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The Resort Hotels – Portofino Bay Hotel: Trattoria del Porto


What: Casual all-day dining
Where: Facing the Harbor Piazza
Price Range: $$ - $$$
Hours: Breakfast 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Lunch 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (closed for dinner Tuesday and Wednesday)
Reservations: Not required but recommended during busier periods; (407) 503-3463 or OpenTable.com

This spacious 300-seat restaurant is the only eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That doesn’t mean that you have to settle for so-so food, however. The cuisine here is first-rate, inventive, and well executed.

Large windows look out onto the piazza where there is plenty of al fresco seating. Should you care to eat outdoors, you’ll be happily accommodated. The columns indoors are painted with fanciful scenes of commedia dell’arte figures cavorting under the sea with dolphins and seals. With its high ceilings, tile and mosaic accents in blue and gold, and polished wood trim, the Trattoria projects an air of laid back elegance.

At breakfast, the Trattoria lays on a sumptuous buffet ($19.50 for adults, $10 for kids) that features made-to-order eggs and omelets. You can also order from a more traditional breakfast menu that features such favorites as Eggs Benedict and waffles adorned with fresh fruit.

The same menu is served at lunch and dinner. About half of the menu is given over to a variety of soups, salads, and other starters. For the rest, there are sandwiches, thin-crust pizzas, and pasta dishes. Starters run from about $6 to $16, sandwiches are about $15, pizzas are $15, and entrees are $14 to $36. Entrees range from an organic egg fritatta to a hearty New York steak with an inventive blue cheese demi-glace. At certain times an all-you-can-eat "interactive cooking experience" may be offered ($22 adults, $12 kids). A special kids' menu features simple dishes for $10. The mini-desserts ($4) include a vanilla panna cotta and tangerine cheesecake. If the weather's fine, the tables in the large al fresco dining area on the piazza offer the best seats in the house.

Note: Kids are specially welcome. At the back of the restaurant there is a small dining area for little ones, featuring brightly colored toddler-sized tables, a large-screen TV showing appropriate kiddie fare, and big pillows for comfy after-meal sprawling. Some nights a magician will perform or a clown will drop by to create balloon animals. Other nights there is Character Dining with various Universal stars; ask the concierge for the schedule. .

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