Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

Le Cellier Steakhouse is tucked inside Epcot’s Canada pavilion.

Le Cellier has seen a few changes over the years. Once upon a time, it was a very much in-demand restaurant requiring one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. These days, while you’ll still typically find it to be quite crowded (the same goes for most Table Service restaurants in World Showcase), it’s now a Signature Restaurant requiring two Table Service credits to dine there at either lunch or dinner. And there’s no longer a less-expensive lunch menu as in days of yore.

Much more recently, it’s gone through another change as well. For those who enjoy keeping up with the whereabouts of Disney Chefs, you may know that Chef Dee Foundoukis (formerly of Kouzzina by Cat Cora and Trattoria al Forno) is now heading up Le Cellier.

So I thought it was high time to head back and see how things are shaping up…

Le Cellier Steakhouse -- Outside View

Le Cellier Steakhouse — Outside View

… and check out what’s new and what’s remained the same inside “The Cellar.”

Atmosphere

For all the changes I mentioned, the atmosphere at Le Cellier has, of course, remained very much the same over the years. Low-lighting and dark woods do a great job of making you feel as though you’ve completely exited a theme park and entered a genuine chateau.

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dining Room

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dining Room

Tabletop candles (real), and candles on hanging chandeliers (not so much, but a beautiful signature nonetheless) lend to the simultaneously cozy and upscale feel.

Candle on the table

Candle on the table

Le Celier Steakhouse Lighting

Le Cellier Lighting

Wall Sconces

Wall Sconces

The stone archways rimmed with wooden panels and the ceilings decorated with large beams add to the elegant atmosphere.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse Ceiling

Le Cellier Steakhouse Ceiling

Everything comes together in such a way that you’re almost tempted to spend some time by the fireplace against the back wall, even if it’s 95 degrees outside.

Fireplace in Le Cellier Steakhouse

Fireplace

Glass Decorations in Le Cellier Steakhouse

Glass Decorations

It’s a beautiful setting indeed. But as always, we came for the food. Let’s see what’s on the menu at Le Cellier these days…

Eats

Though the focus at Le Cellier is naturally on the steaks, we’ve got plenty of other things to chat about first. To begin, the bread basket is complimentary at every table and includes the famous Le Cellier pretzel breadsticks, multi-grain rolls, and sourdough rolls.

Complimentary Bread Basket

Complimentary Bread Basket

Butter sprinkled with sea salt and maple sugar is served alongside. Be careful, though, because it’s best to save room for meals at Le Cellier. (I do make an exception for the pretzel bread.)

Maple Butter Served with Bread Basket

Maple Butter Served with Bread Basket

With regard to cocktails, they offer a full bar menu similar to those found at table service spots throughout Disney World, though they also have a small selection of specialty drinks. I’ve dined here a jazillion times, but I can’t remember ever ordering the Torontopolitan — Chambord and Iceberg Vodka combined with cranberry and orange juices. So here you go!

Torontopolitan

Torontopolitan

Not a standout, but there are definitely worse ways to start a meal. And speaking of starting a meal, we just had to grab some appetizers as well. This included a long, steady look at the Poutine menu.

Le Cellier Appetizer Menu

Le Cellier Appetizer Menu

Le Cellier Poutine Menu

Le Cellier Poutine Menu

Probably the biggest problem with the Poutine is deciding which one you want! (Though please note that the selections can change with some frequency and may vary on your visit.) Forget making a choice — we got all three. Check out our Poutine Feast, which my friends and I quickly formed into a Poutine Mickey!

Poutines Mickey!

Poutine Mickey!

Canadian Black Diamond Cheddar sauce and applewood smoked bacon top the Bacon Cheddar Poutine. The end result was certainly rich and delicious, but I have to say that it’s impossible to not compare it to the other selections, which set a very high standard.

Bacon Cheddar Poutine

Bacon Cheddar Poutine

Those other selections included the French Onion Poutine, served with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and french onion gravy. My thinking is that — while each option offers a definite Le Cellier twist on this popular Canadian dish — this one most closely resembles a traditional poutine thanks to the french onion gravy, which lends some incredible flavor without being too heavy.

