“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”: Appetizers & Sides

We’ve just started a fun new series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Due to some keen suggestions from readers, we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts & drinks.

Today, we’re taking a look at Appetizers and Side Dishes! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” as far as appetizers and side dishes at Disney.


Soups were by far the #1 mentioned appetizer/side when I reached out to facebook and twitter folks for their favorites.

Portobello Soup at Artist Point

  • Most beloved are the soups found at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. These vary every day, but the varieties specifically mentioned by readers as the Best Thing They Ever Ate! were: Mushroom Soup, Mulligatawny Soup, and Butternut Squash Soup. (Personally, the chicken corn chowder is my favorite!).
  • Of course, you can’t post a series like this without a few votes for Le Cellier Steakhouse‘s famous Cheddar Cheese Soup! This comes heartily recommended by Disney Food Blog readers — and yours truly, of course!
  • The Grand Floridian also racked up a couple of votes from our readers! The cashew cream soup from Victoria and Albert’s comes was noted, as was the cheesy tomato soup at the Grand Floridian Cafe (yum — doesn’t that sound good?!?).
  • Finally, that delicious Mushroom-Soup-That-Doesn’t-Taste-Like-Mushrooms was voted into the top few appetizers! You can find this at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Breads and Spreads

Disney restaurants do some surprisingly wonderful things with themed breads and flatbreads! Here are a few of the favorite unique varieties brought up in our poll:

'Ohana pineapple bread

  • Another big favorite was the pineapple bread at ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This delicious, slightly sweet bread is plated by your host as he brings you to your table. It’s considered a “welcome” to you — part of the family — as you take your seats for dinner. (Don’t fill up on it though — there’s plenty more to come by way of tummy-filling food!)
  • Tart a la Flamme Alsacienne at Chefs de France in Epcot. This is an item close to my heart, as I was addicted to a dish in Switzerland called flammenkueche gratinee, a thin pizza/flatbread with “crème (creme fraiche), oignons blancs (white onions), lardons (bacon), and fromage râpé (grated cheese),” which is a lot like the Tart a la Flamme Alsacienne — a flatbread with creme fraiche, onion, and bacon — at Chefs de France. Y-U-M!
  • The hummus varieties at the Animal Kingdom Lodge were highly recommended, and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard praise for these spreads. You can find several different variations at Boma, Jiko, and the Mara (to go!).
  • Bread Basket at Le Cellier.

  • Last, but not least, in this category are the breadsticks at Le Cellier Steakhouse. Served all-you-can-eat, the pretzel, multigrain, and sourdough breadsticks are one of the favorite “free” bread baskets you can find in Disney restaurants. Read more about the significance of the breadsticks here!

Potatoes, Polenta, Pasta, and Poutine

May the starches reign supreme! While many of us have minimized too many starches in our diets, we still love ‘em when they’re packed with butter, cheese, gravy, and other delicious add-ons! I know…it’s a curse. ;-) Here are a few of the favorites that stick out in the memories of Disney Food Blog readers:

  • Potatoes came out on top in this category! Recommended in our poll were the garlic butter mashed potatoes at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney; the mashed potatoes at the Grand Floridian Cafe; the Maui Potatoes at ‘Ohana (sadly, these have been discontinued); and the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes at Chef Mickey’s (dinner). Of course, let’s not forget those gorgeous pommes frites at Cafe Orleans in Disneyland!
  • Also highly recommended in this category is the salmon polenta at The Hollywood Brown Derby. I’ve never tried this one, but it sounds divine! Thanks for the suggestion, guys!
  • Poutine at Le Cellier.

  • Here’s one of my personal favorite “Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” additions, which was also corroborated in our poll: The Goat Cheese Ravioli in Disney’s California Grill. One of only a couple of items that have been on the menu since the restaurant’s inception 15 years ago, this delectable ravioli is a truly amazing start to your dinner.
  • Finally, a controversial dish that’s often questioned for its authenticity. Personally, we think it’s pretty good no matter what. Le Cellier Steakhouse has introduced Poutine, a classic French-Canadian dish consisting of french fries (steak fries), melted cheese curds, and gravy. I mean, how can you go wrong with that?!?

