We’re stopping by one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World — Le Cellier Steakhouse — to see what’s new in The Great White North!
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Well, technically, this isn’t North, it’s South. And we’re not in Canada. But we are in the Canada Pavilion in Epcot. Owing to the architecture and gardens here, this is one of the prettiest spots along World Showcase Promenade.
Who doesn’t love journeying back through the pavilion and getting splashed by waterfalls as you walk? You haven’t done it? I highly recommend it. And go see O, Canada! while you’re at it! Martin Short is the best. (Speaking of, when we were in Vancouver for our Alaska cruise last year I couldn’t help but notice that Martin Short is the voice of, like, every single cartoon in Canada.)
But while I love exploring the whole area to see what’s new, it’s Le Cellier Steakhouse, the pavilion’s signature dining table service restaurant, that keeps me coming back trip after trip. Le Cellier is a favorite of mine because it features one of my favorite meals in all of Walt Disney World — the Le Cellier Filet.
But you know my philosophy: just because something has always been great doesn’t mean it continues to be. We always like to check back in with places — even our favorites — to make sure we can still continue to recommend them. And so, in the name of research, here I am at Le Cellier once again. And this time there was a new favorite… .
Meander back along the beautiful gardens, following the signs, and you’ll come to the entrance of Le Cellier Steakhouse. Tucked into the bottom of the chateau that’s the hallmark of the Canada Pavilion, you get a sense that the spot is aptly named.
It always throws me a little, this imagining that I’m in Canada when Florida is so very hot most of the time. Still, as soon as you walk through the doors, the Disney magic kicks in, and you start to feel as though you have indeed traveled north. Stone walls and flooring, along with heavy wood accents, immediately evoke a feeling of…cool.
As you’re shown into the dining room, take a moment to look at the paintings in the lobby and along your path. All of the paintings are by The Group of Seven, an important school of Canadian painters.
They’re really lovely, and I always appreciate this nod to Canadian culture here.
As you head down the ramp, you’ll glimpse your last rays of sunshine for a bit.
Because Le Cellier is fashioned to look like a wine cellar, all of the light comes from chandeliers and wall sconces that look like candles. While this lighting makes shooting food a nightmare , it is completely gorgeous and lends to the relaxed, refined atmosphere.
Cozy touches like a fireplace further “trick” you into thinking you’re someplace that would actually need a fireplace.
A grouping of art glass on the mantelpiece lends a colorful touch to the decor.
Glittery windows with diagonal muntins that divide up the space and reflect the low light are a charming and functional design element, making the small space appear a little larger. (And it IS a very small space.)
Seating is a combination of tables and booths, but there are also comfortable padded benches lining the walls. Tables tend to be pretty close together, however — a fact that I don’t love.
On this visit, I ended up at one of these snug little tables, right beside a wall.
Time to tuck into dinner and see what’s new at Le Cellier.
Because Le Cellier is a signature dining restaurant, the menu tends to change up frequently to reflect seasonal variety and availability. Having said that, there are also signature dishes that never, ever leave, like the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. This dish is also a mainstay of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
You’ll also always find a Poutine or two as well. We’ll take a closer look at those in a minute.
After a look at the menu, it didn’t take us long to make our choices. We began with a favorite: the Unibroue Beer Flight. The three selections included Éphémère, La Fin du Monde, and Trois Pistoles.
While I didn’t take a picture of it this trip, rest assured that dinner at Le Cellier still comes with their wonderful bread service — including their much-praised Pretzel Bread Sticks. Sadly, I never get my fill of these, because there’s so much good food here!
As we sipped our beer, we began by ordering both of the Poutines available during this visit.
And here’s where I need to offer a Poutine disclaimer: Yes, I know what real Poutine is. And while I really, really love it, I’m also open to interpretations. After all, the basic idea is Fries with Yummy Stuff On Top Of Them. So, yeah. It’s a win pretty much however you spin it.
The good news is that most of the time, normally at least one of the varieties at Le Cellier (we’ve seen as many as three offered at a time) bears a resemblance to the classic dish of Gravy Fries with Cheese Curds.
We’ll start with the Le Cellier Signature Poutine.
This one is always my favorite of the offerings, so I’m so glad it stays on the menu. The dish features Fresh-Cut Fries, Canadian Cheddar, Truffles, and a super savory Red Wine Reduction. The flavors here are sharp and strong. It really is a party in your mouth. But I don’t think the kiddos will be as excited about it as you and I are.
For comparison’s sake (and because I love Poutine), we also tried the other option, Montréal Poutine. This version was topped with Montréal Smoked Brisket, French Onion Gravy, Gruyere Cheese, Pickled Vegetable Slaw, and Mustard Beer Sauce. This one did not float my boat. I’m not a pickled anything kind of person…nor am I a big mustard fan. If it was just brisket, gruyere, and french onion gravy I’d have been much happier, but the Signature Poutine would still have been the winner.
The Baked Triple-Cream Brie also caught my eye, so we ordered that as well. (Thanks to 50s Prime Time Cafe and their Boursin cheese dish, I can’t ever pass up a baked or fried cheese app…just in case it’s a contender.) The beautiful plate consisted of a small Brie en Croûte, Pickled Heirloom Beets, Orange Marmalade, Baby Greens, and Hazelnut Praline.
I pretty much just ate the cheese here. A look at the Brie en Croûte up close shows you the melty consistency of the rich Cheese enrobed in the perfectly baked Puff Pastry. It was very nice, but not a must-do.
Next, it was time for the Main Event. I ordered my favorite meal here — the Le Cellier Filet Mignon.
I’m accustomed to their changing the side dishes and sauces that accompany the Filet around a bit, but I was very happy to see it served with my two favorites: Mushroom Risotto and Truffle Butter Sauce. It was crowned with Asparagus-Tomato Relish, a new touch.
As usual, the AAA Canadian Beef Tenderloin was cooked perfectly to my medium-rare specifications.
This dish was great as always. The tender, perfectly-cooked filet and the incredibly flavorful risotto accompanied by the truly epic truffle butter sauce…you just can’t go wrong with this.
But, it turns out, you CAN go more RIGHT! I also ordered the Le Cellier Signature Coffee Rubbed Black Angue Rib Eye. I’d shied away from this in the past, because I was worried about the “coffee-rubbed” part. I hate (HATE HATE HATE) sweet steaks, and I’d been burned by Le Cellier on their rib eye before. But the server promised me that the coffee wasn’t a predominant flavor, and I’m so glad she encouraged my trying this rib eye!
The boneless rib eye is served atop a bed of Crispy Fingerling Potatoes and Heirloom Carrots, dressed in Nueske’s Bacon Vinaigrette. The plate was finished with a rich Maple Bordelaise Butter.
Now despite the coffee rub and the maple butter, this steak was PERFECT. I couldn’t stop eating it! There was so much savory flavor (expected as it’s a rib eye, but this was off the charts), and I didn’t taste any overly sweet notes. Maybe I just got lucky, but this beat out the filet for me on this visit!
While our meal was more than filling, I wanted to take a look at the Dessert Menu as well.
While there were some intriguing options, we couldn’t pass up the chance to try Le Cellier’s latest take on a Canadian Classic — Nanaimo Pie. The plate consisted of a White Chocolate “Bar” atop a Chocolate Hazelnut Crust, accompanied by Coconut Ice Cream made in-house.
The table next to ours ordered the restaurant’s signature dessert, Maple Crème Brûlée, and kindly allowed me to grab a photo of it. While we didn’t have it on this visit, we have enjoyed it before. It’s easy to understand its popularity.
After another stellar meal, I was ready to head back to Florida and continue my trip Around the World.
Why? Well, simply put, I love the food. But the cozy ambiance, combined with the consistently good service, are also both worth mentioning and praising.
In the past, an advance dining reservation at Le Cellier was nearly impossible to get. But when the restaurant became a two-credit signature restaurant for both lunch and dinner a few years ago, the move seemed to diminish its popularity slightly.
Still, if you want to score an ADR here, plan to be on the phone 180 days out for prime dining times. Having said that, I routinely have luck scoring last minute reservations by opting for late lunches. And I will continue to do so as long as my pocketbook can handle it.
How do you feel about Le Cellier Steakhouse? Leave a comment below and let me know if it’s a must-do for you as well!