OK, so we didn’t go to Disney just for the Mouse. Our friends Jason and Jessica live in Orlando and took us out to one of their favorite places, a beautiful new Italian restaurant in Winter Park called Prato. It was one of the best meals I have eaten this year. Of course, it helps when your friend is a heavy hitter in the restaurant world himself, and he is buddies with the chef, and said chef decides to feed you until you have to crawl out the front door, but I digress. Prato is unlike anything we have down here. It is very industrial looking. Exposed brick and duct-work, skylights, a long and gorgeous bar, giant chalkboards showcasing the menu, an open kitchen surrounded by old cookbooks and kitchen knickknacks, and an entire wall of flowers, succulents, and other plantings. It sort of reminded me of an old airplane hanger from the 40’s. In nice weather, the entire front of the place opens up on huge sliding glass doors to sidewalk patio seating. The place is very big, and very big money. Word is that one of the financiers is a big wig at NASCAR.
The specialties at Prato are the pizzas and pastas, all hand rolled daily. We tried the Brandino pizza, covered with peaches and gorgonzola, the calamari, the tuna tartare, the “baked farm egg,” my god, so good, with lots of bread for dipping, the bolognese pasta, which was the highlight, amazingly rich duck confit ragu that was absolutely out of this world, the cavatelli pasta with porchetta, the gnocchi, and….that’s all I can remember. We could barely put a dent in the tiramisu and cheesecake that arrived for dessert.
We really enjoyed Prato. They also have a sister restaurant right down the block called Luma on Park, which will be our next stop when we head back that way. If in Winter Park, give this place a try-