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Review: Lunch at Raglan Road Irish Pub

One of the most consistently delicious stops on the Walt Disney World trail, we recently had the pleasure of a lunch date with my parents at Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road.

Located right at the front of what is (kind of) Pleasure Island, the vibe from the Emerald Isle spills right onto the sidewalk and around the corner as you take in Raglan Road Pub and Restaurant, the adjacent Gift Shop, the Hole in the Wall watering hold, and Cookes of Dublin next door.

Even though we were there during Spring Break, we didn’t find early lunchtime to be too busy. We stopped in JUST before the restaurant switched to an updated menu, but luckily most of our choices can still be found amongst the new offerings.

Atmosphere

You want authentic atmosphere? You got it. Much of the decor here is authentically Irish, and the bars themselves were shipped directly from Ireland.

Raglan Road Sign and Front of Building

The entrance to the restaurant is central, while there is outdoor seating to the left and a nifty gift shop to the right. If Raglan Road does have one shortcoming it would be that there aren’t many places to sit while waiting for your table. Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue for us that day.

Entrance Foyer

The gift shop really is so cool! You feel like you’ve wandered right into a shop that was destined for Epcot’s World Showcase (had they ever built a separate Ireland Pavilion.)

Tons of Irish souvenirs and sauces from the restaurant are available here. This is also a nifty place to pick up some of Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s fantastic cookbooks, like Recipes that Work or Full On Irish, if you wanna recreate a little Raglan Road in your kitchen once you head home!

Gift Shop

What you see in the restaurant itself really is a little slice of Ireland in the Florida sunshine. You’re surrounded by rich, dark woods and brass fixtures. The tile floors below your feet add to the feeling of antiquity, and the soaring heights of the domed main dining room, complete with cupola, are crowned with leaded stained glass — again, the work of Irish craftspeople. Just walking into Raglan Road is a beautiful experience, and it only gets better when you open your menu. But we’ll get to that in a sec.

With its two beautiful — and very large! — bars, Raglan Road is also a fantastic place to stop in just for a drink and some light bites!

One of the Two Bars

Second Bar

Bar View

There are PLENTY of draught beers on tap, which makes this a very happy stop for the beer lover in your life.

Draught Beers

They’ve also begun offering a wide selection of local craft beers, which is a really fun addition to the mix. There are several selections available on tap from Orlando Brewing Company, and they are all organic!

Orlando Brewing Company Organic Beers: Pale, Red, Brown, and Blonde Ales with Orange Blossom Pilsner

Live Music Sign

While there is no live music during lunch, you MUST come to Raglan Road for an evening visit if you’ve never been. The music and dancing are stellar, and the crowd really gets into it. It’s a pretty rockin’ – well, lilting and rockin’ – party.

Here’s a taste of Creel, the house band at Raglan Road…or if you prefer, a little traditional step dancing!

Dancing Podium and Live Music Stage

There’s also a “music room,” where no music actually takes place. ;-) This is just another dining room, but a snazzy one to be sure.

Music Room Seating

Music Room Seating

Generally, all of the seating around here is pretty interesting. You’re definitely not going to be bored no matter where you’re parked.

Seating

Booth Table

I always want to sit in this spot every time I visit! Alas, I haven’t yet!

Fireplace Seating

Now hopefully this tour has worked up an appetite for you!!

Eats

So we’re in a pub, right? And what must you do in a pub? Well, drink, of course! And so we did.

Cover of Drink Menu

Drink Menu - click image for larger version

Drink Menu - click image for larger version

Drink Menu - click image for larger version

With so many amazing choices, it’s always hard to make a decision at Raglan Road, but eventually, I settled on the Celtic Martini. A note here, though: normally, this drink comes in a traditional martini glass, of which I am not a big fan. (Drinks get too warm, too fast in those glasses, imo.) That’s why my Celtic Martini appears in a tall glass, on the rocks. A blend of Irish Mist, Don Q Limon Rum, Pineapple and a hint of citrus & sprite, this was delicious!

Celtic Martini in a Tall Glass

One of my favorite features at Raglan Road are the beer flights. Can’t decide? You don’t need to! And now, you can even customize your choices with the Cream of the Crop Flight, and get it exactly the way you’d like it! We chose Warsteiner, Magners, Kilkenny, and Smithwicks, which was a terrific way to compare a lager, cider, cream ale, and an ale. It mad for a beautiful and diverse selection.

