We’re stepping back into the Age of the Dinosaurs at one of our favorite Animal Kingdom eateries, Restaurantosaurus!
Okay, well… that’s not actually the case. Even though Restaurantosaurus is set in Animal Kingdom’s whimsical Dinoland, U.S.A., this Counter Service eatery is actually themed as a home base for paleontology students. Which they eventually turned into a restaurant. Which totally makes sense.
So while we’re not exactly traveling back to the Age of the Dinos (you’ll have to hop onto the Dinosaur attraction to do that), the paleontology students “visit” the prehistoric age all the time, as evidenced by the plentiful and often hilarious details tucked throughout the restaurant. It’s the superb theming that makes this one of our favorite Counter Service stops in the whole park.
But even though the students explore stuff that goes waaaay back, we’re actually here to explore some NEW items on the menu as well as some terrific additions to the Topping Bar (which, we gotta say, is now giving the famed Fixin’s Bar at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe a run for its money).
Wanna check it out?
Excellent! Then let’s take the advice from the ol’ water tower…
… and EAT!!
But not before we take a look around first ;).
Again, because the setting is so well themed, we heartily suggest that you take some time before or after your meal to check out the restaurant, where evidence of the students’ time and schooling surrounds you. You can take a tour — including the coveted Airstream trailer seating — by clicking here AND here (we spend a lot of time in the Hip Joint). But because there is SO much packed into the space, there are always more details to point out — starting with this guy… a large Pterodactyl skeleton just waiting to greet you upon entry if you look up.
Even the lighting has prehistoric silhouettes.
Fossils, artwork, and knick knacks — all dino-research related — can be found throughout the restaurant.
Looking for all the latest in dino news and notices? Be sure to check out the team bulletin board.
It houses a magazine featuring a story on the “Time Rover,” a nod to the neighboring Dinosaur attraction (another nod: looks like this copy of Discover is addressed to Dr. Marsh, also from the attraction’s intro).
The majority of the seating is indoors, featuring large dining areas filled with fun decor.
Each dining room has a different concept, so you can do a little exploring of your own to pick your ideal setting.
Junior Paleontologists may most enjoy the storage area where the students keep their digging tools– along with plenty of dinosaur bones — on display.
For those who can’t get enough of the Florida sunshine, a bit of outdoor seating is also available.
The Pterodactyl Pterrace (ha!) offers some fun opportunities for checking out all the Dinoland happenings.
And now, onto some further exploring… of the recently updated menu!
Restaurantosaurus primarily features easy Quick Service options including a Bacon Cheeseburger (a Black Bean veggie version is also available), Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Breast Nuggets. New under the main entrees are the Roasted Chicken with Mixed Green Salad and the Chili Cheese Hot Dog.
Side items now feature Chili Cheese Fries and New England Clam Chowder, and a Warm Chocolate Turtle Brownie joins the Cheesecake topped with Strawberries for dessert.
Restaurantosaurus is probably your best Counter Service bet in the park when you want to keep things simple and please everyone in your dining group.
The drink station is self-serve, with options including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Orange Fanta, Barq’s Root Beer, Coke Zero, Powerade, Pomegranate Lemonade, Lemonade, Sprite Zero and Diet Coke.
Also available are the usual hot chocolate, coffee and iced tea.
But far more intriguing on our most recent visit was the updated Topping Bar!
Even though it was recently re-designated as a Premium Topping Bar, it’s good to know right off the bat there isn’t an extra charge to partake — access to the Premium Topping Bar is included with your purchase.
Let’s go over the options!
Arugula, bleu cheese crumbles, and an olive tapenade give the indication right away that there is more to this station than your typical ketchup-and-mustard stop.
Pepperoncini, sliced red onion, and diced red tomatoes are up for grabs, too.
In the mood for some dill? Good thing, because dill pickles, a dill relish, and bread & butter pickles are up next.
Get some greens with shredded lettuce, or spice things up with sliced jalapeños.
