Guest Review: Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort

With an open kitchen and whimsical decor, Flying Fish Café boasts an impressive menu where diners enjoy a relaxing, “seaside” setting at the BoardWalk Resort in Walt Disney World.

Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features a steak dinner (that’s right, landlubbers!!) at this restaurant.

The Epcot Resorts provide a very nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Future World and World Showcase, not to mention awesome restaurants and watering holes.

My travel agent’s favorite restaurant is Flying Fish Café. Every time they visit Walt Disney World they book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR). So, I figured, why not, let’s try it. This trip we decided to give it a whirl!

Using the My Disney Experience app I made a 4:30PM dinner reservation for two. Rather early, but given the temperature, humidity, and heat index, it turned out be a good move.

The Long, Hot Walk

The Long, Hot Walk

We decided to walk over rather than take the boat. Either way, both involved no air conditioning!

We Hit the Boardwalk

We Hit the Boardwalk

We reached the Boardwalk and stepped back in time. After a quick stop at the ESPN Club for a soft drink, to cool off, and to kill some time, we ventured on.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish

Atmosphere

There it is! Nicely tucked away. The setback pulls the restaurant away from the hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk and provides a little quiet. Depending on your approach, the Café can be easily missed. After checking the posted menu we headed inside.

Flying Fish Door Pulls

Flying Fish Door Pulls

The flying fish theme begins right at the front door.

But, before we head inside, a question; why the name ‘Flying Fish’? It fits with the Boardwalk theme and evokes the roller coaster ride of yesteryear at Coney Island called Flying Turns.

While we waited to be seated I took in the décor.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel

Fish Hook Light Fixture

Fish Hook Light Fixture

Murals of Yesteryear Fun

Murals of Yesteryear Fun

Roller Coaster Motif

Roller Coaster Motif

Seating Area

Seating Area

The Bar

The Bar

Flying Fish Light Fixture

Flying Fish Light Fixture

It was at this point I started to think of the name ‘café’ and how it contrasted to the structure itself (I don’t want to call it a ‘restaurant’). Dictionary.com defines café as: 1) a restaurant, often with an enclosed or outdoor section extending onto the sidewalk (nope, didn’t see that), 2) a restaurant, usually small and unpretentious (not from my view), and 3) a barroom, cabaret, or nightclub (not really). Maybe more of an oxymoron? Or just a play on words? Something to ponder.

As we waited by the reception desk I scoped out the seating area and determined where I wanted to sit.

Kitchen

Kitchen

This spot looks good to me. Now, can I convince the Cast Member to seat us here?

Reception Desk

Reception Desk

I asked, and was granted, seating at the Chef’s Counter, the closest thing to the Chef’s Table you can get. (Editor’s Note: Flying Fish does do a “Chef’s Counter” meal, but outside of that seating, other guests are able to have their meals here at the Chef’s Counter.)

My View From the Chef's Counter

My View From the Chef’s Counter

My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Disney does it up well. Granite counter top and linen napkin with the Flying Fish motif embroidered. Nice touch!

Eats

First off, we looked over the wine list.

Black Stallion Chardonnay Menu Item

Black Stallion Chardonnay Menu Item

We selected the Black Stallion Chardonnay.

Black Stallion 2012 Chardonnay

Black Stallion 2012 Chardonnay

We enjoyed it very much, noting a lovely nose of green apple, lemon zest, and vanilla followed by flavors of citrus, brown butter, pear, and flint. The 2012 Chardonnay is soft and round on the palate with bright fruit and creamy notes that lead into a long, elegant finish.

Now we get down to the business of the menu and what to order.

The Menu

The Menu

During my visits to Walt Disney World, I always check out Cast Member name tags. I want to know their name and am curious as to where they moved from. Tim, our server for the evening, grew up in the city next to where we live. In fact, he is familiar with our neighborhood. How cool is that!

