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Review: Les Chefs de France Restaurant in Epcot

I can remember, years and years ago, while visiting Epcot with my parents on one of my family’s “Easter vacations,” we approached the Worldkey kiosk to book a reservation in France for that evening’s meal. All I knew — around age 7 — is that I probably hated French food, and I was 100% ready to dislike this restaurant.

Well, things have apparently changed in my old age. I’ve enjoyed all of the food I’ve ever had in the “real” country of France, and the same goes for anything I’ve had in the Epcot version of the place as well. Especially at Chefs de France.

Atmosphere

Les Chefs de France sits in a quaint corner of Epcot’s World Showcase, just across the bridge from the UK pavilion and the International Gateway.

Les Chefs de France

The restaurant is, aesthetically, one of my very favorites in Walt Disney World. With walls of windows framing a classic French bistro dining room, it’s one of the only restaurants that truly makes me feel as though I’m dining in a foreign location. (I can recall dining in a restaurant in Paris that looked a heck of a lot like this one, in fact!)

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night

Once inside the restaurant, everything is done in dark woods, beige, and gold.

Les Chefs de France Bar

ceiling

We always prefer to request seating by one of the many windows — there are two sunrooms at Les Chefs de France, one in the front of the restaurant (which used to be an outdoor “sidewalk cafe,” and one in the back of the restaurant).

Les Chefs de France Back Sunroom at Night

Window Table in Front Sunroom

Window Table View From Front Sunroom

The walls of the restaurant are decorated with photos of its founders — three of the world’s first “celebrity” chefs: Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenotre, and Roger Vergé. Check out this article for a bit of history if you have the time!

Decor

If you’re not seated in one of the sunrooms, you’ll be inside the “bistro-like” dining room!

Table Seating

Once seated, you’ll be greeted with a cheery yellow placemat and menu.

place setting

If you’re lucky, you’ll get the chance to see Chef Remy — an audioanimatronic character from Disney’s Ratatouille — who visits the tables in the restaurant one-by-one from his serving platter. We didn’t see Remy on this trip, but he’s supposed to show up several times per day. Check your times guide to be sure you’re there when he arrives.

Chef Remy at Chefs de France

Eats

The menu carries some old favorites as well as some tempting new dishes. You can see a few items that we ordered on our last trip here.

We wanted to try a few new items this time, so we opted for the a la carte menu versus the pre fixe menu!

Menu - click image for larger version

Wine Menu

The meal began with this gorgeous baguette with butter. In the past, Chefs de France has brought rolls to the table, but I love the addition of a fresh French bread baguette. And, folks, this IS fresh. I seriously dislike stale baguettes — and even a day old is stale to me, but this was just out the oven fresh. Gorgeous.

baguette

I’d heard great things about the Chefs de France cheese plate, so we ordered it as a starter.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I’m a huge cheese plate fan as you know, but this was the best I’ve had…ever. This included huge portions of three of the cheeses — Chaumes, Brie, and Gruyere — and a smaller portion of the goat cheese. I had died and gone to heaven! It took a lot of effort not to book another meal here just for this cheese plate.

(Luckily, you can find a similar one over at the Patisserie next door!)

Cheese Plate

Just to give you a little taste of the beauty that was the combination of the fresh, French baguette and the cheese plate, here’s a photo of the wonderfulness. Seriously, I haven’t come this close to perfect bread and cheese since my days in Switzerland. Sigh.

Bread and Cheese close up

Whew! Once I came back down to earth after that experience, it was time to dive into the French Onion Soup. Made with Gruyere (of course!), the cheese is what really made this soup. Gruyere is a stronger Swiss cheese, and is perfect for melting and cooking. The smell alone is incredible!

French Onion Soup

The broth left a bit to be desired here, though — I usually like my onion soup to be a bit stronger and richer, and this was very light and mild. Definitely good if you don’t like strong, overpowering tastes, or for kids who are trying it for the first time. Overall, this is a good choice regardless.

Onion Soup Close Up

For our entrees, we ordered the Beef Short Ribs braised in cabernet with pasta, pearl onions, and mushrooms; and the vegetarian lasagna with zucchini, tomato, eggplant, bell peppers, and onions.

The short ribs were just as good as they’d been described to me by friends and readers! We ordered this off of several recommendations, and you guys were right! My husband pretty much loved these and was ready to return to the restaurant ASAP to get them again. They had the feel of beef Stroganoff, but with a firmer texture and richer taste. The noodles were the perfect accompaniment.

Short Ribs

The vegetarian lasagna smelled incredible when it was first placed in front of me! The tomato sauce was delicious; I would have eaten it as a soup!

