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Review: Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

It’s quiet, it’s refined, the food is decent, and it’s one of those “hidden gems” when it comes to seeing the Magic Kingdom fireworks!! What more could you ask for? ;-)

Narcoossee’s boasts prime real estate at the Grand Floridian resort on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon and has some of the best seafood on Disney World property.

Atmosphere

Getting to Narcoossee’s can be a bit of a trick — maybe that’s why it’s still not all that difficult to get an ADR here!

The restaurant is located at the end of the Grand Floridian transportation boat dock, which means it’s about as far from the front door of the lobby (and the monorail) as you can get! If you wind up taking a boat there, it’ll be easier; but since Narcoossee’s is a signature dining location, you’ll likely be a bit dressed up, so a boat from the theme park might not be the best choice. ;-) Once you arrive at the lobby, ask a Cast Member how to get there. It’s much easier than trying to follow signs or a map.

Narcoossees Sign

Upon arriving at the restaurant, you’ll walk past the Chef’s vegetable and herb garden, which lines each side of the entry sidewalk to the resort. (Oh yeah, remember that Narccoossee’s is outside the main lobby, so bring your ‘brella if it’s raining.)

Chives in the garden

Tomatoes in the garden

Once you step inside, your first view will be of the bustling show kitchen to your left. Be sure to check out a few of the dishes waiting to go out to the dining room — you can catch a glimpse of what looks good that night!

Show Kitchen

Check in at the podium with your reservation and you’ll soon be brought to your table. Narcoossee’s is a signature restaurant (a.k.a. “high end”), but it has a very casual, bright, beach-y feel. Royal blue tablecloths set off white and blond woodwork, and windows line the sides of the circular restaurant. (I love that the shutters are lifted so you get the full view while simultaneously feeling like you’re at a sandy beach restaurant!)

Seating on Main Floor

The seating area is stepped, so you have tables on the lower level and tables on the upper level. This basically allows for great Lagoon and Wishes viewing for everyone. We always prefer a window table when we can get it, but these are mainly four-tops, so if you’re a couple, go during a non-busy hour (before 6:30pm or after the fireworks) and request a window table when you check in.

Seating on Second Level Looking Down to Main Floor

One of my favorite parts of the decor at Narcoossee’s is the gorgeous two-story “watercolor” mural behind the bar. The lovely “cool” colors depicting a water-side setting is gorgeous, I think, and gives a real height to the restaurant as it draws your eye up.

Bar and Mural

Mural Close Up

And, of course, if you’re able to book your reservation for that coveted Fireworks time (check the DisneyWorld.com website for hours), you’ll have a great view from inside the restaurant or from outside on the wraparound porch!

Fireworks and castle from Narcoossees

And remember, this is a signature restaurant, so there is a dress code…

Narcoossees Dress Code - click image for larger version

Eats

The menu here is primarily seafood, but there’s plenty for landlubbers here, too! We decided to order a bit of both! Remember that since this is a signature restaurant, the menu will change seasonally, and you’ll likely see some great local additions to the ingredients list (especially since this restaurant is Florida-themed).

Narcoossees Menu - click image for larger version

Narcoossees Kids Menu - click image for larger version

We were very pleased with the complimentary fresh Bread and salted butter. The bread tasted like a sourdough and it had the perfect textures of crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

Bread and Salted Butter

And of course I ordered the cheese plate! I reviewed the Narcoossee’s cheese plate on one of my very first Disney Food Blog posts, and it’s still a favorite! Of course, the menu has changed a bit since then…

The cheeses are plated from strongest to least strong, and the first cheese is the Fourme D’Ambert — a cow’s milk bleu cheese from the Auvergne region of France. It’s actually injected at weekly intervals during the aging process with Vouvray Moelleaux, which is a sweet white wine!

This one was delicious, but if you’re not a fan of bleu cheeses, this might be a bit strong for you. My trick is to use a small amount of cheese and pair it with a sweet accompaniment to compliment the flavor.

Cheese Plate -- Fourme D Ambert in front

Next up: Purple Haze! Nope, it’s not just a beer anymore! ;-) Purple Haze is a goat’s milk cheese from Cypres Grove Farms in Humboldt County California. It’s dusted with funnel pollen and lavendar to balance the acidity of the cheese.

This was probably my least favorite of the cheeses, as I’m not a huge goat’s milk cheese fan; and I also didn’t love the tomato accompaniment.

