It’s back to The Boathouse for us today on the DFB!
The BOATHOUSE (as it’s officially known) has only been part of the Disney dining scene since this past April, when it opened in The Landing area of Disney Springs . (Believe it or not, though, it’s no longer the newest dining gig in town, since spots like Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Vivoli il Gelato, and Morimoto Asia have all made their debuts since). Still, it has already made a big name for itself for a few reasons: first, its arrival marked the debut of the first of several more upscale dining additions coming to Disney Springs (with a price tag to match).
Second, with live music and watercraft tour options (have you seen the Amphicars?!), it’s also helping to ring in the entertainment-heavy focus that will continue to become a hallmark of several dining options in Disney Springs once the area’s transformation is complete.
While we explored the restaurant in full during its opening week, on my most recent trip, we decided to do things a little differently — a midday visit to explore what the main bar area has to offer.
Of course, we couldn’t help taking another quick look around this beautiful space first…
The Boathouse is much more expansive than it appears when you first come across the entrance in The Landing.
Featuring four separate dining rooms as well as three bars (including one right on the waterfront), it takes some time to seriously explore the whole space, dotted with cool nautical touches and unique seating areas. You can see from just this sampling of a few pictures below how varied the settings are, all in this one restaurant. (Be sure to check out our full tour of the whole restaurant from the opening week!)
Alas, my dream of sitting at the Chris Craft Boat Booth has not yet come true…
On this visit, we were seated very near the Captain’s Raw Bar.
From what I’ve experienced, it doesn’t seem difficult to score a walk-in seat or table during the day (on a weekday, at least).
Here is a look at the inspiration for the room, the Raw Bar itself.
I hesitate to use the word “airy” to describe the space, since every inch is utilized for seating or to tuck in some more nautical decor.
But the light woods, aquamarine accents, waterfront-facing windows, and clear lighting fixtures somehow come together to encourage a feeling of openness in the midst of everything going on, even if you’re seated right in the middle of the action at the bar.
Full table settings are available in the bar area as well.
No matter where you sit, though, be sure to spend some time outside checking out some of the outdoor fun, either before or after your meal or drinks.
Guests enjoying private cruises (booked separately) on Amphicars or water taxis dominate the water scene around The Boathouse… and even the rest of Village Lake!
They really are something to see, whether or not you book a tour of your own. But for us, it’s back inside to our table!
The Boathouse menu is focused primarily on steaks and seafood, and it’s true that a lot of the headliner items cost a pretty penny (you may recall our $12 side of asparagus from our first visit). But on my more recent stop, I wanted to check out some of the sandwich options that — while still a splurge — are definitely less costly than, say, the $115 Long Bone Rib Chop for two.
And we’ll get to that shortly, but, hey, we are in one of the bar areas, and you know how the saying goes… When in Rome, check out the drink menu (or something like that 😉 )!
How about a bit of a refresher to begin? The Blueberry Lemonade — one of the Boathouse Specialties — is a mix of blueberry vodka, lemon vodka, house-made lemonade, and fresh blueberries.
Tart and tasty? Yes to both — the drink was delicious, but it did have some of that more-ice-than-drink thing going on.
Okay, next we’ll finally look at that menu I promised you. Now, here’s the thing. Yes, I sat close to the bar area, and yes, it was lunch time. So, did I receive the lunch menu or the bar menu?
Both! But I had to ASK for the regular lunch menu. There are several options on this bar menu that are much easier on the ol’ wallet than the initial menu release led us to believe, and I did confirm that the burger and sandwich selections (you’ll see them under “Square Meal”) are available throughout the day no matter where you sit, which is great news for folks who want to experience The Boathouse without entirely breaking the bank!
The menu changes frequently (in fact, daily!) at The Boathouse, focusing on the freshest ingredients available, specifically with regards to seafood. So, keep in mind that selections may certainly vary on your visit. Our choices are an example of what you may be able to order (thought I’ll bet several of them are always available).
Here’s the standard lunch menu.
As we looked over the menu, we enjoyed the complimentary bread and butter. Pretty standard, really, but the rolls were soft and fresh.
We couldn’t do without a selection from the Raw Bar, of course, especially since we were sitting right there, so my friend went with the Boathouse Lump Crab and Avocado.
