From its Latin-influenced tip to the Southern cuisine of the Pan Handle, Florida cuisine has more to offer than just oranges and Key limes. The state's conference and theme park capital is no different.
From just inside Orlando's northernmost limits to the close suburb of Winter Park, chefs are serving farm-to-table menus with local products and traditional American techniques, paying special attention to the details that transform food from good to great. Chefs like Brandon McGlammery of Prato and Luma and the husband-and-wife team James and Julie Petrakis have spent time in major cities around the country. And they're transforming the bounty of Central Florida’s long growing seasons and agricultural bounty into soulful, inspire cuisine.
Chef Brandon McGlamery’s experiences at the French Laundry and Chez Panisse are the touchstones for his rustic cuisine. At Prato, exposed brick walls, wood beams, and a slate floor underfoot welcome guests and provide a backdrop for the vibrant colors and comforting touches that extend onto McGlamery’s plates. He reinvigorates traditional dishes like Veal Scaloppini and Gnocchi “Carbonara” and offers energetic combinations like his Mustard Spaghettini, Mascarpone Polenta, and Rhubarb Agrodolce.Recommended:
Modern tiled flooring, area rugs, and wood-paneled ceilings set the scene for this luxurious South Park Avenue restaurant. Whether you’re in the basement cellar with a showcase wine rack, the private dining room, or the street-level lounge with a full bar and a beautiful view of Winter Park’s bustling streets, you can enjoy great food while feeling hip. From an open kitchen overlooking the expansive dining room, Chef Brandon McGlamery, also of Prato, executes his new American cuisine.Recommended:
Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon combines modern style with a Mediterranean sensibility at her fashionable Orlando restaurant. Warm earth tones, wood floors, and stone accents set the stage for her spirited farm-to-table cuisine. Blake, who developed her style working for industry icons like Joyce Goldstein, Drew Nieporent, and Melissa Kelly, focuses on serving contemporary cuisine in a certified organic environment. Her passion and soul is evident on each plate leaving her kitchen where she expertly manipulates comforting flavors with the respect and attention her local products deserve.Recommended:
A hearth oven, antiques,and exposed rafters project the vision of Chef-owners James and Julie Petrakis. The culinary duo have experience in some of the country’s most notable restaurants—NYC’s Atelier at The Ritz Carlton, Tribeca Grill, and Union Square Café—and are now taking over Winter Park with their second venture, Cask & Larder. The “strictly local cuisine” of Cask & Larder takes the South’s best produce and proteins and transforms them into new takes on old classics—think Shrimp and Grits and Cornbread Dressing—while emphasizing whole animal cookery and an in-house brewery. Brewmaster and Cicerone Ron Raike is the mad scientist behind more than 9 house-brewed beers that Raike skillfully pairs with Cask & Larders cuisine.Recommended:
Julie and James Petrakis are elegant southern chefs turning out playful, somewhat fancy ‘down home cookin’. Open for over four years, The Ravenous Pig is the first venture from this husband and wife duo. A self-proclaimed gastropub offering everything from soft pretzels with taleggio-porter fondue to seared foie gras with morel mushrooms and crispy polenta, The Ravenous Pig’s menu is dedicated to local and seasonal ingredients. Creating dishes like Short Rib Ravioli in a Caramelized Onion Brother with Hammock Hollow Kale, and Goat Cheese you can’t help craving their comforting take on Southern cuisine. Daily changing menus and an in-house charcuterie program have garnered scores of accolades and set a high bar for quality and value in the region.Recommended:
K Restaurant was one of the first chef owned and operated restaurants in the area. Chef and Owner Kevin Fonzo, a NYC native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, sets the Florida standard for locally farmed ingredients and brings an unpretentious neighborhood-bar-and-grill vibe to his sophisticated restaurant. Sit in the open patio and order a drink from K Restaurant’s extensive wine list or craft beer list while enjoying the ever-changing Italian-American menu.Recommended:
The ethereal Bluezoo experience at Walt Disney’s Swan and Dolphin is akin to swimming through the deep blue sea. The Todd English restaurant was designed by renowned architect Jeffrey Beers—also of DB Bistro Moderne and China Grill—and incorporates bubble light fixtures, water-droplet-patterned carpets, and coral colored elements, providing an appropriate setting for Chef Bobby Griffing's seafood-focused menu. Griffing, formerly of English’s Olive Tokyo, brings Japanese flavor and traditional Japanese and French technique to dishes like Arctic Char, Carrot Dashi, Black Garlic, Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, and Spicy Sesame Cashew Granola. The accompanying Bluezoo Lounge presents diners with classic cocktails, an extensive wine and sparkling wine list, and cordials.Recommended:
The Caribe Royale hotel is a premier hotel in Orlando, Florida, that caters to both the convention crowd and the vacationing family. With more than 1,200 suites, as well as 120 luxurious private villas with secluded lakeside pool and parking area, the property has a number of options for the family looking to experience all the excitement Orlando has to offer, or the business-minded traveler who just wants a calm retreat. The hotel also boasts a large, beautiful pool (which distinguishes the property, even in the land of large, beautiful pools) and free, convenient shuttle service to both nearby Disney properties and area shopping. Also located on premises are a number of dining options, including The Venetian Room, where Chef de Cuisine Khalid Benghallem indulges in worldly cuisine, merging his flair for French technique with Hispanic, Japanese, and North African flavors.
Hilton Orlando’s modern accommodations suit the most active travelers and those simply looking for a relaxing poolside vacation. An on-premise spa, fitness center, resort pools, lazy river, golf course, and numerous athletic courts are some of the many options designed to enhance your stay. Seven restaurants, including The Bistro, Spencer’s, and David’s Club, offer excellent dining options with a range of prices, atmospheres, and experiences. Not to mention a number of resort package options that take the arduous legwork of traveling out of your hands places it in the capable hands of the Hilton Orlando staff.
Located in the middle of Orlando’s famed tourist attractions and performing and visual arts arenas, The Peabody Orlando is a premier luxury destination. Fine art, marble halls, and rare orchids are only part of the exquisite décor that make young families or experienced travelers feel special. Four restaurants, private dining, and an award winning wine cellar, provide plenty of evening dining options, while poolside bars and coffee joints let you enjoy bar fare and drinks while you relax. At the chef driven Napa, Executive Chef Jared Gross offers composed Italian-inspired dishes, paying attention to seasonal, local, organic, and sustainable ingredients.
This 1,500 acre Orlando property boasts views of the lake and the scenic Buena Vista County landscape. A myriad of bars, lounges, bistros and more will keep you astir during your stay. Looking for a more relaxing approach? Leave the kids with on-site babysitting services and check out the half-acre pool with waterfalls, slides, and sundeck. And with eight full service restaurants, a coffee house, and room service are also available, guests can enjoy everything from sushi bar to sports bar without leaving the grounds.