Purple Haze

My favorite of the cheeses was the Reypenaer V.S.O.P., a Dutch Gouda from teh town of Woerden. The description says that it has notes of dried fruits and caramel, which I can vouch for. ;-) I really loved this one.

Reypenaer VSOP

Our next appetizer was a gorgeous plate of Crab Cakes, a fan favorite at Narcoossee’s! These cakes were large and full of shredded crab meat. They were quite “crispy” on the outside, so there was plenty of texture juxtaposition in these!

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes inside

We both ordered the most famous landlubber option on the menu — the Filet Mignon with potatoes gratin and shallot-red wine butter. (We don’t often both order the same thing, so my apologies — we couldn’t help ourselves!) This dish has always been my favorite here. It’s long been one of our favorite steaks on property, and the potato gratin is fantastic. The potato gratin is creamier than other “square cut” potato gratins on property, so if you like creamy potatoes, this is the way to go!

Filet Mignon

For dessert, we returned to one of our favorites — the Almond Cheesecake. We loved this dessert on our previous visit. While it didn’t quite live up to our former experience with it, we did very much enjoy this. The cheesecake is more of an Italian cheesecake — very rich and more loosely formed than New York style cheesecake.

(I apologize in advance that I couldn’t get a great shot of this one in the dark. I’m including three pics to give you a better idea of what it looks like.)

Almond Cheesecake

Almond Cheesecake

Almond Cheesecake inside

Our next dessert was the classic Narcoossee’s creme brulee duo — Key Lime creme brulee and standard creme brulee.

My friends, the key lime creme brulee is my new favorite creme brulee on property! I know I’ve said before that I get a bit tired of creme brulee in Disney restaurants. They have it everywhere, and I enjoy more textures and flavors in my dessert rather than a whole bowl of the same thing. But I think this brulee is truly special! Tart and tangy with the sweetness of the brulee sugar — stunning.

Key Lime and Regular Creme Brulee

Narcoossee’s then surprised us with a little “going-away” gift — Key Lime Cookies! These were received by everyone at the restaurant, and I think it’s a very special addition to the experience. It makes this restaurant stand out from many other signature locations in Disney World. (I love FREE!)

Key Lime Cookies

Overall

Narcoossee’s is one of our favorites for its quiet, relaxed atmosphere, decent service, good food, and great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

I think this is one of the restaurants that, in my humble opinion, takes good care of its guests. We have a hard time deciding between Narcoossee’s, Citricos (another one of our favorite “chill” restaurants), and California Grill (for its gorgeous view and classic food), so we don’t get to Narcoossee’s as much as we’d like. But it’s definitely an ideal option if you’re looking for a restaurant that steadily delivers quality food — not something that you can take for granted in Walt Disney World.

Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Narcoossee’s — feel free to leave a comment below!

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21 Comments

  1. Jason says:

    We liked dining there, but it is difficult to choose it over Jiko, Citricos, or, especially, California Grill. The food was fine, and the service was OK. Obviously V&A is the best, but California Grill gets our reservations most often, and, with the right server, is, well, magical.

  2. Grateful D says:

    Purple haze isn’t just a “beer” anymore! LOL! You crack me up!

  3. Chuck says:

    In your paragraph above describing the seating, you used the following sentence:

    “e always prefer a window table when we can get it, but these are mainly four-tops, so if you’re a couple, go during a non-busy hour (before 6:30pm or after the fireworks) and request a window table when you check in”

    This is a a stupid question but I am going to ask anyway, when you use the term: “four tops”, does that mean it is usually filled by parties of four or more? I am trying to find a reataurant to watch the fireworks with my aprty of five and I discovered this might be an ideal restaurant. Thanks for anyone’s assistance with my question.

  4. Aydin says:

    Here’s my picky foodie complaint about Narcoossee’s.

    They brag in the Birnbaum’s official guide, as well as the Disney Parks Blog that this is the only place on property that you can get a whole lobster. Great. My wife and I went to WDW last fall on the Deluxe Dining Plan, and decided to splurge two dining credits on a whole lobster.
    We went to Narcoossee’s and for the most part, it was quite good. But, I was surprised when the lobster came out. A single lobster tail (still in shell), cut in half lengthwise, and two sets of cracked arms and claws.
    This was not a whole lobster.