The sauce is a Tarragon Remoulade, and the seafood was wonderfully fresh. I have to admit I was kind of surprised by the sheer amount of sauce, though — I thought it to be a bit overdressed, especially with seafood of this quality, but it was tasty.
I wasn’t too excited about any of the real appetizers, so I did what I often do and ordered a side dish as my app. Bring on the Shrimp and Andouille Mac and Cheese…minus the shrimp!
It’s cheese-y, awesome deliciousness in a bowl (just look at that thick sauce making its way up the side of the dish), and the portion is HUGE for a side dish. This is easily an entree!
For the main event: I chose the Gibsons “Sandwich King” Burger on the recommendation of our server. This is an award winner — the only one with its own USDA certification. Though the Gibsons USDA Blue Star Heritage Angus is clearly the star of this beauty of a burger, toppings include crispy [fried] cherry peppers, jalapeño havarti, and spiced mayo (which I requested on the side, but ended up being super delicious).
Here’s a closeup on those toppers before we dig into the beef. Are you dying?!? So gorgeous.
Upon cutting in, I was happy to see the burger was well-prepared to my request (medium), while being nicely charred on the outside.
I gotta hand it to ’em: this burger was great. Juicy, moist, flavorful… and spicy, which I love. Oh, and those french fries you spy in the corner are hand-cut (unlike the major steak entrees where you order the sides separately, the fries come with the burger).
Among these decadent dishes, the Garden Pasta Shells was ordered my by friend and provided a lighter option, made up of asparagus, roasted mushrooms, wilted arugula (that phrasing is from the menu description, not a commentary on my part 😉 ), shaved grana padano cheese, and plenty of garlic.
She enjoyed it, and found it to be a good lighter option after that indulgent appetizer.
Now on to dessert. All truths told, I’m not exactly blown away by the dessert options — otherwise known as “The Not So Bitter End” — at The Boathouse. They’re just not much unlike standard options in restaurants you’ll find anywhere else, for the most part.
On our previous visit, we ordered the unique cornbread cake.
But on this visit, I knew I had to try the giant Gibsons S’mores Baked Alaska. It’s made to serve 4 (according to the menu), and — and this is not the first time I’ll make this point — it’s 40 bucks. I had to see it with my own eyes. And I must say, the presentation is kinda impressive.
I had to snap a few pictures to take in the entire thing! The rocky road ice cream center is entirely surrounded by the meringue, topped off with torched marshmallows and Hershey Bars dotting the whole thing. It’s ginormous. That knife down there? It’s a super huge steak knife.
But here’s the thing: it’s 40 BUCKS.
I’m going to say that again: it’s 40 bucks. And in NO WAY does a gallon and a half of Rocky Road ice cream, some chocolate pieces, and marshmallow fluff equal 40 bucks, no matter how cool the char is. Simply put, I think it’s a huge waste of money. There are a lot of things going well at The Boathouse, but this non-really-Baked-Alaska isn’t one of them.
We also tried the Key Lime Pie in a Mason Jar, which was, thankfully, amazing. It was a large portion, and didn’t waste time on toppings or meringues. There’s just a ton of sweet-sour, creamy limeness and some big huge lots of graham cracker goodness at the bottom (you can’t see it in the pic, but it’s there). Perfect.
We enjoyed our first run at The Boathouse, but the sticker shock that accompanied it was a little hard to swallow. Thanks to this more recent visit, I’m happy to also be able to recommend some of the alternate dishes to the main steaks, chops, and seafood — not only because they are less costly, but are also high-quality dishes in their own right. Add in the beautiful setting (not to mention some really great service on the part of the Cast Members), and I’ve gotta say, if you’ve knocked The Boathouse off your list due to the pricier items that made all the headlines in the beginning, you may want to reconsider. I think you might be pleased with your choice (as long as you avoid the $40 ice cream topped with fluff).
One more thing: in addition to becoming eligible for Disney Dining Plan participants (considered Signature Dining, requiring two Table Service credits) since our previous visit, a few other discounts are now accepted at The Boathouse: Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members are eligible. Just a little FYI in case you’ve added The Boathouse to your must-do dining experiences at the ever-expanding Disney Springs!
Have you paid a visit to The Boathouse yet? Please let us know about your experience with a comment!