Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

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!

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. :-D (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… .

Atmosphere

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.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse Entrance

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.

Seating and Paintings in the Lobby

Seating and Paintings in the Lobby

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.

Description of Lobby Paintings

The Group of Seven Plaque

They’re really lovely, and I always appreciate this nod to Canadian culture here.

Lobby Decor -- Up Close

Lobby Decor — Up Close

As you head down the ramp, you’ll glimpse your last rays of sunshine for a bit.

Le Cellier Entryway

Le Cellier Entryway

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.

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dining Room

Le Cellier Steakhouse Dining Room

Cozy touches like a fireplace further “trick” you into thinking you’re someplace that would actually need a fireplace.

Fireplace in Le Cellier Steakhouse

Fireplace

A grouping of art glass on the mantelpiece lends a colorful touch to the decor.

Glass Decorations in Le Cellier Steakhouse

Decorative Glass on the Mantle of the Fireplace

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.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Seating

On this visit, I ended up at one of these snug little tables, right beside a wall.

My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Time to tuck into dinner and see what’s new at Le Cellier.

Eats

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.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

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.

Unibroue Beer Flight -- Éphémère, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles

Unibroue Beer Flight — Éphémère, La Fin du Monde, 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!

Complimentary Bread Basket

Complimentary Bread Basket

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.

Le Cellier Signature Poutine

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.

Signature Poutine -- Up Close

Signature Poutine — Up Close

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.

Montreal Poutine

Montréal Poutine

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.

Baked Triple Cream Brie

Baked Triple-Cream Brie

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.

Brie en Croûte -- Up Close

Brie en Croûte — Up Close

Next, it was time for the Main Event. I ordered my favorite meal here — the Le Cellier Filet Mignon.

Le Cellier Filet and Unibroue Beer Flight

Le Cellier Filet and Unibroue Beer Flight

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.

Le Cellier Filet

Le Cellier Filet — Up Close

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.

Le Cellier Filet -- Inside

Le Cellier Filet — Inside

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!

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye and Unibroue Beer Flight

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye and Unibroue Beer Flight

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!

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye — Up Close

While our meal was more than filling, I wanted to take a look at the Dessert Menu as well.

Dessert Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Dessert Menu — Click to Enlarge

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.

This was fine, but it’s nowhere near as good as the previous incarnation. I’d definitely still order the Chocolate Whiskey Trifle for dessert if I were you.

Nanaimo Pie

Nanaimo Pie

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.

Maple Crème Brûlée

Maple Crème Brûlée

After another stellar meal, I was ready to head back to Florida ;-) and continue my trip Around the World.

Overall

Le Cellier continues to deliver, and I continue to recommend it as a totally-worth-it, Disney Dining Plan two-credit, signature dining spot.

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!

Comments

  1. Mike V says

    Great review and your reactions mirror every meal that I have had here.
    Super place to eat that unlike some Disney spots that have an “off day” seem to never disappoint.

  2. says

    We ate there 4 years ago, and I just booked an ADR for our summer trip. I was excited to read your review today!

  3. Patricia C says

    While the food at Le Cellier was very good, it was one of our least memorable meals during our last trip. The service was mediocre at best, especially given it’s a two-credit/signature dining restaurant. Yes, our steaks were delish, and the cheddar cheese soup was one of the best soups any of us had ever tasted. We were SO disappointed in the poutine though. The fries were not crispy and there was barely any toppings on them… I’d had them on a prior visit, and the signature poutine was great…but this time around they really skimped. I know you didn’t mention it in your review, but I feel like from the photos it looks like they skimped on the toppings on yours as well. And the desserts are just OK, nothing to write home about. All in all, I’m glad I brought my family here to try it, as it’s always been a goal for them, but we all agreed once was more than enough.

  4. Essie says

    My fave meal anywhere is the filet over mushroom risotto with butter truffle sauce. I do, however, yearn for the days when this was a walk up restaurant with nice portions and reasonable prices.

  5. Fran says

    We just ate there Sunday night and ordered the ribeye. It is so big we split the steak. First of all, the menu has changed and the steak was not coffee rubbed. We ordered the steak medium and it actually was medium well and a little tough. The last time we were there we each ordered a steak and it was way too much. The steak was better on previous visits.

  6. Steve says

    I agree with Patricia C. We went in the fall and the service was not Disney standard. As always, the atmosphere is bad. So many more great steakhouse options now at Disney Le Celier needs to pick up it’s game. Get some imagineers in there!

  7. Sarah says

    You mentioned in this post that you took a Disney Cruise to Alaska last summer. My family is taking the Disney Alaska cruise this summer, and I would love to see more posts on DFB about Disney cruises! I’ve heard from different sources that the food is both amazing and terrible on Disney cruises, so I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  8. Dave says

    I agree with the review as well as the changeover to 2 dining credits. We would book this every year due to the fabulous deal with the quality for 1 credit. But once it went to 2, we had so many other places we wanted to try that using up two prevented us from doing LeCellier regularly. I do remember the one year they had lobster frites that were amazing. And for such a huge building, the restaurant is way too small for its popularity. To use up people’s 2 credits on dining plan to make profit and decrease demand here on the dining plan is a poor choice. How about expanding the restaurant to accommodate more tables instead of cramming them so close together that you can get photos of your neighbors plates or are a part of their conversation inches away?

  9. Ashley says

    Le Cellier used to be on our must do list, but that changed when they got rid of the lunch menu. Just getting my family into a table service restaurant at WDW is difficult due to the high prices but the supper prices for all day is ridiculous! Now the only table service place we eat at is Brown Derby so the others can get the cobb salad (while I order off the kids menu).

  10. Norma says

    The poutine breaks my heart, I can’t be the only Canadian that thinks that’s ‘loaded french fries’ and not truly poutine. While there are great poutines everywhere across this country, if you ever get the chance please visit Montreal for an authentic Montreal poutine sometime, it’ll blow your mind.

  11. Layne says

    Hi there! I know it will be slightly different for everyone, but approximately how long should we plan for dinner? We’d like to try dinner here then squeeze in the dessert party for Illuminations. We’ll be down there next week. Any advice?

  12. Wendy says

    I would love love love to see poutin at the Canada booth at this year’s Food and Wine Festival.

  13. says

    Layne — I would plan for at least 90 minutes. Of course, it could be longer or shorter, depending on factors like the kitchen, your server, how busy they are, how many courses you choose, if you’re seated right at your ADR time, etc. But 90 minutes would be a good place to start.

  14. says

    Thanks for your review. I’d been searching for some more recent reviews, as I’m considering Le Cellier on our upcoming September trip for my birthday dinner. There seems to be a wave of not so stellar reviews out there, so it was nice to read a good one. We’ve eaten at Le Cellier many times in the past, and always enjoyed it, but haven’t been recently, so was worried they’d really gone downhill. Glad to see there is no reason for my fears!

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