La Coquina is Closed

Written By Scott Joseph On September 10, 2012

EXCLUSIVE — La Coquina, which has been the winner of numerous Best Brunch awards. Will not reopen after its usual summer hiatus. The elegant restaurant that once also featured fine dining all week long in a sumptuous room overlooking a swan pond and the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress’ golf course, is no more.

Its fate, it would appear, is to become a spa for the luxury resort.

La Coquina was among the area’s finest fine-dining restaurants, a list that included Arthur’s 27, the Empress Room, Maison et Jardin, and Atlantis. A shift in styles the dining public prefers has closed most of them. Only a few of the poshest places remain, including Victoria & Albert’s, the Venetian Room, and Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton.

But none of those restaurants does the brunch that made La Coquina popular with locals, even after the restaurant stopped regular service several years ago. The brunch was distinct because the food stations were set up in the kitchen. Guest would walk among the cold salads, shellfish, cheeses, and sausages to make their selections. Then, when ready for the entree, guest would step up to the chef’s station and order from among  three or four options to have the food prepared a la minute.

They would return to their tables with the always wonderful food, and eat in the beautiful dining room with its soaring ceilings and cascading chandeliers. And, always, the champagne poured freely.

Well, not freely in the cost sense — La Coquina’s brunch was certainly the priciest in town. But for the special occasion bruncher, it was always worth it.

The closing of the restaurant means that the Chef’s Table — which included having diners eat at a few tables set up in the kitchen area — has also come to an end.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress food and beverage director Eduard Propst says, “We added a lot of life to that room, “ but that it no longer made sense to keep it open.

The remaining dining options at the large resort include Cascades Bistro and Sushi Bar, which incorporated the sushi bar that had originally opened in the hotel’s grand lobby, and Hemingway’s, the upscale restaurant in the casual, Key West-house atmosphere.

La Coquina’s closing leaves a huge void in the brunch category.

Who will be the next one to be crowned Best Brunch in Orlando? What are your thoughts?{jcomments on}

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