the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Guest Review: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom tends to get mixed reviews. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her family’s first-time experience at this Disney World restaurant.

Like most families, my husband, daughter, and I have favorite restaurants in Disney World that we like to visit again and again. On our most recent trip, we decided to break out of the box and dine only in restaurants we haven’t tried before.

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant hasn’t been on our list mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and regularly prepare Italian-American dishes at home. Also, reviews for this spot have been mixed at best, so we weren’t sure we wanted to risk our meal plan credits. But, we were committed to our plan and chose to give Tony’s a shot. Besides, who can say no to a Lady & the Tramp theme?

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Atmosphere

The restaurant space on Main Street that houses Tony’s has been around since the park opened in 1971. Unlike the incredible theming of Disney restaurants today, previous dining venues in this space were sponsored by Oscar Meyer and Hormel. In 1989, Disney completely remodeled the restaurant and incorporated a Lady & the Tramp motif. Since the movie takes place in a Victorian-era American city, Main Street is the perfect backdrop.

The restaurant in the movie is famously Italian, and the atmosphere of Tony’s reflects this. From the black and white tiled floors to the dark wood banquettes, Disney does its best to deliver on this point.

Tony’s Main Dining Room

Tony’s Main Dining Room

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The walls are decked with the artwork of Ducky Williams, a senior character artist at Walt Disney World. They are all original paintings.

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

There was a nice effect by our table – a painting of Lady & the Tramp appears behind a faux window, giving you the impression they are outside, about to kiss.

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

The centerpiece of the main dining room is a sweet fountain featuring Lady & the Tramp. It’s lovely to see older Disney movies and characters celebrated in this way.

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

There is a beautiful sunroom off the main dining room with lots of natural light that offers fantastic views of Main Street. I can see how this would be a terrific viewing spot for parades. Be sure to request this area if you plan on eating a meal during parade times.

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

As with all Disney restaurants, when you enter, you must first check in at the host stand. It is easy to see and well staffed. There is a small waiting area that loops the movie Lady & the Tramp on a TV to keep anxious children occupied if you have to wait. There was also a cast member with a Tony puppet entertaining would-be diners. We arrived a little early for our Advanced Dining Reservation, and they happily sat us.

The Check In Desk

The Check In Desk

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

We were led to a table that had two seats on a banquette and two chairs. When my husband sat on the banquette, we were disappointed to find that it was too low to comfortably enjoy his meal. The server quickly brought him a chair, and the problem was resolved.

Eats

The menu features loads of Italian-American favorites. We each chose to try something different. Since my life’s mission is to find the perfect meatball, I went with the meatball sliders. I was expecting smallish bland sandwiches with a little sauce. Boy was I wrong!

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Instead, I got three medium-to-large sandwiches and a heaping portion of potato chips. The meatballs were a balanced combination of meat (beef and sausage), breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs with no single component overwhelming the others. They were topped with house-made marina, provolone cheese (melted just enough to make it soft but not gooey), and a little arugula (for a spicy kick). All this on focaccia rolls that didn’t get mushy or fall apart, even with loads of sauce on them.

My daughter ordered the spaghetti and meatballs – an Italian-American classic. A very large portion of pasta arrived, with the same marina and meatballs as my dish, only with smaller meatballs. I’ve read in many sources that people wished the dish came with more sauce. I would have to agree with that observation. It was accompanied by a piece of toasted bread sprinkled with cheese. Not a fussy dish, but satisfying and plenty to eat. My daughter enjoyed it.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

My husband tried the shrimp scampi with sundried tomatoes and asparagus. I make shrimp scampi pretty regularly, so I had a preconceived idea of what this dish would be. It is a diversion from the familiar, but still delicious. The shrimp is not dredged in flour and sautéed. Instead, it appears to be poached in a broth of wine, butter, garlic, lemon, and parsley.

The flavor profile of the original is there, but is lighter and with more liquid to coat the large portion of spaghetti it is served with. The veggies (asparagus and sundried tomatoes) round out the dish and give it an earthy flavor.

Shrimp Scampi with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Asparagus

Shrimp Scampi with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Asparagus

On to dessert! Again, we all tried something different. I had the pistachio crème brulee. The delicately browned top had a nice crack to it as I broke through to the creamy center. The pistachio flavor wasn’t noticeable, but it still tasted good. The portion was generous.

