Dinner Review: Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando Offers Fresh, Artistic Food in a Casual Setting

Hi everyone!

Our last visit to Ravello at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando was for the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals, which was one of the nicest character meals we’ve ever booked. This time around, we were invited to Ravello to try some of the newer – as well as classic – items on the dinner menu. Ravello may look casual, but there is nothing casual about the artistic and fresh food we were served.

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando itself is gorgeous, the only AAA 5 Diamond Award resort in Central Florida. It includes several pools and a lazy river, along with seating in every form. Each restaurant has an outdoor seating option, from the rooftop restaurant Capa to the coffee/getalo shop Lickety Split.

Ravello is on the bottom level of the resort. We chose to dine inside, but could have taken an outdoor table here as well.

The restaurant has an open kitchen – very open, with countertops that are low enough to watch food being made from many vantage points. It actually feels like it is part of the dining room.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a backlit menu. The menu is made of paper, but is on a lit background. Even with the smaller print, it was very easy to read. My eyes don’t adjust well to darkness, so this was very appreciated.

We first met Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi before the Four Seasons Resort Orlando officially opened, and sampled some of the dishes from Ravello at that time. He is very passionate about his cooking (and about creating limoncello flavors from an old family recipe). He took complete charge of our dinner this night, including our wood-fired pizza. We couldn’t decide on one flavor, so we went with three – or as Chef Fabrizio called it, “three seasons”. When it comes to Italian food, I tend to be very straight forward in what I like: Margherita pizza, spaghetti with bolognese, anything with mushrooms, etc. Jeff eats everything. So we went with a tasting of a variety of flavors and foods. The menu here focuses on fresh everything – and in fact, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando is just about to begin an onsite garden, so even fresh vegetables and herbs will not need to come from an outside vendor.

We watched as our pizza was put in the oven.

Not only is there a full bar, but a wide selection of wines.

Ravello offers several seafood appetizer options, including Tuna Tartare with Fennel, Orange, Avocado and Chive Oil ($15). The dishes are all artistically plated.

The Capesante was one of Jeff’s favorite items. It includes Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Green Lentils, Roasted Carrots and a Key Lime Basil Vinaigrette ($16).

As we were enjoying the first two appetizers, the pizza came out. This in itself would often be enough for us to share for dinner, and the Margherita version is just $16.00 – it makes for a delicous and inexpensive dinner. The wonderful thing about Ravello is that guests can enjoy a very moderately priced dinner, or make it a full dining experience. Ravello can be enjoyed every night in a Four Seasons Resort Orlando vacation, with no night being the same. One third of our pizza was the Margherita – and it rivals any Margherita pizza I’ve ever had. It includes Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella. Jeff chose the N’Duja pizza for another pizza segment, and this is the one he’d order for himself in the future. It includes Pomodorini Sauce, N’Duja Sausage, Oregano, Parmigiano and Mozzarella. It is spicy but not hot. The third pizza section was Pizza Bianca. I chose it for the mushrooms, and it didn’t disappoint. I would be hard pressed to say which one I preferred more, the Margherita or the Bianca. This one includes Ricotta Sauce, Mushrooms, Arugula and Truffle Oil. The mushrooms and arugula just made the pizza. I think next time we might order exactly this, with all three tastes in one. This was a perfect pizza for us. The wood-fire gave it a delicous crispiness on the bottom, and the flour is imported from Italy. The different pizzas range from $16 – $19.

Our table quickly became filled with appetizers, and the food kept coming. It was hard to set aside the pizza, but everything we received was expertly crafted. Usually we will find something within a meal or tasting that isn’t as nicely prepared as other food, but that didn’t happen here. And Chef Fabrizio kept telling us to “mangia, mangia”!

The Sangria is delicious. One thing that I don’t like in some restaurants is an abundance of ice. There was just enough ice in this without it being too much, and the flavor was strong enough to handle any that melted. I kept this one going for at least an hour, with no noticable change in flavor.

I didn’t try pairing any wine because we were trying so many different types of items. But Jeff did ask our capable server Stephen for a recommendation, and he brought a glass of il fauno. I looked up the blend, and it is 56% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot. This is a strong wine, and went well with the pasta and ribeye.

The Ravioli ($24) is one of the most popular items, and was held over with the new menu. It is stuffed with Veal, Spinach and Ricotta and includes Wild Mushrooms and a Truffle Essence. I can’t imagine this will ever leave the menu, it is one of their specialties and absolutely delicious. The pastas are all made fresh here, and each pasta item we tried was different from the others.

The pasta dishes were served to us in an appetizer size, but they are entrees.

I had never tried a Gnocci I liked until now – I just thought it wasn’t my thing at all. The Spinach Gnocci ($20) has a very tender conistency, and comes with Roasted Beets, Tomato, Parmesan and White Wine Cream Sauce. I rarely eat beets either unless it’s in a borscht (and that is still rare), but they went very nicely with this dish.

