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Review: Citricos at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

Come along with us on a great date night destination at Walt Disney World — Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

If you haven’t had the pleasure, there are so many reasons to give this wonderful restaurant a try. It’s a little easier to get an Advance Dining Reservation here than other, more popular spots in the Magic Kingdom area.

But with food that rivals the hottest spots at Disney World — and a quiet, comfortable atmosphere — this has become a restaurant we return to again and again. Does it continue to wow? We shall see…

Atmosphere

Citricos is tucked back behind Victoria & Albert’s (another review we’ll be treating you to soon!) on the Grand Floridian’s second floor. And with that “hidden” location, Citricos is often the overlooked signature dining spot here in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Diners often gravitate to California Grill or Narcoossee’s over Citricos in favor of spectacular fireworks views.

But don’t underestimate this place. While the fireworks viewing potential is pretty small here, sometimes being the “odd man out” can make a restaurant even more compelling. Citricos’ strengths come in the form of warmth, elegance, and a very quiet, comfortable atmosphere. I keep saying “comfortable” over and over again, and I’m pretty sure it’s because these dining chairs are some of the best on property! No kidding!

Seating Area

Warm light, sunny colors, and copper details make this an inviting space. (And did I mention the chairs? They’re comfortable.) A full bank of floor-to-ceiling windows lets in plenty of natural light during daytime hours.

Seating Area Near Windows

I like the whimsical, colorful glass touches on the tables. The candle holder and bread plates really add a pop of color to the formal place settings.

Table Setting

It’s always fun to watch the action in the open kitchen. The setting is beautiful, and the staff is poised and professional as they go about dinner service. (Don’t forget to take a peek as you walk to your table to see what items you might want to try!)

Exhibition Kitchen and Expediting Station

Off to the side of the restaurant — just next to the kitchen — is the Chef’s Domain. I’ve had the pleasure of eating in this private dining room recently for a good friend’s birthday dinner, and it’s very nice. You can order from a specialized menu or stick with the regular offerings. For events ranging from a private dinner party to a more elaborate affair, this is a great spot. This must be booked well ahead of time, and there’s a food and beverage minimum cost.

And as a bonus, you can get a really good view of the pastry specialists working at their craft – yum!

Pastry Chef Preparing Desserts

Now, back to our regular old dining room experience! Just walking to our table was enough to excite us about the meal! We were ready to get started.

Eats

The menu at Citricos focuses on the flavors of Provence, Tuscany, and the Spanish Riviera. You’ll find bright flavors tempered with oak grilling.

Menu - Click to Enlarge

Is there a better way to start date night than with a glass of sparkling wine? I don’t think so!

Sparkling Wine

While we were looking over the menu, our server brought this beautiful multi-grain bread to the table. Crusty and delicious, this is clearly baked fresh in-house.

Bread Service

It was soon time to turn our attention to our appetizers. We began with the Sauteed Shrimp. It’s sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

Sauteed Shrimp

But in fact, this is blow-your-mind amazing. I don’t care if you like shrimp or not, this is just an incredible dish. Probably because it’s surrounded by about a pound of butter, in addition to the lemon, white wine, tomatoes, and feta. ;-) Seriously, though, if you take nothing else from this review…ORDER THE SHRIMP.

Sauteed Shrimp Up Close

Next, we shared the Chef’s Tapas Plate. What a fun combo of goodies here! The Clams Gratinati were surprisingly good; I didn’t think cheese and clams would work so well together, but they really do. The Sumac-rubbed Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Quail Egg was stellar too.

But the clear winner for me were the Spiced Panadas. Basically meat pies, these Sardinian snacks were savory, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. Don’t forget to share.

Chef's Tapas Plate

We also decided to have an order of one of my very favorite dishes, the Arancini. I’ve loved this stuff since I first tried it years ago.

Arancini

Basically deep-fried balls of creamy mushroom risotto (um…you guys know how I feel about mushroom risotto), they hit these out of the park every single time. I can’t imagine a Citricos meal without them. Here’s hoping they never take it off the menu.

Arancini Up Close

We also ordered the cheese course, as we always do. This particular offering is a little different from other Disney restaurants. While the portions are larger than other cheese plates I’ve had, there are only three cheeses included.

By the way — love cheese? Check out our Disney Cheese Plate Gallery. Yep, we have one. Because I love you.

Cheese Course Trio Menu - Click to Enlarge

We’ve seen the Drunken Goat as recently as my review of the Territory Lounge. The P’tit Basque was good, but not particularly memorable. The bleu offering, Fourme d’Ambert, was mild for a bleu and possessed an earthy flavor. TIP: if you order the cheese course, go ahead and request extra toast and honey. Because there never bring enough. In any restaurant. Ever.