Plenty of people will be happy to see guacamole among the options, which still continue on with sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, and sautéed red & green peppers.
And a surprising vegetarian chili rounds out the choices!
Of course, standard condiments including ketchup, yellow mustard, mayo and barbecue sauce remain available.
Because we always prefer to show you the meals as served, you won’t see the toppings on any of the new entree selections pictured as we move forward. But that sure didn’t keep us from trying them! Standout favorites included the guacamole, olive tapenade, and the flavorful vegetarian chili.
And now onto those new entrees… the Roasted Chicken with Mixed Greens Salad replaced the Chicken BLT Salad.
Honestly, the presentation was lacking and I thought the amount of food was surpringly small for the $10.49 price tag. I think a large filled bowl would make a lot more sense here, as opposed to a plate where everything barely covers the bottom. Good thing you can fill ‘er up with some of those Premium Toppings, huh?
Fortunately, it did taste pretty good. Though it’s worth noting that there is a lot of dressing mixed in, so if that isn’t your preference you may want to ask for it on the side.
The sliced chicken was nice and thick, and was tossed in the dressing as well.
Lastly, the salad is topped off with the diced tomatoes and an egg.
Overall, it’s pretty basic. An “OK” choice for someone looking for not-so-heavy fare; but not my top recommendation, for sure.
The Chili Cheese Hot Dog has replaced the former Mac & Cheese Hot Dog. This one comes with a side of fries.
Unlike the salad, portion is not any concern with this one! The roll, though, is longer than the dog itself (which equals room for some of those Premium Toppings, as far as I’m concerned!).
The generous amount of chili and cheese offered great flavor with the dog, as usual. It’s hard to go wrong with this classic combo.
The bun was pleasantly fresh as well.
Frankly, though, the new side items and dessert strike me as the more interesting additions to the menu, starting with the Chili Cheese Fries.
And nope, your eyes don’t deceive you. That’s not the same shredded cheese that tops the Hot Dog. That right there is plastic cheese (!!!), which has been gone from Counter Service spots otherwise for a few months now. (By the way, you’ll also find it topping the new French Fries topped with Pulled Pork and Cheese over at Flame Tree Barbecue, which we’ll be including in another review soon!)
Having lost Chili Cheese Fries at Pecos Bill’s and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, I’d assumed that was the last we’d seen of these in Disney World! Topped off with a nice heaping of chili — just like the hot dog — these were absolutely delicious, and completely messy in the best way possible!
A rather unexpected New England Clam Chowder has joined the side ranks as well.
For a chowder, it was surprising that it wasn’t overly heavy, even though it was decently packed with flavor from the clams. Quite tasty!
And finally we have dessert. A Warm Chocolate Turtle Brownie has replaced the Chocolate Mousse that has been at Restaurantosaurus… well, practically since the Days of the Dinosaurs 😉 .
But this is a most welcome change! Plenty of caramel and chocolate is melted into the fudge brownie, with lots of pecans and chocolate chips adding some crunch to the dense base. And the fact that it’s served warm is the perfect finishing touch.
It definitely offers more bang for the buck as an option for your dessert choice with a Counter Service meal on the Disney Dining Plan (you can also get it with use of a snack credit), but it also stands on its own as an out-of-pocket purchase. It may just be my new favorite Quick Service dessert choice!
Restaurantosaurus continues to be a great go-to option for Animal Kingdom. It remains true that the atmosphere is really what makes it stand out, showcasing some truly terrific and immersive Disney storytelling if you take some time to look around. Meanwhile, the simplicity of the menu makes it an attractive stop for most families looking to please a crowd of differing tastes.
The recently upgraded Toppings Bar, though, makes customizing a snap for those hoping to step outside the norm a bit with their choices. Add to that the decided step up in sides and dessert options, and I’m happy to still give Restaurantosaurus my continued recommendation.
Is Restaurantosaurus must-do Animal Kingdom dining for you? Let us know in the comments below!