Experience the charm of Italy in your own backyard
At BiCE Ristorante, a meal is about much more than just food and wine. If you ask General Manager Massimo Lanfranchi, he’ll tell you a meal should also be equal parts about the experience. For BiCE, this means taking each and every diner through a personalized, exceptional experience of enjoying an authentic, Italian dinner in Italy without ever having to step foot out of Orlando.
Nestled along the water bayside at Universal Orlando is Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, just like the seaside town of Portofino, Italy it’s inspired by. Cobblestone streets, Italian cypress trees and the sight of several vibrant gondolas floating in the water will have you swearing you’re actually in Europe. Complimenting the Italian-themed hotel is its on property restaurant, BiCE Ristorante Orlando. When it comes to authenticity, BiCE has got all the charm and cuisine of Northern Italy in a friendly, elegant atmosphere that is sure to have you coming back for more.
“At BiCE, you’re going to get as close as you can to dining in Italy. Being in a resort environment, you’re going to have a lot of tourist who’ve actually had Italian food in Italy so we thrive on authenticity. We try to stick to traditionalism as simply as we can.” – Executive Chef Alessandro Lozzi
“The best, authentic Italian restaurant in town!”
– Orlando Style Magazine
In remaining true to traditionalism and authenticity, BiCE has developed a superb menu of Italian classics that will leave even the most critical gourmand’s mouth watering. Their bolognese sauce is one of the top in the city and a favorite among guests. This should come as no surprise once you learn that BiCE is one of few restaurants remaining that continue to use the three proteins (pork, beef and veal) in their bolognese as opposed to just beef. The whole process includes stewing the meat with a wine reduction that results in the most satisfying bolognese you’ll ever have the pleasure of tasting. As Chef Alessandro told me, “We do it the classic way and we do a good job at it.” From traditional meat sauces to pastas made in house from scratch, everything at BiCE is fresh, organic and authentically Italian. Although their savory food puts BiCE ahead of the competition, that’s not the only thing that has locals and tourists alike returning.
“Anyone can make spaghetti bolognese. It’s not just about how the food comes out of the kitchen. It’s also about how it’s presented and how you interact with your guest. It’s a combination of everything. If you have the two, good service and good food, then you are successful.” -GM Massimo
Massimo stands true to his belief and you will see that for yourself in the way he runs the successful restaurant. Perhaps what attest to BiCE’s success most is the fact that BiCE has been a beloved part of Universal Orlando for 12 years now. When you consider the average restaurant life is less than two years and 60% of restaurants go out of business after one year, it’s impossible to not agree that BiCE is doing something right. One thing that impacted me greatly during my dinner at the restaurant was how genuinely caring and accommodating the BiCE staff are to the needs of their guests.
“With all the stuff we have on the menu, people still like to ask for items that are off the menu and we always accommodate. We accommodate everything if it’s something we have in the house.” – GM Massimo
Never before has accommodation been more important than now as restaurants across the country are faced with an increasingly high demand for gluten-free options. For Massimo and Chef Alessandro, the best solution for this was to create an all gluten-free menu. They wanted customers to have a list of choices that were already available so their focus could be brought back to enjoying the evening instead of worrying about what they can or can’t eat. A selection of gluten-free appetizers, pastas, breads, main courses and desserts means there is truly something for everyone.
“We want it to be the best possible experience for the customer so if we have to bend the rules, we will, but we try to stay as traditional authentic as we can within our capabilities and we thrive on that.”-Chef Alessandro
To say the BiCE dining menu offers a variety of options might be the understatement of the century. The four-sided menu of food alone lacks nothing and is filled to the brim with enticing options that are updated bi-yearly based off what’s in season. However, some menu options have become such great sellers that they’re left on all year long such as the beef tenderloin carpaccio, the ravioli stuffed with beef short rib and spinach or the traditional saffron flavored risotto with sautéed mushrooms. When it comes to the secondi or main course options, BiCE has you covered yet again with tempting classics such as their ossobuco. The braised veal is cooked for 5-6 hours, which results in fall-off-the-bone meat that just melts in your mouth. These dishes and more combined with hand crafted desserts and an extensive selection of over 300 wines makes BiCE the only place in the city to get a truly extravagant Italian meal all while being just minutes away from some of Orlando’s hottest attractions. A scenic water taxi can pick you up steps away from the restaurant and drops you right in the heart of Universal Citywalk where countless adventures await. Consider going on a relaxing ride after dinner with friends, or bring the family to the restaurant after a long day of theme park fun for a peaceful dinner. Take a loved one up to the BiCE balcony at sunset and enjoy a glass of wine from a Northern Italian vineyard as the Harbor Piazza comes alive with its nightly musical celebration that captures the romance and charm of Italy.
“I’ve been doing this all my life. Working in the restaurant business is what I love. I love to be among people and talking to people and what better place to do that than BiCE.” -GM Massimo
“I’ve been with the company 8 years. It has given me the opportunity to work in a very nice environment and in a beautiful restaurant that tries to stay as authentic as possible with a traditional hand in the Italian cuisines.” -Chef Alessandro
Perhaps BiCE server, Pat, summed it up best in a passing inquiry on if I was enjoying my meal. As I took in a mouthful of what I can only describe as the most exquisite spaghetti bolognese I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining on, I could do little more than nod my head in approval and show Pat a stiff thumbs up. To this he replied with a beautifully true comment about the BiCE chefs that stuck with me for the remainder of night:
“When you put as much love into your food as they do, you get a lot of love back.”
Check out Bice Ristorante at Universal Orlando and come experience that love for yourself.
BiCE Ristorante – Orlando / Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
5601 Universal Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32819
Reservation #: 407-503-1415
Photography by: RH Photography Communication