Pistachio Crème Brulee

Pistachio Crème Brulee

My daughter had the chocolate gelato. Two scoops of smooth and creamy ice cream were served with a piece of biscotti. Very yummy.

Chocolate Gelato

Chocolate Gelato

My husband chose the chocolate cake. Two layers of chocolate cake smothered in a hazelnut chocolate frosting and garnished with chopped hazelnuts and a piece of chocolate. It looked more chocolatey than it tasted, but was still enjoyable.

Chocolate Cake Layered with Hazelnut Filling

Chocolate Cake Layered with Hazelnut Filling

Overall

There’s a lot of mixed chatter on the internet about this restaurant. I think people should approach it with a different mind set. If you want authentic Italian cuisine with bold flavors and every component made to order, you’re best bet isn’t a theme park restaurant. If you’re looking for a place with satisfying Italian-American dishes (served quickly so you can get back to the park) in a clean and well-themed environment, Tony’s is for you.

We were pleasantly surprised by our experience, from the food, to the service, to the way the staff handled our complaint. And you can’t beat the location. It’s a restaurant everyone should try at least once.

And when you’re leaving, be sure to take a peek at Lady and the Tramp’s paw prints in the cement outside the restaurant!

Lady & the Tramp’s Paw Prints in the Cement Outside of the Restaurant

Lady & the Tramp’s Paw Prints in the Cement Outside of the Restaurant

Rebecca Elliott writes and hosts the food blog Home Cooks Unite! She is a dedicated foodie and Disney enthusiast whose latest trip to the Magic Kingdom included some incredible dining experiences.

Have you had a delicious meal at Tony’s? Let us know any dishes that your family enjoyed at this restaurant!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

30 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    Did your daughter end up with gelato or ice cream? You call it both.

  2. Sandra says:

    Laura, gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, specifically ice cream made in the traditional Italian style, which is a bit different from most ice creams served here. Denser, with less air and a minimum of 3.5% butterfat.

    We ate lunch at Tony’s two years ago and were pleasantly surprised with how good the whole experience was. The service was efficient and pleasant, the atmosphere, though busy, let us enjoy our meal at a relaxed pace. My son had the spaghetti and meatballs, and although I thought there wasn’t enough sauce, he was happy with it. My husband also commented that with the smaller amount of sauce, you could actually taste the pasta (he had the chicken parmesan which was a good rendition of the simple dish). My veggie pasta, on the other hand, was very good but over-sauced for my taste. Still, that didn’t spoil it for me as I ate all of it. We had the zucchini appetizer and the squash soup, both nice lighter starters. And for dessert, our favorite Disney dessert: the pistachio crème brulet. Having had it at the Fireworks Dessert Party, we knew we would get it at Tony’s. Our son selected the chocolate gelato too, and scraped the bowl. All in all, a good if not gourmet meal, in a nice restaurant, with decent service. Although more than I would have spent at our local Italian restaurant (I’m a Jersey native too), we felt we liked it enough that we wouldn’t hesitate to come back again for lunch or dinner.

  3. nicole says:

    I know this sounds funny but does anyone know if you can get the shrimp scampi without the shrimp? Looking for a dish that’s different from red sauce pasta but don’t know how fresh the shrimp would actually be.

  4. Nicole, the great thing about the chefs at Walt Disney World is they are extremely accommodating to individual requests. I am certain you could get the scampi without the shrimp. I’m not certain if they would reduce the price of the dish, but it’s worth asking!

    Laura, my daughter received gelatto. Ice cream and gelatto are so similar in preparation and flavor, I assumed it wouldn’t be confusing. Hope that helps!

  5. Holly says:

    We ate at Tony’s I year ago. I had a seafood pasta dish. I rarely return dishes at a restaurant but this was so incredibly salty I couldn’t eat it. We will NOT be eating there again!

  6. Becka says:

    Thanks for the review! I am planning my next trip to WDW and I have always wanted to eat here but with the mixed reviews I was nervous to try it previously. Next trip I am giving Tony’s a try!

  7. Kev says:

    I would definitely agree with Rebecca, the chefs go to incredible lengths at WDW to fine tune your meals to be just as you like or need them to be. We’ve sat in awe of their patience as they guided an indecisive guest at the Plaza Restaurant on one particular occasion. I wanted to shake the guy’s hand, he was so kind to the lovely older lady as she chose her lunch with his help.

