Hidden in Coronado Springs Resort’s El Centro, between the lobby and the Casitas section of the resort, Maya Grill offers a Latin American menu in the midst of Mayan architecture.
You really do feel like you’re at the entrance to a Mayan pyramid when dining in this restaurant, and the decor — with soaring ceilings and moody lighting — is stunning. But many folks shy away from Maya Grill due to its distance from…well…just about everything.
We arrived without a reservation, and although I could see many empty tables, we were told there would be a 45-minute wait. This was disturbing, since I think of Maya Grill to be one of the lesser-populated restaurants in Disney World. But since we were already staying at Coronado Springs (and since we had to eat here anyway so that we could cover it on the blog), we just told the hostess that we’d come back in 45 minutes, and spent the time catching up on work in our room.
When we returned, she’d forgotten who we were, but at least we were seated within about 10 minutes.
The seating in the restaurant is good-looking and comfortable. Tables seem to be spaced well, and it’s fun to go at night and check out all of that cool lighting around the pyramid entrance. (Regretfully, they still have a couple of those “fake fire” decor elements, but they’ve been reduced significantly.)
When we were there, live entertainment was being offered (a la the gentleman below). That’s always a nice touch, and it made the evening very pleasant.
The menu is…a mix. While the restaurant is definitely striving for a Latin American feel (it’s owned and run by the same folks who run the restaurants in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion), the menu is more varied.
You do have items like tomatillo salsa, mole sauce, black beans and rice, and tequila glazed salmon. But you also have things like a burger with cheddar cheese and fries, and Prime Rib with mashed potatoes.
Clearly they’re trying to please all palates and not be pigeonholed into a particular cuisine. This is great if you have picky eaters, but not so good if you were looking for “authentic.”
By the way, on our visit, we had the menu below, but the starters were more similar to those on this current menu. We must have been there in transition… .
When we were seated (in a booth! yay!), we were beyond delighted to see Hilda, our favorite Tequila master, walk up to greet us! Hilda is a superstar manager who came to Disney World to open La Cava del Tequila, and has since stayed to bring La Cava’s glorious margaritas to (and step up the service and menus at) all of the San Angel Inn company’s properties in Disney World. Here’s a pic of Hilda over at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot:
Hilda explained that many new margaritas were available at Maya Grill, including the Margarita Flight, so we quickly ordered it. (I hadn’t had it before!)
You’ve heard me blabber on about this margarita flight before. It featured Lime, Pineapple, Hibiscus, Jalapeno, and Mango Blueberry flavored margaritas, all of which were lovely. As you know, my favorites were the ones that didn’t include any flowers or vegetables.
The actual food portion of the meal started with a very nice bread basket, coupled with olive oil (?) and a Pulled Pork Empanada with Chipotle Cream ($9). We also ordered the Heart Of Romaine Caesar ($8).
The empanada was delicious — both of us probably ranked this starter as one of the best parts of the meal.
The Caesar was yummy, and we loved that it came with bread!
For entrees, we ordered the Achiote Pork Chop with black beans and rice and tomatillo salsa ($25), and the New York Strip Steak with ancho chili rub, roasted garlic Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, and broccolini ($31).
The pork chop was, unfortunately, severely overdone. Sadly, this is often the case in restaurants, and Maya Grill was not an exception. While it looked pretty, the meat was tough and chewy. Not a great entree, and especially not for the price.
The steak was much better, so we ended up sharing that as the bulk of the meal. We also ordered an extra side dish of the mashed potatoes, which were delicious.
We didn’t order dessert (I know…shocking!), since the desserts at the Disney World Mexican and Latin American restaurants are often overpriced and under-portioned (we learned our lesson with the San Angel Inn flan and the La Hacienda de San Angel Churro(s)).
We did take a look at what was available, though, and snapped some pics of the “display” desserts for you!
Coronado Springs is one of my favorite Disney moderate resorts. It’s gorgeous, the rooms are newly renovated (looking snazzier than a few of the deluxe resorts, if I do say so myself), and there’s a gym — something that I consider absolutely necessary seeing as I usually spend my vacations eating five meals per day.
But because it’s in the Animal Kingdom resort area, to get here you’ll either have to drive yourself, take a cab, or take a bus from a major hub like a theme park or Downtown Disney. Unlike many other resort restaurants, this one isn’t just a boat ride or short walk away from wherever you spent your day — and there aren’t lots of other activities at this resort to make it worth your while.
And, I’ll be completely honest — the food isn’t quite at the level desired to make all of that traveling worth it if you’re not already staying at the resort.
Once again, I love the margaritas. I love the margarita flight. But, from my experience, the food isn’t quite there yet. That said, I’ve heard that the breakfast here is great!! Does anyone have any reviews?
I’d love to hear your feedback on Maya Grill! Your comments will help other readers decide whether or not they want to visit, so be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below!