Delights in local hotel dining


If you're in the search of high-quality seafood, try Todd English's bluezoo at the Disney's Dolphin Hotel.

ORLANDO, Fla. - It used to be that to choose to eat in a hotel restaurant meant you were settling for second-rate food and service for the sake of convenience. That’s not true anymore -- some of the area’s finest restaurants can be found just downstairs -- and in some cases upstairs -- in hotels. And to prove the point that these restaurants aren’t just for tourists, many of them are frequented by locals.

For upscale elegance you’ll find Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton, the Boheme at the Grand Bohemian and the Venetian Room at Caribe Royal. Victoria & Albert’s, Citricos and Narcoossee’s all call the Grand Florida home. And California Grill occupies the top floor of the Contemporary Resort.

Looking for Italian? There’s Primo by Melissa Kelly at the J.W. Marriott, Bice at Loew’s Portofino Bay, Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana at the Westin Imagine or Capriccio at Peabody Orlando.

Also at the Peabody, Napa, despite the West Coast name, specializes in local Florida produce.

If steak is what you crave, head to the Dolphin hotel and Shula’s Steak House, the Palm at Hard Rock Hotel or to Rosen’s Shingle Creek Resort and A Land Remembered. Seafood? Todd English’s bluezoo, also at the Dolphin, or Everglades at Rosen Centre are worth checking out after you’ve checked in.

For something a little more out of the ordinary, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at Loew’s Royal Pacific blends Hawaiian cuisine with techniques from the mainland, and Kimonos at the Swan hotel offers sushi in a chic atmosphere.