Salads and Veggies

Disney’s got some great options for salads and side dishes that are good choices for your heart and your waistline — even though you’re in a theme park! Check out these green veggie suggestions:

  • The Asian Chicken Salad at Pop Century comes highly recommended by many folks. In a place where breaded chicken cutlets and tie-dye cheesecake reign, sometimes it’s nice to find a filling, healthy salad in place of even more greasy food (not that we don’t like greasy food…or tie-dye cheesecake…around here).
  • Also, the mushy peas at Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room seem to be a big hit with Disney guests. Be sure you know what you’re getting before you order, though — for those of us on the USA side of the pond, mushy peas are pretty different from regular peas… :)

Scotch Egg at Rose & Crown.

Other Yummy Apps and Sides

A few other suggestions in our Apps and Sides list are as follows:

What’s The Best Thing YOU Ever Ate in Disney?

Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list of the delicious appetizers and side dishes available in Disney restaurants! Just in case you didn’t get a chance to chime in with your favorite appetizer or side dish in Disney restaurants, you can add to the list now in our comments section! Have you had a not-to-be-missed appetizer in Disney? Let us know your “Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” below!

And stay tuned next week for the continuation of the series with the “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”: Snacks!

For other posts in this series, check out these links:
The Five Best Things I Ate in Disneyland
The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney!: Breakfast


  1. Betty says

    For people who cant make it to Boma, The Hummus at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is the same. I love munching on that spread with the bgel chips they offer!

  2. says

    I have two to add, both from the California Grill, tried on separate trips:

    1. The lobster risotto. You haven’t had risotto like this – trust me.

    2. The cheese plate – it’s above and beyond your average cheese plate. Five kinds of cheeses, accompanied by all sorts of breads and dipping options, plus some bits of honeycomb. It’s the perfect way to start a meal and a great complement to their famous wine list.

  3. Sarah says

    At Chefs de France, I get their Soupe a l’oignon Gratinee as an appetizer and the Tart a la Flamme Alsacienne for my main course. SOOOO delicious! Also, Big River Grille at the Boardwalk has a darn tasty Beer Cheese Soup. The Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill is delicious too, which reminds me, I need to get back over there soon! I have to add a few gems at Artist Point to this list: Venison Potstickers and the Wild Mushroom Risotto! Oh, and the bruschetta over at Mama Melrose’s. I’m sure I’m leaving a lot of other favorites out… :)

  4. says

    The Mulligatawny soup at Boma is one of my absolute favorite things I have ever eaten at WDW, and I have eaten at a lot of different restaurants. I tried it on a whim (it sounded tasty) and was utterly blown away by how good it is. The only bad thing about it was that my girlfriend couldn’t eat it since she is a vegetarian and the soup has chicken in it.

    It was so good that I actually asked our waiter if he could get us a copy of the recipe (they normally can). One of the chefs came over to our table and was very happy to give me a copy of the recipe. A few weeks later I modified it to be vegetarian friendly, and despite lacking the protein-flavored goodness of the chicken, it was still almost as good as it was a Boma. I was very happy that I was able to let my girlfriend experience this amazing soup.

    Also, on our last trip we splurged (thanks to my Disney Visa rewards points) and ate at Ctiricos. I had the Pork Two Ways, which was like heaven on a plate. Oh god I’m drooling just thinking about it.

  5. Jennifer says

    Love the salad at Ohana. The dressing is soooo good! The potatoes are super good too. They dont serve them anymore though :(

  6. says

    I LOVE the Mulligatawny soup. That and the hummus were the two main reasons I fell in love with Boma on my first trip. I have never ONCE seen it again in the years I’ve been going back. Have I just been unlucky or did they stop serving the Mulligatawny? Does anyone know?

  7. says

    Cobb Salad, Brown Derby. Hands down.

    So fun (they mix it right at the table!), so delicious (bacon!), so historic (the cobb salad was introduced at Brown Derby, some say. Not Orlando’s, but still…).

    I need one right now, in fact.

  8. Sandra says

    We have to join the raves for the soups at Boma. My husband could have eaten just the soups and felt he’d gotten his money’s worth. We especially liked the squash soup, but they were all so good that we are planning return just for the soups.

    We also love the cafe au lait at Tangierine Cafe in Morocco, the best coffee on the property, especially with a piece of baklava. A heavenly afternoon break!

  9. says

    Crab cakes at Narcoosees are terrific, very meaty and thick, served with a “southern slaw.”

    The various Nan breads with sauces (you can select 3 from several) at Saana are also excellent.

  10. Shayne says

    I second John’s vote for the naan and assorted spreads at Sanaa.

    That goat cheese ravioli looks really good. I’m not a fan of California Grill, but I may have to make my way over there on an upcoming trip just for that dish!

  11. says

    Great post AJ!! I can’t wait to have the bread at ‘Ohana this July! A couple of my favs are the pretzel rolls at the Biergarten, not sure if they are the same as LeCellier but let me tell you, this pretzel rolls are very authentic to German pretzels and oh so yummy! I also really enjoyed the chicken wings at Tambu Lounge and the bread and spread offerings from there. Tambu Lounge I think is one of those best kept secrets!!

  12. Brian Heptinstall says

    My vote for salad would be the rock shrimp salad at California grill. Wonderful blend of sweet citrus and a kick of soy with red onions. Just amazing! Btw, I just got a TON of ideas for my next videos! Esp. the ravioli.

  13. says

    Kelly — Ooh, you reminded me of the fried risotto things at Citricos — YUM!

    Betty — Great point! You can also get several varieties at the Mara in AKL.

    The Disney Chick — I LOVE the honeycomb on Disney’s cheese plates. Thanks for mentioning!

    Sarah — Wait, they have mushroom risotto over at Artist Point, too?!? I need to do a mushroom risotto throw down between Le Cellier, Yachtsman, and Artist Point!

    Mike — Awesome tips! Have you ever tried to make the Mulligatawny with the chicken? Also, thanks for the pork two ways tip at Citricos!

    Jennifer — RIP Maui Potatoes.

    Brad — Not sure about the soup. I haven’t seen it recently either, but I could just be going on off nights.

    Nate — It IS historic! There’s a whole story for how the Cobb was invented at the Brown Derby! And I can’t argue with you bacon assessment — no siree!

    Sandra — Ah, I loves me some baklava!! Now I want a piece!

    John — Great point on the breads and spreads at Sanaa! Definitely delicious! Thanks for the crab cakes note, too.

    Shayne — The Goat Cheese Ravioli at Cali Grill is serious business. I would eat there just for that.

    Heidi — YES! Tambu chicken wings (same as at Kona and ‘Ohana, too) are awesome!!

    Brian — Thanks for the suggestions from the Chef! ;-)

  14. says

    Oh my. This is the last thing I need to be reading at 2:00 in the morning. I love that soup from AP. Sooo good.

  15. Joanna says

    Tart a la Flamme Alsacienne at Chefs de France – SO GOOD!! i remember staring into my bfs eyes for a good 20 seconds after i took a bite, we were speechless

    Bread Pudding at Ohana – i dont normally eat dessert but i devoured this!

    Fisherman’s Stew at Kouzzina – Kouzzina gets very mixed reviews but i absolutely love this dish..i’ve never had anything else here because i cant bear not to have this when I’m here so i don’t know how anything else tastes like ha

    cant wait to have these in October !!!

  16. Joanna says

    oh, sorry. i got so excited I forgot this was only a post about best appetizers ahhaha

  17. says

    Glad to see Le Cellier well represented here.

    I’m starving just thinking about all these great appetizers and sides.

    I have a new list to check out when I go back to Disney. Time to book another trip!!!

    Thanks for the great articles as always!

  18. Jeff W. says

    Without doubt, one of the very best things I’ve ever eaten at WDW was the chilled seafood salad at Yachtsman Steakhouse. It was filth-flarn-filth GOOD, I tell you!

