Dining Review: The Palm at the Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Orlando

The Palm Restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

For more than 20 years, the Hard Rock Hotel’s Palm Restaurant has been one of the top table-service spots at Universal Orlando Resort, but does this high-end steakhouse still live up to its reputation? Find out as we take a fresh look at The Palm, direct from the new Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2024.

Circular white sign reading Palm Restaurant est. 1926 at Hard Rock Hotel in Universal Orlando Resort.
Learn if The Palm is worth the price in the Unofficial Guide’s updated review of the Hard Rock Hotel’s most prestigious restaurant. (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

The Palm Restaurant, located to the right of the Hard Rock Hotel’s main lobby, is Orlando’s outpost of the storied restaurant chain, which started out specializing in Italian cuisine before gaining fame for its prime steak and lobster.

Despite the caricatures of local celebrities and loyal patrons drawn on the wall, the restaurant exudes sophistication due to the dark woods and white tablecloths. The chain’s flagship location is in New York, and the decor reflects this. Waiters wear long, white aprons.

The house specialties here include New York strip, bone-in rib eye, lamb chops, and veal parmigiana.

If you aren’t feeling carnivorous, whole live lobster, Chilean sea bass, king salmon, French onion soup, and classic Caesar salad are on the menu.

The crowd here can get noisy, so The Palm may not be the best place for a romantic night out. However, if you’re looking to celebrate with friends or family, this is a good—if very expensive—choice.

The signature dry-aged prime steaks are fork-tender, and even the typically tasteless filets are full of flavor (thanks to parsley butter and hefty flakes of salt), but longtime fans have reported a decline in beef quality since Landry’s Inc. bought the brand.

Stick with the ginormous lobsters—which are impeccably prepared and entertainingly disassembled tableside—especially during summer discounts on three-course dinners featuring a 4-pounder split between two people.

Check out our Instagram reel of The Palm’s lobster presentation here:

The side dishes are meant for sharing, and the creamed spinach is justly famous. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with a massive wedge of chocolate cake!

Our favorite way to visit The Palm is to belly up to the beautiful hardwood bar. A “Prime Time” happy hour offers discounted drinks and small bites (including Universal Orlando’s only oysters on the half shell) at the bar Sunday–Friday, 4–6:30 p.m.

We rate The Palm Restaurant as 4 stars (out of 5) overall and for its quality, but give it 3 stars for service and friendliness, and only 2 1/2 stars for value, due to its steep menu prices (if you aren’t taking advantage of aforementioned special discounts).

Tip: Before leaving, be sure to get validated for free self-parking or $5 valet at the hotel. And if you dine here more than once a year, look into joining Landry’s Select Club (landrysselect.com) for discounts and exclusive event invitations.

For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando.

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