Faiyaz Kara’s 55 Best Restaurants in Orlando

Duck breast with mole negro, Norman's (Photo by Rob Bartlett)
Duck breast with mole negro, Norman’s (Photo by Rob Bartlett)

Explore the Orlando Weekly restaurant critic’s essential places to eat in 2018

2. Norman’s

Fine dining is indeed alive and well, and at this perennial stalwart within the gilded walls of the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, so is fusion cuisine – thanks to celebrated chef Norman Van Aken, who leaves the execution of his “New World” fare in the capable hands of executive chef Andres Mendoza. The menu’s Latin-Caribbean DNA has seen little mutation through the past 15 years, though influences from China and North Africa make the occasional foray. Mendoza’s tasting menu is the most accomplished in the city – a hickory-smoked tenderloin of American bison with Okinawa potato, Brussels sprouts, chimichurri verde, carrot tuiles and a black fig jus; or peach-barbecued Rohan duck breast with mole negro should give you an idea as to what to expect – and the doting service is unparalleled. (

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