Contemporary Italian cuisine in Orlando

A staple of JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes’ dining scene since 2003, Primo is delighting a whole new generation of diners with recently refreshed interiors and a simplified menu of Italian classics that would make any nonna proud.

Redesigned in partnership with award-winning executive chef Melissa Kelly, the Orlando restaurant now features airy interiors that blend the best of Southern Italy with Central Florida to give the venue a unique and relaxed sense of place. Standing by the toque’s ethos of simplicity, seasonality and freshness, the restaurant features plenty of natural light, simple stone flooring and family-style tables reminiscent of a classic Italian trattoria. The vibe is casual and convivial, inviting families of all ages to relax, unwind and savor home-style Mediterranean comfort.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • “Farm-to-table” isn’t just an overused catchphrase at Primo. Produce, honey and eggs are sourced from the restaurant’s onsite garden and nearby Whisper Creek Farm, all seafood is sourced from Florida fishermen, and both poultry and pork are sourced from ranches within the state.
  • While dishes are distinctly Mediterranean in origin, a South Florida accent can be detected in plates like rock crab arancini or charred octopus seasoned with Cuban oregano and served with Seminole pumpkin romesco.
  • Shareable small plates are the focus of the revamped menu, but you’ll also want to make space for mouthwatering pasta and pizzas. Rich tortelloni with braised beef rib and butter-poached lobster is a crowd-pleaser, as is a white pizza topped with marinated eggplant, pistachios and squash blossoms.
  • Even classic cocktails enjoy an Italy-meets-Florida twist at Primo. Old Fashioned fans can try Lost in Sicily, a whiskey-based sip blended with banana-infused Averna Amaro, orange bitters and lime tincture for a tropical take on the tipple.
  • Arrive a bit before your reservation to belly up to the bar. The Instagrammable space features cascading greenery, a bamboo backdrop and earthen stone floors that feel just as at home in an alfresco South Florida dining room as an Italian courtyard.

The Chef

  • Growing up on Long Island, chef Melissa Kelly’s earliest memories are of cooking in her grandmother’s kitchen. She credits these early lessons with giving her a taste for Italian- and Mediterranean-influenced foods.
  • After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Kelly honed her skills in the kitchens of the historic Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and the Beekman Arms Tavern.
  • In a bid to expand her horizons beyond the East Coast, Kelly headed west to work alongside culinary legend Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. The toque credits Waters for imbuing her with the farm-to-table ethos she still employs today.
  • When she joined JW Marriott Orlando, Grand Lakes in 2003, Kelly served as the driving force behind the hotel’s own Whisper Creek Farm. Today, the sustainable farm, garden and apiary provide fresh produce for all of the luxury hotel’s 13 restaurants, lounges and cocktail bars.

Getting There
4040 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, Florida 32837
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