More Dishes From California Grill

The Disney Food Blog took you to the California Grill back in April 2009, but we’ve returned since then and we’ve got more pics for you! :)

Located on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the California Grill is one of Orlando’s most outstanding restaurants. It’s well known for sushi, wine, market-specific menus, and that fantastic fireworks show that happens right outside!

The Eats
We began this evening with our customary cheese plate (I can’t pass up a good cheese plate!), and California Grill doesn’t disappoint. The cheeses will change seasonally, and usually range from mild and buttery to a strong blue cheese (my favorite is the Monte Enebro, which you’ll find on other Disney World cheese plates as well). You’ll often find a variety of sources as well, from sheep’s milk to goat’s milk to cow’s milk. The plates also come with several sweet accompaniments. As you know, the honeycomb is my absolute favorite, but on this plate the candied nuts and sweet apples also were delicious.

California Grill Cheese Plate October 09

California Grill Cheese Plate October 09

Cheese Plate Listing -- Click for Larger Version

Cheese Plate Listing -- Click for Larger Version

Also for starters, we wanted to sample the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pesto, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Basil, which is probably one of the most delectable dishes I’ve ever had in Walt Disney World. There’s a reason it’s been on the menu since the restaurant opened! This is also a vegetarian dish.

My husband and I knew we were in for a big meal, so we had the kitchen split the ravioli between two plates. This is my half:

California Grill Ravioli

California Grill Ravioli

Finally, the third appetizer we tried was the seasonal soup. We always like to order the “soup of the day,” because they’re usually outstanding. We must have been coming off of the high from our Spring celery soup earlier that year, though, because this Beefsteak Tomato soup just didn’t hit the spot. It was too smoky for me.

Beefsteak Tomato Soup

Beefsteak Tomato Soup

For entrees, we stuck with good ol’ meat this time and ordered the Oak-fired Filet of Beef with Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes, and Teriyaki Barbecue; and the Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese Polenta, Button Mushrooms, and Zinfandel Glaze (a new one for us). The Filet was just as delicious as we remembered. This is a classic steak that California Grill does very well. But I have to say I was blown away by the Pork. I never expect pork to be any good in restaurants; it’s always dry or underdone. Not the case here! This was moist, flavorful, and paired perfectly with the polenta. A stunning dish.

California Grill Filet of Beef

California Grill Filet of Beef

California Grill Pork and Polenta

California Grill Pork and Polenta

Finally it was time for Wishes and our dessert! First up was the Fall Apple Cobbler, Walnut-Oatmeal Streusel, Calvados Ice Cream and Apple Caramel Drizzle (we can’t pass up an Apple Cobbler in my house); and the Warm Chocolate Cake with Molten Center, House Made Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and Roasted Golden Pineapple. (Again, these desserts change based on what turns the head of the chef at the market, so you might not enjoy the same options as we did.)

The Apple Cobbler (as our waiter warned us when we ordered it) was a “dryer” recipe than one would expect, but was well-complimented by the ice cream. Disney wins me over whenever they serve me a dessert in a little frying pan, so there ya go. The chocolate cake was ooey, gooey, and rich, as one would expect, but I have to say I enjoyed Kouzzina’s version more. The salted caramel ice cream and pineapple were outstanding, though…wish I’d had more of that! :-)

Apple Cobbler

Apple Cobbler

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ice Cream and Pineapple

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ice Cream and Pineapple

We also had the chance to enjoy HalloWishes from the restaurant that evening. Just as a study in how the fireworks look from the restaurant, here’s a couple of views from our table:

California Grill Wishes From Our Table

California Grill Wishes

Hope you enjoyed our second trip to the California Grill! I promise I’ll get my husband to order some sushi next time — it’s beautiful and you’ve gotta see it!


  1. Sarah says

    Matt and I were there slightly before you – the first day of F&W. We split a flatbread – I forget the exact name of it – but it had steak with microgreens and sriracha. He ordered the Beefsteak Tomato Soup and I had the Hearts of Romaine salad (WITH anchovies, thank you!) for our appetizers. For our main courses, he had the Filet of Beef with Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and I had the Seared Ostrich Filet with Buttery Potato Puree. It was all fantastic, and of course we tasted each other’s selections. I think he was a little jealous of the ostrich, but we each had the potato accompaniment that was pleasing to our own tastes! We opted to watch Hallowishes that night from our balcony at the resort.

    On a subsequent visit, mid-December, we had planned to go to the Magic Kingdom for dinner at The Plaza Restaurant, but lo and behold, we were in blackout (we thought we had one more day!). Down, but not out, we walked away from the turnstyles. What was in front of our eyes? Only the Contemporary Resort and the California Grill! Not particularly dressed for the occasion, we opted to split appetizers at the bar. We had the Yellowfin Tuna Three Ways, Duck Flatbread and the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli. The latter two blew us away! We then watched Wishes from the observation deck. Not so bad being blacked out after all! :)

    We can’t wait to go back!

  2. says

    Sarah — Now that’s a great “Cinderella Story!” I’d love to see pics of the dishes if you have ‘em! If not, you’ve definitely inspired me to try the ostrich next time I’m at the restaurant. I’ve heard great things about it. :-)

    Was it difficult to get into the bar right before Wishes? I’ve heard competing stories on whether or not the last-minute Cali Grill bar dining is hard to get. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Elizabeth says

    We will be eating at the California Grill one week from today! I can’t wait! The pork entree is absolutely my favorite. Every trip I say I am going to order something different, but never do. Luckily, I am never disappointed. Our other must have at California Grill is Yoshi’s sushi sampler. My parents are traveling with us, so my husband and I will actually be able to have a nice quiet dinner while my parents watch the kids.

  4. Sarah says

    Unfortunately, no pics :( I know, I know… I need to start!!!

    We were able to get seats at the bar before our September reservation without any problem for a pre-dinner cocktail (if you like green tea, try The 19th Hole). Fortunately, in December, there were two barstools available, and it was probably around 7 when we arrived. It was the Saturday before Christmas, so I think we beat the arriving holiday crowd by a day. We took our time and finished just before Wishes and went outside. It is probably a hit and miss for last minute bar seatings, but I guess Tink was looking out for us that night! I suppose I’ll have to make a research trip soon :)

  5. says

    Elizabeth — I’m anticipating the nice quiet dinner on your behalf! Does your husband order different dishes, or does he have a favorite as well? We’re a bit stuck in our rut, but writing the Food Blog gives us a reason to try new things!

    Sarah — Yes! Research trip! Photos! :) Thanks for the update on the bar dining — that’s good to know.

  6. says

    California Grill is the one place on Disney property that I have to visit each time we go. I love just about everything on the menu, although I have to say that I don’t care for the teriyaki BBQ sauce they put on the filet. It’s too sweet. I guess it’s probably pretty good without it. I usually order the excellent pork tenderloin; I make a version of it at home, but sadly, it’s just not the same.

    If you’re eating with vegetarians and they don’t see anything they like, the sushi chef will make a vegetarian sushi plate that’s not on the menu. My best friend ordered it the last time we were there and it was a huge plate for about $14. It was almost too pretty to eat and she said it was very good.

    I hope they have the salted caramel ice cream on the menu next time I go. It sounds amazing.

  7. says

    Chris — Thanks for the update on the veggie plate. Should people order it ahead of time?

    Yeah, Contemporary was doing a “salted caramel” kind of thing when I was there — saw it at the Wave and at Cali Grill. Quite good in both instances.

  8. says

    AJ, you don’t have to call ahead. She didn’t see anything on the menu that she liked, so we asked. It was an incredibly good deal and almost too pretty to eat.

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