Cream of the Crop. Choose Your Own Beer Flight of Warsteiner, Magners, Kilkenny, and Smithwicks

Another fun part of the drinks? The “learn to speak Irish” coasters with funny expressions. We were talking about “grannies” for the rest of the day.

Funny Coasters

All right, all right! Time for the FŪD!

Lunch Menu - click image for larger version

We started with Raglan Road’s complimentary bread service, served with their house made Guinness reduction dipping sauce. The Irish Soda Bread is killer on its own, but then you add the dipping sauce and it’s a little slice of heaven.

Our server told us the sauce tasted like honey, but we were skeptical. Turns out the reduction is pretty much spiked with a TON of sugar, so it really does taste like honey! My mom ended up buying a few bottles of it in the gift shop on the way out — she was addicted.

Irish Soda Bread and Guiness Reduction Dipping Sauce

After bread, we were anxious to dig into a selection of starters and began with the mushroom soup. Let me tell you — ANY soup that Kevin Dundon creates is going to be sensational, I promise you, so you should ALWAYS order it. This one can be summed up in three words: mushrooms, cream, and butter. That’s what I tasted, at least, and the flavors and textures were wonderfully, decadently, balanced. And I don’t even like mushrooms.

Mushroom Soup

The Dalkey Duo Sausages were up next, and this is a MUST HAVE for any Raglan Road trip as well. Mild yet flavorful, the battered (yes! battered!) sausages and creamy mustard sauce are out of this world. And there are plenty to share with the whole table (although you won’t want to).

Why are they all on a bunch of little forks? I have no idea. It’s all sausage foresty.

Dalkey Duo Sausages

The scallop tart, ordered by my mom, is done up in lovely fashion, with a surround of puff pastry and a crown of watercress and grape tomato salad. It’s dressed lightly with a lemon vinaigrette. Mom pronounced it delicious (she’s a scallop-phile).

Scallop Tart

Scallop Tart Close-Up

Full yet? Make room for entrees!!!

To begin, we ordered the Banger and Booz with Guinness Stew and Mashed potatoes. This dish is over the top, because it really is like two entrees in one!

You have the bangers (mild sausages), but then they are topped with a thick, rich Guinness stew, which is full of tender beef chunks and flavorful root veggies. Fun caramelized onions are piled up on top! I really like this dish, and though Rose and Crown still takes my vote in the Battle of the Bangers for pure sausage-i-ness (it’s a much simpler dish over there); this really should be on your list of items to try on an upcoming trip to Raglan Road.

The flavor is sophisticated, so don’t just expect a standard savory sausage taste — there’s more to this, especially with the deep Guinness flavors in the stew.

Banger and Booz with Guinness Stew and Mashed Potatoes

Next up: the Fada Burger. In short, it was amazing — so amazing that I’m already planning to order it on my next visit!

What sets it apart? There is a terrific mixture of flavors: Irish bacon; a slice of strong, sharp, nutty Dubliner cheddar cheese; a flavorful tomato chutney in lieu of ketchup; and a huge portion of savory beef really make this a taste explosion. Add in the Irish chips, and I’m a happy, happy AJ.

Fada Burger with Irish Bacon, Tomato Chutney, Dubliner Cheddar, and Chips

And about that cheese…I am serious when I say that it’s amazing and I LOVE it. I love it so much, in fact, that I ordered a piece of Dubliner cheese for myself just to satisfy a craving (you see…the burger wasn’t mine…so I couldn’t eat it all.)

The quality of this particular sharp cheddar just makes such a huge difference to this burger and the other dishes in which it’s featured. And so, that is the story of the lonely little piece of cheese on a plate…I’m pretty sure our server thought I was crazy with the martini in the tall glass and the random “piece of cheese” side order.

Dubliner Cheese

Our final entree is the Raglan Road’s fun take on a classic: Keen Eye for Shepherd’s Pie. A perennial Raglan Road favorite, this one has been on the menu for a long time, with good reason.

The HUGE portion is full of rich ground lamb, crowned with a perfect coronet of smooth mashed potato, and surrounded by savory gravy. The dish incorporates a healthy dose of Guinness, evident in its complexity. We’ll also take this opportunity to you remind you that shepherd’s pie traditionally signals that you’ll be eating lamb, whereas cottage pie, though similar, normally features beef.

Keen Eye for Shepherd's Pie

Although we had certainly enjoyed a pretty wide selection of menu offerings, no way were we skipping dessert!

Dessert Menu - click image for larger version

We began with the Bailey’s Creme Brulee Tart, a very interesting take on the standard “find-it-everywhere” creme brulee dessert. Making it into a pie is a fantastic twist! Everyone at the table enjoyed this one, which had a velvety, creamy and rich texture that never strayed into “gelatinous.”