    Again, picky, right? But, if you go to another restaurant and order the whole chicken and all you get are a couple of breasts and two drumsticks, you’d probably ask, “Hey, where’s the rest of the WHOLE chicken?” You can’t advertise that you sell a whole lobster, and then only bring out the primo pieces. I know that eating a whole lobster can get messy and maybe that’s why they serve it this way, but then don’t call it a WHOLE lobster!
    Where are the knuckles along the little side legs? Where is the tamale? TAMALE!!!!
    I should note the lobster itself was very good – clearly fresh and not overcooked.

    Anyway, didn’t complain at the restaurant – probably should have. And, the creamy orecciette was way to thick and rich (almost inedible).

    So, it wasn’t a horrible meal by any means, but when planning this year’s trip, a few restaurants popped up immediately as must-dos when thinking about how good they were last year (California Grill, 50′s Prime Time, Hollywood Brown Derby), Narcoosee’s was never mentioned.

  5. Robin S says:

    Hmmm, I’m trying to pick between Narcoosee’s & Citrico’s for a romantic (read: kid-free!) date night dinner for me and my husband… would like to see fireworks but don’t mind walking down to the beach as some have mentioned for Citrico’s (and honestly, the California Grill menu doesn’t really draw me to it, these too sound more appealing to me!). Any pros/ cons we should know about (for either)?

  6. Galloping Gourmand says:

    THIS is the place where, at 4:00 on a Sunday, we walked up to the check in desk and asked if they were open. We looked, and saw a staff meeting in the back, apologized and walked away. The manager from the back motioned for us to come in. They said all they were not quite prepped but were willing to serve us all a “nice big Cesar salad.” They set a special table by the window, served the salads in a massive bowls, and gave us each a fresh spring roll (they must have been on the menu beck then). The check for the four of us was 16 dollars.

    For a long time I thought that this happened at 1900, but looking at the pictures I now realize it was Narcoossee’s. Even though I don’t get to the GF very much but I have no idea how I could have made that mistake for so long. It was one of the most magical dining experiences I have ever had.

  7. Mick says:

    Great article! My wife and I dined there last May and we really enjoyed the atmosphere, especially when Wishes started. There’s not many dining experiences more entertaining than listening to Wishes while seeing the fireworks over the lake. I can’t even remember what we ate but I won’t forget the “show”!

  8. Alan says:

    This is my third favorite restaurant on the Disney property and one we almost never skip. Since our last 7 visits to WDW have included free dining it is worth it to us. My picky eater wife loves the cheese plate and can bypass the seafood due to the other choices. I guess we eat early enough as we have always been seated at the window even though we are just two. That gives us time to take the small boat over to the MK and watch the fireworks up close. The cookie gift must be fairly new in the last year or so.

    Aydin is absolutely correct about the missing lobster body. I have a feeling about 80% of the folks who order lobster don’t eat any of the body. (Their mistake). If you order the lobster it is a good idea to get an appy because the lobster alone isn’t that filling but it is a great treat.

  9. Jenn says:

    I’m surprised you both did the steak there! I’ve avoided it thinking it’s only for seafood-ies, which I am NOT… now I may have to add it back on the list!

  10. Emma G says:

    Great review and loving the comments on this one. My main concern is the possible ‘stuffiness’ at the signature restaurants but from the pics and descriptions I don’t get that impression from this one. Does the dining plan make any of the course choices more difficult?

  11. AJ says:

    Jason — I agree completely! It’s so hard to choose between our favorite restaurants, and that’s why Narcoossee’s doesn’t get a visit as often as we might like. We can’t wait to go back to Citricos this Fall!

    Grateful D — Yes, I’ve heard something about it being a song as well… ;-) (hopefully the sarcasm comes through in that comment and I don’t just sound ignorant!)

    Chuck — Yep, I meant parties of four, but you can see in the photos above that there are a few window tables that have been set up for six or more. This would be a great spot for your party.

    Aydin — Being a big fan of “Vacationland” (i.e. Maine), I hear your comment loud and clear. I shudder to think what my mother would do if she ordered a whole lobster and didn’t get the tamale!! Very good point, and we appreciate the comment.

    Robin — My husband and I discussed this and decided we’d choose Citricos. It’s very quiet, very private, and pretty luxurious. If you can’t do V&A’s, do Citricos.

    GG — Ha! I thought that happened to you at Citricos! What a lovely experience! :-)

    Mick — Agreed. And Narcoossee’s doesn’t have the “stress factor” of seeing the fireworks that you get at ‘Ohana and California Grill. Those two spots are well known for their fireworks views, so you get stressed out vacationers elbowing their way to the front of the line to request fireworks view tables. Here — not so much. Very laid back. I love that about Narcoossee’s.

