November 6, 2013 | Posted in:Dining out, Wine Tasting

I recently had an opportunity to dine at Hemingway’s at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress during a private Yelp.com event. What a night! The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was a property I was not familiar with, so this event allowed me to discover the hotel as well as the restaurant. On our tour we enjoyed walking through the beautiful atrium and took in some of the grounds which overlooked the recently renovated pool area with splash zone and spiffy On The Rocks pool bar. While this property is located just one mile from Walt Disney World and in the middle of everything in the attractions area, it has a peacefully secluded and remote feel due to the 1500 acres of beautiful Florida nature encompassing the Grand Cypress. From a pristine sandy beach on Lake Windsong to the S’mores pit and finally the free-flowing lagoon pool, there are a range of activities from volleyball, kayaks, paddle boats and sailboats to lounging poolside or in a hammock. I was told that some visitors to the Grand Cypress come to enjoy the many on-site amenities and never leave to explore the theme parks- I believe it.

Lush landscaping at the expanded pool area.

Lush landscaping at the expanded pool area.

Orchids in bloom, pretty foliage and a waterfall greet diners as they enter Hemingway's at the The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Orchids in bloom, pretty foliage and a waterfall greet diners as they enter Hemingway’s at the The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

After touring the lovely sights, we were escorted across a bridged walkway, past waterfalls and into Hemingway’s. The restaurant lobby is outfitted with a premium cigar display case, adjacent the bar and lounge area. Guests then moved onto the light and airy dining room with large picture windows, perfect for taking in the grounds during sunset. The Hemingway’s menu focuses on fresh seafood, with plenty of selections for the land lover. The restaurant is inspired by iconic author Ernest Hemingway’s fishing expeditions from “Cayo Hueso” to the coast of Cuba which are portrayed in many of his writings.

Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes, served on top of local sweet corn coconut grits and were topped with a zesty corn salsa.

Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes, served on local sweet corn coconut grits and topped with zesty corn salsa.

We sampled several signatures items from the dinner menu, a favorite of mine was the spectacular Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes, which came served on local sweet corn coconut grits and topped with a zesty corn salsa. I have spent a ton of time on the Chesapeake Bay and as a former Marylander, I adore blue crabs in every incarnation and preparation you can make with the little devils. The Hemingway’s crabcakes were better than a trip home to Maryland for me, because they are just a quick car ride away. I’ll be back for these divine, jumbo-lump crabmeat, no-filler beauties! The sweetness of the crab played against the creamy coconut grits and is a flavor combination I’ll be trying to recreate until my next trip back to Hemingway’s.

Shrimp ceviche, perfectly "cooked" shrimp were tender and flavorful.

Shrimp ceviche, perfectly “cooked” shrimp were tender and flavorful.

Island Barbeque Scallops, topped with Applewood smoked bacon, toasted pine nuts and chimichurri drizzle.

Island Barbeque Scallops topped with Applewood smoked bacon, toasted pine nuts and Chimichurri drizzle.

Island Barbeque Scallops were succulent diver scallops seasoned with a Bahamian dry rub spice blend and served topped with Applewood smoked bacon, toasted pine nuts and chimichurri drizzle. The scallops were cooked perfectly, fork tender with layers of seasoning that accented the freshness and quality of the seafood. The bar poured refreshingly fruity signature drinks, frosty beers and our group tasted their way through some lovely wines from Hemingway’s extensive wine list. If you are on Vivino, follow me to sip along with the delicious wines I sampled.

Key lime tarts, with bruleed meringue

Key lime tarts, with bruleed meringue

Sweet endings to the delicious evening included made to order Crème brûlée and mini Key Lime tarts. The Crème brûlée was rich and creamy-  and the pastry chef torching the sugar received many “oooooo’s” and “ahhhhhhh’s” as she made quick work of turning granulated sugar into a crisp sugar crust. The Key Lime tart was appropriately tangy from the Florida Key Limes and served as a zingy palate cleanser. Our night at Hemingway’s was a gourmet evening showcasing wonderful Florida cuisine from start to finish! Speaking of gourmet, during The Epcot Food and Wine Festival there are several special promotions for stays at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. To experience Hemingway’s for yourself, reservations can be made by visiting Opentable.com or by calling (407) 239-3854.

Cigars can be purchased through the bar and enjoyed on the outside screened in deck.

Cigars can be purchased through the bar and enjoyed on the outside screened in deck.

Cigars enjoyed on the patio- the bartenders provided a lovely crystal cigar ashtray for our use after snipping our purchased cigars.

Cigars enjoyed on the patio- the bartenders provided a lovely crystal cigar ashtray for our use after snipping our purchased cigars.

Photo courtesy of Hemingways at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Photo courtesy of Hemingway’s at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Hemingway’s at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
1 Grand Cypress Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836
Hemingway's on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: I was a guest in connection with the Yelp.com private event hosted at Hemingway’s at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. No other form of compensation was received and the opinions in this post are my own. Cheers!

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I enjoy writing about and participating in the food, wine and culinary scene in Central FL in my off hours. I started Orlando Uncorked, a local non profit wine education group, to promote the approachability of wine and donated our event proceeds to local area charities. The popular wine tasting events grew into structured wine classes and finally, food and wine writing for Orlando Home & Leisure Magazine and The Seminole Chronicle. Thanks for stopping by and if you'd like to join in on my fun, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Untappd, Drync & Vivino @WineChix . Cheers!

2 Comments

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