Florida Guide > Dining
Villa de Flora at Gaylord Palms Hotel
We decided to meet with a few friends at the Villa de Flora restaurant as none of us had tried it before. As there were 9 of us, we rang first to book a table, not knowing how busy it gets.
We drove to the hotel from our villa (nice easy route, and well signposted, the hotel even has its own exit off the I-4) and in through the impressive entrance. Since we had no idea where the restaurant was situated in relation to the rest of the hotel, we just found a space and parked up.
This is a seriously impressive hotel. It is set in 4 acres and has 4 separately themed areas, each with its own distinct ambience.
Villa de Flora is set in the St Augustine area of the hotel. The theme is Mediterranean and runs throughout the whole area, from cobbled streets to a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest Spanish fort in the New World.
You enter the restaurant through large double iron gates and where you are escorted to your table by your waiter or waitress. Once seated, you are told about today’s menu, and drinks orders are taken. Having a strong Spanish influence, the restaurant makes its own Sangria and you are offered a sample. This is one of the better Sangria’s I have tasted outside of Spain, so we ordered a couple of jug’s while we chatted and wandered off, a few at a time to sample the delights of the kitchens.
The restaurant features a different “country” every night, and tonight was Greek night. They also feature France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and North Africa.
This is an “all you care to eat” buffet, but unlike any you have tried before. The food is superb, all freshly cooked and the salad selection was impressive too. After trying a few of the delicious starters, it was time to check out the main course.
The waiting staff are so attentive that every time you leave the table they appear, to neatly fold everyone’s napkins, refill your glass and sweep away any crumbs. They were also extremely friendly and enjoyed chatting away to us.
The main course selection was just as good as the appetizers; they not only cater for the theme of the night, but also a good selection of more familiar food for those less adventurous or picky children. We tried a little of just about everything I think, and all shared our choices with our fellow diners, so it ended up more like a Tapa’s meal, than a banquet.
The conversation and the wine flowed freely for over 4 hours and at no point did we feel rushed or that we were holding anyone up. We had a wonderful evening and will be returning to check out the other offerings for each country, over several visit’s to Florida, as my waistline will be in need of help if they are anywhere near as good as Greek night.
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