We are enjoying a leisurely lunch today at Les Chefs de France, the table service restaurant in Epcot’s France Pavilion.
Chefs de France
This iconic eatery has been the location of many happy meals and memories for me through the years. But as with other Disney spots, it’s always good to check in occasionally. Disney restaurants can be wildly inconsistent; a place that’s spot-on during one meal can go south the next time you visit. So I always make it a priority to check back in at all of Disney restaurants to see if they’ve gotten better or worse, and to show you what they’re serving up lately. You get to choose if they’re worth your time and money.
Let’s go. 🙂
I have very early memories of this restaurant. When you walk by at night, it just looks so cozy inside! And it’s honestly beautiful any time of day.
Little has changed here since the restaurant first opened when the park did. But that’s ok. Because the whole point here is to look like a classic French bistro that you’d find in Paris. And it really, really fits the bill.
Incidentally, my most recent visit took place during the day, but here’s that cozy nighttime photo for ya!
Inside, rich wood details lend an air of formality to the decor. Antiqued mirrors serve to bounce light around and seem to enlarge the space.
Framed photos celebrating the heritage of the restaurant line the walls. Fans of Epcot history will note the original “Les Chefs de France” team —- Chefs Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenotre, and Roger Vergé —- in the pictures. Only Chef Bocuse is still with us today.
Currently, Chef Bocuse’s son, Jerome Bocuse, manages all of the France Pavilion restaurants. (For more fun nostalgia, check out the photo of Chef Bocuse taken on opening day in front of Les Chefs de France that hangs upstairs in Monsieur Paul.)
You’ll find comfortable seating throughout the restaurant, with a palette of gold and burgundy dominating the color scheme. Large palladium windows allow light to enter the space, so even though the decor is somewhat formal, it doesn’t feel dark or stuffy.
The enclosed patio on one side of the restaurant is a beautiful place to sit, and is situated at the back slightly below street level. It’s always a fun perspective, and makes for great people watching.
The front patio area (by the way, all of these “patios” are fully enclosed and air conditioned) also offers some great people-watching, and you’ll be able to see the France street performers during their show.
And — what am I always saying? — be sure to look up. 🙂 The ceilings here carry that same sense of authenticity. I love the detail of the light fixtures and tiles.
It’s time to look DOWN at the menu, however. Let’s see how Les Chefs de France is faring these days.
Like many of the other World Showcase table service spots, Les Chefs de France offers a 3-course, prix-fixe menu as an option. This can be a good way to sample some of the restaurant’s most iconic dishes and keep the price of your tab down at the same time.
No matter what you order, you’ll begin your meal with a fresh Baguette, served with pats of Butter. Baguettes are created and baked right in the ovens of the France Pavilion, so the bread you’re served at Les Chefs de France is always fresh.
We decided to share a Cheese Plate at the table (of COURSE). Along with the cheese, you receive rounds of Raisin Walnut Bread, Fruit, and Nuts.
The cheeses featured on the plate are always subject to change, but ours consisted of five varieties: a Bleu, a Swiss, a soft Goat Cheese, Brie, and a Port Salut, which is a mild cow’s milk cheese from the Pays de la Loire.
This is honestly one of my favorite cheese plates on property. It’s always good, and it always offers a hearty amount of cheese. (Some Disney cheese plates can be pretty stingy.) I would love to see the addition of honey, and possibly a few more accompaniments overall, but the cheese here is good enough to stand on its own to be sure.
Need more cheese? Me, too. Our first entree was the Gratin de Macaroni. Yes — Macaroni and Cheese. 🙂 This is a cult favorite at Chefs de France, and the version is made rich with a combination of nutty Gruyere and Cream. The dish spends a minute or two under the broiler before arriving at your table, so take heed: it’s very hot. But it is definitely worth all of the accolades as well as its cult status.
But I always love to order the A la Flamme Alsacienne. I don’t order it on every visit, because I DO have to try new things from time to time, but I have a special place in my heart for this one. The free-form tart is similar to a flatbread, but is made with short pastry instead of bread-like dough. It’s topped with Crème Fraiche, Onion, and Bacon, and it’s heavenly.
My nostalgia for this one goes back to when I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, and frequented a restaurant called Les Brasseurs. There, we would always order flammenkueche — which is pretty much what you see below. So simple, but so, so decadent. My only wish? Add a little cheese. 😉
FYI — on this visit the Flamme was a much better consistency than it had been on my last visit — less crumbly and brittle.
Having tried the Crêpe Florentine during our last visit, we also decided to sample a new menu item this time, the Crêpe a la Tartiflette de Savoie. This time, the crêpe served as a crust for all of the deliciousness.
It was filled with — get ready — Smoked Ham, Onions, and Potatoes, and was then topped with melted Reblochon Cheese. This one reminded me of Switzerland as well, but this time I flashed back to eating Raclette, which is pretty much one of the best meals ever invented. Think melty cheese, ham, onions, and potatoes all smooshed together and you get the idea.
This tart was flavorful and was crispy on the outside, gooey and delicious on the inside.
Those little bubbles on top? That’s because it was whisked from the oven to our table so quickly. You see, while the food was great at Les Chefs on this visit, the timing of the meal was slightly off. We received our cheese plate, then our macaroni and cheese (an entree), then our flamme alsacienne (an appetizer), and finally…a loooooong time later…the tart above.
It was a working lunch and we were focused on my computer most of the time and weren’t bothered by the pace, but if we’d been a family angling to make our FastPass+ reservation for Soarin’…or even wanting to eat their entrees all together…it would have been another story. Our server was brand new, and very, very nice, so I’m hoping those issues were quickly worked out during her second week at the restaurant.
While we didn’t order dessert during this visit, I have always heartily recommended the Profiteroles au Chocolat. Cream Puffs are filled with Vanilla Ice Cream, and are then covered with a Chocolate Sauce.
You just can’t go wrong with this quintessential French dessert.
At first glance, you may feel like nothing ever changes at Les Chefs de France. And it’s true that some dishes never seem to cycle off of the menu. But if you dig deep and compare, you’ll actually see that things do change up here, even as the restaurant stays true to its vision of classical French cuisine. And judging from the fact that you pretty much always need to book an advance dining reservation at Les Chefs de France, I’d say that a large number of people are enjoying what they offer.
Service here can be less than stellar (not always, but enough to make me want to warn you), though it has gotten much better over the years I’ve dined here. When you make a reservation for Les Chefs, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to dine just in case you run into issues like ours.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Is Les Chefs de France on your list of spots to dine in during your next Disney trip? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!