The Loews Meeting Complex, which includes Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, offers a combined 247,000 square feet of meeting space and 2,000 guest rooms, making it a one-stop destination for meeting and event needs. The complex is just a hop away from Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks and the Universal CityWalk, making it a singular stay, meet, and play experience guests will never forget. Thanks to Chef Nando Belmonte, executive chef at the complex, incredible cuisine unique to each restaurant also serves up an unforgettable dining experience. Born in Rome and raised in Sydney, Australia, Belmonte began his culinary career working in some of Sydney’s most renowned restaurants before joining the hotel industry, where his passion and dedication comes through in every meal. Amatista Cookhouse, for example, a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, offers Caribbean-inspired dishes prepared in an exhibition kitchen, while Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort features Pan Asian cuisine in an immersive tropical setting.
Belmonte, who served on the opening teams for Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, brings his childhood passion for food to all who stay and meet at The Loews Meeting Complex. “My love for food started as a young boy, helping my mother make dinner for the family and getting to taste things as we went along,” he said in a recent interview with Universal Orlando Resort. “I also wanted to learn because I found it very rewarding when you see and taste the finished product.”
Today, his travel experiences inspire Belmonte’s menus. In seeing how other destinations are represented through their cuisine, he finds new ways to bring authentic flavors to The Loews Meeting Complex. “I talk to my local farmers to see what is available,” he said, “and really think about what makes sense for the menu,” in addition to the latest trends in the industry.
The menus at The Loews Meeting Complex change seasonally to embrace new flavors each fall/winter and spring/summer, powered by long-lasting relationships with farmers through the Flavor by Loews Hotels program. “Some products are seasonal, and some are produced daily throughout the year,” Belmonte said. “These partnerships are really about showcasing what Florida has to offer when it comes to local and regional products.”
After considering the most seasonally appropriate ingredients, Belmonte’s team comes together to test ideas. “We run these dishes as specials in the restaurants,” he said, “to measure how they sell and if they will be popular with our guests.”
That means the meals that reach the banquet menus are the finest offerings Belmonte and team have cooked up. “Our signature dishes stand out because of their simplicity, flavor, and presentation,” he said, “and how they represent the theme of each restaurant where they are served.”
For more on how Universal Orlando Meetings and Events can help you plan your one-of-a-kind meeting, visit the Universal Orlando Resort website.