The flavor of the dish was a bit thin, however, and my main desire was more cheese! I wish they’d thought to add some ricotta into the lasagna or to add more of the topping cheese.

Vegetable Lasagna

Now — time for dessert! There’s no way you’re getting me out of a French restaurant without indulging! (I know, I know; I never leave a restaurant without indulging…but I do it all for the sake of the blog! ;-D)

Dessert Menu - click image for larger version

We chose the Apple Crepe and the Profiteroles (we couldn’t remember if we’d had the profiteroles the last time we visited!).

The Apple Crepe was quite good. We loved the ice cream and the caramel sauce (finally — enough sauce!). The apples were freshly made — didn’t seem canned — and we always appreciate that!

Apple Crepe

Apple Crepe close-up

Apple Crepe

But, the profiteroles were the winners. We actually DID order them on our previous trip, but it was worth it to get them again. I cannot explain to you the smell of that chocolate when the plate is first placed in front of you. It seriously overwhelms your senses, and if your senses have never been overwhelmed with rich, hot chocolate sauce before — please get yourself to Chefs de France ASAP! ;-)

As usual, we enjoyed the ice cream and chocolate sauce more than the pastry here (I know — we’re weird), but I just kept scooping that sauce up with the spoon! Luckily, they’re not skimpy with it! I love the French!

Profiteroles

Overall

Once again, our experience at Chefs de France was perfect. We were in a bit of a hurry on this day, and even though the food was brought out swiftly, we didn’t feel in any way rushed.

Our server was very patient with me when I was trying to figure out the exact names of cheeses, and she was professional and efficient throughout the meal. I’ve never had a problem with service here — in fact, I’ve had some of the best servers here in all of my Disney meals.

The food here is pretty consistently great. I’ve been to the restaurant three times in the past five years and have walked away more than satisfied every time. That’s a difficult record to come by when it comes to Disney restaurants, so I fully and heartily recommend this spot!

Have you been to Chefs de France recently? Are you going there soon? Let us know your thoughts about the menu and the atmosphere in the comments section below!

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36 Comments

  1. Becca says:

    We need to give this place another chance. The steaks we had last time were a lot more well-done than they ought to have been, and the staff seemed a little disinterested. It was also our least favourite creme brulee of the entire trip – and we ate a lot of the stuff!

    The menu is somewhat odd – having been to France 30+ times, I’ve never seen lasagne (unless an Italian restaurant), mac-and-cheese or ribs on a menu! I understand that they used to have a steack haché (a burger made from steak – always my favourite as a child) on the menu, but it was taken off because people considered it inauthentic!

    That cheese plate looks amazing. Chaumes is my absolute favourite! The ribs, while random, look like they’re really tender. Also, Dauphinoise potatoes are my husband’s favourite. Yes – we’ll have to give it another try!

  2. Frank Stefanec says:

    >>years and years ago, while visiting Epcot with my parents on one of my family’s “Easter vacations,” we approached the Worldkey kiosk to book a reservation<,

    Oh my… I remember that. Yikes… that does take me back.
    Love the restaurant too.
    Frank

  3. Betsy says:

    Such fond memories of the Worldkey kiosks where you could video chat with someone from reservations…I remember being a kid and our first stop at Epcot was always Spaceship Earth followed by those kiosks where we would make reservations to eat in Mexico that night!

  4. Alan says:

    I agree with AJ, I pretty much have enjoyed every meal I have had at France. Amazingly my picky eater better half will gladly eat there as she loves onion soup and macaroni and cheese – I mean “Gratin de macaroni”.

    I love France, took 5 years of french in school and think it is the most beautiful country in Europe, but find the waiters here often are a bit off putting. Some of them can be very sarcastic and a bit dismissive, but they are well trained. It never bothered me until I started eating at Tutto Italia where they are so friendly and helpful, you want to hug them on the way out. I guess the folks in some countries are warmer than those in others.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Love Chefs. It’s probably my favorite restaurant on property and is definitely my favorite in Epcot. The picture of the short ribs has me drooling. They are what I order, except I get them dairy free, which means les haricots vert instead of the noodles. The sorbets are the best I’ve had anywhere. So far my running favorites are the pear and raspberry sorbets. Of course, sorbet is seasonal, so you never know what type they have until you’re ready to order them.

  6. Marianne says:

    I used to love Chefs, but found my meals there in the past year just so-so. In particular, the chicken was less flavorful than what I could get from my supermarket rotisserie, and the short ribs had the taste and texture of plain ol’ pot roast. The bread was beautiful, though. In fact, the starters and desserts were better across the board than the entrees. I’m hoping, based on this review, that it’s back on the upswing.

