Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and you might notice that I have a special affinity for a certain Italian restaurant inside the Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World.
This past weekend was opening weekend for the “3rd Annual Food & Wine Weekends” at the resort property which adjoins the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort.
La Luce, the brainchild of chef Donna Scala, has crafted an impeccable specialty menu for the Weekend Events running through November 9th, 2013 and I was first in line to sample them.
On Friday night I headed down to La Luce with a girlfriend and we prepared ourselves for “Il Cibo Della Vita”, which translates to “the food of life”. We decided to dine at the bar and share the offerings between the two of us. This is a more casual way to experience La Luce and the service from my favorite bartenders Tony and Deborah make the experience that much more fun.
Zuppa $9 Butternut Squash – Creamy…sweet…lucious and silky smooth. The serving size was generous and we enjoyed dragging the specialty bread service through it when we got to the bottom of the bowl. I especially enjoyed the fried sage leaf on top.
Bruschetta $12 Mozzarella di Bufala, Roasted Tomato, Arugula – Crisp bread and forward flavor is what you’ll get with this starter. The deep roasted tomato had a distinct sweetness which was a perfect match to the saltiness of the olives and creamy cheese.
Risotto $28 Speck Wrapped Scallops, Wild Mushrooms, Reggiano – Decadent is the word I would use to describe this dish. I wouldn’t normally order a risotto but this dish might sway me to do that more often. Imagine crispy prosciutto wrapped scallops atop a bed of creamy…cheesy…risotto finished with a splash of olive oil and fresh parsley.
At this point in the meal we were getting pretty full and I wished that we hadn’t eaten so much in the afternoon as we noshed around World Showcase for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Here’s course number four, which I wish I had sampled. There’s always next weekend….
Lamb Meatballs $26 Tuscan Bean Ragu, Mint Gremolata, Natural Jus
Our dessert was delivered by General Manager Rabie Elmtioui.
Dolce $9 Cannoli, Ricotta, Mascarpone Cheese – Three cannoli…each one, two bites of heaven. A light and sweet ending after the heavy risotto.
On Saturday night I was allowed in on a special staff tasting. Ask your server what they would recommend and they will be able to give an honest answer because of the tastings that take place before dinner service.
Zuppa $9 Cauliflower - Don’t you just want to dive in? Another excellent offering from La Luce. Silky smooth cauliflower puree with crisp croutons. A perfect contrast. (glances over shoulder for the “Soup Nazi“)
Bruschetta $12 Grilled Pears, Gorgonzola, Prosciutto, Aged Balsamic - This was the stand out dish for me from the entire weekend. I could have eaten an entire plate of these and washed it down with a bottle of wine. Crusty bread, ripe cheese, sweet pears and tangy balsamic. Like a symphony in my mouth. **smacks lips**
Risotto $28 Prawns alla Plancha, Wild Mushrooms, Melted Leeks, Truffle Cheese - You had me at melted leeks and truffle cheese. This risotto was on par with the scallop risotto I had on Friday night. I may be turning into a risotto fan. Well played La Luce…well played.
Grilled Duck and Sausage $32 Umbrian Lentils Ragu, Tomato, Cipolline, Saba - Generous in portion size, this entree is full of flavor. Perfect proteins top a bed of savory lentil ragu. The duck literally falls of the bone. The hand stuffed sausage has just the right amount of spice.
Dolce $9 Lemon Souffle Pudding - This light and airy dessert read more like a souffle and less like a pudding. It was tangy and not at all heavy. La Luce has perfected dessert! It’s signature Butterscotch Pudding even has its own Facebook Page!
The level of service from the kitchen staff to the servers and bartenders to the management is five star at La Luce. The restaurant was awarded the 2013 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With over 150 selections of wine to choose from there is something to suit any palate. The specialty menus for Food & Wine Weekends includes suggested wine pairings for an additional fee. For a complete list of the weekend events check out my “Weekend Offerings” post.
If you would like to book a room at the Hilton Bonnet Creek please visit http://www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/ or phone 407-597-3600. La Luce is open daily from 5-9pm. For reservations phone 407-597-3600 or visit http://LaLuceOrlando.com
Special thanks goes out to the Hilton Bonnet Creek for hosting my stay. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.