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Review: Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Editor’s Note: The Buffalo strip is now a three meat combo of buffalo steak, venison loin, and wild game sausage.

There are some signature dining restaurants in Disney World that really don’t get mentioned very much, and are held in the shadow of greats like California Grill and Victoria & Albert’s.

Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge is one of these, but it’s actually the perfect spot if you’re looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way restaurant where you can enjoy some truly innovative eats.

Over the past several years I’ve dined at Artist Point four times and while my first visit was a rocky start, the subsequent three visits have been delightful. I’d love to hear YOUR comments about Artist Point!

Atmosphere

Artist Point, because of it’s location in the Wilderness Lodge, is themed to the American Northwest. You can expect Craftsman furniture, a slightly art deco feel, and sturdy, simple decor.

Entry

Entryway

Restaurant dining room

The artwork is the true draw in the main dining room at Artist Point (natch). The walls sport gorgeous murals by celebrated artist Thomas Moran, who is noted for his “larger-than-life interpretations of the West during the late 1800′s.”

Smaller paintings were inspired by Albert Bierstadt works. Bierstadt sketched landscapes of the Shoshone Indian country in 1859 while accompanying General Lander’s expedition on the route that later became the Oregon Trail.

Mural 1

Mural

Artist Point has a lovely view of the Silver Springs Pool and Courtyard, the Fire Rock Geyser of Wilderness Lodge, and Bay Lake — a natural lake on Disney property lined with tall pine trees and punctuated with Discovery Island.

View

Beautiful View

As you can see, this really is a lovely spot to dine in Walt Disney World, and the fact that it’s not the FIRST restaurant everyone thinks of means that you can score reservations at a later date than the more popular signature restaurants.

Eats

On this visit, we were dining with a couple of good friends. We noticed a few distinctly Asian items added to the menu, which was new since our last visit. One that I was particularly interested in was the Sake flight on the drinks menu.

Sake Flight Information

I couldn’t help but order it, since I’d been having a Sake-esque trip anyway (new Sake cocktail in Epcot’s Japan, for example). This sake flight was from Momokawa sake company — in Oregon! Yep, this was all American-made sake; very interesting!

Sake Flight

The flight included its Diamond, Silver, and Pearl varieties (the pearl being the Nigori sake). I wish I could be effective at describing the sakes to you, but I’m not very far along in my sake education! I enjoyed the Diamond sake the most (it’s said to have an off-dry melon flavor), but it’s probably better to read the descriptions on the menu for a broader overview! I promise I’ll get more educated in sake so that I can make better recommendations in the future! ;-)

Next up, a Kung Fu Girl Riesling! I’m pretty sure I ordered this simply because of the name, but the result was a lovely sweet Riesling that I enjoyed very much!

Kung Fu Girl Reisling

Reisling

The meal started out with a lovely corn and pomegranate amuse bouche — very much enjoyed by everyone at the table. (By the way, the amuse bouche thing is happening more and more at Disney’s signature restaurants, so keep an eye out for it on your next visit.)

Corn Pomegranate Amuse Bouche

We dug into the bread next, which was presented with a black sea-salted butter. A gorgeous combo.

Bread

Salted Butter

And then we were presented with a little surprise! The restaurant manager treated us to a sample of this fun beer, cheese, bacon, and popcorn soup (read more about it here!)!! Find this one over at Whispering Canyon Cafe next door!

Potato Cheese Popcorn Soup

NOW, it’s time to dive into the appetizers! (I know, right?! We’ve had a full meal already!) I went with my favorite Smokey Portobello Soup, even though I don’t really like mushrooms! This soup is deeelicious, and there are enough other (richer) ingredients to make the mushroom flavor just an essence. Believe me, there’s a reason why this dish never leaves the menu here at Artist Point!

Smokey Portobello Soup with Roasted Shiitakes and Chive Oil

One of my dining companions ordered this Mixed Field Greens salad with Shaved Stone Fruit, Sun Flower Seed Granola, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, and Ice Wine Vinaigrette! Wow — quite a mouthful, but pronounced to be excellent!

