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Review: Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Bonjour, Mes Amis! We are heading to the City of Lights today for a luncheon at one of Epcot’s most iconic eateries, Les Chefs de France!

The bistro, located in the France Pavilion, has been a fixture of World Showcase since Epcot’s earliest days. It’s served thousands of meals to Epcot guests, and you’ll still find its tables full if you visit today.

Les Chefs de France has had the happy distinction for me of providing consistently decent food and friendly service — something that can’t always be said about Disney restaurants. Since I’ve had some truly fine meals here, I was ready to head back for lunch with AJ’s Mom and Dad (whom many of you know!).

Atmosphere

The food has been good to great during every visit that I’ve made in recent years to Les Chefs de France — but that’s only part of the story. Because I would be in love with this restaurant based upon looks alone.

Menu and Place Setting

That’s because I personally think that Les Chefs de France represents some excellent restaurant themeing. If it weren’t for the kid in Mickey ears at the next table, it’s very possible that you’d forget you’re actually in Florida.

We visited during the day, but I just couldn’t help but show you this gorgeous view of Les Chefs de France at night.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- My Favorite View!

It reminds me so much of my first trip to Paris that I wanted to share it with you.

And that’s the beauty of this restaurant. If you’ve had the pleasure of a trip to Paris, you will probably have eaten in (or at least seen) a spot that looks Just. Like. This.

Inside Les Chefs de France

Photos of the original “Les Chefs de France” team — Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenotre, and Roger Vergé — line the walls. These days, Chef Bocuse’s son, Jerome Bocuse, runs the France Pavilion restaurant empire. (Check out the photo of Chef Bocuse on opening day in front of Les Chefs de France that hangs upstairs in Monsieur Paul. You can see it in our review here.)

Decor Featuring Photos of the Founding Chefs

The color palette in Les Chefs de France tends toward rich neutrals, featuring beige and gold, with accents of burgundy and dark wood. Within the dining room, there are three distinct seating areas.

In the front, there is a sun room, lined with a wall of windows, that is perfect for people watching as you dine.

Les Chefs de France Window Tables

These are some of our favorite tables, as they offer plenty of light and scenic views of World Showcase and the water across the walkway. Someday I’ll sneak in a solo dinner here and just people watch as things start heating up on the World Showcase in preparation for IllumiNations.

The front sunroom was once patio seating, but was enclosed, presumably to offer a more comfortable place to dine year round. It’s a pity, since outdoor seating would be lovely. However, sweltering while eating soup?…not so much. So I definitely get it. (If only Imagineers could control the weather!)

Seating in the Front Sunroom

The interior of the restaurant features comfortable mixed seating, which utilizes banquettes and chairs.

Seating in the Interior Dining Room

The side of the restaurant, wrapping around to the back, is also an enclosed sunroom and is sunken toward the back. (Or rather, the ground outside rises. Either way, it’s an interesting perspective — both from inside and outside.)

Enclosed Patio Seating on the Side

The decor is true to the theme here, and offers the feeling of a vintage Parisian dining spot.

Ceiling and Light Fixture Detail of the Enclosed Patio

I had to include one more night time shot, just so you can see how truly magical the restaurant is at night. Just beautiful.

Les Chefs de France Back Sunroom at Night from the Outside

But we are back to daytime, and ready to take a look at the menu. Let’s head back inside and see what looks good.

Eats

The menu for Les Chefs de France continues to present some classic French fare. After all, there’s a reason those dishes are favorites.

Like most of the World Showcase restaurants, diners can order from the a la carte menu, or they can choose the prix fixe menu and select courses from a list of some of the most popular options.

Appetizers, Vegetarian Entrees, and Prix Fixe Menu -- Click to Enlarge

While the menu is on the small side, lovers of traditional French food will find many of their favorites here. Less adventurous eaters will also find a few American options hidden among the French menu items.

Sandwiches, Quiche, Crêpes, and Entree Menu -- Click to Enlarge

To begin, our server brought us a fresh, crusty Demi-Baguette to enjoy before the rest of our meal came. These are truly fantastic. Even if you don’t have an advance dining reservation scheduled for Les Chefs de France, be sure to grab one from Les Halles around the corner.

Baguette

And it’s a given that if I’m enjoying a baguette in a French restaurant, there will also be cheese involved.

The Plateau de Fromages de France has changed a bit since our last review. During our last visit, we enjoyed large portions of three different cheeses. This time, we enjoyed smaller (but still bigger than what you get on most Disney cheese plates) portions of five varieties: Brie, Gruyere, bleu, Gouda, and goat cheeses. (You’ll find a very similar cheese plate at Les Halles.)

In other words: Heaven.

They’re served with a few slices of Fruit and Nut Bread and some Walnuts and Grapes. Personally, I really enjoy the cheese with the baguette more than the other accompaniments.