I never eat lamb, and Jeff doesn’t often. This is the Strozzapreti, with Braised Lamb, Tomato, Bell Pepper and Taggiasca Olives ($24). It was very nicely prepared, but the one we’d least likely order in the future. I mentioned that the pastas were all differently created, and you can see that in each dish. The name of the pasta has an interesting origin, which I found on Wikipedia.

Here is a look at all of our pastas.

It is hard to beat a good spaghetti bolognese for me. The Pappardelle ($22) is called a Traditional Bolognese with Pecorino. The noodles were pretty firm, and the pasta sauce has a very nice conistency and flavor. It has made me rethink the homemade pasta sauce I usually make.

The Grouper ($32) with Sale Spezito, Salmoriglio, Roasted Artichoke & Potatoes was cooked to perfection. I don’t eat a lot of fish, but enjoyed this one. The potato slices were oven browned and made a very nice side.

This is the conversation that Jeff had with me after dinner: Was the duck he had at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando as good as the one he had in Paris last year? Just the fact that we could ask that question made us realize how fortunate we are. While we didn’t spend much time on fine dining in Paris, we did stop at one sidewalk cafe’ in the city, where Jeff ordered a duck entree that he continues to talk about. This was on that level, a meal he will talk about in the future. Duck isn’t something I’ve enjoyed as much, but this one was marinated for hours in red wine and spices, and had very little fat. Our dish tasted like a nice steak.

Speaking of steak – this was a wonderful surprise. The Chef asked us if we wanted to try the ribeye. He couldn’t bring a smaller portion, so we ended up with the full 16 ounce Bone-in Ribeye called Manza ($49). I’ve mentioned several times that I tried items here that I usually don’t (all with good effect). It has been a very long time since I’ve ordered a ribeye in a restaurant. I order a filet or sirloin steak, because I’ve never had a great ribeye anywhere. This was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. The meat is Choice (as opposed to Prime in Capa), but I couldn’t tell the difference between our steak here and our meal at the rooftop restaurant. It cut like butter. The secret is Chef Fabrizio’s Rub, which includes Porcini mushrooms, garlic, sea salt, and other herbs and spices. It gave a nice crust to the outside. After all we’d tried, I had slowed down my eating – but I couldn’t help taking little slices of the steak, even after I said I was done. It comes with Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes and Chianti Sauce.

Chef Fabrizio stood for a photo.

Here is the inside of our steak after we cut it. We brought some of it home, and cooked it in a little olive oil and it tasted almost as good as it did here. We already plan to go back again with friends who are visiting in September.

I took a photo of the Agnello Lamb Chop ($38), which we did not have.

Food doesn’t stay on the counter long as it is brought out to guests.

Jeff and I ordered 2 desserts, but Chef Fabrizio brought out 4. Jeff and I had different favorites. This was Jeff’s pick, the Chocolate Salame ($10), with amaretto cookies inside. Sicilian Pistachio Gelato is part of the dish (and the Four Seasons makes wonderful gelato!) Strawberry Salad is on the side. I liked the chocolate pieces that stuck out of the gelato.

This was my favorite by far – the Torta al Barbera with Ricotta di Pecora Cream, Barbera Reduction and Seasonal Fruit. Barbera is wine, and the Chef called it a wine cake. The fruit changes throughout the year depending on what is in season. Here there are raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. It is not too heavy a dessert after a big meal, and I just loved it.

The White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse ($9). Delicious, but overshadowed by the wine cake. This was creamy and a nice, light option.

The Tiramisu ($10) is a classic one – you can’t go wrong with it.

We sat with Chef Fabrizio for a while, enjoying several types of limoncello. He likes to experiment with flavors.

We spent just about 4 hours at Ravello during this dining experience. It was way beyond what we expected, as was the food. We can’t recommend Ravello more, and look forward to visiting on our own again. For guests who have never been to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, the restaurants do validate the valet parking (it is $5.00 with validation). I recommend arriving a little early and taking a walk at the resort. It is stunning, and worth seeing if it will suit your vacation needs in the future.

Guests can enjoy a meal at the bar if they choose.

The adult pool was quiet when we walked outside.

During the day, guests can get their Disney park needs taken care of at this desk with a large hidden Mickey.

The gorgeous chandelier is inspired by fireworks.

We have enjoyed our ongoing relationship with the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, which is now nearly 8 months old. The resort did give us our meals for a review, and all views are ours (we received great service and added an additional gratuity). We’ve been happy to support the resort as well, dining several times here on our own (including the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals). And we hope to book a night here in the next few months so we can post a photo review on that as well. The service at the resort is tremendous, and I always stop to smell the fresh flowers – roses, this time, tightly bundled in vases on either side of this photo. This is a resort that shouldn’t be overlooked, whether staying here or enjoying a meal. Ravello is a great place to start.

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando is located at

10100 Dream Tree Blvd
Lake Buena Vista, FL
 
Reservations can be made several ways, including on OpenTable.