Cheese Course Trio

If you can only do one appetizer: personally, I’d choose the arancini over this cheese plate in its current incarnation.

We were ready to turn our attention to entrees and began with the Berkshire Pork Two Ways. The “two ways” refers to rotisserie pork tenderloin and roasted pork belly. I lurve pork belly. It was the clear winner here!

But while it was delicious, and the sauce was great too, I’m not sure I’d order this dish again. The pork belly wasn’t enough to save the less flavorful tenderloin, which paled in comparison.

Berkshire Pork Two Ways

In fact, I was envious of the Oak-Grilled Filet of Beef sitting across the table from me. We usually flip a coin to see who gets to order this dish when we go to Citricos, because, as always, it was phenomenal! Every time I stray from it on the menu, I always want to come back.

Served with equally brilliant four-cheese mashed potatoes, this is almost too much. But not quite.

Oak Grilled Filet of Beef

Now, the menu also touted a Saffron and Green Pea Risotto, and since I have a love affair with risotto (we have a gallery for that, too), I had to order it as a side. I expected it to be quite flavorful, but it fell a little flat. Not recommended, but I’m glad I tried it. The more you know.

Saffron and Green Pea Risotto

We were pretty full from the incredible offerings, but there was no way we were skipping dessert. I had the Warm Banana Chocolate Torte, which is Citricos’ signature dessert offering.

Warm Banana Chocolate Torte

With chocolate lattice that looked more like art than food, this was beautiful and quite good, with the rich, deep chocolate flavor and bittersweetness of the caramelized banana. Still, the flavors and textures were a little singular. I tend to prefer more variety in my dessert.

The Lemon-Scented Cheesecake was (and always is) our clear favorite. This particular dessert is available at other spots around the Grand, and is obviously made in the main pastry kitchen. But it’s remarkably good, especially considering it’s mass-produced.

Lemon-Scented Cheesecake

Just as we were wrapping up dessert, the Manager graciously brought the cognac cart to our table. It was a delightful ending to our meal, as he explained the various bottles of spirits to us. Being surrounded by thousands and thousands of dollars of Cognac, Scotch, and more (AND the crystal bottles they come in, which can cost thousands even without their contents) is a pretty heady feeling!

The General Manager Discusses Cognac with Us

Navan Vanilla-Scented Cognac

Louis XIII Remy Martin Cognac

Glenmorangie Scotch

We ended up ordering a glass of cognac (not the one that cost thousands) and a glass of Grappa. A great end to the evening.

Snifter of Cognac

Grappa

After the meal, we were sent on our way with this adorable Biscotti. I enjoy that the Grand Floridian signature restaurants have started including “parting gifts” from time to time. ;-)

Housemade Almond Biscotti to Take Home

Overall

Citricos will likely never disappoint you, because I know it never has me. Not once. It consistently offers delicious food and impeccable service. In fact, I would say that a meal here rivals, and even bests, California Grill at times.

One potential complaint – and it won’t be a problem for everyone – is the pace of the meal. The staff here expect you to linger a while, enjoying your food, enjoying your company, and relaxing. A meal at Citricos will potentially last two to three hours, so don’t book it and expect a wham-bam experience.

This won’t be your cup of tea if you’re in a rush or have crabby kiddos. On the other hand, it’s rather quiet, so a child inclined to drift off to sleep may be very happy and comfortable here. I’ve even seen families push those uber-comfortable chairs together to create a cot for a sleeping toddler. Great idea!

All in all, this is an awesome place to escape the madness of Disney; a place where you can take in the calm and relax for a bit. And order the shrimp.

What is your favorite menu item at Citricos? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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15 Comments

  1. Fran says:

    Citrico’s has been one of my favorites for years! Always top-notch service and outstanding food. And a big plus, as you mentioned, it’s not as popular as other signatures so it’s easier to get an ADR and it isn’t overrun by children like California Grill can be.

  2. notchris says:

    Egads, this is one of my favorites yet I never noticed how ugly the chairs were until this post.

    Also, the format of the Chef’s Domain might be changing in the near future.

  3. Shayne says:

    We’ve never eaten here, though it is on the to-do list. Our next trip already features the Grand Floridian’s two other signature dining experiences, so I think this will have to wait for another trip, sadly.

    However, if my husband reads this and sees that they have grappa, our Narcoossee’s ADR may get bumped in favor of Citricos! :D

  4. We ate there 2 years ago and our experience was the polar opposite. I found it to be extremely noisy. The menu that you show looks exactly like the one from two years ago. I found the food uninspiring – no where near California grill. I’d never pick this over cg, yacht, artist, brown d, flying fish..

