Pointe Orlando restaurants pitched in this past weekend for an annual event to benefit the Florida Hospital’s Esophageal Cancer Program. The majority of Pointe Orlando restaurants like The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tommy Bahamas, and Cuba Libre provided unlimited tapas portions of their specialty dishes for a $20 advanced registration fee or $30 the day of the event. Capital Grille was the only non-participant this year.

For the uninitiated, Pointe Orlando is an outdoor shopping,  dining, and entertainment complex with a movie theater on International Drive that periodically features live music. The crowds are usually light on any given day, but definitely thicken after dark.

Adam and I found an easy, first-floor parking spot, and we only waited a few minutes at the registration tables for our lanyards and parking vouchers. We met with two of our friends and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling from restaurant to restaurant excitedly trying every tasty morsel we could!

Funky Monkey, which is located in The Grape’s old home, charmed me at their Mills occasion, so I was excited to try a few of their assorted sushi. Two tables were laden with tuna and assorted fish rolls and fried dumplings. Both were accompanied by sushi staples soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger. The sushi was fresh and familiar, but I was hoping for a sampling of a few house specialties

Maybe the heat contributed to the dishes I enjoyed the most; The Oceanaire Seafood Room’s white fish ceviche, Tommy Bahama’s coconut shrimp with mango chutney, and Tommy Bahama’s key lime tarts. The ceviche was refreshing and tasty but the fish seemed to swim in tangy citrus juices. The coconut shrimp were crisp and delicious enough to eat tails and all with as much chutney as I could scoop off the bottom of the little Tommy Bahama shot glasses.

Many hours and a great deal more amazing food than I should’ve eaten later, I realized that three of the twelve featured restaurants would have to wait until next year’s Taste of Pointe Orlando. Check out the page from this year’s event for a complete list of this year’s participating restaurants and their special menus.

Pointe Orlando • Google Maps