Potato Bread

Potato Bread

Tim brought us Potato Bread to munch on while we perused the menu. A very interesting bread with a nice, airy texture with pieces of potato throughout. That’s the cool thing with many Disney restaurants. They do not serve just ‘bread’ or ‘rolls’; at least at the restaurants I have visited.

Choosing the appetizer was rather easy. I like to try different offerings where possible to enjoy the Chef’s take and development of the ingredients. So I selected the crab cake.

Flying Fish Café Crispy Crab Cake Menu Item

Flying Fish Café Crispy Crab Cake Menu Item

Wow! Look at the plating! We eat with our eyes as we ‘see’ the food before we taste it. If it is visually appealing it enhances the experience.

My Crab Cake Appetizer

My Crab Cake Appetizer

Almost too pretty to eat. Nah! Because of the extreme heat, humidity, and heat index I wanted to eat light tonight. This was not a heavy appetizer.

No Filler Here

No Filler Here

The slaw was made with cabbage, red and yellow peppers, carrots, and finely shredded cucumber and the light vinaigrette provided a nice amount of acidity to balance the crab cake. Mix that with the dots of roasted tomato coulis (adding a little sweetness) along with the slight hint of heat from the ancho chile remoulade (WOW!), that makes for a nice, balanced bite, with no single flavor overpowering the other — especially the crab cake — the star of the dish. Topped with micro basil, it brings the whole thing together. Nicely done! Oh, and there was more crab than filler in the cake — can’t beat that!

Now for the entrée. A tough choice. All offerings looked sooooo good. What they need to do is offer a ‘menu sampler’. Tiny bites of everything. Why not, they do it with beer! Where is the suggestion box?

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak Menu Item and more!

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak Menu Item and more!

Well, this is a first! This was supposed to be a picture of the daily quote. I neglected to take a full, clean shot of my menu item. But you can get the general idea of the entree. I settled on the steak over Panzanella Salad.

One of Those Steaks is Mine

One of Those Steaks is Mine

One of the advantages of sitting at the Chef’s Counter is watching the meal prep. The chef manning the wood-fired grill in front of us was kept busy grilling steaks, chicken, shrimp, and salmon. All done in a very calm, controlled manner. No ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ theatrics here! And one of those steaks is mine!

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak

Looks good, huh? Well, let’s see how it is prepared.

Grilled Medium Rare

Grilled Medium Rare

Medium rare-as ordered. I consider this entrée lighter fare given the bed of Panzanella Salad rather than a heavy starch. The thyme-roasted garlic dressing was a nice complement to the local greens, red onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and beans. The croutons were a perfect size, matching the chop of the peppers and tomatoes in size.

The steak was topped with a sauce foyot. A what? It is definitely good. Foyot Sauce is a variation on the classic Béarnaise sauce (consisting of butter, egg yolks, vinegar, black peppercorns, shallots, tarragon, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice) made by adding meat glaze (a concentrated reduction of brown stock), to the basic Béarnaise. This gives the sauce a deep, meaty flavor that complements the tanginess of the Béarnaise. Like Béarnaise, the Foyot Sauce is typically served with grilled steak. Works perfectly here! What a nice touch.

We split a side of Creamy Risotto di Carnaroli.

Creamy Risotto di Carnaroli

Creamy Risotto di Carnaroli

Can’t wait to try this. Normally, risotto is made with Arborio rice. Arborio rice is a variety of short-grained rice used primarily in the classical preparation of risotto. Originally cultivated in Italy, today it’s grown in California and Texas, too. Because it undergoes less milling than ordinary long-grained rice, it retains more of its natural starch content. Cooking releases this starch, giving risotto its creamy consistency.

Carnaroli rice is a type of Italian rice sometimes used in risotto dishes. While Arborio rice is the best known type of rice used in risotto, particularly in the United States, many cooks prefer carnaroli. Carnaroli rice contains more starch than other rice varieties. It also retains liquid and holds its shape better than arborio rice and has a larger grain, making for a more textured dish. It is often described as “the king of rices”.

