Review: Dinner at The Boathouse at Disney Springs

We’re back at The BOATHOUSE for dinner today on DFB!

(And you’re gonna have to pardon me. Because I know it’s called The BOATHOUSE — but all those caps get a little tiresome, IMO. So I hope it’s ok with you if I write it all normally and stuff from here on out.)

So, here’s what happened. I had some time to kill on a recent holiday trip to Walt Disney World one evening. I found myself hungry and without an advance dining reservation when I remembered the excellent lunch that I’d had at The Boathouse.

That hadn’t been the only DFB trip to the restaurant. While we enjoyed our first visit and look around the place, we definitely walked away with a mild case of sticker shock. Our second lunch time visit, during which we checked out both the lunch and bar menu, yielded a much more enjoyable experience. We found some truly delicious fare at a far lower price point.

So — it seemed like a good time to check back in, and see if we could work the same hocus pocus on the dinner hour — a meal at The Boathouse that didn’t require a small loan to afford. Did we succeed? Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

You’ll find The Boathouse sort of anchoring The Landing area in Disney Springs. As you travel through the shops on your way from West Side to Marketplace along the water side, you can’t miss it.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse

The Boathouse Entrance

The Boathouse Entrance

The restaurant is much larger than it looks from the outside, with four separate dining rooms and three different bars.

I’m still waiting for my turn to sit here… . Anyone want to join me?

Boat Booth Seating

Boat Booth Seating

Boathouse Dining Area

One of Boathouse’s Three Dining Rooms

Of course, The Boathouse’s other claim to fame are the vintage Amphicars that ply the waterways outside of the restaurant.

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

Amphicar Tours at The Boathouse

Amphicar Tours at The Boathouse

Please be sure to head over to our account of our first visit to see an extensive tour of the space. This time, we’re going to focus on just a couple of areas.

All of our other visits to The Boathouse have taken place during the day, so I thought you might like to see the restaurant at night. As I mentioned above, there are three separate bars here — and I’m showing you two of them! Here’s the Dockside Bar, which is situated right on the water. It’s a beautiful spot for enjoying a drink or even a full meal.

Dockside Bar and Outdoor Seating

Dockside Bar and Outdoor Seating

And this brings me to another point: I’ve had no trouble getting a table at The Boathouse as a walk up. I’d imagine that unless you are dining at a peak time of day, or during a particularly busy time of the year, you’ll probably find a similar situation.

This time, I opted once more to sit in the Main Bar. It really does look much different at night here, when natural light isn’t streaming down from above. It gave me a chance to notice details, like the backlighting above the bar.

Bar Seating

Bar Seating

Also worth noting were the white tablecloths that appear on tables for dinner service. It definitely has a fancier feel than daytime.

Bar and Bar Seating

Bar and Bar Seating

The bar also continues to feature live music. These guys were great! And isn’t that fluffy white Christmas tree gorgeous?

Live Music and Seasonal Decor

Live Music and Seasonal Decor

Like I said, please be sure to check out that first review if you’d like the full tour. I was more interested in food than sightseeing on this most recent visit. Let’s check out the options.

Eats

It seemed to me that the menu was very similar to what I had encountered the last time. Things are just arranged a little differently.

Raw Bar items appear at the top left, and you’ll also find Salads and Appetizers (“Launch”). There were also Dock Side Buckets, which are fried items served with French Fries on the side.

Menu -- Raw Bar and Other Starters -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Raw Bar and Other Starters — Click to Enlarge

Further down the menu, I found Fish Features and Sandwiches.

Menu -- Fish Features and Sandwiches -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Fish Features and Sandwiches — Click to Enlarge

Sea & Shore and Steaks, Chops, & Provisions feature the higher priced items. We did note that the Tomahawk Rib Chop and the Niman Ranch Heritage Pork Chop aren’t currently on the menu — making the “Chops” part of the menu seem a little odd. In fact, the red meat options also seem slimmed down across the board.

