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Review: Citricos

It’s “discreet;” that’s why you didn’t hear about Citricos until you’d been going to Disney World for years. At least, that was my story! When I finally found this restaurant, I knew I’d stumbled onto a gem.

Atmosphere
Located in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, tucked up into the corner between Mizner’s Lounge and Victoria & Albert’s, Citricos looks like a giant living room. In fact, you might mistake it for a seating/lounge area for Victoria & Albert’s until you realize that there is actually a kitchen back there!

Citricos Dining Room

The long, open style of the restaurant and big, cushy chairs really do scream “comfy living area” vs. “hoity toity restaurant,” so you definitely know you’ll be at ease. In fact, as soon as I first sat on the chairs during my first visit to Citricos, I knew instantly that this was going to be a relaxing, comfortable meal.

Citricos Back Dining Room

Citricos doesn’t have any special views. You can’t see fireworks from here, or Electric Water Pageants or parades. Overall, the restaurant can’t offer the opulence of Victoria & Albert’s or the view of Narcoossee’s, but what it does offer that I haven’t been able to find in any other restaurant in Disney World is the unmistakable feeling of comfort and welcome — as though I’m a guest in an old friend’s relaxed dining room (and she’s serving me five-star cuisine)!

Citricos Open Kitchen

So, while you won’t find any special draws to this restaurant, you will find a relaxed pace and the feeling that they want you to sit back, stay a while, and really enjoy your meal.

Citricos Table Setting

We like it so much that we often have to flip a coin to decide between California Grill and Citricos, and last year I even celebrated my birthday there!

Remember, if you’re having a special event, the Citricos Chef’s Domain is now available and seats up to 12 people. This is a lot like the Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s, and gives you and your party the chance to interact with the chefs at the restaurant!

Eats
Citricos is a signature dining experience in Disney World, which means it’s more expensive than many other restaurants. The menu focuses on a menu of “American dishes inspired by the cuisine of Provençe, Tuscany and the Spanish Riviera.” From my personal experience, I translate this to mean, “a little bit of everything based on what’s fresh at the market.” There’s always a delicious oak-grilled beef filet, there’s always a wonderful seasonal soup, and there’s always a fantastic selection of fish dishes. With the rest of the menu, you’ll likely be delighted and surprised.

Speaking of the menu, I mentioned we last visited for my birthday. On the occasion, we were given special birthday keepsake menus, so keep that in mind!

I started with a margarita — tradition, of course — and for apps we couldn’t resist the cheese plate and the arancini! I’m a cheese plate girl, so I get them wherever I go.

Unfortunately, Citricos’ cheese plate includes only a trio of cheeses and one is always the Lemon Ricotta from Central Florida, which I’m not fond of. So, while the other two (harder) cheeses are usually winners, I probably won’t get the cheese plate here again.

However, the arancini (currently Crispy Risotto with Crimini Mushrooms, Asiago, and Charred-Tomato Coulis — when we were there, it had sausage) is always incredible. It’s a pretty solid staple on the menu, too, so you can probably expect it to be there when you are. Recipe might change up a bit, though.

Birthday Margarita

Citricos Cheese Plate

Arancini

Arancini Inside

From there, we ordered the Salad of Romaine Lettuce with Creamy Roasted Garlic Emulsion
with White Anchovies, Hearts of Palm, and Pickled Peppers; and the Florida Sweet Corn Soup with Smoked Corn Relish and Chive Cream.

The salad was pretty standard fare; nothing all that special about this one. But the soup — heavenly! How could it not be? Florida sweet corn? Chive cream?! It was the perfect blend of sweet and savory and had a wonderful thick consistency. The only problem is that I keep falling in love with these “seasonal soups,” and they’re never there when I go back!

Citricos Salad

Florida Sweet Corn Soup

Dinner for both of us was the Oak-grilled Filet of Beef with Spanish Onions, Peppadew and Banana Peppers, Quattro Formaggi-Crushed Potatoes, and Veal Glace de Viande. (I admit, by the time I got to this my margarita was kicking in and I forgot to take the photo before I started eating [cardinal sin!]. So I’m borrowing a photo of the same dish from a much better food photographer than myself — Jennifer!)