Plateau de Fromages de France

My husband ordered the Salade Maison. It was tossed in a light Vinaigrette, and was very fresh.

Salade Maison

We also ordered the Bisque de HomardLobster Bisque. It had the smooth, rich texture and beautiful color of a classic bisque, and was garnished with pieces of Lobster. This was a good version of the classic favorite.

Bisque de Homard

Although we had sampled the Escargot at countless Food and Wine Festivals throughout the years (and the dish is back at the France Booth for 2013!), we had never ordered the dish at Les Chefs de France. Deciding there was no time like the present, we took the plunge. I absolutely adore the classic presentation!

Cassolette d

The escargots are nestled in the indentations of the plate, then covered with an herbed butter before they’re broiled. They’re then topped with golden toast rounds to soak up all of that wonderful flavor. They were really delicious, and such a fun little luxury!

Escargots -- Up Close

When it came time to order, we decided to go slightly Americaine for our first option. After all, this was a new menu item that I’d never experienced before!

Steak Hashé Angus is kind of a funny way to say hamburger, since most of the time, it’s really just called hamburger in France. (With an accent, of course.) Still, it’s a fun little way to keep the theme alive.

The burger is definitely served with some French-inspired toppings, however. Mushroom Duxelles (basically, a flavorful chopped mushroom topping or filling), Onion Confit, and Bearnaise — BEARNAISE!!!! — made this a pretty enticing choice.

Steak Hashé Angus, Champignons et Bearnaise, Frites

Served with your choice of Salade ou Frites…guess which one we chose? :-) Don’t those frites look glorious?

The meat is a little more well-done than I prefer, but the toppings make this a tasty choice. And that fresh bun is simply gorgeous!

Burger -- Up Close

We also decided to have a go at the Crêpe Florentine, another new-to-me menu item, and the only savory crêpe option available.

The thin crêpe basically covers the filling of Chicken, Mushrooms, and Spinach, which are served in a Béchamel Sauce. The dish is covered in Cheese, and is then broiled to a golden brown. The effect is sort of similar to a pot pie, but with a very thin, very cheesy crust.

Crêpe Florentine

This looked, in a word, incredible. I would totally have eaten every single bite all by myself.

Crêpe Florentine -- Up Close

But what’s a trip to a Parisian bistro without at least one Croque Monsieur at the table? My mom beat me to it and ordered this one.

It’s a substantial affair, piled high with Ham and Cheese, and doused generously with Béchamel Sauce inside, before having more Cheese added to the top. It’s broiled as well. Are you sensing a trend here?

Croque Monsieur

I also could not pass up the opportunity to order one of my most favorite meals in the universe — the Tarte a la Flamme Alsacienne.

So, basically, I had sort of an addiction to these in my Switzerland days.

Tarte a la Flamme Alsacienne

A (very pretty) flatbread topped with Crème Fraiche (yes please), Onion, and Bacon. Complete poetry.

Unfortunately, this one was a bit too brittle and dry for me. Definitely needed more Creme Fraiche, so I was a little disappointed.

Tarte a la Flamme Alsacienne -- Up Close

No meal is complete at Les Chefs de France without seeing a rat. No, I’m not kidding.

But ça va! Because it’s that lovable, interactive, animatronic star from Disney-Pixar’s Ratatouille, Remy. Serious cuteness. I always love when he comes to the table!

Remy Makes an Appearance!

After a delightful visit from the little guy, it was time to turn our attention to dessert.

Dessert Menu -- Click to Enlarge

We looked over the menu and the after-dinner drink options and made our selections.

After Dinner Drinks Menu -- Click to Enlarge

I have been sampling my way through the fine selection of Disney sorbets lately, and decided to keep that good thing going by ordering the Assiette de Sorbets du Jour, which was garnished with a very puffy Madeleine.

The presentation was beautiful and the dish was delicious and refreshing — the perfect end to a rich lunch.

Assiette de Sorbets du Jour, Madeleine

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t stick my spoon in and get a bit of the Profiteroles au Chocolat! Because these are — to quote Robert Palmer — simply irresistible. (See? We’re hip here at DFB. Whatever.)

Profiteroles au Chocolat

Cream Puffs are filled with Vanilla Ice Cream and then covered and pooled in THE BEST Chocolate Sauce ANYWHERE. Strawberries and some White Chocolate Shavings provide a pretty contrast. Such an amazing dessert, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it isn’t on more dessert menus!

Profiteroles from Another Angle

The Crème Brûlée was a vanilla variety, so it still isn’t as interesting to me as some of my favorite versions of this classic, like Flying Fish Cafe’s peanut butter and jelly one.

Crème Brûlée

Still, there’s something to be said for the perfect execution of a classic.