    We’ve only dined a couple of times at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, mainly because the food was just kind of ‘OK’, but your post has also reminded me of many of the other aspects that make a meal at Disney, so much more than just the food itself!

  8. Margaret says:

    Like you, once we decided to give Tony’s a try, it quickly became one of our favorites because 1) motif, 2) convenience, 3) satisfying. Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Alaina says:

    First things first, I hate that there are mixed reviews about this restaurant. To me, Tony’s Town Square holds charming, happy memories that literally warm my heart. From two years old to now 22 years old, it’s still the restaurant I get most excited about when visiting Disney World (and it doesn’t even have characters). Even though I get the same dish every time, (because let’s be real, the spaghetti and meatballs are just a classic), I never leave unsatisfied or thinking that the dish was better/worse than the year before- it’s always perfect.

    I love that Rebecca conveys the same excitement that I have about this restaurant as she notices the Lady and the Tramp tributes and classic vintage Italian-American vibe. Most of all, I love that she points out exactly what it is: a theme park restaurant that operates as quick as possible in order to get you back into the park, with satisfying dishes that leave you so full you want to rethink that third round of Space Mountain.

    To me, Tony’s is an experience. A quick, non-cheesy (or really cheesy, depending on how you like your pasta) journey into the world of Lady and the Tramp- spaghetti and meatballs included.

  10. Elaine says:

    Those meatball sliders sound really good. We usually eat at Tony’s when we are at the MK because Lady and the Tramp is still my favorite Disney movie and it just makes me feel good to eat there. I am a picky eater and we do a lot of QS meals so this is one time I like to sit down and enjoy a meal. I usually get spaghetti and meatballs as my tribute to my favorite movie. I don’t make spaghetti at home and no it’s not world class but I just enjoy the experience. I seemed to remember years ago that they served breakfast – I remember sitting outside and enjoying my eggs over easy and a glass of orange juice. Am I remembering correctly? I swear instead of a sunroom it was an open porch. Anyone remember?

  11. AJ says:

    Elaine — Yes; they did serve breakfast! Many folks are very sad that it’s no longer available.

  12. Kristy says:

    I’ve only visited Tony’s once and I have to admit I don’t even remember the food because I was so disturbed by how chaotic and LOUD it was! It honestly felt like being stuck in the middle of a Chuck E Cheese on a Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I don’t know it this was just a bad day or it’s always like that, but I’m so afraid to waste another meal there to find out!

  13. Jym says:

    That was an excellent review. Well-written with great pics but enough descriptors that I could visualize the food before I saw the pictures. Huzzah!

  14. Kim says:

    I remember eating a character breakfast at Tony’s during a Crystal Palace rehab (maybe 10 years ago as our son was little and wanted to eat with Pooh) and we sat in the sunroom.

    I’m glad that I booked this restaurant for our upcoming Christmas vacation!

  15. Gina Cerasuolo says:

    I’m so happy to read a positive review about Tony’s. Our experiences were hit and miss and we haven’t dined there in quite some time. I will happily give it a try on our next trip to the World. Also, (as a side note), traditionally it is my understanding that in authentic Italian cooking, the sauce is more of an accompaniment to the pasta. The pasta should not be swimming in sauce. Everything you posted here looks amazing though! Anyone remember when Tony’s did breakfast?

  16. Dave says:

    My wife and I have eaten there quite a few times and have never been disappointed. But they do need to bring back the Taste of Italy appetizer.

  17. dani says:

    I don’t understand how they possibly could have made the creme brulee without it tasting like pistachios…

  18. cheryl breese says:

    This Oct. will be my third trip to Tony’s. I am not Italian, but I do love their food. I have had meatball sandwiches and sliders from Calif. to New Jersey, and I believe Tony’s has a very good version. Meatball delicious, sauce not too spicy, and bread held its form very nicely. My family has tried just about everything on their menu (their were 14 of us), and not one single complaint. Our reservations are already made for this Oct. 5th. Can hardly wait!

  19. Avaitor says:

    I’ve always wanted to try out Tony’s, but whenever we go to Magic Kingdom, we just don’t spend too much time in Main Street. Usually we head for Fantasyland first, since I just always have to check out the line for Peter Pan, then take our day from there. As a guy who’s always down for some nice Italian and has an eternal soft spot for Lady and the Tramp, I’m seriously considering trying out the place just once.