    However maybe it changed. You definitely look like you had a great time. Thanks for the review.

  5. marcellina says:

    What a great review! Besides V&A’s, California Grill is my husband’s favorite fine dining restaurant and while I enjoy it too I always want to try something new. I’m going to suggest this to him for our next trip. Those bottles of Cognac and Scotch are beautiful! Great photos, so classy AJ! ;)

  6. Janelle says:

    I ate for the first time at Citrico’s last May while on a business trip staying at Contemporary. The CA Grill was booked, so we went to Citrico’s. I found it to be very good and would recommend it to others. I enjoyed the Cheese Course Trio (although I love all the cheese courses on property :), the Citrus Salad was wonderful…loved the Marcona Almonds, Berkshire Pork Tenderloin and finished off with the wonderful and fresh Tropical Fruit Creme Brulee…but then again I am a admitted Creme Brulee junkie.

  7. Karen says:

    Ah yes, I LOVE Citricos. I also love that not many people no about so shhhhhhh! The last time I was in there a wedding party had booked the chef’s table. We sent them a couple of glasses of champagne and they came out and gave us a few samples of what they were having as well as their fabulous Disney created wedding cake. From the amuse bouche all the way through to the cheese course I am totally in love with this place! I do also love Victoria & Albert’s, especially the Chef’s Table! I must say that the Grand Floridian Resort has some of the best choices all around for dining. I give it 6 stars!!!!

  8. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I only have two little things to say about this place:

    1) It’s strangely underrated. When people talk about MK resort dining Citricos is usually only the 4th or 5th place that comes up after VA, O’Hanna, California Grill, and sometimes Kona or Artist’s Point. That’s a shame.

    2) It’s huge. Just a massive, bright, airy space.

  9. Joey B. says:

    I ate at Citrico’s in June, and was very impressed with the gazpacho and the grouper. I will definitely try to get the pictures into the DFB flickr group. For dessert I had the chocolate tiara, and I definitely agree with the review’s assessment. Citrico’s always makes for a fun and delicious meal. It could almost be considered a hidden gem.

  10. Billy says:

    A.J., what can I say? DFB was already my favorite blog, but the link to your Cheese Gallery cinched it. LURVE!!

  11. Becky says:

    For some reason I am just never impressed with reviews or pictures of food from Citricos. It’s one of the few places I’m not dying to try. I think it’s me though – the types of things on the menu just don’t really appeal to me all that much.

  12. Carolyn says:

    AJ – as a recent devotee to your site, I am impressed with the personal touches (a personal reply when I downloaded my F&W guide – thanks!). Our family has always loved Citrico’s – we spent the Millenium there (FABulous!) as well as the two eves prior to the millenium at the Chef’s Domain Table. I’ve also spent the odd happy hour there that I don’t remember too much detail about :) I even met Hootie and the Blowfish there!

    I am planning my sister’s 40th bday party there as we speak (Chef’s Table) and can’t wait. I live in Switzerland and despite being exposed to the cheese course on a regular basis…I just can’t get into cheese after dinner. But – more for everyone else!

    Does anyone know if the Chef’s Domain Room will have enough space to leave my sister’s bday cake on display thru the meal? I am ordering a fancy customized one and I want to be able to look at it for more than 30 seconds before we cut it!

  13. Carolyn says:

    AJ – as a recent devotee to your site, I am impressed with the personal details! (a personal email after I downloaded my F&W guide as an example!).

    Our family has been a long time devotee to Citrico’s and I am also glad that it is a bit of a “hidden gem.” We were there for the Millenium (SO fun!!) as well as two nights prior at the Chef’s Domain table. I’ve also spent a few happy hours that I vaguely rmember as delicious and even met Hootie and the Blowfish there!

    I am now planning my sister’s 40th bday party there and cannot wait! Does anyone know if the Chef’s Domain table has enough room to leave her bday cake on display thruout the dinner? I am ordering a customized fancy one and want to be able to look at it for more than the 30 seconds prior to cutting!

    Thanks again for the great review..and I have to agree with a previous reply – the chairs may be comfy but…they are UGLY. :)

  14. AJ says:

    Carolyn — Thanks for reading! How many folks will be at the party in the Domaine?

  15. Carolyn says:

    Hi AJ – it will be a full house – we will be 12 (I was told this is the max). I vaguely remember from the Millenium that there is a decorative back wall that perhaps has a counter-like functionality… I was hoping they could put it there – or on a small table in a corner?

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