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Review: Flying Fish Cafe

During April’s 5 Stars to Mickey Bars event, I was very grateful to have the opportunity to dine with some incredible women at the Disney World Boardwalk’s Flying Fish Cafe!

Atmosphere
Flying Fish Cafe has a whimsy about it that you don’t find at many of Disney World’s signature restaurants. The ocean-side carnival theme — including massive and colorful murals on the walls — fits well into the Disney World Boardwalk area. Even a few of the columns in the restaurant look like they’re covered in gold fish scales.

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

And the flying fish dangling via parachutes from the ceiling is likely not something you’ll see anywhere else!

Parachutes and Flying Fish

With stylized roller coaster tracks on the carpet and a massive Ferris Wheel decorating the back wall of the restaurant, it’s probably some of the best themeing I’ve ever seen in a signature restaurant (this and Jiko take the cake).

You can even find a hidden Mickey in the mural at the back of the restaurant… Can you see it?

Flying Fish Mural

How about now…

Flying Fish Hidden Mickey

Another Flying Fish Cafe component that draws folks to the restaurant is the Chef’s Counter. This counter dining option, where guests get to watch the incredible show in the open kitchen, offers both dinner AND a show!

Chef's Counter

Eats
I pretty much want to eat everything on the menu at Flying Fish Cafe. Every word on the page sounds delectable. Alas, I wasn’t able to indulge in everything, but between the group of us at the table that evening we sure did come close! (Though I forgot to order the “Truffle and Herb-laced Idaho Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli,” which is a gaffe I shall remedy on my visit in September!)

One thing that was unusual about our group was that there were quite a few special requests due to allergies and eating plans. As is customary at a Disney World restaurant when there is a food allergy, the chef came to the table to determine the specifics of each dietary request so that he could create dishes that would both be delicious and fit the required restrictions. I think we can all attest that he did a wonderful job! The dishes he created were incredible!

Around the table, we started off with a few items from salad and appetizer list:

Salad of Local Vero Beach Arugula and Watercress, Candied Walnuts, Red Pears, Gorgonzola Dolce, and Artisanal Montegottero Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

Candied Walnut Salad

Floribbean Wild Gulf Shrimp Cocktail with Ruby Grapefruit, Blood Oranges, Winter Radishes, Hearts of Palm, Sauce Verde, and Piqaunt Mango-Mojo Emulsion (It’s not a typo. “Floribbean” means a Florida/Caribbean fusion.)

Floribbean Shrimp Cocktail

Our Signature Flying Fish Cafe “Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake” with Savory Vegetable Slaw, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Ancho Chile Rémoulade

Crab Cake

Our Chef’s Degustation of Worldly Artisanal Cheeses. Five Tasting Portions and accompaniments of Raisins on the Vine, Membrillo, Honeycomb, Pumello-Red Onion-Golden Raisin-Yuzu Compote Agrodolce. This one I actually shared with a friend and it was wonderful. But, you know I’m a fan of cheese plates in Disney World! If you give me cheese, honeycomb, and some little toasty breads I’m in heaven.

Artisanal Cheese Plate

Toasty Breads

Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, “Ugli Ripe” Beefsteak and Tiny Florida Grape Tomatoes, Balsamic Glaze, Exotic Peppercorns,
Petite Basil, and Sicilian Olio Verde

Mozzarella and Tomatoes

Crispy Sesame and Togarashi-scented Calamari with Spiced Green Papaya, Wakame, and Vegetable Julienne, with Asian Dipping Sauce

Calamari

Moving on to our entrees, I couldn’t help but order that gorgeous “Char-crusted Certified Black Angus New York Strip Steak” with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Root Vegetables, and Pole Beans, with Classic Sauce Foyot. I had to learn about pole beans to write this blog post — they’re just beans that grow on poles or trellises. Pretty boring, really, but cool to be able to call them pole beans and confuse people. The steak was absolutely incredible, by the way! The char-crusting didn’t give a burnt or heavy taste; it was smokey and rich and tender.

Strip Steak

Potatoes, Root Veggies, and Pole Beans

I was lucky enough to sit next to Disney World Mom’s Panelist and blogger Kathie F. at this meal, and I snapped a shot of her beautiful entree as well. Because Kathie eats vegetarian, the chef created a delicious “bento box” for her:

Vegetarian Bento Box

Next up? Dessert!!! Here were our choices:

Dessert Menu

I wanted everything, of course, but as it ended up, many of us went for the Rustic Spring Crop Black and Blue Dark Berry Tart with Almond Creme, Mascarpone Gelato, and Honey-Mascarpone Crema.

Black and Blue Dark Berry Tart

It was delicious, but I wish I’d ordered Kathie’s Sinful Flourless Dark Chocolate Creation with Morello Cherry Compote, Riesling and Cherry Gelee, and Chocolate Accentuations. Deeeeeeee-licious! And served with Riesling jell-o, to boot! Who woulda thunk it? (Kathie was excited to find there was a “hidden Mickey” in the cookie on top…)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

While we didn’t sample the restaurant’s famous “Potato-wrapped Red Snapper” with Leek Fondue, Veal Glace, Red Wine and Cassis Butter, that just means I have something to look forward to on my next visit. That and the Truffle and Herb Laced Idaho Fries!