Mixed Field Greens with Shaved Stone Fruit, Sun Flower Seed Granola, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, and Ice Wine Vinaigrette

Mixed Field Greens with Shaved Stone Fruit, Sun Flower Seed Granola, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, and Ice Wine Vinaigrette

Another dish that was very much liked at the table was this appetizer with Salt Roasted Heriloom Beets, Truffled Goat Cheese, Cider Poached Pink Lady Apples, Spiced Walnuts, and Mulled Wine Vinaigrette.

Salt Roasted Heirloom Beets, Truffled Goat Cheese, Cider Poached Pink Lady Apples, Spiced Walnuts, and Mulled Wine Vinaigrette

Finally, the fourth appetizer in which we indulged was the Dungeness Crab Cake with Asian Slaw and Shaved Radish. Another slightly Asian dish on the menu, this one received high marks as well.

Dungeness Crab Cake with Asian Slaw and Shaved Radish

Once we’d done away with those apps, it was time to dive into entrees!! I was pretty much jealous of everything that was ordered at the table, but was in love with my choice, too! Just listen to this: “Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Corn Pudding, Caramelized Figs, Piquillo Pepper Relish, and Serrano Ham Crisp.” Come on?! How do you not order something that has “sweet corn pudding” and “serrano ham crisp” in the description? Plus, I always like to order the pork dish on the menu since it’s such a difficult meat to cook well (a little test for the kitchen!).

Anyway, this was amazing! Just one look at the photo and you can see that it’s a love affair for the eyes as well as the stomach. The pork was cooked well (possibly a bit too well for my liking, but it was fine), and I very much appreciated that there was enough of the “extras” on the plate to last throughout the entree. For example, I didn’t run out of corn pudding before I was finished with my pork. (Hate it when they don’t give me enough of the side dishes!).

Speaking of the corn pudding — wowza! It was indeed sweet and savory, though not salty at all. It complemented the subtle flavor of the pork perfectly. And that serrano ham crisp and pepper relish were just enough POW to give a strong overtone to an otherwise balanced dish.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Corn Pudding, Caramelized Figs, Piquillo Pepper Relish, and Serrano Ham Crisp

Also ordered at the table was the Buffalo Striploin (love that they still server Buffalo here; you can also get it at the California Grill from time to time). Buffalo is difficult to flavor well since it’s naturally a lower-fat meat, but this earned positive remarks.

Buffalo Striploin Steak with Marble Potatoes, Garden Vegtables, and Shiraz Gastrique

A Beef tenderloin with peppercorn butter was a WOW dish as well.

Beef Tenderloin with Marble Potatoes, Garden Beans, Pearl Onions, and Peppercorn Butter

And I think we were all a little jealous when this Halibut came out looking so beautiful.

Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with Shallot-Fennel Ragout, Confit Lobster Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Summer Herb Nage

We had to run out to our La Nouba reservation and therefore weren’t able to have dessert at this meal (sad face), but you can check out my previous Artist Point review to see the kinds of dishes that are offered for Dessert (like the famous berry crumble/compote — depending on the chef)!

Overall

Overall, this was another successful visit to Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The menu continues to deliver innovative dishes with a few surprises thrown in like the Buffalo strip and the Asian additions. I mean, come on — who finds a Sake company in Oregon to highlight?! That’s awesome!

If I had one qualm, it would be the relative simplicity of the tenderloin dish presentations. The halibut and pork were presented like parties on a plate! I wish the others had the same flair. (I know, a pretty paltry criticism, eh?) Our last visit to Artist Point had much more interesting sides and presentations it seems.

They say it takes a few positive experiences at a restaurant to negate one negative experience, and I’m well on my way back to fully recommending Artist Point!

What have been your experiences with Artist Point? Let us know in the comments below!

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20 Comments

  1. marcellina says:

    I can’t decide if the presentation of your entree is good or not! On one hand it sorta looks like a sloppy mess… but on the other hand it looks a little bit like a work of art! LOL…. all in all though the food here sounds amazing! I love mushrooms so I’m sure that soup would be a favorite of mine. In the picture titled “beautiful view” you almost expect to look out the window and see snow! What a beautiful dining room!

  2. Paula B. says:

    Wonderful restaurant in a beautiful setting and this review is making me so hungry (and jealous). Looks like you had a great evening, love the amuse bouche, and that bread, yum. But no dessert? lol You must have been too full, maybe next time!