The risotto is topped with fresh tomatoes and crispy artichokes and contains mascarpone, plus yellow tomatoes as well as a nice chiffonade of basil to add some color and super nice flavor contrasts. Yum!

As I noted earlier, the menus contain ‘Quotes of the Day’. Chef Tim Keating told us there is no particular theme — just ‘whatever strikes us as interesting’.

Here are a few.

Billie Burke Quote of the Day

Billie Burke Quote of the Day

M.F.K. Fisher Quote of the Day

M.F.K. Fisher Quote of the Day

Another nice, subtle touch.

OK, what to order for dessert.

‘El Sol Single Village Peruvian Chocolate Trio Menu Item

‘El Sol Single Village Peruvian Chocolate Trio Menu Item

We decided to split the Chocolate Trio.

Oooh, here it comes!

Dessert

Dessert

Left to right. Chocolate sorbet-filled candied orange-scented chocolate profiterole. Nice contrasting flavors from the sweetness of the chocolates, the citrusy tang of the orange and the texture of the profiterole (cream puff).

In the middle is a chocolate sable Breton with thai chile raspberry sauce and a raspberry truffle ganache lollipop. Don’t worry; it’s just a mild touch of heat from the chile contrasting with the dark chocolate-like cacao mix.

And finally, on the right is a ganache pudding with salted chocolate caramel. Inside is a surprise == gelatin pearls that just explode in your mouth. There are also some chocolate crunchies tucked away in at the top of the dish. A nice balance of flavors; a perfect cap to a great meal!

Time to head out.

After-Dinner View

After-Dinner View

We were greeted with this view as we left the restaurant.

Overall

Final thoughts. If you haven’t tried this restaurant, add it to your list of ‘must eat’ places. You will enjoy the experience. Janine, thanks for the tip!

What’s your favorite menu item at Flying Fish Cafe? Share in the comments below!

 

Comments

  1. Katie says

    I am so excited that you did a review at Flying Fish Cafe! My soon-to-be husband and I will be dining here and will be enjoying their “Chef’s Counter Wine-Tasting Dinner” on our honeymoon! So very exciting! I will let you know how the experience is! I’m sure to take photos as well!

  2. Jenny says

    The look of the restaurant is a bit overpowering, especially the floors. One crazy carpet to go into another crazy carpet. I think it would be much better with hardwood floors.
    ok onto food

    Your meal looked amazing, definitely would like to try this place sometime soon.
    Thank you for your review.
    :)

  3. oj says

    You went to a seafood restaurant and managed to get the only non-seafood item on the menu? Sacrilege!

  4. Frank says

    Without a doubt… our favorite restaurant on property.
    The people AND the food make it # 1 in our book.
    We’ve not found a more attentive, friendly staff anywhere.
    Frank

  5. Hannah says

    My favorite part of this review is totally the pictures of the boardwalk and the walk between the boardwalk and Epcot. We have been going to Disney for 21 years and mostly have stayed in this area with our favorite park being Epcot. Makes me homesick. Thanks!

  6. Pat says

    I’ve been comtemplating eating here this upcoming summer. We are staying at the Beach Club Villas from 7/3-7/10. What’s the dress code like? Is summer attire appropriate? Not so much tank top and swimsuit, but can men get by with shorts and a polo or is it a little more upscale?

  7. Marion says

    My husband and I are going to Orlando in June for a conference and after many trips to Disney, we are finally eating at Flying Fish! I’m excited! Thanks for the review and everything I learn about eating at WDW through this blog.

  8. liana says

    Pat.. in my experience nicer summer attire would be fine.. not tank top casual… but my husband wore a blue blazer. But the family next to us were in golf shorts and polo.. neither gent looked out of place. Btw… get wine recommendations and have fun with it!