Overall
Flying Fish Cafe is a place I could see myself returning to again and again. The incredible staff, great menu options (that change seasonally), and chef’s counter alone are reasons to return. I’ll be headed back with another big group in September and I’m looking forward to trying all new things on the menu!

This is also a great place to consider if you’re headed on a relatively last-minute WDW trip but want an incredible dining experience. First-time visitors might not yet know about Flying Fish Cafe, so it may be possible to get a table a little later in the game. But get a reservation if you can; you don’t want to miss out on this restaurant that combines incredible, high-end dining with just the right amount of jovial fun.

Don’t forget, you may be able to take part in the coveted
Dine with an Imagineer program at Flying Fish Cafe.

Have you been to Flying Fish Cafe? How would you rate your experience? Let me know in the comments section below if you have menu suggestions for me in September!

In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that my transportation, lodging, and food were provided by the Walt Disney Company for the 5 Stars to Mickey Bars event in April 2010.

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11 Comments

  1. Abby says:

    I LOVE Flying Fish! That steak is amazing…and you will adore the Truffle Fries on your next visit AJ. They were the best fries I’ve ever had in my entire life.
    You’ve got me drooling and so ready for November 11 – I have an ADR for Flying Fish then!

  2. Dana says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing this review!! I just made an ADR for flying fish and was still on the fence about it. Now I am so glad I did!

  3. DBTN says:

    This is a a top 10 favorite restaurant for me. I also like that that have added lunch with an Imgineer to this restaurant which gives you 2 reasons visit. Enjoy the food, great service and fun atmosphere.

  4. AJ says:

    Abby — Thanks for the review on the Truffle fries! :-)

    Dana — Yay! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

    DBTN — Agreed. It’s definitely a winner.

  5. Josh says:

    Alas, I have never been to the Flying Fish Cafe but have seen numerous pictures. This is probably the most pictures of the place that I have seen so far. The most recognizable is the actual flying fish that reside in the restraunt. I found the hidden Mickey even before you showed it!

    I’d have to say my favourite food on here would have to be Calamari as it is very hard to mess it up, as I have never had bad Calamari.

    The Caramelized Banana Napoleon sounds absolutely amazing out of all the desserts, but that Chocolate cake looks pretty good as well (although to me it just looks like a giant chunk of chocolate).

  6. Alan says:

    I don’t get to go to The Flying Fish, as my wife doesn’t like sea food and I like her to have more choice than one or two items. But looking at your pics and from things I’ve heard, this is one of the rare Disney restaurants that truly deliver a great quality experience. If some of the other restaurants we have discussed (Tony’s) on this web site would put in half the care The Flying Fish obviously does, the dining experiences at WDW would be so much better. Just look at the difference in the toasted bread here and the pale possibly pre-frozen rolls at Tony’s and some other restaurants. I know this place is more expensive than most, but a little more care and creativity elsewhere would sure be welcome.

  7. Shayne says:

    Looks delicious! I’ve heard so many good things about this place, but have always avoided it because I assumed my non-seafood-eating husband wouldn’t have any good choices. I can tell you, though, that he would devour that steak in a hearbeat!

    This will have to go on to our “must-try” list for our next trip!

  8. AJ says:

    Josh — That’s pretty much what it was! A giant chunk of soft, delicious chocolate! Yummm…

    Alan — I hear that. Your comments on the blogs have made me consider doing a full-on “what’s up?” post about some of the quality concerns people have been experiencing lately.

    Shayne — You know all about me and seafood, but this place is fantastic! I hope you get to try it!

  9. I am so looking forward to our visit this fall. Because of F&W we included this 2-credit meal for dinner one evening. The menu has always been attractive and my wife loves to try different seafoods (I’m a little less agreesive, but interested), so Flying Fish was added. (We love the Boardwalk area also.) But your photos and comments make it all a great anticipation. Thanks.

  10. Micheline Succi says:

    My husband and I dined recently at the Flying Fish for our anniversary and were treated like royalty from the moment we walked in until we left 1 1/2 hours later. We “dined” not ate “dined”. No rushing us through courses, we were able to savor every extrodinarily delicious bite of appetizer, soup, sorbet, dinner and dessert. Our server, Teresa, was amazing to say the least. She left nothing for us to want, even though it was a very busy evening. She treated us like we were the only people she was serving. We had a visit from the manager, Stig, as well, plus congragts from all the wait staff during the course of the evening. A pleasure we will not soon forget and will be back for no special occasion, just because. Thank-you all!

  11. Bruce klein says:

    The staff at the flying. Fish is by far the most professional that you will ever encounter and
    the quality and perpetration is. Second to none
    Tim and his crew bend over backwards for all and the food is incredible

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