French Onion Poutine

French Onion Poutine

Still, everyone at the table agreed that the Le Cellier Signature Poutine – topped with Canadian cheddar cheese, black truffle and a red wine reduction — was unbeatable. I’ve had this version several times and it’s always my favorite!

Someone at the table remarked how meaty the flavor was, and my friend wondered if the red wine reduction may be amped up with an au jus. I haven’t ever tasted that flavor profile in these, but I think “meaty” is a good word for the flavor here simply because it’s so robust.

Le Cellier Signature Poutine

Le Cellier Signature Poutine

In the end, the only bad choice you can make is not ordering any Poutine. Just get some!

One of the newer appetizers under Chef Foundoukis is the Heirloom Tomatoes, which are presented with Vermont goat feta cheese, arugula pesto, smoked olive oil and pumpkin seeds. The dish is simple and beautiful. The pesto sauce amped up the flavor with smoked olive oil providing unique twist.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

But ultimately, when stacked up against something like WINE-COVERED-CHEESE-FRIES… I can’t say the tomatoes got much attention at our table.

At last, it’s time for the main event… our steaks! Though, it should be noted, a vegetarian offering (House-made Potato Cannelloni) and Alaskan Halibut dish round out the menu, along with a rather unexpected (at Le Cellier, anyway) Chicken and Waffles entree.

Le Cellier Entree Menu

Le Cellier Entree Menu

One of my friends ordered the Angus New York Strip, which is served on a bed of kale and topped off with a nice helping of cabernet butter. It’s a beauty that comes with a Garlic-Herb Rosti on the side.

New York Strip Steak

New York Strip Steak

The meat was well-prepared to her preference and the cabernet butter added some rich, unique flavoring. The Garlic-Herb Rosti, which is basically a shredded potato pancake, was soft on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside, and overall a great addition to the plate.

Garlic Herb Rosti

Garlic Herb Rosti

My other friend tried the Seared Canadian Bison Strip Loin. This one comes with heirloom carrots, pease pudding and truffle béarnaise sauce. Bison is a super lean meat, so you won’t get the marbling and flavor here that you’d expect from a regular steak. She mentioned that the bison tasted a bit gamy and while she didn’t personally mind that, it’s good to know.

Seared Canadian Bison Strip Loin

Seared Canadian Bison Strip Loin

The truffle béarnaise sauce is served on the side so you can modify how much you put on your plate, which ended up being a good thing because she also remarked that the béarnaise sauce — while tasty and a good compliment to the meat — was also very salty.

Seared Canadian Bison Strip Loin with Truffle Béarnaise Sauce

Seared Canadian Bison Strip Loin with Truffle Béarnaise Sauce

Much to the surprise of… umm, nobody ;), I ordered the Le Cellier Filet Mignon. I just can’t resist it, especially when it’s served with the signature mushroom risotto and truffle-butter sauce. This presentation seems to be more often the case again these days. In the past, Le Cellier changed up the filet a bit more than they had previously — you’ll remember when the filet was served for a while with the Smoked Bacon and Spinach Risotto and Parmesan Butter Sauce, which was truly amazing as well.

But, for mushroom filet purists, we’re back to the standard. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Filet Mignon

Le Cellier Filet Mignon

And, of course, I asked for some additional truffle-butter sauce…and used it ALL.

Truffle Butter Sauce

Truffle Butter Sauce

Once again, the creamy mushroom risotto did not disappoint and the rich truffle-butter sauce was its usual delicious self. And the filet? Thick, tender, juicy, and prepared nicely to my request (medium rare). And all is well.

