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  • Grande Stories
Grande Stories
Recognized by MICHELIN as one of the World’s Best Steakhouses in the Robb Report and recipient of a coveted star in the MICHELIN Guide Florida 2022 & 2023.

Knife & Spoon brings together two terrifi c tastes: steaks aged to perfection and fresh seafood sourced from local waters.

The acclaimed restaurant was conceived and is led by award-winning Chef John Tesar at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Orlando. Created with the goal of paying homage and maintaining the highest standards of excellence fi rst originated by hotelier Cesar Ritz, the celebrated venue was recently awarded a coveted MICHELIN Star in the MICHELIN Guide Florida 2022 & 2023.

According to Chef Tesar, the secret to steak's true fl avor, as well as its tenderness, is dry aging. Steaks served nightly at Knife & Spoon are dry aged between 45 and 240 days depending upon the diner's preference. All the steaks served at Knife & Spoon are sourced from the famous 44 Farms in Texas, renowned for fl avorful beef and for cattle that are fed cotton seed, silage and molasses.

The seafood off ering is equally elevated. Knife & Spoon is

closely connected with the local fi shing community and stays in constant contact to make sure seasonal off erings are always fresh. The catch of the day is sourced nearby and paired with seasonal, local produce for a unique and immensely fl avorful experience. Chef Tesar prides himself in seafood with clean fl avor combinations and insists that the taste of the ocean takes the spotlight.

The cocktail program off ers a modern take on traditional cocktails featuring a number of rare spirits. Open for dinner only, Knife & Spoon seats 235 guests in a welcoming setting, designed to bring the outdoors in and pay homage to the region's deep-rooted history and landscape.


CHEF JOHN TESAR is a fi ve-time James Beard "Best Southwest Chef" semifi nalist, Top Chef season 10 contestant and the winner of The Food Network's Extreme Chef. Known for his classically trained chef's approach to seafood and steakhouse cuisine, over the years he has cemented his reputation.

Before expanding to the East Coast with Knife & Spoon, he founded Spoon Bar & Kitchen, a premium, seasonal seafood restaurant in central Texas; and he created Knife, a famed Dallas restaurant built around great-tasting steak. Chef Tesar also created Knife Burger, the popular poolside eatery at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes.

Grande Stories
Primo was designated a Recommended Restaurant in the inaugural MICHELIN Guide Florida 2022.

The rich and fl avorful Italian heritage of Chef Melissa Kelly is celebrated in full at Primo, an award-winning Italian eatery serving seasonally fresh and locally sourced Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Her earliest cooking lessons were in her Italian grandmother's kitchen, and she is passionate about preserving her cultural heritage through Primo. The acclaimed venue, a part of the JW Marriott at Grande Lakes Orlando since the very beginning, has been recognized for excellence, receiving a coveted MICHELIN Recommendation in 2022.

The menu features an inspired farm-to-fork experience with seasonal highlights with nearly all ingredients sourced locally. Items like produce, honey and eggs come from the on-site Primo Garden.

Chef Kelly's signature dish, Pork Saltimbocca, pays homage to her grandfather who made the dish for her as a child. Her grandfather, named Primo, inspired her to open the restaurant and is, of course, its namesake. Pork Saltimbocca is the only dish that has remained on the menu at Primo since it opened.

Kelly is committed to environmental stewardship, so every ingredient is put to use. Anything that is left over is recycled or composted at the garden or on the farm in a full-circle relationship. Seasonally fresh ingredients bring inspiration to the menu, which changes almost daily.


CHEF MELISSA KELLY is the founder and proprietor of Primo, the Mediterranean-inspired Italian restaurant at JW Marriott, Grande Lakes. She is the fi rst two-time James Beard Foundation Award-winner of the American Express Best Chef: Northeast Award. In 2002, she cofounded the original Primo restaurant in Maine, named after her Italian grandfather, Primo Magnani. Colleagues at the Grande Lakes location describe her as having a relentless work ethic that inspires everyone around her. A woman of many talents, Kelly is also a published author, notable for her book, Mediterranean Women Stay Slim, Too: Eating to Be Sexy, Fit, and Fabulous!


Grande Stories
Highball & Harvest was named one of the 50 Best Southern Restaurants in the U.S. by OpenTable.

Highball & Harvest is a favorite restaurant off ering a thoughtful blend of pastoral authenticity in combination with warm, Ritz-Carlton refi nement. The result is a novel, inspired atmosphere for enjoying fresh, regional cuisine and seasonally crafted cocktails.

The creative menu is inspired by the traditional fl avors of the South, infused with the artisanal food nurtured and cultivated by local farmers. With local ingredients, chefs promote sustainable agriculture through a thoroughly refi ned approach to farm-to-fork dining. Guests return time and time again for the Southern-inspired Parker House rolls, the hearty and comforting Southern Spread and the scrumptious Pimento Burger.

"Highball & Harvest" came from the railroad system that made Central Florida a thriving agricultural center. A "highball" is the conductor's signal to leave the station, and of course, the name also makes reference to a tall, refreshing drink.

The modern approach to creating authentic dishes is complemented by an extensive variety of signature and seasonal cocktails. Should bourbon be their spirit of choice, Highball & Harvest boasts one of the most extensive whiskey and bourbon lists in the region. Beer drinkers can take home their favorite, custom-crafted brews in 32-ounce cans. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in a wide variety of wines served from casks in order to better preserve the character of the fl avors. Some of the most extraordinary coff ee in the world is supplied locally by Lineage Roasting Company.

The fresh regional cuisine and handcrafted cocktails from Highball & Harvest off er guests a one-of-a-kind experience—one that is unique to all of Central Florida.


The signature cocktails of Highball & Harvest are infused with unique garnishes, shrubs, bitters, syrups and fresh juices created by none other than our very own BRENDA MULERO, the bar chef at Highball & Harvest, the only restaurant in the region with a dedicated bar chef. Many of the signature drinks at Grande Lakes are Mulero's creations.

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