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).
So, as they say in Quebec, Allons-y!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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!