Filet Mignon Center

Filet Mignon Center

Oh, and for those who are interested in that Chicken and Waffles, here’s the deal (and why I couldn’t bring myself to order it): the chicken is roasted, not fried, which, to me, just doesn’t fit the bill for chicken and waffles. The waffles themselves are tiny corn flour waffles, which is cute, but — again — that ain’t chicken and waffles. I did ask them to bring me a sample of the waffles to try:

Corn Waffles served with Chicken and Waffles dish

Corn Waffles served with Chicken and Waffles dish

They tasted a lot like cornbread, but a grittier, not-at-all-sweet cornbread. If they’d been sweet cornbread and the chicken had been fried, I’d have been all over that dish. But after my investigating, I’m glad I didn’t get it.

Now, I know from a LOT of personal experience that you might be tempted to completely stuff yourself with your entree (don’t forget that Poutine!) and overlook dessert, but I am going to strongly suggest that you don’t.

Le Cellier Dessert Menu

Le Cellier Dessert Menu

Here’s a little backstory. Back when Le Cellier was a relatively affordable restaurant — especially for lunch — I used to LOVE their desserts, especially the apple crumble with ice wine syrup. Then, when the restaurant when signature, the desserts followed suit. Generally, I’m not a fan of going to signature restaurants and paying top prices for what are often teeny-tiny, ultimately forgettable desserts. On this visit, though, our incredible server told us that she promised we wouldn’t be disappointed. We ordered three selections from the surprisingly diverse dessert menu (yes, the Maple Crème Brûlée is still there), and each was truly substantial.

The Nanaimo Pie, for instance, has had a makeover (thank goodness!!), and it is much improved. This beautifully plated dish is a chocolate hazelnut crust surrounding coconut custard, cream anglaise and a white chocolate garnish that’s just crying to have its picture taken.

Nanaimo Pie

Nanaimo Pie

Nanaimo Pie

Nanaimo Pie

The “crust” is more like a thick, rich mousse. And can you really go wrong with chocolate and coconut?

The Camembert Cheesecake is another solid choice. The first bite, however, was unexpected — the sweetness from the vanilla of this double cream cheesecake was rather muted, resulting in a surprising emphasis on the cheese. With each subsequent bite, though, the flavor grew on me and ended up becoming pretty much addictive.

Camembert Cheesecake

Camembert Cheesecake

But the standout of the three was the Chocolate Whisky Trifle, and it’s the one to try if you’re looking for something truly different.

The ingredients are layered, starting with a malted milk panna cotta on the bottom (you know how I feel about panna cotta, but this was more custard-y than jello-y) topped in this order by chocolate mousse, caramel popcorn, and a milk chocolate “grid” supporting buttered popcorn gelato. (Okay — possibly some hesitation for some patrons here. Stay with me.).

Chocolate Whisky Trifle

Chocolate Whisky Trifle

The whisky caramel sauce is served on the side. Since it comes warm to the table, once poured it causes an immediate melting of the milk chocolate and buttered popcorn gelato into the rest of the dessert, causing a blend of the top ingredients while the panna cotta and mousse remain layered.

Caramel Sauce on the Chocolate Whisky Truffle

Caramel Sauce on the Chocolate Whisky Trifle

Chocolate Whisky Truffle

Chocolate Whisky Trifle

Now, please don’t let the presence of caramel popcorn OR the buttered popcorn gelato throw you off here — both primarily provide a barely-there hint of saltiness to complement this quite sweet dessert. What really stands out is the very pronounced flavor of the whisky, nicely balanced by the various sweet elements. If you are not a fan of the taste of alcohol in your desserts, this is NOT the choice for you. But this was a huge hit at the table for those who enjoyed this nothing-subtle-about-it dessert.

Happily full, we stepped back into the sun to enjoy a little more of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Yep. We’re die-hards.

Overall

It’s no big secret that I’ve had an love-hate relationship with Le Cellier over the years, specifically since its status change to a Signature Restaurant. Back in the day, it was an easy recommendation for me to offer; however, the increase in price and a series of inconsistent visits gave me pause, and for a while it was no longer the same go-to choice that it had been for me for so long.

