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Orlando recommendations for Christmas party?

TorontoJo Mar 13, 2008 02:38 PM

Hi Florida hounds! It's that time of year again for me, when my company plans its annual Christmas party and I beg local 'hounds for some help. This year we're headed to a warm destination for a change! I know nothing about the Orlando area, but it seems that many of the best restaurants are actually in the hotels.

We will be around 70 - 80 people and have a pretty open-ended budget. We're looking for amazing food, nice atmosphere, great cocktails and wine and great service (not stuffy, and ready to put up with a large group of people who want to eat and drink for about 5 hours).

To give some reference, the last three years were at:

Boston - No. 9 Park
Chicago - Blackbird
Toronto - Perigee

So far, we're looking at:

- Bice
- Norman's
- Primo
- Manuel's

We're staying at the Portofino Bay hotel, so that certainly give Bice an advantage on the location -- no dealing with cabs or shuttles.

But in the end, the food and atmosphere are the more important considerations.

Any opinions on the 4 choices? Any other options that we've missed? Thanks in advance for any advice!

  1. k
    Kris25 Nov 17, 2009 08:11 AM

    I know it's a little late now, but for return trips don't miss this place. I attended a friend's event here a few weeks ago and was so blown away, I relocated my office holiday party at the last minute to Cuba Libre (had to go mid-week for what we're looking for) but it'll be worth it. The energy in the place is fun and latin. Food was fantastic, service was great and the managers were very attentive... that's the main reason why I decided to host my own group here. I think they're known for their cocktails because everyone was drinking something different with tropical fruit. Two thumbs up. I always though I-Drive was more for tourists, but this group of locals is sold.

    Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
    9101 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

    1. TorontoJo Mar 19, 2008 12:22 PM

      Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I'll definitely give Norman's and Primo a closer look.

      1. winechic Mar 15, 2008 08:32 AM

        Norman's and Primo are very nice and much closer than heading downtown to Manuel's.

        The Portfino Bay has a GREAT catering dept, so you may want to check out their options. They also hold wonderful wine dinners with menu items that are not on the Bice (or other restaurant) menus. I've attended several private wine dinners and functions, they never fail to impress.

        The Piazza is beautiful at Chrismas time, they have a big tree lighting ceremony during the Holiday Harbor Nights event the weekend after Thanksgiving.

        1. h
          horvath42 Mar 14, 2008 08:03 PM

          I also think you may consider the following:

          Texas de Brazil---Plenty of room and amazing wine list
          Il Mulino at the Swan Hotel

          My Favorite would be Primo.

          1. t
            theflytyr Mar 13, 2008 04:53 PM

            I would personally look at Normans or Primo over the other 2. Both have beautiful rooms and food is very good at both.

            1 Reply
            1. re: theflytyr
              rudykins Mar 13, 2008 06:02 PM

              Ditto. Norman's and Primo are the best. Bice is a full step down. Don't consider Manuell's.

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