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Guest Review: Le Cellier…From a Canadian Point-of-View

Welcome back James Hummel (@DisneyNorth on Twitter) with a review of Le Cellier. As a Canadian, James offers a unique perspective when reviewing this popular restaurant! He also gives us a glimpse of a proper poutine.

I figured it was high time that a Canadian review one of the most popular restaurants in Walt Disney World. I do want to give a disclaimer first though: these are my opinions only and do not represent all Canadians. And no, I don’t know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada (the Canadian readers will get that joke).

The entrance to steak heaven

So, as they say in Quebec, Allons-y!

Atmosphere
You’ve seen the pictures, maybe even the outside of the restaurant and, if you are really lucky like me, seen the inside too (multiple times). Le Cellier is a hidden restaurant in EPCOT. No, not hidden gem… I mean really hidden! If you didn’t know where to look, you would literally walk right by it. I mean, there is no giant doorway for this place. You have to go through the wonderful Victoria Gardens to find, what appears to be, a doorway to an underground bunker. But of course, it is all about the story. Enough talk about the outside, let’s get in from the snow…er…I mean oppressive Florida heat.

The inside of Le Cellier is inspired by the large wine cellars of the grand Chateau style hotels in Quebec City and the Rockies. For me, the restaurant reminds me of a moderate steak chain we have in Canada called the Keg (seriously….). The steaks aren’t as good as Le Cellier, but they are still really good. We Canadians love our beef.

Wine racks of Le Cellier

The room is “split” into different provinces. If you look at the details where you are sitting, you will see some items representing which province you are in. You will also find considerable amounts of maple leaves adorning fixtures and such.

Inside Le Cellier

Maple leaves

The dining room is actually small compared to other Disney locations, hence why it is so difficult to get an ADR! It is also very dark, which can make for a very romantic dinner.

Service here is probably the best I’ve had in all of the Disney restaurants. Now, you are probably saying, “you are just saying that James, because you are Canadian.” Well, that is true, but I have had some memorable Cast Members at this restaurant.

During my second visit to Le Cellier with my wife, we were celebrating our 1 year (+ 5 months) anniversary. We were on the dining plan and we ordered a bottle of wine with our dinner. Our waiter brought us a celebratory glass of sparkling wine (Canadian of course). At the end of the meal, he brought us our bill but nothing for the bottle of wine. I asked about paying for the wine, and he replied, “It’s on me.”

Eats
The menu at Le Cellier is obviously steak driven (they aren’t voted as one of the top Disney World steak restaurants for nothing). There really isn’t anything on the menu that screams out Canadian (except for maybe Poutine, but I’ll get to that).  As I mentioned, it looks like a typical steak house menu.

The appetizers have a wide variety of items, but the go-to-item is the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, made with Moosehead Beer and Smoked Bacon. If you haven’t tried the soup before (in the restaurant or during the Food & Wine Festival), order it. You won’t be disappointed. I did notice this time around that the soup had a bit of a kick to it. I let my 2 year old son try it and we had to order a small cup just for him.

Cheddar Cheese Soup

You are also given some bread sticks that are supposed to represent different regions of Canada. My favorite is the pretzel bread stick. Each time we eat there, we usually go through 2 orders of the bread sticks. I have been told that they import all the ingredients from Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario, which happens to host the largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany.

Before I move on to the entrees, let me talk about the wine list. As AJ will know, I’m a big wine lover. Canadian wines, specifically Ontario wines, are some of my favorites.

It is surprising to me that the wine list at Le Cellier is actually very
disappointing. There are only about 3-4 Canadian wineries represented on the menu with the balance made up by American wines. I’m still trying to figure out why the wine list isn’t entirely Canadian wines. In Ontario alone, we have over
100 wineries. Don’t get me wrong, those 3-4 Canadian Wineries are very good, but there are a lot of other Canadian wines that are better. I would recommend picking one of the wines from Chateau des Charmes, especially a red to go with the steak.

Out of the 6 times I have eaten at Le Cellier, I have always ordered the same thing: Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon. It is one of the best steaks I have ever had; always tender and very tasty. The mushroom risotto paired with the steak is an added bonus. Actually, I had never had risotto before I ate at Le Cellier and now I can’t get enough of the stuff!

Mushroom Filet Mignon

The other steaks and prime rib on the menu are also very good. My brother-in-law ordered the New York Strip steak, which he thought was very good. My in-laws ordered the Salt-Crusted prime rib which they thought was tender but a little too salty for their liking.

New York Strip

I completed my wonderful meal with the Chocolate on Chocolate Whiskey Cake. I’m a die hard chocolate fan, so this cake didn’t disappoint. The only other dessert I would highly recommend is the Maple Crème Brulee.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Before I finish off talking about Le Cellier, let me comment on the poutine debate. I love poutine. It is horrible for you but so delicious. Typical poutine consists of fries covered in cheese curds and chicken gravy (no beef gravy please…). The poutine at Le Cellier is not representative of Canadian poutine. If you want good poutine, fly up to Montreal or, dare I say, Toronto, and visit any diner type restaurants where you can order it. There is even a chain in Ontario and Quebec called Smokes Poutinerie that serves variations of the stuff (think poutine covered in pulled pork). Le Cellier needs to get their act together and serve a proper poutine…

This is what poutine should look like (with pulled pork). Yes, there are fries under there!

Overall
A meal at Le Cellier never disappoints. I’ve eaten lunch and dinner there and the experience is always consistent.

Now that dinner is 2 Dining Plan table credits, I probably will only eat lunch there as I would prefer to use 2 table credits for California Grill. Will it still be difficult to get an ADR? You better believe it!

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23 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the insight and photo of the poutine, James! Awesome bottle from The Pop Shoppe, too!

  2. Jamie says:

    well done…from a fellow Canadian…and you do need to mention that our Keg Restaurants are in pretty well every City and usually in a big box store parking lot. I’ve never had the chance to eat at Le Cellier due to young kids and Christmas trips…but I can’t wait. I’ve drooled over the menu previously and never understood the wine thing either…there are tons of great Ontario, BC wines…and maybe some Ice Cider from Quebec…Ice wine from apples….yummy.

  3. I’m always surprised by how many people say it’s hard to get an ADR here. Maybe it’s because I went before Le Cellier became so popular (in 2001), but we walked up and got a seat for dinner during Easter Week.

  4. disneynan says:

    Hi James, I really enjoyed your review. I have to comment about poutine, though. My extended family is from New Brunswick and what they call poutine is a ball of shredded potato enclosing a small ball of fat pork that is boiled until grey. Not my favorite dish – although I will eat it on occasion out of nostalgia from extended visits with my grandparents as a child. What you described is called Canadian Fries here in New England and I love it! Is it a regional difference?

  5. mandie says:

    Went to LC for lunch for the first time on 4-2 this year and it was excellent. Love the pretzel bread and filet. Living in Detroit as a child, going to Canada was a regular thing for me…when I asked about the poutine there the waitress flat out told me not to even bother with it lol. I was so stuffed that I couldn’t imagine even eating the authentic version ;)

  6. Jen says:

    Pop Shoppe! I haven’t had that since I was a kid. I wish they sold it down here in Florida!

  7. Meg says:

    As a fellow Canadian (Vancouverite), I have to say your review is dead on! We also felt like Le Cellier was an upscale version of the Keg and we loved the breadsticks. I too was disappointed in the wine selection not being 100% Canadian (what about all the lovely wineries in BC as well? I think there was 1 BC winery on there when we went), but hopefully they’re able to get more Canadian wines on the wine list in the future. You’re also dead on about the Poutine there – though I will say Vancouver *finally* got a place that makes half-decent Poutine (the owner is from Quebec), though if you want the best, you still have to go to Montreal. Great review!

  8. DebW says:

    Another Canadian here. My daughter and I ate at Le Cellier in December and enjoyed it. We loved the cheese soup and our steak was good. I’m glad you talked about the poutine – but don’t leave Ottawa out of the list of good poutine places. While my South shore Montreal mother-in-law’s poutine will always be the baseline, the fry truck outside my office building in downtown Ottawa is a strong second. Now if only we could get Le Cellier to carry beaver tails….

  9. Angela says:

    Mmm I miss beaver tails. I was told by my server to not even try the poutine here as well, but ohhhh I love poutine- my wedding is even having a late night poutine bar :) We loved the soup and risotto when I ate here a few months ago (we couldn’t afford more than that and it was just lunch) but my fiance is probably the only person in the world who hates the pretzel breadsticks (more for me!)

  10. Liz says:

    Great review. We’ve been going to Le Cellier for years and have enjoyed everyone of our meals there.

  11. Gabriella says:

    You do represent a lot of Canadians opinions judging by the comments above…mine too! Thanks for a fantastic review!

    Meg – if you read this….I’d love to know the name of the place with authentic poutine here in Vancouver because I’m tired of going to New York Fries when I get a craving for poutine.

  12. Galloping Gourmand says:

    If I ever road trip in Canada I’m going to have to try Keg.

  13. Brular says:

    I wasn’t gonna post any comment, but the Mounted Police (politely) knocked to my door and told me it was mandatory, being a fellow Canadian. :-P

    So… I can safely say that despite the lackluster offerings in Canadian wines (seriously… BC and Ontario wines, Quebec various berry liqueurs, mead and apple ice cider, anyone?), you’ve got to try the local micro-brewed beers from Quebec. I asked for a Fin du Monde (End of the World) to go, it was the perfect beverage to accompany the IllumiNations fireworks.