    Perhaps next time, although my heart is set out to finally try out Be Our Guest first…

  20. Dana says:

    I have good memories of eating here when I was a child, but my experience as an adult were the opposite. I now have a gluten-allergy, and my meal here was horrible. There were only a few things that could be made gluten-free, and I went with the pasta – bad mistake. My husband’s food wasn’t much better, though. His desert, however, was good – I remember he had some sort of cake that I was insanely jealous of. I had a prepackaged cookie – the same ones that they give people with gluten allergies as a desert at a counter service restaurant. Most sit-downs offer at least ice cream or a sorbet, but I had a prepackaged cookie that I could have gotten anywhere. We won’t be back.

  21. Essie says:

    I ate there on my very first trip, 16 trips ago! We had breakfast and it was wonderful, but I’ve never been back. Thanks to your excellent report and photos, I will go back in the future. I love the old classics, too, and I think the fountain in the center of the dining room is lovely. The food looks very good, much better than some reports in the past. Thanks for the information; I enjoyed reading your review very much.

  22. Sam Winston says:

    Disney should take a cue from universal and start incorporating more flat screen tech in the parks, like their do in their staterooms on the cruise line.

    This restaurants really calls out for windows with animations in shadow form

  23. Maria says:

    I ate there with my children last week; my daughter and I had chicken Marsala ravioli which was one of the most delicious things I’ve dvr’d tasted in an Italian restaurant. My son had spaghetti and meatballs, and since I make my own, he’s usually very lucky about restaurant meatballs, but he ate every bite. The chocolate hazelnut cake was incredible, as was the gelato. And our waiter, Pedro, was very attentive and made us feel so welcome. It was a lovely experience all around, and we would definitely go back on our next trip to WDW!!

  24. Paul in CT says:

    Elaine,
    I remember when Tony’s did serve breakfast in the late 80′s. It was highlighted in the Official guides in ’89 and ’91 as I recall. Although the food at Tony’s does not receive great reviews, we had an excellent meal at an outside table on the veranda during SpectroMagic several years ago. It was the best unobstructed view of Spectro that we ever had. :)

  25. Diana McCormack says:

    Great review. I never knew this place existed. Will have to add it to the line up next time we visit!

  26. JoAnn says:

    I ate at Tony’s in February and would eat there again. I had the chicken parmesan. The chicken was delicious. I didn’t care for the sauce (but it wasn’t the restaurant’s fault – I don’t care for chunky sauce in general). I also felt there wasn’t enough. I asked for more and my server brought more out right away.

  27. Erin Elizabeth says:

    I had to laugh because despite spending about a month a year in WDW, we live full time in NJ. So we too haven’t eaten at any Italian restaurant on property. We always say we will, but never want to spend the diningp points on Italian knowing how great it is at home. But this place looks and sounds good. Thanks for the review.

  28. MeLissa says:

    We’ve always been on the fence about Tony’s because of the mixed reviews. I’d love to watch MSEP from there, but I just can’t get past a place that plunks sauce right on top of the naked pasta. All the other food looks great, but I’m more of a “add the noodles to the sauce and finish it in a sauté pan for a few minutes” kind of girl.

    Thanks for a great review!

  29. Brenda says:

    Rebecca, my daughter and I totally agree! We tried it last month and really enjoyed it. We were there for dinner and each had salad, my daughter had the spaghetti – which she liked and I tried the canneloni which was surprisingly light and nice and tasty. I wish more people would give it a fair chance, obviously it is a theme park and you are not going to get that taste of Italy but for Italian American food, this was really good :) Thanks for the great review!

  30. Sandra says:

    Melissa, you must watch Food Network! I notice a lot of places do that on the shows, but being from NJ and growing up near Philadelphia, I have eaten at lots of Italian restaurants and homes. How they sauce the pasta is as varied as you can think: on top, on the side, in a gravy boat to serve yourself, with the pasta and sauce mixed, etc. For plain spaghetti, I have never been served any way but sauce on top, which is how my son’s came.

    Gina, you’re right. You are supposed to taste the pasta; the sauce is a sauce, not the main part of the dish, so there shouldn’t be too much. That was my only problem with my veggie pasta, a bit too much sauce. I think we are so used to pasta being used as a base for the stuff on top that we don’t realize that for Italians, the pasta must have a good flavor and texture too.

    Dani, the flavor is very, very subtle. I figure pistachio is more of a suggestion. ;) Still our favorite WDW dessert (and we’ve tried lots).

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *