Chefs de France
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.
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.
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!)
Once inside the restaurant, everything is done in dark woods, beige, and gold.
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).
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!
If you’re not seated in one of the sunrooms, you’ll be inside the “bistro-like” dining room!
Once seated, you’ll be greeted with a cheery yellow placemat and menu.
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.
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!
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!
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!
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!