This is one of my favorite hallmarks of Chef Dundon’s cooking. The custard-family desserts that I’ve tried of his have been strong and creamy, and never lacking in rich texture. To put it simply — they don’t taste or feel like milk jello. Yay! He even makes a panna cotta that I love! I never thought that would happen!

Bailey's Creme Brulee Tart

Next on our list was Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding with Butterscotch and Custard Sauces, another classic Raglan Road dessert that everyone should try at least once. Granted, it’s very hard to finish due to the pure bigness of it, but you owe it to yourself to try! The taste comes close to ‘Ohana’s bread pudding, which you all know I worship.

Ger's Bread and Butter Pudding with Butterscotch and Custard Sauces

Bread and Butter Pudding with Sauce

I found the Raspberry Pavlova, on the other hand, to be very disappointing…and, even more sadly, this was the dessert I personally ordered. I’m NOT a meringue fan. NOT AT ALL. I don’t understand how puffy sugar is a dessert, so I was pretty unhappy here. (Why did I order it, you ask? THAT is a good question, my friends. Clearly I didn’t know what a pavlova was.)

It’s beautiful, and the ice cream was good, but it was wasted on me overall. Luckily, I snagged bites of the other desserts so I didn’t feel too deprived. If you’re a meringue fan, though, go for it!

Dundon's Delight: Raspberry Pavlova with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream and Raspberry Sauce

Dundon's Delight Close-Up

But we were back to solid ground with the Strawberry and Apple Crumble. We really loved this dessert during our last visit to Raglan Road, and it was great again this time as well. Think warm oatmeal cookie with fruit, sauces, and ice cream. How can you go wrong?!

Strawberry and Apple Crumble

Overall

Once again, Raglan Road delivers with an amazing dining experience. Whether you are there for an evening of live entertainment, or you visit during the day for lunch as we did, you will not be disappointed.

Excellent food, beautiful surroundings, and a festive vibe will engage all of your senses. Once again: the menu has changed slightly since our visit, but most of the dishes we enjoyed are still available!

Have you had the pleasure of dining at Raglan Road, or do you plan to in the near future? What’s your choice for an entree?!

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22 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    We will be having lunch there May 11th. Woo Hoo!

  2. Heather says:

    Love Raglan Road! It’s been a couple of years, but my daughter still talks about the Lobster Club.
    Too bad the specialty drink menu looks a bit ratty… bad show.

  3. marcellina says:

    We eat here pretty frequently on our Disney trips and I personally think it’s mostly good with a few misses. I ordered the Pie in the sky (I believe that’s what it’s called? It’s basically a pot pie) and while it was okay it wasn’t great. I have, however, tasted that Fada burger and agree with you… it is AMAZING! My husband ordered it and let me have a (few) bites. My mother once got a flatbread here that was really great too. I also agree with you about the bread service, yum!

    The desserts are pretty great…. that bread pudding is massive .. definitely share it with someone because not only of the size, but it’s so rich it’s hard to eat the whole thing alone… and I ordered the creme brule tart in february and loved it.. but I’m a big custard, creamy, vanilla type of fan.

    great review! You really hit a lot of areas and it is a fun place as far as drinks/entertainment/decor goes. I imagine it would be really fun with a large group of friends on a friday night! ;)

  4. Julie AKA hippiejewel says:

    We ate there last month. I had Sod the Stew. Which is their version of beef stew. OMG it was amazing. The presentation was wonderful as well as they brought it in a little cauldron. So worth a stop to try.

  5. Bill White says:

    Is it sad to admit that I always get the Dalkey Duo as an entree when I visit this place, and am so full I have never tried anything else? They are SO GOOD, though! How could anyone not love battered, fried sausages?!

  6. Jill D says:

    oh my goodness, i have never thought of Raglan Road as a destination, but after this review i am adr-ing it after i type this! My husband says he found Irish cheddar in Fairway (a fancy supermarket in NYC) that was so sharp it kicked his butt! love it!

    p.s. Fairway also had the caramelized goat cheese from Norway, it was awesome!

  7. Kathy Coppola says:

    We tried Raglan Road right after it opened. That was our mistake. They were still working out the kinks and we were sorely disappointed. Food was good, service was terrible. That was, I believe, six years ago. It seems they’ve hit their stride since then! It will definitely have to get back on our list of restaurants to try on our next trip (whenever that may be).

