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.
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!
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 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)!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.