Menu -- Sea & Shore, Steaks & Chops -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Sea & Shore, Steaks & Chops — Click to Enlarge

In addition to other Raw Bar options, there was a large variety of Oysters, priced per piece.

Menu -- Oyster Varieties -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Oyster Varieties — Click to Enlarge

A list of Chef’s Dailies featured a few Fresh Catch and Market-Priced Options, including Caviar. Sweet!

Menu -- Chef Dailies -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Chef Dailies — Click to Enlarge

We had no trouble arriving at a decision fairly quickly. To begin, we opted for the Firecracker Shrimp. The Shrimp are tossed in a Sriracha Mayo and are sprinkled with Black and White Sesame Seeds.

I’d fallen in love with the firecracker shrimp over at Yak & Yeti on my earlier visit, so I couldn’t wait to try the dish here. It wasn’t a disappointment. In fact, it was probably my favorite dish of the night! So, note to self, always order firecracker shrimp on any menu! ;-D

Firecracker Shrimp

Firecracker Shrimp

I had enjoyed the Gibsons “Sandwich King” Burger tremendously on my previous visit, so I was confident in the restaurant’s ability to handle Turf as well as Surf. This time, I splurged, and went for the NY Steak.

NY Steak and Fries

NY Steak and Fries

It was topped with Maitre d’ Butter and Roasted Garlic, and came with a hearty helping of Hand Cut Fries.

NY Steak and Fries -- Up Close

NY Steak and Fries — Up Close

While the steak was a little thinner than I might have liked it, the meat was cooked perfectly. This dish was a winner overall, and backs up the many, many claims I’ve heard of the Boathouse being a favorite for steaks.

But the fries — exquisite. Don’t they look amazing? I know — how often does one rave about french fries? But these took some serious effort to stop eating!

NY Steak -- Inside

NY Steak — Inside

My friend and I decided to stretch the two courses with some of The Boathouse’s generous side dishes. All side dishes are listed as big enough to share. And truly, they are.

I had really enjoyed the Shrimp and Andouille Mac and Cheese (sans Shrimp) during a previous visit, so I tried the plain Mac and Cheese this time. The look of this stuff reminds me of Velveeta Mac and Chese, which you may love or hate. I, personally, love it. So I have good associations already with the Boathouse mac. And the taste is great on this one as well. Good, savory (seriously, how can some mac and cheese options be so tasteless?? But they ARE, right??) flavors on this one, and the creamy texture is just what you’re looking for. So this is going to be a good choice if you’re in a mac and cheese mood.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

I normally can’t resist Truffle Fries, so we had an order of those as well! They’re served with a tangy Lemon Aioli for dipping. Again, more excellent french fries (I’ll have to ask how they get them so good). But, oddly, I enjoyed the non-flavored ones more than the truffle version on this evening.

Truffle Fries

Truffle Fries

Dinner was filling, but we simply couldn’t pass up dessert. I had tried the Key Lime Pie in a Mason Jar before (YUM) as well as the S’mores Baked Alaska. (meh).

Menu -- Desserts -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Desserts — Click to Enlarge

And yep — you’re reading that right. $40. For a bunch of rocky road ice cream with some marshmallow fluff on top and some hershey bars. It is NOT Baked Alaska. I seriously canNOT believe it’s still on the menu. I guess enough people order one for the table to keep it around. As far as I’m concerned — SO not worth it.

And to add insult to injury, the other desserts are SO SO GOOD! So why would you spend $40 on a crappy one when you could get four of the amazing ones for the same price?!? Don’t do it, people. Don’t get sucked into the Baked Alaska scam here. OK, rant over.

There is also a very impressive selection of Whiskey and Scotch to indulge in as well.

Menu -- Whiskey and Scoth -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Whiskey and Scoth — Click to Enlarge

As much as I love that Key Lime, it was time to try something new. First, we chose the New York Style Blueberry Cheesecake. The dressed up version of this classic is topped with Cinnamon Streusel and lots of Blueberries. This was good, but the Key Lime is WAY better.