    As for the “poutine”, without a cheese curd that squeaks between the teeth, don’t even bother calling it a poutine. You would think the Mouse would know about good cheese, eh? :-)

  14. Kelly says:

    So after reading this…I went to the Keg tonight for dinner :) (I’m in Toronto for work!) It’s very good! It’s worth noting that they don’t have many Canadian wines on the menu either…I know where you’re coming from though, as a resident of the Finger Lakes in NY, it kills me not to see our great local wines on menus!!

  15. JoAnn says:

    Great review. I haven’t eaten at Le Cellier yet. I’m hoping to get reservations in November. I’m planning on being online Sunday morning at 6:00 to make my ADRs. Wish me luck.

  16. Mike says:

    Great review! It’s nice to see a Canadian actually eat at this restaurant. I always thought Canadians avoided Le Cellier because it was so dark inside and Canadians are afraid of the dark.

  17. Michelle Schaefer says:

    Well James as a fellow Canadian I have to 100% agree with you…not because I’m Canadian, but because the review is spot on. We ate at a lot of 2 meal credit restaurants when we were at ‘the World’ in January and the service we received at Le Cellier was among the best…it surpassed the service we had at California Grill where we ate twice in that trip. The filet was my favorite in ‘the World’ and the soup is by far a ‘must have’ with the pretzel bread of course! Having grown up near Kitchener-Waterloo I can very much attest to the ‘authenticity’ of it…so delicious!
    I have to ask…where did you find The Pop Shoppe pop?? I haven’t had that (or seen that) for well over 30 years!
    Thanks for a great review!

  18. canadianslovewdw says:

    yes Canadians love this place.. the review is spot on.. i dont drick wine so i cant comment on that but a decent poutine would be nice.. and a timmies to go with that chocolate cake would be great.. we ate there on my wifes b-day.. they got a card signed by all the staff that included where in canada they were from.. one of my favs at WDW>…

  19. canadianslovewdw says:

    @Michelle , i dont know where in canada you are . but im in Hamilton, ON, and you can get pop shoppe @ zellers for $ 0.99

  20. James (Disneynorth) says:

    WOW!!! Thanks for all the kind responses to my review everyone. It was fun to write.

    Jamie–I’ve always wanted to try Ice Cider. Gonna have to pick some up the next time I see it available in Ontario

    Disneynan–I’ve never heard of Poutine made that way. I guess there are some regional differences. I’ve only ever known the Quebec version.

    Meg–Haven’t had a lot of BC wines, although I read only good things. I’ll have to fill my wine rack with some to try.

    DebW–I think they have a Smokes Poutinerie in Ottawa. Check the website. I’m also wishing they bring Beaver Tails back. It’s near every tourist trap in Canada, why not EPCOT?

    Angela–When and where is your wedding? I love the idea of a Poutine bar.

    Brular–You’re right about the beer. There are so many great craft brewers in Quebec and Ontario. Fin du Monde is a great beer.

    Kelly–Glad you liked the Keg. I think it is a really great value compared to other steakhouses in the city. There are a few restaurants in Toronto that serve Ontario wines. Send me a message on Twitter if you would like to know of some.

    Mike–Remember, we Canadians live through complete darkness in some winter months. Just kidding….

    Michelle–Canadianslovewdw already mentioned Zellers. I have also purchased it in Costco. I heard a rumour that the same guy that brough back Pop Shoppe is also reviving Mother’s Pizza restaurant chain. So excited!!!

  21. Shayne says:

    Thanks for sharing your review and insights! We have loved Le Cellier since we “discovered” it on our honeymoon in 1999, when we walked up and got a seat. That was obviously before it became so wildly popular. I’m glad to see this positive review, after some recent mixed reviews following the conversion to signature dining.

    BTW, we always order Mission Hill red wine when we are there. My in-laws had brought us some several years ago as a souvenir from their trip to Banff. We love it, but we are unable to get it imported to Texas. Short of going to Canada, a trip to Le Cellier every few years is the only way we can get to savor this wonderful wine!

  22. Meg says:

    Gabriella – It’s called La Belle Patate & is on Davie St. Don’t get the takeout version as by the time you get it anywhere it’s really soggy – but if you eat in it’s delicious! It’s about as authentic as I’ve found in Vancouver.

    James (Disneynorth) – If you like whites or rose, try some wine from the Joie Winery if you can find it – they’re not cheap ($20-$30 a bottle), it’s a little known winery that keeps winning awards whenever they enter something. For red, I like Quails Gate or Burrowing Owl. Like Shayne said Mission Hill is pretty good as well.

  23. Macnunu says:

    Just returned from our first WDW trip where the SO, being Canadian (Vancouverite) flat out refused to eat at Le Cellier because he claimed “why eat something that we can get at home?”. I laughed hard when you said they remind you of The Keg, we live just around the corner from one haha. Granted the quality is probably a lot better, but would it be better than say Gothams, Mortons or Charcut in Canada?
    Ah well, maybe one day I’ll get to return and try it out!

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