  8. Joanne says:

    We will be eating dinner there on our first night at Disney in September. My mom will be with us and she has been to Ireland, hopefully it will stack up! My husband will LOVE the Fada burger, right up his alley. Too bad the music and dance are so late, our reservations are at 5 PM since we will have traveled and have two wee ones! I bet my 7 yo would have loved seeing some Irish step-dancing!

  9. Maureen says:

    I love Raglan Road.. I always get , It’s not bleeden Chowder… but last Sept. the seafood must of been bad because I had stomach issues from the moment it went into my mouth for the next 3 days :(…… Always get Ger Bread Pudding! Awesome! Great review.. I am going to try some of the things you suggested next time.. thanks :)

  10. Sheilla says:

    It’s been 2 years since I had the Ger Bread Pudding… and I still find myself salivating at the memory. Heading back in December and that bread pudding is one of my definite must haves for the trip!

  11. ClareyB says:

    I think you have just convinced me I should have my wedding reception meal here ….. I have been looking for a decent lunch meal on WDW outside of the parks and have been coming up empty handed! I have eaten here for dinner and assumed lunch would be the normal sandwiches! But this looks gorgeous and will save me a fortune on private dining! thanks Disney Food Blog.

  12. Gordon says:

    We dined at Raglan Road for the first time in 2010 in the evening and it was the best meal of that trip. The servers were brilliant and looked after us oh so well, even changing my sons burger when he found the cheese too strong. For me though the Shepherds Pie was astonishing. The flavours were great and when it arrived I worried the portion was too small but once you start to eat you realise what a rich and filling dish it is. I cannot recommend Raglan Road enough and even sitting and relaxing in the surroundings is a joy. Although to be honest sitting under a portrait of Bob Geldof can be off-putting, lol

  13. Patty says:

    If for nothing else you had me at Creme Brulee! Add Bailey’s and I’m hooked!!!!!!!!

  14. James says:

    Raglan Road! The place that ruined macaroni & cheese for me. Since I tried their version made with Dubliner cheese, I can’t eat mac & cheese without it. (Fortunately, my wife is a great cook and has incorporated Dubliner cheese into our mac & cheese meals at home.)

    Great review! Thanks, AJ!

  15. MUGger says:

    Great review! BTW — Dubliner cheese is available in most US grocery stores, with the specialty cheese display. It is my “go-to” cheese at home. They also make Swiss cheese, and some sharper and milder cheddars along with the Dubliner.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I love how unique their menus are! Even something boring like a chicken sandwich has Dubliner cheese and Irish bacon and a fried egg.

    And I just saw James’ comment–mac and cheese with Dubliner cheese?! Give me that and one of their fantastic beer drafts, and I am the happiest of campers. :D

  17. Alan says:

    Gee, AJ, when I have drinks served in a martini glass the liquor never gets warm. Oh yeah, this is such a complete and well done review that it is clear you really enjoy Raglan Road. I second that emotion.

  18. Dan says:

    Ate here yesterday for lunch. Food was great! Pretty pricey. Girlfriend had a slight peeve with the bread. They call it soda bread, but it’s actually wheaten bread. (she’s Irish and knows her stuff!) minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but still an annoyance.
    P.s. Guinness reduction is amaze-balls

  19. carol says:

    After reading your review and seeing all that gorgeous food, I just changed our Christmas Eve dinner reservations from Biergarten to Raglan Road. I am now salivating and cannot wait to get stuck into some good Irish grub! We have traditionally always eaten at Cookes Of Dublin upon our arrival at Disneyworld, and last year my hubby wanted to do Raglan Road but we ended up going elsewhere. It means we will have to leave EPCOT earlier than we planned but I think we will have a great experience here and then turn in early and wait for Father Christmas to arrive. Thanks for a great review.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I just emailed Raglan Road because I was making reservations for my next trip and noticed that the Eatin’ and Drinkin’ Mushroom Soup wasn’t on the menu, and received a response that it’s no longer served. I’m devastated!

  21. Mary Lou says:

    I went in September and can’t get it out of my mind! Sod the Stew is out of this world. I emailed Raglan Road and they sent me the recipe!! I have yet to try it though! I’m going back in October and will definitely order the stew and the bread pudding again!!!

  22. Joni says:

    Love Raglan Road!!
    They have the best soups, Tomatoe Gin my fav then the Beer Cheese, then Calcannon and Mushroom. Mom loves the Butternut Squash.
    Goat Cheese Salad is nice too.
    Nice place to dine.

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