My most recent experience, though, from the appetizers to great entrees across the board, to some of the most impressive desserts I had at Disney throughout my entire trip, proved that there is a lot of thought going into every aspect of the meal at Le Cellier these days. Top it all off with our outstanding server providing plenty of knowledge along with a lot of laughs, and I’m happy to report that my most recent visit was definitely a LOVE.

What are your thoughts on Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot? Leave us a comment and tell us about it below!

Comments

  1. says

    I had to smile when I saw you were reviewing Le Cellier again. I wasn’t aware of the chef change, so my first reaction was, “How many times does she need to review the filet?” However, given the new chef, and the inconsistency of past visits, it makes sense to use the same dish as a barometer for how/if things have changed.

    More importantly, if I hadn’t read this review, I wouldn’t have realized poutine was still on the menu. The other day, I was perusing WDW menus on their site in order to build anticipation for an upcoming trip (a year away, but it’s been a frustrating few months, and I need something to look forward to). On the Le Cellier menu, they list the poutines AFTER the entrees, and I completely overlooked them. So thanks for showing that they still serve them!

  2. Kimberly says

    Everything about that trifle looks amazing. Thanks for ordering so many desserts for us to read about!

  3. says

    Jenn — The Bacon Cheddar and Signature Poutines both had cheese curds, I believe, and one had a cheese sauce as well, just for fun. :-) They were all delicious though, even if they weren’t purely authentic. It’s hard to pick a favorite!

  4. says

    Hi Jenn — Actually, it may be hard to make out, but there were cheese curds on a couple of the poutines. But we know — it’s a very sensitive subject, since it’s such a beloved dish. :-)

  5. Snafooo says

    My BF and I were at WDW last year for 14 days over the Christmas Holidays and had the Disney Dining Plan. The most disappointing meal I had on the entire trip was at Le Cellier. I ordered the Filet. Beautifully cooked, rare as they could get it but it was a salt lick. I had my BF taste it and he agreed. It was almost as if it had been triple salted. His Rib-Eye was fine! By the time the server got back to our table it was way too late to send it back. Soooooo…. a napkin and water to the rescue! Even though it was still oversalted, it was edible after my daubing off the salt. The other food was fine, but the steak was a big disappointment. We told our server when he finally got back to our table, but like I said, it was too late to take him up on the offer of another steak. Being December 23rd, the restaurant was packed, so I really can’t fault the server. I am going again in February 2016. Less crowded! I’ve made my dining reservations, and Le Cellier is NOT on the list.

  6. Agnes says

    The whiskey popcorn dessert is a little cuckoo but does look kinda interesting, I’m glad you thought it was worth taking a risk! And camembert cheesecake? Seems so wrong but oh so right. I’m all for going to a restaurant, skipping the entrees, and just ordering *all* the fries and *all* the desserts. Yay!

  7. Lee & Robin says

    Interesting. I could have sworn the candle at our table in late September was an LED candle.

  8. Jenn says

    It’s been a few years since I’ve eaten at Le Cellier, but that was also my first and only experience eating there. My husband and I went for our honeymoon to Disney and many people had old me about Le Cellier, I had been to Disney many times but that was one of the few restaurants in Epcot I had never tried. I have to say out experience there was amazing it was the best food we ate while we were on our honeymoon and I really hope to revisit in a future trip, everything we are there was delicious.

  9. Ruth says

    It’s been a while since my husband and I have been into Le Cellier – and while the new menu looks tempting, there’s one thing that makes me hesitate (and is, in fact, the reason we haven’t been in there for a few years). Almost every single time we’ve been into Le Cellier, it seemed as if it was absolutely jam-packed with screaming children and/or children who decided that climbing onto other people’s tables/kicking other people’s chars (or shins), etc. We have not experienced this same problem at the Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht Club, nor have we experienced this same problem at similarly priced restaurants around the World Showcase within Epcot – but it seriously dampened our enjoyment of Le Cellier on multiple occasions.