Crème Brûlée -- Up Close

With its crisp sugar shell and perfectly creamy center (no curdled eggy mess here!), this is practically the poster child for this well-loved custard dessert. I think it belongs in the Crème Brûlée Gallery — don’t you?

Overall

Another fantastic lunch at Les Chefs de France is in the books. If I had to choose only one meal to exemplify the experience of eating within Epcot’s World Showcase, this would probably be it. It’s fairly affordable (as Disney standards go), and it has everything: friendly service (notice that I didn’t say the service is necessarily GOOD, but it IS friendly!), reliably good food, and perfect themeing.

If you are on the fence at all about whether or not to book Les Chefs de France, I say go for it. Anyone who has ever wished for a weekend getaway to Paris should enjoy their sojourn in this little corner of it in the States.

Is Les Chefs de France one of your favorite spots for lunch or dinner? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience!

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26 Comments

  1. Kristi says:

    My daughter and I love coming here! We have an ADR on the 20th for lunch. My daughter will be turning 7 on this trip but it’s been on her must do list for years. The children’s menu offers a pan fried flounder served with fresh tomatoes and green beans that she loves (she still steals my Gratin de macaroni though lol).

    We have always had wonderful servers (including last year where our server almost cried when I declined dessert and insisted on at least bringing me some sorbet so I didn’t miss out). They always make my daughter feel special. Remy and his handler are a wonderful accent to the meal. Most adults seem to enjoy the visit more then the few kids you actually see in the restaurant.

    At the first lunch seating you can watch the street performers out the window and can wave to Aurora & Marie as they head to their meeting spots.

  2. Bryan says:

    Just got back from a Disney trip where we stopped at Les Chefs for the first time… EXCELLENT! The short ribs in pasta was phenomenal, and I’ve never had escargot before but the appetizer was awesome. Can’t recommend highly enough!

  3. W.D. says:

    I have enjoyed many meals here since it opened. Many of my favorite memories, though, are of the wait staff doing something special. This is a great restaurant that I wish didn’t have a hamburger.

  4. Dana says:

    We love eating here, but at night it does get pretty loud. The tin ceiling seems to just make every little sound echo, and it can be hard to hear what the others at your table are saying. We try to only eat here at lunch, now, because it’s much quieter. The short ribs are amazing, and my husband loves their lobster bisque. And the creme brulee is a must! Not as good as the creme brulee at Le Cellier, but it’s a classic.

  5. Amber says:

    We dined here for the first time back in Aug ’13. Service was very slow but the food was excellent. I had an amazing steak with green beans and scallop potatoes. I thought it was delicious! My 10 year old sister had the escargot. She LOVED it! As for me, can’t bring myself to try it. She still talks about the amazing snails she ate. My husband had the Plat de cotes de boeuf au Cabarnet avec pates. He said it was good except he said it tasted like pot roast and it was not what he wanted. So he was disappointed so now he does not want to dine there again. I think if he had tried something else he would feel differently about it.

    As for dessert, I also had the Profiteroles au chocolat. The sauce was great. However, I did not like the pastry. Was actually hard to eat. The texture was weird. Soft but rubbery when you took a bite. However, my husband loved his creme brûlée. It was his birthday and they brought his dessert out with a candle in it and several of the waiters sang happy birthday to him in French. Was very special

  6. Karen says:

    This is perhaps my favorite Epcot dining spot. I really believe that the prix fixe lunch is one of the best values in any WDW restaurant. We took a trip with extended family in 2011 and had lunch here. Many members of the group were skeptics at first but now they still rave about “lunch in France” over two years later.

  7. Alan says:

    We really miss the old patio restaurant. I think it was actually a separate restaurant as I don’t remember going through the regular one to be seated. On a spring or fall day it was just so perfect and brought to mind the outdoor cafes of Paris. I love the Chefs but I wish they could find room for outdoor seating at the least. A lobster bisque for me and an onion soup for my wife with a bottle of white, s’il vous plait!

  8. gillian says:

    We must be the only people to ever have a bad experience at Les Chefs. The only good thing we had was the french onion soup and the baguettes. The rest was bland, bland, bland. Even the profiteroles — aside from the chocolate sauce, which was definitely fantastic. I’ve read so many positive reviews, though, so I believe we must’ve been there on an off night. We might just have to try it again.

  9. Chef David Arnold says:

    This restaurant is one of the most classic, iconic places in EPCOT. I have been dining here for 30 years and consistently get great food and service. I consider the manager Phillipe to be a good friend and anxiously await each and every trip that I make there. If you have not experienced the upstairs restaurant, it was recently redone and I think that it is better than before.

  10. Monica says:

    We just ate dinner here on Saturday night (8/31/13).
    It was outstanding meal and experience. Out waitress, Pauline, was good and share stories from her France. I would go back and definitely recommend it.