  19. says

    Soup-carrot ginger at Boma
    Appetizer: goat cheese stuffed grape leaves at Kouzzina
    Sides: Cream cheese masked potatoes at Le Cellier, Fufu at Boma

  20. Stacey says

    I must agree about the hummus and soups at Boma! My family and I make a mecca to the famed Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort’s dinner buffet whenever we are in Florida. We don’t care how far away we are… If we are in the state, we will trek over to Boma just to enjoy multiple rounds of the hummus, flatbread, and soups. It’s a must! For a beautiful appetizer for your table at this buffet, I suggest making a plate of the trio of hummus while fanning out flatbread on the same plate. Next, take the large dinner plates and ladel out the different soup du jours for each person. I’ll garantee you it’s the best way to taste all the scrumptious soups and hummus at Boma! And if you were wondering… I have all the recipes to every soup there (not to mention every dessert). I can’t wait for my next meal there in August! (FYI, another winner@Boma: the oxtail soup)

  21. Davina K. Brewer says

    Another good list but surprised there’s no love for the mac ‘n cheese. Can’t decide which I prefer, the version that comes with the Filet at Jiko, or the tillamook cheddar version from Artist Point. Mmmm…

  22. Andy F. says

    I would have to rank the Hearts of Romaine with Caesar dressing at Narcoosee’s the best salad I have ever eaten, bar none.

  23. Alan says

    I’ve never gone wrong with the Lobster bisque at the Chefs de France. Just enough to make you want more, but not enough to fill you up before the entree. Also, the cheese plate and Prince Edward Island mussels at Narcoossee’s are terrific.

    Heide- you’re right about the Tambu Lounge, but it was a nicer, bigger yet more intimate bar 25 years ago, before they made it much smaller.

  24. Stephanie H. says

    Was at Disney in Dec. 2008, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and ate often at The Mara in the resort. I still sometimes crave their little crispy flatbread pizzas… lol

    We never did get around to trying the actual restaurants there, but we enjoyed the Yak and Yeti a couple times in the Animal Kingdom park.

  25. Rose says

    The nachos at T-Rex. SSSOOOOOOOOO good. I don’t know what it is but I continue to crave them when we get home. We have great places to eat here at home but…No contest. Nov 4, I will finally fix that craving!

  26. Chloe says

    Best at Magic Kingdom-Bread Pudding at Crystal Palace

    Best at Epcot-not food but the Avacado Margerita at the Mexican Pavillion
    the Grand Marnier slushie is a very close second

    Best at Hollywood Studios-Cobb Salad at Brown Derby

    Best at Animal Kingdom- Zebra Cupcake

    Resorts-Boma-Coconut Currey Seafood Soup

    Loved this article!

  27. Brenda says

    Best Soup: either Cream of Wild Rice (Victoria and Albert’s) or Creamy Leek (Artist Point)

    Best Dinner: Grilled Pork Chop with Grown Up Mac n Cheese at Artist Point

    Best Character Breakfast: Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom

    Best Fish: Salmon on a cedar plank at Artist Point

    Best Salad: Cobb Salad Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney Studios

    Best Dessert: Berry Cobbler Artist Point and Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby

    Best Walk Around Food: Turkey Legs

    Best Have to Eat There Restaurant every time we go to Disney: Le Cellier in Epcot

  28. Wendy says

    The best bread/butter I’ve ever eaten at Disney is at Kona Cafe. From everything I’ve read, I’m certain it is the same butter that comes with the pineapple pancakes at breakfast. I could eat the entire loaf w/butter on my own… Maybe 2 of them. AMAZING.

  29. Heather Cottell says

    I have had the pan seared scallops in a few different places, Yatchsman, Ragan Road and Coral Reef (not longer on menu). They have all been done a different way, but they are excellent, just melt in your mouth. Ummmmmmm……

  30. Stephanie says

    One of my favorite soups at WDW is another Boma soup: Coconut Curried Cream of Cauliflower with Shrimp Dumplings. Fabulous, creamy and thick. The dumplings are delicate and not at all “fishy”. Great balance. I could eat bowl after bowl of this, and when we briefly lived in Celebration we used to go over to get our fix. :) Sadly, I haven’t caught it on the menu in a few years…maybe we will on our next trip in October!

    I also agree whole-heartedly with the Portabella Mushroom soup at the Artist’s Point! Probably my favorite memory from our Wedding dinner there. :)

  31. Alicia says

    Wonton Soup from Yak n Yeti. It had a wonderful rich layering of flavors. Something so simple, but done so right.