  10. Ed says

    Let me start off by saying that this is my favorite restaurant in Disney (with California Grill being a close second). The filet is the best steak on the entire property, and paired with the mushroom risotto, is unbelievable. As mentioned above the pretzel bread is fantastic. If you decide to only have one dessert on your vacation, you won’t be disappointed with the maple creme brûlée. I do have one criticism, as the menu has recently changed, and I was extremely disappointed this summer to sit down for dinner to find that they removed the scallop appetizer from their previous menu. We did try 2 of the new poutines, and I thought they were good, but not great. Overall I highly recommend this restaurant on any trip to Disney.

  11. Jon says

    Why so many dishes with truffles?

    It’s not a flavour I particularly love and yet many of what you reviews contain them in some form.

  12. says

    I’m happy to see a positive review of the current state of this restaurant My last couple of trips there have been disappointing. It looks like the future may be bright. Did you happen to ask them if the roasted chicken and waffles was a style choice or are they doing it to try to be healthy?

    Jym

  13. Melissa says

    It would be great to know if the Signature Poutine did include some sort of meat. As a vegetarian, I’ve wanted to try poutine for a long time, but the signature gravy makes that largely impossible. I might call up and ask. Vegetarian poutine would be worth the trip to Le Cellier alone!

  14. Heather Buatte says

    Hi I noticed the Dessert menu pictured is very different from the one on Disney’s website. Do you think they just haven’t updated it on their site?

  15. Mark says

    Only ever done the lunches during the Food and Wine Festival and they are outstanding. Really best of Festival stuff. As a local pass holder would not consider a regular meal here. Sorry but the prices are silly. Just Disney trying to fool all you folks on the dining plan. Hey Disney, when are you going to let anyone buy the dining plan?

  16. elizabeth says

    All of the food here is super salty so I always request “no added salt, pepper or seasonings” and any sauces or butters on the side. The food tastes so much better that way !! Otherwise, I would literally be choking and unable to eat anything !!

  17. Lee says

    “It would be great to know if the Signature Poutine did include some sort of meat. As a vegetarian, I’ve wanted to try poutine for a long time, but the signature gravy makes that largely impossible. I might call up and ask. Vegetarian poutine would be worth the trip to Le Cellier alone!”

    Ummm…. it’s a steakhouse. This comment is reminiscent of a debate by some Vegans a while back as to whether A-1 Steak Sauce was in fact Vegan or not. Hello, it’s a STEAK SAUCE, it is made to be used on STEAK!

    Given that there are approximately a million (okay I’m exaggerating, but still) vegetarian options at WDW, why does the Poutine (which was never originally a vegetarian dish) need to be vegetarian also?

    It’s getting really old that such a small number of people feel like they are being discriminated against because not everything is either vegan (0.5 % of the population) or vegetarian (3.2% of the population).

    There is room for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Not every dish has to be acceptable to everyone.

  18. Allan says

    For all the raves I am still somewhat disappointed by what I consider errors on the menu.Authentic Canadian? hardly. Camembert cheesecake?Vermont Goat Feta?Alaskan halibut? Tilamook ( Oregon ) Mac and Cheese?
    The ultimate travesty being Poutine without Cheese Curds. Having lived over 35 years in Quebec, Canada I can assure you none of these ingredients would ever reach a Canadian table. The restaurant is nice but in our family opinion more inspired by Canadian legend then the reality of fine dining in Canada.

  19. Melissa says

    @Lee. I’m hardly claiming that I’m being discriminated against, I’m just interested in whether the poutine that sounds vegetarian (it doesn’t have gravy) is, because it would be something that I would like to try. Is it really a problem for me to ask whether something is vegetarian? They have a great sounding vegetarian entree on the menu, so I’d like to know about my options before I go. I think my post was entirely positive, so I don’t understand why you thought I was suggesting I was being discriminated against or asking that every dish cater to vegetarians.

  20. Jess says

    @Melissa Hi I used to work at Le Cellier and I thought maybe I could help you out so you wouldn’t have to call. The gravy is beef stock so unfortunately it’s not vegetarian/vegan. But Le Cellier does have at least one vegetarian/vegan option for appetizers and entree. And from my experience they are usually amazing. Also, for clarification on the cheese curds topic, there are no cheese curds on the poutines. I know for many Canadians this is very upsetting but honestly, in my opinion, Le Cellier signature poutine is probably the best poutine I’ve ever had. Very different from traditional poutine but the red wine reduction and truffle gets me. I craved it daily when I was working there!