  11. Kylea says:

    We made reservations to specifically see Remy for our trip last year. It was a special request from one person in the group and the rest if us got excited to “meet” him, we even watched the movie before our trip! The meal itself wasn’t bad, but we’re not big on French cuisine. I used it as a chance to try something new and different. I was nervous about trying the escargot, but they were actually quite good. The bisque and creme brûlée were our favorites.
    Turns out Remy was on vacation and would not be visiting that day. If meeting him is important, be sure to ask! I was told ‘if I had known he wasn’t going to be there, I wouldn’t have asked to eat there.’ Oh, the drama of planning for a group!

  12. Sue V. says:

    I have been eating here for almost 20 years now. We loved it, then had some pretty bad service more than once (they just weren’t nice), and then a not-so-great meal. We stopped going. After a couple years we decided to try it again. Other than my favorite rolls that were missing (exactly like the rolls I had when I was in Paris in the 80s), it was a much better experience than it had ever been before. We felt like the whole attitude had changed. One of our servers waited on us her first week at WDW (and in the US). She was so sweet, and remembered us when we came in a couple months later, and then again when I came in with someone else! The addition of Remy is great, and we only go at lunch so we can see him (and have the prix fixe meal, of course). Now you’ve made me need a meal there when I visit in less than two weeks. It really is an iconic Epcot restaurant. Thanks for the review.

  13. Essie says:

    Well, that does it for me. I didn’t think that I would ever eat in France, but I’m def having lunch there on my next trip. The food looks wonderful (before all of the dishes with the heavy cream sauces kept me away), and now that I know that Remy visits at lunch and not just at dinner, I’m going. I love Remy and you don’t get to see him much anywhere in WDW. Do you recommend ADRs for lunch, AJ? Boy, that fruit and nut bread on the cheese board looks wonderful. I never thought that I’d be this excited over a meal in France! Thanks for the report.

  14. Taylor says:

    We’ve got an ADR for the 25th and can hardly wait. SO. UNBELIEVABLY. EXCITED.

  15. Marion says:

    I enjoyed this wonderful restaurant for my birthday last year. I’ve traveled in France and it does feel very authentic. The tables are close together….the food is rich and satisfying….and it’s a great way to celebrate when you can’t actually go to France!!!

  16. Dina says:

    This looks so lovely! I can’t wait to try when I visit soon. How does remy show up? I can’t wait to see that!

  17. Tricia says:

    Looking forward to lunch here next week.

  18. Tim says:

    My wife, who travels to France for work, claims that the burger is not truly authentic since it isn’t blood rare. HA!

    That being said, we love eating there. Wish we were eating there again at the end of the month.

  19. Ashley F. says:

    We ate here on Christmas day as part of the Candlelight Processional package. It was exactly what I wanted – celebratory and exciting, but not too “out there.” My husband had the escargot and enjoyed it, and I LOVED the cheese plate. The entrees were fine from what I remember, and it was my first time trying creme brulee, which I loved as well.

  20. Marlene says:

    We enjoyed Remy at lunch. A lot of fun.
    Remy isn’t there every day.
    Currently Monday – Saturday?

    On Walt Disney World Entertainment site, Steve Soares does a great job listing entertainment with times and days. (Always check first if it is really important! Sometimes things change!)

    http://www.wdwent.com/
    click on Epcot
    scroll down for France:

    Remy Experience NP (Not Published)
    Inside Les Chefs de France.
    Monday-Saturday at 12:30, 1:40, 2:50 & 5:00pm

  21. Victoria says:

    I love Les Chefs to France as well, but was shocked at how poorly executed the French onion soup was during our recent visit. The onions were in huge chunks and were completely undercooked (read: still crunchy). Too bad :(

  22. notchris says:

    I may have asked this before and don’t remember the answer: Can they make it a croque madame?

  23. Jess says:

    I ate here back in April and loved the crepe! I would definitely eat here again. I also loved seeing Remy! It was a nice surprise. He is too cute!

  24. Mike Venere says:

    No, Gillian there are plenty of us however no one else seems to be commenting.
    Maybe I will give this a try for lunch, because my bad experience the 1st time was disturbingly topped by a worse time the 2nd time at dinner.
    Food was bla and service from the time I walked up to the podium was arrogant and rude.

  25. Dave says:

    I came here once and was very disappointed. I found the duck to be dry. After reading this I will give it another chance. Does anyone know if they cook meat to order?

  26. AJ says:

    notchris — I haven’t seen them deviate from the menu and add an egg, but I don’t suppose it would hurt to ask!

    Dave — I haven’t been asked my preference for any of the meats on the lunch menu, but I would expect that you’d have input to the beef tenderloin and duck breast on the dinner menu.

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