  7. Jenny says:

    I get to try Chefs de Franceon Thursday. I’m really looking forward to trying the food, however I’m a little worried. I’ve seen the kids menu for lunch and they have some things I know my son will love. But we are having dinner there and I looked at the kids menu for dinner. Well it only showed two choices and they were both fish. Not a very good sign.. he does not like fish. Can I ask for something from the lunch menu so he will eat? It’s so close and I’m worried he will not be able to eat.

  8. Nikki says:

    I’ll be there next Wednesday night and I think I might have to try the short ribs and apple crepe!!!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I went here this summer (August) with my daughters and LOVED it. I had the cheese appetizer and it was delicious. I am a huge cheese fan. For my Entree I had the Grilled tenderloin of beef. It was cooked perfect, the green beans were crisp still and the potatoes were yummy. For dessert I had the Chocolate Mousse cake. It was so rich and chocolatey. My kids ate off the children’s menu and had the Cheese pastry, the ground beef steak and ice-cream. My one daughter was celebrating her birthday and she had a whole group of them sing Happy Birthday to her in French. It was really neat. We also had the pleasure of seeing Remmy twice on our visit. I would go back her every time I visit Epcot as I thought it was wonderful.

  10. Dave says:

    My in-laws are from France and owned a French restaurant. I measure all “French”cooking against theirs and Chefs does a very good job. The food has that French look, freshness and taste that are hard to explain, but you know it when you eat it. The article is correct that this restaurant has the closest feel to the real thing than any other in EPCOT (been to most all the real countries in EPCOT), but its almost too perfect; it needs the aged patina of an old european bistro. The cast members are very much the same as being in France.

    On one visit with my daughter, age 13ish, she ordered escagot, cheese plate and salad for lunch. Many people looked at her in suprise never thinking someone her age would eat those things. She loved it. The french onion soup is the only thing that is little disppointing to me. The great taste of the soup is all about the broth and so much cheese gets in the way (it’s still pretty good though). Eating here should be a priority on your visit and visiting here for a late lunch is my favorite.

  11. AJ says:

    Becca — Agreed that it’s not necessarily 100% authentic. They have the steack burger back on the menu, too!! It’s on the menu photo above!

    Frank — Great to see you on DFB! I know; I loved the Worldkey kiosks. So ahead of their time!

    Betsy — I can still hear the Epcot background music… ;-)

    Alan — I’m always surprised to hear when people have bad service at CdF, but I do hear those complaints from time to time! I always sort of hope that I’ll have bad service so that I can relate, but I never do. Our servers have always been great. You should come with us sometime! :-)

    Stephanie — Ooh! I think that would be great with haricots vert!

    Marianne — Hmm…maybe, maybe not. I had a great meal there in 2009 as well, so maybe we’re just hitting it on good days! Thanks for your review; perhaps it’s not as consistent as I’ve experienced.

    Jenny — No worries! If there’s nothing on the dinner menu he likes, simply ask to speak to the chef and let him/her know what dishes your child would prefer. If they make them at lunch, they should be able to make them at dinner, too.

    Nikki — Yay! Let me know what you think.

    Jennifer — What an awesome story!! I’m so glad you all had a great time!

    Dave — Thanks for the corroboration! How lucky are you that your in-laws have that kind of experience; I’m coming to your place for dinner! :-D

  12. Alan says:

    AJ – The service has always been good, I just feel that the wait staff I have had are a bit diffident. The Italian waiters are more earthy and friendlier, that’s all.

  13. Savorique says:

    The restaurant front and inside looks very French, nice. But the cheese is not French at all, it looks so bland and white because of the over pasteurization :(

  14. Jeff C. says:

    Another perfectly timed review! After deciding to ditch Le Cellier for lunch, we decided to book Le Chefs for Dinner instead! And since we’ve never been there, I was looking for a current review.

    I was really curious too about the short ribs, so the picture and description was really really helpful.

    It’s like you read my mind, AJ! Haha.

    Thanks.

  15. marcellina says:

    Oh man, where to start with this post?!? First, let me tell you AJ that I’m making the photo of the bread and cheese close up my desktop wallpaper!!! :D

    I love, love, love all things French and this review is making me that much more excited for my dining reservations at Bistro de Paris in February! I also love a good cheese plate and I’m sure they will have something equally as awesome at Bistro. In all honestly, I’d prefer cheese as a dessert over anything sweet, that’s how much I love cheese! Too bad about the french onion soup, I also love that stuff.

    On a (somewhat) funny side note, my husband has been to France a few times and he claims that if you told a French person that you were a vegetarian they would either not know what you mean or else question why you don’t eat meat… lol.

