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Apr 19, 2008 12:41 PM

Help Me Decide: Primo or Norman's (Orlando)

I'm already dreaming about what to do with my rebate check next month, and by golly, I think it's my patriotic duty to spend it! So I'd like to treat my husband and me to a special night out. We don't often spend the big $$ for a celebrity chef's restaurant, so here's my chance. Already been to Emeril's, so I figure its going to be either Primo or Norman's (either way I guess I'm headed to Grande Lakes). Your thoughts, especially those hounds who have been to both? TIA! Barbara

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  1. This is no help but: You can't go wrong with either. Both are superb.

    1. I agree, you cannot go wrong with either!

      Have you checked the menus and wine lists to see how they match up with your personal preferences and favorites?

      Norman's (call for current menu, online is a sample menu)


      Creative way to used part of your windfall, nice way to treat yourself.


      1. if one of you might order a steak, I think the Primo steak(dry aged NY Strip) is far superior to the Norman's steak (ribeye). BTW if someone wants smaller portions, Primo will cook you a half a steak order for your entree.....

        Other than that, both are excellent restaurants. Primo a little more casual atmosphere, with a great dining bar. Normans a little more formal.

        5 Replies
        1. re: herbert1

          As far as Norman's being more formal, if a gentleman wears a jacket and a lady is in a cocktail dress, will that be formal enough? I often find that Florida's version of formal is a bit different that other places.

          1. re: roo_hound

            You don't need to be even that formal in either restaurant. Not to worry; Florida is if anything too casual.

            1. re: rudykins

              I agree, rudykins. I'll be eating at Normans for the first time in a few weeks and I'm a little worried about being overdressed. I'm sorry, if I'm going somewhere where I'm dealing with multiple courses (including a cheese course!) and paying $$$, I want to get all dressed up :) I'm not one of these people who look down on others for what they wear, but by the same token, I don't want to be looked at funny for being all gussied up :)

              To the OP - I've also heard great things about both places. I'll report back on Norman's after I go.

              1. re: roo_hound

                Me too. I once ate at Capital Grille in July, decked out in a nice outfit, and other guests were in faded jeans and T-shirts. I wish I didn't get annoyed by that, but I do.

          2. re: herbert1

            Correction, I was there tonight and it isn't standard practice to halve the steak entree, They will give half portions of all the pasta entrees though...

          3. In my opinion, I think that you would have a better dinner at Primo. You are treated more like someone they want to take care of rather than just another customer at Norman's.
            The wine list is better at primo and there are not as many choices for dinner, but the food is amazing.
            Good eats

            1 Reply
            1. re: horvath42

              I have never been to Norman's, but have been to Primo numerous times & cannot think that Norman;s food would be proportionally better to Primo's as the price differences would indicate.

            2. I've been to both several times and I would give the nod to Normans over Primo. While it is true, you will have a fine meal at both, I think the ambiance at Normans is nicer than Primos and you'll get the sense that you are fine dining for the $$$ you are spending. Unlike the OP, I've never felt like "just another customer" at Normans. In fact, other than their opening weekend several years ago which did have some service issues, I've found the service to be above average at Normans (and even that one time with poor service was generously made up by both Norman and his partner by offering me and a guest two dinners at either of his restaurants at that time). I do agree with the OP's suggestion that you check the menu of both and decide which type of fare suits you and your husband best. p.s. as for dress code, I think Primo's is a bit more casual than Norman's, but probably only because Norman's is located in a Ritz hotel. I wouldn't feel comfortable dining there in jeans; but you don't need to be all decked out to dine there; but you won't feel out of place if you are. Either way, enjoy your dinner and please report back on your experience.

              2 Replies
              1. re: zook

                Strictly on food quality, I would choose Primo over Normans, btw the costs of the steak entrees are now $44 and $48 respectively. I agree that there is a little more upscale feel at Normans, OTOH the portion sizes are a little larger at Primo and they are happy to split dishes if money is a concern. BTW if you go to Primo request Michelle as a server, she is excellent.

                1. re: herbert1

                  You're all right. The way I see it, both have exceptional food. Norman's atmosphere is much nicer--the restaurant has a more thought-out, complete design--but, I have experienced ridiculously snotty service there. I overlook that only because the food is so good. At Primo, you feel like you're in a hotel restaurant--and it feels like the space was designed first, then Primo designed to fit into the existic oddly shaped rooms--but the service is warmer.