Norman’s at Ritz-Carlton

Norman's at Ritlz-CarltonLast evening I had the opportunity* to have a pre-New Year’s celebration at one of Central Florida’s finest restaurants, Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes. Firstly, if you live in Central Florida and have never been to The Grande Lakes Orlando property housing the JW Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton you must make it a point to go – it’s a gorgeous, very impressive resort.

Secondly, let me preface this post by saying I have been to plenty of really nice restaurants, and am not a stranger to fine dining. And Norman’s is certainly fine dining!

When you first walk into the main dining room at Norman’s it’s almost breathtaking, and certainly a departure from the places typically frequent:

Norman's at Ritz-Carlton

Once seated, my guest and I each selected an appetizer, main dish, and dessert from the “New Year’s Eve menu”:


Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton

(delicious bread to begin)

Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton(Lobster & Lobster Sausage Zarzuela: heirloom tomatoes, croutons, roasted kabocha squash)

Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton(Foie Gras au Torchon: quince, winter park honey & manchego biscuit)

Main Dishes:

Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton(Herb Crusted & Grilled Lamb Loin w/leeks, polenta, ocoee grown mint scented port reduction)

Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton

(Prime Beef Rib Eye w/duck fat roasted potatoes, pan roasted root vegetables, sauce bordelaise)


Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton (Biscuits, Berries & Balsamic: biscuit, berries, Chantilly, 30-year-old balsamic)

Norman's at Ritlz-Carlton (100-year-old Grand Marnier creme caramel w/cinnamon raisin biscotti)

Some background on the Norman’s restaurant:

Since 2003, Norman’s has been serving Chef Norman Van Aken’s acclaimed “New World Cuisine” as the culinary centerpiece which celebrates Latin, Caribbean and Asian flavors with traditional European technique – in a fine dining atmosphere. As one of the highest-rated restaurants in Florida, Norman’s continues to impress, entertain and satisfy world travelers and Central Florida residents alike who visit the restaurant.

Some points of interest about Norman’s:

  • The Original Fusion: Chef Norman Van Aken was the first chef to use the word “fusion” in association with cuisine. In his cooking, Chef Norman creates an interplay between regionalism and restaurant technical knowhow which is unmistakably revealed through the menus at Norman’s for patrons to experience firsthand.
  • World Renown/ Award-Winning Chef & Cuisine: In 2003, Chef Norman Van Aken was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who” of food and beverage in America and in 2005 the foundation nominated Norman’s as the “Best Restaurant in America.” Similarly, The New York Times claims that “Norman’s is the best restaurant in South Florida and Norman Van Aken is its best chef.”
  • New Menu Everyday: If you’ve only been once, it’s time to visit again. Norman’s features new menu items daily, with seasonal dishes celebrating the many extraordinary culinary and cultural influences that make Florida so dynamic.
  • Special Occasion Dining: Norman’s is Orlando’s hidden gem and the local go-to for all special occasions: events for 2 to 200 people are tailored to the Norman’s experience for each customer whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, business dinner, or wedding.

So if you’re interested in checking-out Norman’s at some point, you might want to Follow them on Twitter or become a Fan on Facebook for inside information!

All-in-all the experience at Norman’s was extremely enjoyable. This isn’t the sort of dining I do regularly, but for a special occasion or if guests are in town visiting this restaurant would definitely be a consideration for fine dining in Orlando.


The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL 32837

* “Pulse” was provided two (2) complimentary meals to experience this New Year’s Eve event. Thanks, Norman’s!

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