    Thanks for the great review!

  16. Jenny says:

    Thank you AJ for the fast responce. I feel a lot better now.
    :)

  17. Vince says:

    My family and I (5 of us) had lunch at Les Chefs de France last Sunday, 10/9/11, and we were as impressed as ever. Our server, Antonio, was extremely good to us, explaining what we needed, and he was patient, helping my friend and I with some French we’ve always wondered about. We were on the deluxe dining plan, so our meal consisted of an entree, appetizer and dessert.

    Our appetizers included:
    Salade du Maison: she really enjoyed this
    Assiette Campagnarde: We all tried a bit of everything, and we weren’t disappointed
    Onion Soup: Wow!
    Bisque d’Homard: Another Wow!

    Our entrees:
    Gratin de macaroni – excellent.
    Crepe Florentine – she appeared to enjoy
    Demi Poulet – wonderful. The accompanying vegetables were perfect
    Short ribs – 2 thumbs up
    Salmon Filet – my first time trying salmon and I will be back.

    Dessert:
    Profiteroles – I’ve never had chocolate this good before
    Apple Crepe – Caramel sauce made the dish
    Creme Brulee – looked fabulous
    Gateau – looked and smelled amazing.

    Needless to say, we’re looking forward to our next meal here!

  18. Shayne says:

    I am disappointed that we had to cancel our ADR for Chefs de France on our upcoming trip. My children had begged me to try to find a spot at Garden Grill, so when one came open there, CdF was reluctantly cancelled.

    Like you, we’ve never had a bad meal there and have always had great service. Even my not-so-adventurous children branched out a bit when we ate there in 2009, so it’s high on my list of places I’d like to return!

    The closeup of the bread and cheese made me want to lick my computer screen. :D

  19. JoAnn says:

    I had the beef short ribs last year and loved it. I will be eating here again next month.

  20. TraciLeigh says:

    I need to get back to Les Chefs de France very soon…that cheese plate looks divine (and I LOVE the similar cheese plate from the bakery…but to add goat cheese…oh my word!!!).

    We haven’t been to Chefs since 2009…but I am adding it to my “dining list” for 2012.

    Yum.

  21. Cherry says:

    Hmmm, I have a ressie booked for Bistro de Paris during Epcot’s EMH night but after reading this review I’m tempted to switch it. (Although I was hoping the food booths would be open during EMH.)

    Not related to the review but does anyone know if you have a late night ressie at Epcot during EMH, can you still get back to the Boardwalk hotel through the International Gateway? Or are you forced to go to the front of the park and take a bus?

  22. Kendra Wallace says:

    Still feeling full from eating there a few hours ago. We have made reservations many times over the years but something always seemed to get in the way. But tonight it all worked out. I had the beef tenderloin whichwhich was very good. Dh had the onion soup and short ribs, loved both. The kids enjoyed their chicken pasta and hamburger. They really enjoyed our server Flavie. She was so sweet teaching them some French. We will be back.

  23. AJ says:

    Can’t wait to respond to all of these comments! So glad you guys love this place as much as I do! Cherry — you can use the International Gateway until the end of EMH — no worries!

  24. Abby says:

    I’m apparently in a small minority here, but I hated Chefs. I thought the food was like it came from a frozen boxed entree and the service was awful. I lived in France with a French family for a year so maybe my standards are different than most people’s, but I don’t think Chef’s is authentic, good, or worth the time and money.

  25. Clair says:

    Love this restaurant. There are certain places I look forward to every 3 years with Beaches and Cream & Chefs at the very top.

  26. Jenn says:

    Oh, Jeff C…you “ditched Le Cellier”? Breaks my heart. We have been trying to eat there for years but it is always booked out by the time we can plan a trip! (We can only plan 6-8 months in advance.) I used to eat there all the time as a kid (back when it was a cafeteria, and then when it became the steakhouse) and I miss it – so it makes me sad to hear that those reservations are taken by people who don’t even end up eating there. Hope the new deposit policy will change this somewhat…

  27. Heather says:

    I had my worst ever Disney experience (not just Disney food experience) here. Everything that could go wrong, did. I know everyone has this as one of the best places on property, so the food, service, rudeness, etc experiences we had aren’t common. But it pretty much sours me from trying it again, especially since there are so many places I haven’t tried & want to, and other places I know I’ll have a great meal.

  28. Jeff C. says:

    Hi Jenn – I hadn’t booked Le Cellier yet. We’re still more than 6 months out for ADRs.

    When I said I ditched it, I meant in my planning for making my ADRs next week.