  3. Jenny says:

    Everything sounded so wonderful. I would have to say that the Halibut would be my first choice, that did look amazing.
    Thank you for the review.:)

  4. Richelle says:

    We have eaten at Artist Point twice (2007 & 2011) and have been underwhelmed both times. Both times we have wanted so badly to like it, but end up being disappointed. We find both the decor, food, and service to be just OK. We much prefer Jiko and California Grill.

  5. Bill White says:

    A.J.- I enjoyed this review, as usual, and I love reading about the dining options at Disney I have yet to try. One thing I miss in these reviews, though, is a discussion of the prices. It would be nice to see what your party paid for their meal, and what you thought of the value. Yes, I know almost all Disney Dining is pricey, and I know I could figure out what you paid by carefully checking the prices on the menus, but I am a lazy blog reader and I want someone else to do it for me! :^D

    Would you consider doing this in future reviews!

  6. Sara says:

    We LOVED Artist Point, I had also had had the Salt Roasted Beet appetizer – my boyfriend and I thought it was one of the best appetizers on our trip. The berry cobbler was in a cake/cobber form while we were there, with fresh berries on top and tons of berries inside of the cobbler itself – fabulous!

  7. Sherri Erwin says:

    This is the only WDW Signature restaurant I have yet to try, but next trip for certain. Looks good.

  8. Andie d says:

    We’re going again in July! Can’t wait! It will be a slightly different experience with the kids in tow, but am sure we will enjoy it all the same.

    @richelle -Jiko used to be one of our faves but we’ve had 2 diss appointing meals there our last 2 trips (thought the first was a fluke so we went back). I’m sad about that

  9. AJ says:

    Marci — Rest assured it was great :-) And you’d love the soup, I’ll bet!

    Paula B. — Nope, we had to run out so that we wouldn’t miss our La Nouba performance, otherwise we definitely would have had dessert!

    Jenny — Thank you!

    Richelle — Don’t you hate when that happens? I have a couple of restaurants that I feel that way about, and I’m sad about it, too.

    Bill White — Here are the prices for this meal: Mixed Field Greens = $11, Soup = $9, Crab Cake = $15, Beets = $14, Buffalo = $43, Pork = $29, Halibut = $33, Beef = $43. I don’t include prices in the write-ups for two reasons: 1) They change regularly and are usually incorrect by the time a reader gets to the restaurant; 2) Usually restaurants at the same pricing level are all in the same general cost category (with the exception of V&A’s), so my goal is more to offer my thoughts on whether this is the RIGHT signature restaurant to book, or whether I’d choose another restaurant over this one (e.g. it doesn’t make too much difference whether the steak is $39 at one place or $41 at another — it’s still a $40 steak). That said, when I find that a dish/snack/meal is out of line price-wise (over/under what I think would be appropriate), I usually make note of that in the write-up: e.g. — Trail’s End Restaurant is priced low for the quality you get, or a turkey leg is priced high at $9+.

    I will try to be more effective in relating whether I think the restaurant is a good value for your dollar, and I’ll try to give price ranges more often as well! I know it can be helpful to see that the pork/fish/chicken/vegetarian dishes will be priced significantly lower than the red meat dishes!

    Sara — Yay! So glad you enjoyed it! Sounds like the berry cobbler is back to its original state! Yum…

    Sherri — Let me know what you think if you get there :-)

    Andie — Yay! Would love to hear your experience with the kiddos there!

  10. Kylie says:

    By FAR our favorite restaurant on WDW property!! We indulged in the pork belly appetizer– quite possibly the greatest thing I’ve eaten in a restaurant ever. It was soft and buttery and amazingly flavored. I’ll be so upset if this is off the menu our next trip!

  11. Jo Hill says:

    We are so looking forward to eating here for the first time on July 13th – just dont know how we are going to choose from what looks like an excellent menu, my mouth is watering!!

  12. Nate says:

    First of all, I had no idea we (Oregon) had a sake company. Very, very exciting news!

    Second of all, how (HOW!?) have I not made this restaurant a priority? Next trip, it shoots to the top of the list. Everything looks amazing! (And that tenderloin needs to meet me immediately.)

  13. Melissa Sue says:

    Yum! This is my favorite signature at WDW. We’re hoping to head back for dinner in September …

  14. Victoria says:

    My husband and I have been to Artist Point twice – once in October ’08 and October ’11. Both times we had excellent meals and service.