  21. Melissa says

    @Jess Thank you for that information! The appetizer and entree options available at the moment look great, so I think I’ll check out Le Cellier on my next trip.

  22. says

    Heather Buatte — Le Cellier’s dessert menu changes very regularly, so it’s possible that Disney hasn’t updated the website or that the menu has already changed from our visit (which was only a few weeks ago). :-)

  23. says

    Jym — Yep, I was pleased to have a good meal here as well! The roasted chicken and waffles wasn’t a health-conscious choice — it was just a style choice.

  24. says

    Ruth — Often that’s what you’ll find in a restaurant that’s situated inside a theme park versus a signature restaurant in a resort, especially if said restaurant serves lunch. :(

  25. Major Malfunction says

    For probably 15 years, this was a must stop for eating. It became harder and harder to get ADRs because Disney started giving away free dining to anyone that could breathe oxygen a few years ago. That free dining push watered down menus everywhere on the property, IMHO.

    Le Cellier eventually became a Signature Dining and this drove off the majority of the patrons. Now you can actually get an ADR, but sadly, the prices have seemed to have doubled in the last 5 years. I still try to eat here, but as others have said, eating at a Signature restaurant in a theme park is a tepid experience. Too many strollers and kids and noise when you are being charged about $60/person once the bill comes in. There is NO WAY any family of 4 should be paying $250 to eat INSIDE a theme park regardless of the level of food.

    $11 for a CUP of cheese soup! I have the actual recipe. $11 makes about a gallon of it! $50 for a 6 ounce filet? $50 for a piece of halibut? Ooooooof.

    Food is great and it would seem I can’t stop going there! But the prices are nuts.

  26. Steve and Nicole says

    Chicken and Waffles is already gone – replaced by Chicken Cassoulet. But our biggest surprise last night was the clams appetizer, they were amazing and I highly recommend them to anybody that loves clams. Also AJ, your friend may have gotten an exception, because I ate the Bison Strip Loin last night and there was no gamy taste at all. It was incredible and very filling.

  27. Heidi says

    We had dinner at Le Cellier last week & though we didn’t hate it, it was certainly the most disappointing meal we had during our trip.

    The Cast Members were all fantastic & the restaurant is beautifully themed inside.

    The sequence of service felt very rushed, we never had a chance to really enjoy. Very “mechanical”.

    The food was ok. The cheddar cheese soup was disappointing because the onions were medium dice & undercooked (not a nice taste or texture in a creamy soup). The table bread was bland & chewy. The pretzel bread I looked forward to was boring.

    Entrees: the ribeye was good but nothing spectacular & my chicken was surprisingly flavorful, but also dry. The peas weren’t pretty but they were good. The lemon flavor didn’t go with the dish in my opinion.

    The desserts were good (maple creme brulee & cheesecake).

    Again, I don’t hate this place but I also won’t go back when there are so many better options in WDW.

  28. ryan stafford says

    Does anyone know whats off limits on the deluxe dining plan here ? Im heading down in 2 weeks trying to make decisions.

  29. says

    Ryan — Could you be more specific? All single appetizers, entrees, and desserts should be available to you on the Disney Dining Plan. Hope this helps :-)

  30. ryan stafford says

    Well thats more of my question I guess whats qualified as a single app ect. Is the charcuterie a single app? Is the poutine considered an app. I have many rest booked on my plan but as far as whats fair game. Like the wild boar app at jiko ? The only info out there is most things are avail. There needs to be a list of whats off limits lol.

  31. Patricia says

    @Brooke – does the dining plan now include single apps and dessert in addition to the dessert? I’ll be going in September — and we’re getting the regular dining plan (1 TS, 1 QS, 1 snack)… I just don’t recall whats included anymore

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