    Hope that lessens your sadness.

  29. Gray says:

    I love escargots, so Chefs is pretty much my favorite restaurant on property. Their lobster bisque was pretty good, too. Though I’m sad to say I’ve never been there to see Remy. :-( (And I would get such a kick out of that!)

  30. Matt says:

    My partner and I just ate here the first night we arrived at WDW on Oct 16. The atmosphere, while loud when full of people, wasn’t anything we weren’t expecting. The service was perfect.

    We both got the onion soup which we both loved (super cheesy!). I got the beef short ribs and he got the salmon. Both of us were disappointed in the taste. Let me rephrase that, we were both disappointed in the LACK of taste. I rarely EVER salt anything and I had to absolutely smother my dish in salt in order for there to be any flavor. The beef, while tender, literally had no flavor. The pasta tasted like pasta with, again, no flavor. He said the salmon had very little flavor as well. Our desserts were fine. The profiteroles tasted delicious (the chocolate sauce is amazing) and the creme brulee was fabulous.

    We actually enjoyed our food better at Liberty Tree at M.K. better than at Chefs which, imho, is sad.

  31. AJ says:

    Matt — If it helps, I love Liberty Tree Tavern ;-) Thanks for your review; that’s really helpful to hear a different take.

  32. Matt says:

    OK, so we went back to WDW for a long weekend trip this past weekend. Yesterday (Super Bowl Sunday) we decided to hit Chefs and give lunch a try. I’m a HUGE fan of croque monsieurs, so I had to try it. We both got the same meal; onion soup (again very good as it was 3.5 months ago), the croque and creme brulee.

    I’m not sure if they are toning down the flavors of the food in this restaurant or what, but the croque had so very little flavor! Now I’ve had oodles of them in France and they are absolutely flavorful, especially when oozing with bechemel. Both of ours, while cheesy, just had very little in the flavor department, and hardly any bechemel. Same with the ham, there were MAYBE 2 thin slices of it, that was it. And the creme brulee this time seemed so lacking in flavor compared to October. What’s the deal Chefs de France?!

    I think I’m done giving this place any more chances. The service is great, I’ll give it that. But I think I’ll just stick with Le Cellier for the food. :-)

  33. AJ says:

    Matt — Thanks for the recent review! I’ll keep that in mind on my next visit and report back!

  34. Bruce says:

    We just had dinner at Chefs and were disappointed . The service had a definite “eat, pay, and get out” feel. We were seated at 8:15 and were out the door by 9:00, maybe they thought we wanted to see the fireworks. But we weren’t asked and did not intend to watch the Illuminations show. We preferred a nice, enjoyable meal. It started with out drink order, I ordered wine for myself and was given a lesson about it, I know what I ordered. Carol ordered Iced Tea and asked for extra lemon on the side. The lemon did not come until we were more than half way through our meal. She also requested a glass of ice because all the ice in her tea had melted. She never got that. Her Onion Soup was good, the cheese saved it. My lobster bisque was nothing more than mediocre. I have had better many times in much less expensive places. I ordered the Salmon, it was cooked properly with no seasoning. Salt would have helped it, but there was none on the table and the server was no where in sight. Carol’s beef short ribs, more like pot roast than short ribs. Our server came to remove our plates while I was still eating and had to be stopped. Desserts were OK. Crème Brulee was crunchy on top, but with no flavor in the custard. My profiteroles were not as good as I hoped.. The chocolate sauce was fine, the ice cream was good, but the puff pastry was superfluous. In short, we see no reason to go back.

  35. Erika says:

    We ate at Les Chefs de France in Nov. 2011. This was the best meal we had on our short trip. The bread, the soup, entree, and dessert were all perfect. We even got to see Remy and his friend Amelie. My only negative was the opposite of Bruce’s complaint, we were there for almost three hours. It didn’t feel like three hours, but when we were done, I was a little bit disappointed that we had lost that much of the day. We are going back in June, so I will make sure to simply eat faster.

  36. natalie says:

    My family and I visited Disney in Dec 12. Our 7th visit to Disney. First visit to Les Chefs de France. Overall we gave it a 2 star rateing out of 5. It was just Ok. Our waiter was VERY snooty and rude. He acted as if we were at a “real ” French restaurant. He told my girls to savor their drinks because there was no free refills and was impatient while we were ordering. The food came and it was just ok. It didn’t have much favor. The only reason we ate there was for my son (who loves Remy) to see him. I asked the waiter when he would come to our table . He said that he would be by soon but he never came. So I would only go there if I had the Disney Dinning Plan. Because the meal was not worth 250.00 we paid. Hope this helps.

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