AAAARRRRRR ye ready to grab some food with yer fellow Pirates at Tortuga Tavern?!
If you AAAARRRRRR, you should know that Tortuga Tavern falls under the “open seasonally” category of Quick Service restaurants, so you’ll only catch it during the busiest times of year such as the holidays, spring break, and peak weeks in the summer.
With summer upon us, and especially busy weeks such as the 4th of July holiday week soon approaching, you may have more of a chance to catch it open in the coming months. We thought we’d take a look now in case you should find it open during your vacation, so you can decide if this is a place your inner Pirate needs to visit.
Please join us for some Grub and Grog in this ever-elusive spot…
… if ye be brave enough to enter under the Jolly Roger, that is!
Tortuga Tavern sits directly across from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Adventureland. The thing about the Tavern is that, since it is only open occasionally, there isn’t much in the way of detailing.
Juuuuuust kidding. Thar’ be plenty of treasure here, mateys! (Okay, I’m almost out of Pirate-speak, I promise… almost. )
Proprietor, A. Smith, welcomes you to this Pirate hangout!
And he offers plenty of fine dinnerware for the crew.
Though Blackbeard makes his presence known above the Toppings Bar…
… Captain Jack Sparrow’s “Black Pearl” has the largest Crew in the Roster, even over Blackbeard’s “Queen Anne’s Revenge.”
Although, Captain Jack’s Roster also includes the parrots (second column), so that’s something to consider .
Bullet holes in the outside courtyard are signs of a scuffle… because, you know… Pirates and all!
Wondering what the rules are at Tortuga Tavern? Fret not, me hearties… just follow the Code of Conduct!
I’m grateful to the Cast Member who kindly pointed out something I may have otherwise missed: the retired sign for El Pirata Y El Perico (the previous name for this location) up in the rafters.
Even the utensil dispenser gets it’s own special font… I kind of love that .
By the way, you can enjoy some of the details of Tortuga Tavern almost anytime, even if it’s not in operation. The room with the Toppings Bar also serves as a spot for those playing the “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom” game (as identified by the “Sorcerers” symbol on the floor in front of the fireplace).
Because this is a busy-day spot, one of its purposes other than grub is seating — and plenty of it! After receiving your food at the counter, it appears as though there is seating in the area just in front of you. But you’ll find that the table areas go on and on…
… and on.
So when you see one of these, grab it!
Notice that pretty much every other table is full? We arrived at noon… high lunch time, which is something I don’t recommend, especially during these busy seasons. But — and I’m sure many people who’ve traveled with hungry family members can relate — sometimes the day just shakes out that way.
And it’s a good thing we finally found a spot, ‘cuz a Pirate’s gotta eat!
The Tortuga Tavern menu offers five entrees with a focus on Mexican fare (did you know Caesar Salad was created in Mexico by an Italian restauranteur? They serve it at San Angel Inn as well… and the only reason I know that little fact is because the story is written on their menu ).
My husband ordered the Beef Nachos.
I’ve already briefly mentioned the Toppings Bar, but these first pictures of the Beef Nachos show how they come to you: ground beef over tortilla chips topped with black beans, roasted corn, diced tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion, and… plastic cheese!!!
I should mention that we each received a packet of Sour Cream with our order.
Now, if you’re accustomed to the Fixin’s Bar at Pecos Bill’s, you may be expecting something much larger. At Tortuga, the Toppings Bar is pretty simple, really… just lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa (both red and verde), and diced tomatoes.
So, if you’re looking for plastic cheese to top your dish, you won’t find it here. Good thing it comes on the Beef Nachos!
While the Nachos came topped, my husband did visit the toppings bar to top his cheese-covered Nachos with… more cheese.
Oh, and some lettuce.
I stole more than a few of my husband’s Nachos, so I can verify that they were plenty tasty! The ground beef is very finely chopped and well-seasoned. If you’re familiar with the Taco Salad at Pecos Bill’s, this is the same style of meat (Tortuga Tavern serves the Taco Salad as well).
We both enjoyed the chips, too. They were thick and hearty enough to stay crisp underneath the mountain of toppings.
For my entrée, I went with the Vegetarian Burrito (you can also choose a chicken or beef burrito). The flour tortilla, as you can see, is GIGANTIC – bigger than the plate it comes on, for sure, and it was pleasantly soft and fresh.
The filling is simply black beans and cilantro rice.
I would’ve liked to have seen a bigger serving of black beans, but I happily filled up any “empty” room with every topping from the bar.
By the time I was finished, it was no longer a “lift-able” burrito, so I went forward with a knife and fork.
Aside from more beans, I also would have preferred a stronger presence of cilantro in the rice (sorry, AJ, and all you other non-cilantro folks out there! ) . Still, even though the flavors were simple, the Vegetarian Burrito offers a really nice change of pace as well as a filling meatless option.
Be prepared for the potential to do some serious seat-hunting at Tortuga Tavern (during the busiest times of year, though, that can be said of just about everywhere in the parks). If at all possible, aim for an 11:00-ish arrival, or a 2:00-ish one.
Even if you do have to search for a spot, for little Pirates who can’t get enough of the attraction, this Pirate’s “pub” is a fun way to extend the experience. And I, for one, will totally stop in for a dish of those Nachos whenever I see this spot open from now on – they make me wish it were open all year.
If you can manage to find it open, a stop at Tortuga Tavern offers a nice bit of variety to your Quick Service choices in the Magic Kingdom!
Have you had a chance to eat at Tortuga Tavern? Please let us know with a comment!