  9. Deb says

    Ate here a couple of nights ago and was very much impressed! There was a little wait for a table but as we were hungry, took the offer of eating at the bar. The staff were friendly and helpful with suggestions and recommendations from the menu and the experience was the same as sitting at any table nearby. One of the women who served us was from where I work in Scotland so it was great to hear her story of being out here.
    We skipped appetisers this evening and I had the Mahi Mahi which was absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly! For dessert I had creme brûlée (which I am a fond lover of) and I couldn’t fault the flavours or the presentation.

    Though it’s a signature dining restaurant, you’re not made to feel underdressed (I had jeans and a light lace cardigan on as I’d come from a day in Epcot). Definitely recommend this place to anyone! Glad you enjoyed your experience too! :)

  10. Lance says

    Kim, your review of the Flying Fish Restaurant was outstanding. It has now moved up on my list of “WDW Restaurants Not Yet Visited”. Also, your details regarding the ingredients in some of the dishes you describe indicate that you may have some serious cooking experience. Anyway, during a visit about a year ago to Monsieur Paul in the Epcot/France Pavilion, I chose the Red Snapper in Potato “scales” with Braised Fennel and Rosemary Sauce. It was superb. The rosemary sauce made the dish come to life. I was told by a friend that Flying Fish has a very similar item on their menu called Potato Wrapped Red Snapper. I was wondering if anyone in your party has experienced this item and what kind of sauce was involved. Also, I was unaware that Flying Fish had Chef Table type seating. I will be sure to ask for this when i visit in the near future. Again, thanks for the interesting and detailed review. One the best I have read.

  11. Sandra says

    Pat, most of these better restaurants at Disney suggest business casual, but it is loosely interpreted. We actually bought two Disney golf shirts for my guys to wear to Il Mulino as they requested collared shirts (since my son only had tees and my husband a flannel shirt with collar he felt was too casual). They wore sweaters over them. The family at the next table came in shorts, t-shirts and rubber flip-flops and were not turned away. Nice shorts and a collared shirt as you might wear to a park should be fine. I think they just don’t want ripped clothing, gimme caps, etc. worn in the dining room.

  12. Jenna says

    We have an ADR here for the first time based on all the reviews this blog has made. Thank you so much for taking the time to post your pictures and thoughts – not only did it make me excited but I may have to order the same items! :)

  13. Lori says

    The crab cakes are one of their specialty dishes, and I enjoy it. When I was there a month ago, my friend and I were able to eat at the bar. We shared the mussels appetizer as part of our meal, and I’m glad we shared. The serving was HUGE! Plus they were fantastic.

    I often have the signature entrée of the potato wrapped red snapper, but this time I enjoyed a great salmon dish. I’m glad I got out of my rut of ordering my usual favorites.

  14. Mike says

    How do you go to a sea food restaurant and order a steak? You missed out on some great seafood meals. Love this place.

  15. Kim says

    Thanks, Lance. I can’t take credit for this outstanding review though. It was written by our guest author, Paul. I’m thrilled to share reviews from our guest authors and Paul has shared some delightful meals with DFB!!! :)

  16. Ashley W says

    If this is your idea of a “light” meal, I can’t imagine what your heavy indulgences look like! That being said, it all looks delicious! I’ll have to plan a meal there ASAP!

  17. Kristen says

    My husband and I sat in the exact same spot as you on our last trip!! Loved the viewing counter. Almost like dinner and a show. We too split the crab cake and enjoyed it very much.
    Not sure if they still have them, but we also had these killer pesto mussels when we went. SO GOOD!! The service was outstanding and everything was cooked perfectly.
    Just a tip, if you didn’t make a reservation, get there right when they open and ask to sit at the viewing counter or the bar. You can order the full menu there and they don’t take reservations for those seats. Personally, I like the viewing counter the best!

  18. Shay says

    So excited to head to disney in January… Does anyone know how long of a walk this is from the beach club resort? (my first time to the boardwalk and the Epcot area resorts)

  19. Frank says

    Any updated information as to when Flying Fish will reopen and who the new Head Chef will be???
    Thx.
    Frank

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