As for taste, this was pretty much my favorite steak in Disney World for many years. It looks simple, but the combination of the sauces with the four cheese mashed potatoes and the tender steak to top it off is just ideal.

Citricos Oak Grilled Filet of Beef

Finally it was time for dessert. And for dessert, you should never order anything but the Lemon Cheesecake with fresh Raspberry Sauce if you can help it. An incredible dessert and one of my favorites in Disney World, it was the ideal “birthday cake.” We’ve ordered a lot of desserts here and I’ve never been able to top this one.

Citricos Lemon Cheesecake

Overall
True to form for Citricos, this meal had been a long one, but it had been extremely relaxing and easy to enjoy. While my family can be known for our “go, go, GO” attitude (we’re good at efficiency and making the best use of our time…we talk a lot about “value propositions”), Citricos has the magical effect of making us slow down and truly enjoy the food, the ambiance, and the company. I’ve even seen it work its magic on kids, who are more than welcome in Citricos.

I’ve honestly never had a bad meal here, and the biggest potential complaint would be about the slow pace of the service. So consider this one when you’d like something a bit less “bright lights, big city” than California Grill, but are still looking for a relaxing, top-quality meal based on market-fresh and local ingredients.

Have you been to Citricos? What are your thoughts about the restaurant? The service? Let us know in the comments section below if you’d recommend Citricos, and why!

For more detailed information about Citricos, including links to updated menus, info about discounts and dining plans, and more, see our Citricos Page.

Filet photo used via flickr with photographer permission! Thanks Jennifer!

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23 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    I spent my birthday at Citricos in July. I picked this for my birthday meal because we had such a wonderful time at the Chef’s Domain the previous June. On our most recent trip we ordered a bottle of wine and four different appetizers! All of them were spectacular. This remains my favorite restaurant on property!

  2. This was seriously the best meals I’ve ever had at Disney, and possibly ever. The service was spectacular, the chefs friendly, and the food amazing. After I went with my mother in September (when the filet photo was taken), I went again solo in January to treat myself after the half marathon. Definitely didn’t disappoint!

    Now I’m hungry!! The food looks amazing!

  3. Kelly says:

    I love love love love LOVE Citricos. It’s in my top 3 at WDW (along with Jiko & Bistro.) I had the goat cheese truffles and O.M.G. best thing ever.

  4. Emma says:

    Thank you for the great review.. Citricos is on my list for our honeymoon trip next June! :)

  5. I agreed with much of your review AJ. Citricos is one of my favorite restaurants at WDW. It’s expensive but I do think the food is quite good. We often get requests on the podcast of a good restaurant for special event and Citricos is always on the top of my list.

  6. Gray says:

    A view is nice, but the service and quality of food is what really makes a restaurant great. This place sounds heavenly, and the food looks wonderful. It’s going on my (now very long) list of places to try.

  7. chris says:

    I like Citricos and will go back, but I think I will wait until they change the menu. I like the apps and the desserts, but the entrees were a bit off. Considering that almost no one else feels that way, I think we might have hit it on a bad night.

    The crab cake my husband had was incredible though, and I don’t even like crab. You are right on the atmosphere. It feels relaxed and not at all hurried like some WDW restaurants. And I had probably the best server in my life there. The guy was amazing.

  8. Andie says:

    In 2002, we went to Mother’s Day brunch at Citricos. It was phenomenal. We were living in Orlando at the time and decided to go. I seriously, have never had such a great brunch buffet. They had plates of prosciutto, huge shrimp, and entrees (I had lobster and grits). Plus, they had all the bellinis you could drink!

    They never offered the MD brunch again, but I now measure every MD meal against it. Needless to say, I’m often disappointed!

  9. Abby says:

    Citricos is one of my favorite signatures. It doesn’t get the attention of some of the others, but since it remains easy to get an ADR for, I am perfectly fine with that!
    The food and service is just outstanding there. I love everything about the place, it is a true Disney gem.

  10. Chris, I just looked and it seems as though they’ve tweaked the menu slightly. A bunch of the things I’ve had in the past are either gone or slightly updated. :)

  11. Cheyenne says:

    We discovered Citrico’s last fall and are going again in 6 weeks!! The staff is so nice! My dad had been there previously and was hoping for the tenderloin he had tried on his first visit so the chef came to our table with his business card and told my dad the next time he’s in town, call him 1 week before and he’ll be sure to have it! It was such a nice gesture! We were seated next to the dessert making area and that was fun to watch!

    When you walk in you may think you’re under dressed (as least I did) but you’re not. Shorts/slacks/jeans are fine with a nice top. We also brought my daughter who was 18 months at the time and our server was great with her as well.

  12. carolyn says:

    Thanks for the great review – that cheesecake looks to-die-for good! Even though I’m vegetarian, I still love reading about what everyone eats at the park. After reading this review, I looked at the menu on my iPhone app and see they have a veg option as well. I think I may have to mark this one as a place to try. (I decided since I can’t afford to stay at a deluxe hotel, that will give me more budget for finer restaurants! :) )

    I know what you mean about seasonal soups (this happens with pastas too! You have to savor every bite b/c it may not be back!)

  13. Mary says:

    Great review…I too went there on my birthday. It was delish. I would choose this over California Grill any day.

    You are right AJ that it has less glitz, but sometimes that’s just what you need after a sensory-overloaded day at the parks.

  14. I would go back to Citrico’s JUST for the tropical fruit creme brulee. Best brulee I have ever had at WDW.

  15. Alan says:

    I liked this restaurant years ago when it was called Flagler’s and served Italian food if my memory is correct. I know it is a signature restaurant but when I see words on the menu such as coulis, citrus emulsion, gremolata, veal glace de viande and balsamic reduction I think all is not lost at the WDW cuisine scene. Give the chefs at some of the less expensive eateries some of these words for their menus and we’ll be in business.

  16. Brenda says:

    We had a very good meal and wonderful service at Citricos the last time we dined there (October 2008) but their menu barely changes at all. For this reason we have not gone back – there just isn’t an excuse for Citricos to not change up their menu on a seasonal basis, especially when places like Flying Fish, CA Grill, and Bistro Paris are doing just that. I shall wait anxiously for them to revamp their menu and then make an ADR; until then, we’re going back to Flying Fish and Bistro. YUM!!

  17. Judy D'Alessandro says:

    We love Citricos and found our meals to be excellent, however there is one person who is the draw for us to keep returning. Although he may not be there anymore the waiter, Jamie is the greatest. He is knowledgeable about all aspects of the meal and we always go with his suggestions. We are due to return to WDW in a few weeks and will definitely check to see if Jamie is still there

  18. Heather says:

    love love love this place! The filet and mashed potatoes are amazing!
    We are going there twice on our trip in September! its esp. convienet b/c we stay in the main building at the grand, so its so easy to just walk right on down.
    The chairs are comfy and I love a window seat watching the people scurry by to and from their rooms. Always had great service as well. two thumbs up!

  19. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Citrico’s is fantastic but it’s been a long long time since I’ve been there. It turned into a magical moment.

    My last visit was in 2004. It was about 4:00 were looking for a place to have a late afternoon meal because dinner was booked for 9:30 somewhere at Downtown Disney. Without even realizing where we were we wandered into an empty Citrico’s (the door was open) and sat down by the windows. The wait staff was all gathered at the far end of the restaurant, then one went to get someone from in back.

    I wish I could remember his name but a young man came out, completely politely, and said that he’s sorry they were closed and there were no open tables that night until 8. It was at that point it dawned on me that we had wandered into one of the best places in WDW. I have a bad habit of wandering into closed restaurants. My friend apologized and we got up. I asked what was open for lunch. Then quite unexpectedly the manager said, “Wait, let me see what we have.”

    He came out with 4 Romaine Salads, and a plate of cheeses. There the four of us were – empty Citrico’s enjoying a nice, fresh, impromptu lunch. We ate quickly and charged the meal to our room. My friends still don’t quite realize how far our of the way their staff and kitchen went for us, and how strange it was that any of this happened at all. Now I’m sure they were probably prepping the salads and cheese in back so it was a very easy thing to do, but it wasn’t something they had to do. Most places wouldn’t, even at Disney. I don’t think it’s something that will ever be replicated.

    This, along with a stunning experience I had at a now closed restaurant in Epcot well after park hours is what hooked me on Disney Dining. Now I’m wondering just why I haven’t gone back to a place that was so good to me.

  20. Josh says:

    I have heard the name Citricos mentioned several times, but never actually knew what it was until seeing this. I’m glad I can now connect a very nice restaraunt with a name.

    The first thing I thought when I saw those chairs was that they look so comfortable. Maybe someone should try taking one and say that they are taking it out for a test drive or something and run off around the block.

    From the looks of it, they have an AMAZING Tea list. I wonder if I can just go in there for a couple of cups or if there is a minimum amount you have to pay? That would be interesting to find out one of these day!

  21. ajcenac says:

    Great review of Citrico’s, AJ! My children were welcomed and had a great time dining here. The wine pairing suggestions are also perfect. I don’t think you can go wrong picking Citrico’s or Narcossee’s. Citrico’s does feel more formal, since it is in the main building.

  22. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Josh – do they share a tea list with the GF’s afternoon tea area? Is the afternoon tea still around? I doing it about 10 years ago but haven’t thought about it in a while.

  23. AJ says:

    Heather — Would LOVE to hear about your Chef’s Domain meal! Isn’t Citricos the perfect birthday meal? :-)

    Jenn — Thanks again for saving my bum with that pic! I do so very much love the relaxing atmosphere of Citricos. If we’re ever in WDW at the same time, that’s where you and I will have to meet up!

    Kelly — Will definitely try the truffles next time! (Also need to get back to Bistro… thanks for the reminder.)

    Matt — I’m with you; this is a great special event place. Very low-key, but high-quality at the same time.

    Gray — I think you’d love this one. Request a table by the window, sit back, and relax.

    chris — I think the only criticism I have is that the service could be considered “slow.” I usually prep my “go go go” attitude to relax a bit and enjoy the meal as it comes. However, the servers seem to be long-timers, there…they’ve got it down to a science.

    Andie — Another sad loss at WDW — not nearly enough Mother’s Day bunches any more. I imagine Citricos for mother’s day would have been wonderful. Thank you for the delicious review!

    Abby — Thanks for the corroboration!

    Cheyenne — What an awesome story of a “Disney Difference” in service! I love it! Thanks for the reminder on the dress as well.

    Carolyn — NO KIDDING! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen head over heels in love with a soup at WDW and had it disappear on my next visit. Sadness.

    Mary — So true. The relaxing atmosphere and lack of “glamour” are just what I need to detox. That and a margarita.

    SWG — Thanks for the suggestion!

    Alan — Flaglers! Thank you for the history lesson! I didn’t know about that! By the way — embarking on a bit of a series related to what we’ve been talking about this weekend.

    Brenda — Good FYI. Thank you!

    Judy — Thank you for the suggestion! We’ll request Jaime next time!

    Heather — Don’tcha just LOVE eating at the restaurants in your resort! It feels so decadent!

    GG — Thanks for sharing the magical moment! I find myself wondering how you wind up in closed restaurants so often! :-) The GF’s afternoon tea IS still around! I have a guest review of it on the way! :-)

    Josh — Good question on the tea. I’m not sure about going in just for tea (though I’m sure going in for just dessert is possible). The Grand Floridian afternoon tea is available downstairs in the lobby’s tea room, and I’m SURE they can get you Citricos’ teas if you’d prefer them.

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