    Alan — Thanks for seconding the tip about the Lobster. That’s hugely beneficial to know! And, yes, I think the cookies are new — or perhaps were just seasonal. We thought it was a treat!

    Jenn — Yep! We love the steak here. It’s one of our favorites! They do most things well at Narcoossee’s, though!

    Emma G — To my knowledge the dining plan doesn’t affect the choices at this restaurant (can’t get apps, though). And the “stuffy” factor really doesn’t come out too much. In fact, I usually find that signature restaurants — because of the kid factor — have a hard time being stuffy in Disney World. Every once in a while you’ll find a stuffy server, but the atmosphere doesn’t really feel that way most of the time. Would love to hear others’ thoughts!

  12. Galloping Gourmand says:

    AJ. Yup. I was completely confused. Definitely Narcoossees after looking at the pics. Im amazed was so wrong.

  13. Jeff says:

    For me, Narcoossee’s is a bit too casual for the high prices.
    Citricos has a higher end feel to it which I enjoy a little more.
    Although having a pre dinner cocktail at Narcoossee’s is a perfect way to experience the atmosphere while still dining at the superior (in my mind) Citricos.

  14. Jason says:

    “Mick — Agreed. And Narcoossee’s doesn’t have the “stress factor” of seeing the fireworks that you get at ‘Ohana and California Grill. Those two spots are well known for their fireworks views, so you get stressed out vacationers elbowing their way to the front of the line to request fireworks view tables. Here — not so much. Very laid back. I love that about Narcoossee’s.”

    ALWAYS go to the rear (past the restrooms) of California Grill for the fireworks! It is just as good of a view if you are on the end, and it is almost empty.

  15. randolph says:

    The picture of the bread with the caption of salted butter is a turnoff. Bread has salt in it necessary to the baking process. The only reason for salted butter is a longer shelf life. Unsalted butter has a light sweet taste. Its still worth a try as I have eaten almost every where else. But, salted butter is a poor reflection on what should be the ultimate in fresh seafood.

  16. AJ says:

    randolph — Just to note, the butter itself is not salted. They just sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the top when they bring it out.

  17. Dave says:

    Hi AJ,

    Love your blog I am definitely a Disney foodie. I dream about Disney food when I’m not there, and I’ll admit I take pictures of all our meals when we are there and sometimes other peoples too when they’re not looking!

    I just wanted to echo your sentiments and say that my wife and I love Narcoossee’s! I proposed to my wife there on the wrap-around porch with Wishes as a backdrop so needless to say I might be biased. The staff there has always been wonderful to us (we go back every trip!) and I have dreams about their surf and turf it is epic! We also love the cheese-plate their and the only one we’ve had that was as good was at Victorian and Alberts! Keep up the great work I spend all day thinking about Disney food and your blog keeps me going!

    Best,
    Dave

  18. AJ says:

    Dave — What a great comment! Thank you so much for the encouragement and support! Congrats on a wonderful proposal as well! :-)

  19. Tony says:

    We have at least one meal here on every trip to WDW over the last 15 years (and we had our wedding reception at Narcoossee’s back in 1999). Great atmosphere, wonderful food and excellent service always. Very consistent.

  20. Paula B. says:

    Loved the cookie gift, that is a nice touch. And very happy to see Rhode Island calamari featured on the menu, I’m guessing it was caught off Point Judith; we Ocean Staters are a proud lot!

  21. hawklady313 says:

    When I retired a while ago, I decided to go on a first class vacation and chose WDW, of course! As I was on the deluxe dining plan, i chose only 4 star restaurants–we had always stayed off grounds and eaten “on the cheap” before that.
    My biggest pleasant surprise was Narcoosies and we’ve been there at least once every trip since! The food was delicious, the service impeccable, and the almond cheesecake to die for!!!!!!!
    My biggest disappointment was California Grill and I have never been back. We had an early dinner and it took over 3 hours. Guests at other tables who came after us left way before we were even half way through our entree. We finally got the bread appetizer–after several requests–and it came with the dessert! We never did get the seasoned dipping oil for the bread.
    The service was terrible as we were virtually ignored. We were not dressed inappropriately, and did not misbehave in any way.
    I will NEVER go back to California Grill–there are too many other great restaurants where the servers are happy to serve and the food is great!!
    Patti

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