  32. Amanda says

    Artisanal cheese plate at Artists’ Pointe or Yakitori skewers at Yakitori House (R.I.P.). Yummy.

  33. Jennie says

    I’m right there with you on the Beer cheese soup from La Celliar and the pineapple bread from O’Hana’s! YUM!!!

    What about the sticky wings from Kona Cafe??

  34. Marc says

    I’m a native Quebecer. What’s inaurthentic about the poutine at Le Cellier. It’s authentic poutine if it has cheese curds and brown gravy (more like a thick, dark brown gravy than a traditional American suasage or turkey gravy) ? The french fries aren’t really of import as far as authenticity goes, as long as they are crispy and the cheese is curds and not shredded cheddar or mozzarella or something.

    We come every year, and our favourites are easily the funnel cake at the bakery just left of Cinderella’s castle in Magic Kingdom (snacks, sides) and the onion rings at RainForest Cafe, which are awesome homestyle rings. We also like the goodies at the Main Street kery (the giant panut butter cup stands out).

  35. Tracey says

    Duck Two Ways at the Hollywood Brown Derby. It’s gone off the menu now, it’s Duck Three Ways. But the Duck Two Ways I had last year was hands down the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten. One was poached in a vine leaf, the other twisted into a spring roll. It was served with the lightest most delicious cous cous I’ve ever had. Absolutely divine.

    Also have to say that the Surf and Turf at Narcoossee’s was also out of this world amazing. If only you could eat lobster like this everywhere!

  36. says

    Tracey — Ooh, thanks for that mouth-watering review! I had the duck two ways at California Grill recently, and it was delicious.

  37. Ashley says

    The Winter Root Vegetable soup at Citricos is KILLER… they still had it in February of this year. It’s, obviously, a winter season soup. Delish!

  38. jagdrury says

    The BEST appetizer is the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll at the Flying Fish Cafe!!!! The ceviche at Narcoossees was a close 2nd. As for salads, nothing beats the Cobb Salad at the Hollywood Brown Derby. It’s made with the original recipe from the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, CA. Many restaurants there have good steaks, but for fish you can’t beat the Signature Flying Fish Café “Potato-wrapped Red Snapper”. The fish is cooked to perfection and the leek fondue is a great addition.

  39. Brenda says

    Best Salad: Harry’s Safari was in the Dolphin or Swan, years ago and had a great take on a Caesar Salad, my fav. I miss it!

    Best Appetizer: Crab Cakes at Narcoossee’s. BLT at Artist Point was very good, it was rich and different.

    Best Soup: Cream of Wild Rice at Victoria and Albert’s. Cheddar Cheese soup in Canada.

    Other Appetizer note – I am so with you on the cheese plates :)

  40. Kristina says

    The Ohana bread was one of the worst things I ate! Served cold and without butter or anything else it sat there and kept me company for a good 20 odd minutes before all the rest of the luke warm food arrived all at once. I ate a corner of it but that was all it took. Blesh. Ohana is like the Honey Badger of Disney restaurants. They just don’t care!

  41. Caitlin says

    I just went to the Coral Reef in EPCOT on my last Disney trip. My friend ordered the Flash-Fried Nori Wrapped Tuna and it was absolutely AMAZING. It’s a pity it’s such a small order. They have this wonderful wasabi cream sauce that comes with it. It takes sushi to a level you didn’t even know sushi could go to!

  42. Laurie says

    WITHOUT A DOUBT – the beef marrow appetizer at California Grille. Served with a very thin, very crispy toasted bread, an onion/cilantro/caper salad and a side of corn/clam chowder.

  43. Robert says

    You wouldn’t think that a meatball sandwich could be anything special, but Potobello had an appetizer which was a trio of single meatballs sandwiches. Each one made from a different meat and spices. One chicken, one pork and one beef all served on hot home made fresh rolls. They were ridiculously good and could almost serves are a meal for $7.95. ..guess what? They discontinued them and I wanted to blow my top!

    They boast about having a meatball bar inside and they don’t ben serve the meatball trio anymore!???

  44. Michael Nolan says

    I have to give a shout out to the French Onion soup at Be Our Guest, although it’s a close second for me to the Cheddar cheese soup, which I have made in my very own house!

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