    On our second trip, I got the pork with sweet corn pudding. SO GOOD!! The corn pudding was the #1 reason why I ordered it. I loved every bite!! I can’t remember what my husband ordered, but we did get the cheese plate for an app and it was wonderful as well. And so were our desserts. :)

    Artist Point is definitely a spot where you can have a nice, quiet meal. It does get looked over a lot, which is a shame since it’s one of the best spots on WDW property for a wonderful meal.

  15. Rose says:

    Been to Artist Point 2 times. Once a loooong time ago and again a few years ago. loved it both times. The only complaint, and it isn’t really a complaint more a disappointment, but my Hubby and Son both wanted the buffalo strip and it wasn’t on the menu. The buffalo dish was braised. Both got some kind of steaks and enjoyed them. I don’t remember the sake flight. Something to look forward to!

  16. Kendra says:

    OMG that Pork dish is one of my favorites at AP; so sad it’s now gone (but I love the Tomahawk Chop that’s replaced it so, there’s that!) :( The buffalo and beef presentations are now quite different (buffalo is now a tenderloin; beef is now a strip steak), served alongside different sides, but the quality is definitely still there. A few new apps have snuck in, as well, but the lovely mushroom soup is still standing strong! And you can’t ever go wrong with the sake flight or the Kung Fu Girl Riesling. I send everyone over to AP when they are looking for a great meal, especially on the fly since you can *usually* sneak in at some point in the night. Thanks for the awesome review!

  17. Lori says:

    The smoky mushroom soup is one of my craves from the Disney restaurants. While I didn’t eat there in December, I was able to snag a bowl of the soup and have the barbecue pork flatbread in the Territory Lounge. Winning! It’s a great alternative when you’re not eating at Artist Point. I tend to always want the buffalo when I go to AP, but I think the halibut looked amazing.

  18. Brandy says:

    Artist Point was hands down our fave restaurant of our trip. I’m a fairly boring/picky/quirky eater and I got the chicken. It was hands down one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had. I HATE food on the bone and skin(I know I know,it’s flavor)and I INHALED the skin off that chicken! It was super crispy and salty-seriously,I crave that skin chip o’goodness! I had the chocolate dessert with the amarula(sp?)cherries OMG!!Who knew a cherry could taste soooo good?! And another plus,Roaring Forks was right down the ramp so we were able to get the Carrot Cake cupcake,S’mores cupcake&Magic cookie bar for breakfast the next day!
    We also had our 3 kids with us(all under 6)and we didn’t feel out of place one bit. The restaurant was noisy enough that we didn’t feel like everyone was staring if someone made noise and they LOVED the mac and cheese there! And the chocolate puzzle for dessert. The waitress was amazing at moving things along quickly for their sake but still making the dining experience feel “Signature” for us. My son couldn’t get enough of the bread&black salted butter so she made sure he always had some and even brought us some champagne since it was our anniversary!
    This is definitely on our go back to list!

  19. Rick Gundlach says:

    Artist Point was a restaurant we looked forward to visiting on our trips to WDW. No more! The dining experience had been trending down the last couple of visits. It is now unbearable. The service is poor, the portions smaller, and the wine grossly overpriced for it’s supposed quality. For an establishment charging premium prices, you will be much better served elsewhere on the property.

  20. Patrick Butler says:

    Allow me to provide a current update. We dined at Artist Point twice this summer (the latest in September), and while AP had some issues 2-3 years ago, they’ve seemingly stepped up their game. Service was excellent both times, and the influence of the food has now firmly steered away from what we thought was a disastrous foray into a quasi-Asian fusion theme. What set AP apart from other signature restaurants was their dependence on rustic foods, and they’ve returned to those roots, especially with the three-in-one buffalo dish. While I’d prefer strictly a buffalo filet, our server indicated that wasn’t likely to happen due to the high cost of such. Nonetheless, the buffalo was very good. The salmon remains topnotch, as does the smokey portobello soup, and a variety of other dishes. In short, AP seems to have re-grounded itself in the Northwest fare for which their reputation was originally built. That’s good news for diners everywhere, and one reason we’ll keep this less-well-known but lovely restaurant on our rotation.

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