplace. After relaxing by the fire, browse one of the largest South African wine lists in the world at the Victoria Falls Lounge. Want to top off your adventurous evening? Return to the lobby, then head to the African Savannah where nighttime game viewing is available and a large outdoor fire pit under the stars awaits.

In Kidani Village, the new Animal Kingdom Lodge building is Sanaa. This beloved restaurant offers views of the African savannah. If you dine at sunset, you can admire great views of the animals. Then, after dinner, head to the savannah view of Kidani village with a fire pit.

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 bustle of the huge swan and dolphin, yet it’s only steps away when you want to access all of the resort’s amenities. All of Swan Reserve’s dining venues are on the second level, including a terrace-style pool. Here you will find Tangerine. This casual poolside restaurant features a charming bar and a cozy circular fire pit. You can dine and drink at the fire pit or enjoy after your meal.

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

The Venetian Chop House at Caribe Royale

One of Orlando’s most romantic restaurants is inside a resort, of course. The Caribe Royale is a charming 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 always welcome to dine at the Venetian Chop House, which has a beautiful dining room and outdoor dining area relaxing. Most of the outdoor dining tables have small individual fire pits. For an awesome date, you can’t go wrong here, just make reservations in advance.

great fire

Occupying the two-story space that once housed Emeril’s, Bigfire is Universal Orlando’s hottest restaurant at CityWalk. Spotlight on cooking over an open fire with fresh products and generous flavors. A central kitchen with open fire creates an exciting and warm atmosphere. Open for dinner only, you’re sure to have a memorable evening enjoying hearty dishes like Beef Bourguignon Dutch Oven, Beef Short Rib Pasta, or Hearthstone Seafood Bake. But before sinking your teeth into these entrees, start your meal with the pan-roasted mussels. If you can save room for dessert, go for the Tableside S’mores. Toast your fire-inspired dinner with a cocktail or dessert.

Fireside Dining in Orlando at the Bigfire
S’mores at the table at Bigfire | Photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort

David’s Club Bar & Grill – Hilton Orlando

Open for dinner every night, David’s Club Bar & Grill at the Hilton Orlando features a fantastic outdoor dining area with individual fire pits that can accommodate groups of four. This elevated sports bar and restaurant is casual enough for a relaxed night out, yet elevated enough to make it special. You can also find two poolside fire pits on the hotel property.

Disney Wild Pavilion

Perhaps Orlando’s coziest destination is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Inspired by the great American lodges of the Pacific Northwest, you will feel like you are in another part of the country as soon as you set foot on the territory of Wilderness Lodge. Although there are several dining options here, I recommend Territory Lounge. Sit at the bar or find a table for two. Be sure to look around at all the decor around and above you. The ceiling is a beautiful border style map and painting. Only small plates and desserts are served here; on a chilly night, opt for the mushroom bisque and chardonnay fondue. Don’t overlook the Bao or Pork Sliders. Then, head to the lobby and sit by the Grand Canyon-inspired grand fireplace.

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 get-together. Enjoy cocktails, flatbreads, small plates and more. La Quercia Prosciutto & Manchego cheese and seared tuna crudo are perfect for sharing. Many tables have small fire pits built into them, making for a unique fireside experience. First come, first served except for Sunday brunch — reservation recommended.

island time

This casual cafe comes straight from Key West. Island Time is located in the Thornton Park area, which in itself is a fun place to visit. This charming little cottage has a relaxing island vibe. Drizzled cocktails, like a Popmosa – it’s a mimosa with a popsicle in it, and drink specials help create a party atmosphere, and the little outdoor fire pit is literally the hotspot in town on a chilly night. They even have s’more 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 La Cantina Steakhouse

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you step into Linda’s LaCantina Steakhouse. This Orlando landmark has been serving guests since 1947! The dining room and living room are decidedly old school. What makes this a special place for a cozy date night is the fire fountain inside the living room. Descend into the seating area which surrounds a dancing flame and an intriguing fountain. Have a drink and relax here before dinner.

Bahama Breeze – Altamonte Springs and International Drive locations

You know you’re in for a vacation-like dining experience when you’re at Bahama Breeze. Most locations have a spacious outdoor bar and patio, including seating around a fire pit in a gazebo-style setting. The Altamonte Springs location and the International Drive locations are some of Bahama Breeze’s original locations, both offering ample seating around the fire.

BEYOND ORLANDO

Third Wave Wave Cafe – New Smyrna Beach

You may think of the beach in the summer, but there’s something enchanting about being by the ocean when it’s chilly in the air. The Third Wave Cafe is located on New Smyrna Beach’s famous Flagler Avenue. Sustainably grown or harvested seasonal ingredients are used to create dishes inspired by old world and southern coastal traditions. Dine al fresco in the garden amid twinkling lights and flickering torches. The fireplace and fountain, called Fireball, are the centerpiece of this enchanting space. For your information: Third Wave Cafe is closed on Tuesdays.

Image credit: Third Wave Cafe

Garlic – New Smyrna Beach

This Italian restaurant is an icon in New Smyrna Beach. Garlic is especially charming during the holidays, but no matter when you visit, the atmosphere is amazing and unique. Inside, there’s 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-fired pizza oven. There is live music every night of the week.

The Old Sugar Mill – Leon Springs State Park

When winter rolls around and there’s finally a little chill in the air, it’s time to head to De Leon Springs. Sure, swimming in crisp spring water might not sound too appealing (although I did), but dining at The Old Sugar Mill is a must! This friendly restaurant is inside a replica of an 1830s sugar mill. There is no air conditioning or heating. The heat is brought by two fireplaces and the planchas which are on each table. Here you can cook your own pancakes. Select a variety of toppings to place on or in your pancakes such as fresh blueberries and bananas or pecans and peanut butter. They even have vegan pancakes.

Make pancakes in De Leon Springs
From Leon Springs | Image credit: Hannah Green

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Photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort

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