Whiskey Caramel Cornbread Cake

New York Style Blueberry Cheesecake

Speaking of Streusel, I couldn’t pass up one of my comfort food favorites, Warm Apple Crisp. This version is topped with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

I mean, seriously. You can KEEP all your fancy desserts. Give me this right here any day of the week. It was fantastic. On a par with the Key Lime. So get both!

Apple Crisp -- Inside

Apple Crisp — Inside

Perfect ending to a terrific meal.

Overall

Every visit to The Boathouse has gotten better.

This spot is still a bit of a headscratcher, though. At least as far as price goes. I mean, this is a Disney Dining Plan Two Credit spot. And I get it, if your tastes run to Filet Mignon Oscar Style. But seriously — there are GREAT meals here that are far more reasonable, and are, pricewise, on par with One Credit Table Service spots. In a nutshell, the menu is AAAALLLLL over the place when it comes to price, for what it’s worth.

As for quality, I continue to recommend it. I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype initially, but a year and a half later, and I have to tell you — I think they’re settling in nicely.

Oh, and when it comes to service, this place is still great. I’ve been well taken care of on all of my visits here — even when sitting in the bar. So, really, I gotta hand it to the Boathouse!

But I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts! Has The Boathouse become a favorite Disney Springs Dining Spot for you? Leave a comment and let us know what you think below!

Comments

  1. Sarah says

    My cousin and I had a great, fairly inexpensive lunch here when we visited back in June. She got the Wedge Salad which was massive and delicious, and I got the Filet Sliders. The sliders were fantastic- easily the most tender meat I’ve ever gotten on any kind of steak sandwich. And for $14! It’s hard to find a quick-service burger in the parks for less than that anymore. The portion was good too. It came with regular fries, although I upgraded to the truffle version which I enjoyed thoroughly. We didn’t even have room for dessert.

  2. Leslie says

    Thanks AJ – you just hit on why I usually opt not to get the DDP unless it’s free (and I don’t have a great room discount). There is too much pressure to get the most expensive thing on the menu to feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I would be very happy with the Filet Sliders and a side of mac cheese! Plus a dessert with every meal is just too much, even for sweet tooth like me.

  3. Patrick says

    We’re waiting to go back to the Boathouse as we had both excellent service and a very memorable meal. It was lunch, so we ate fairly light and concentrated on the salads and split a beef carpaccio. The salads were fresh and tasty, but the real star was the carpaccio–one of the best I’ve had and with a lovely presentation fanned out over the plate. We did find the wine list wanting a bit, but they had a passable bubbly that paired well with the salads and actually wasn’t bad with the beef, either. One final note, we got to sit in the boat booth table, and it was quite fun! Hope you get to do it one day, as well.

  4. K says

    The lobster bisque is the best I’ve had anywhere. I’d also have to second the filet sliders – simple, but just amazing. Together, the bisque and sliders are a fantastic meal – and topped off with the key lime dessert, it’s perfection.

  5. Liz says

    We had a very unfortunate experience there in November. The food was great – except they forgot my 10 year old daughter’s food. We told 3 different servers and the manager and it still took another 15 minutes for it to come out. By then she was pretty much asleep on the bench and we were done with dinner. The manager and server manager were very apologetic, and took it off the bill – but it was definitely disappointing when you’re paying so much for a meal and are forgotten.

  6. Kimberly H. says

    Where, *WHERE* do you fit all this? Even with the most generous elastic waisted pants I couldn’t do an appetizer, entree, sides, and dessert (even sharing!). Thank you for squeezing it all in for us. :D We may try the Boathouse in the future, but the crazy WDW dining prices are getting out of hand so we’ve cut back on our 2 table service meals a day down to 1 every other day.

  7. nursejackie says

    We ate there twice in December. The first day we had dinner and sat outside on a warm evening, and we loved it so much we went back again the next day, then treated ourselves to an amphicar ride. Great food and atmosphere, plus the staff were polite, courteous and even remembered our name. Can’t wait to go back.

  8. paul says

    Can you get the club sandwich etc in the main restaurant or just the bar? Can you reserve the bar?

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