First Look AND Review!! Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante Opening Soon in Disney Springs

We’d like to introduce you to two of our newest friends in Disney Springs: Maria & Enzo!

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is the table service component of a trio of brand new Italian eateries in Disney Springs, along with Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar (which will open soon) and the already open Pizza Ponte.

These three restaurants, run by the Patina Restaurant Group, are part of the complete complex of The Edison.  Though the three are bound together by location, atmosphere, and story, each presents its own take on Italian cuisine.

We were able to attend a Sneak Peek Media Event, which included a dedication for Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante.

Dedication of Maria & Enzo's Ristorante

Dedication of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante

The Ristorante will be open to guests soon (a full opening is anticipated by January 10th, though soft openings may precede). But just after the Media Event, the full menu was open for the evening. So today, we’re excited to bring you both a First Look AND a full review!

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante

According to the aforementioned story, Maria & Enzo’s is set in a 1930s abandoned airline terminal in a Florida waterfront town (that’s Disney Springs, of course). Lending a hand to Maria and Enzo these days is Chef Theo Schoenegger, Executive Chef of the Ristorante and Ezno’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar. Known for his culinary work at San Domenico in New York City and more recently for Sinatra in Las Vegas, Chef Schoenegger brings the spotlight to Sicilian cuisine at Maria & Enzo’s.

Let’s see what Maria and Enzo have to offer…

Atmosphere

Maria and Enzo, an immigrant couple from Italy, ran a bakery in what was once the Air Terminal for Disney Springs. When the terminal closed, Maria & Enzo opened a pizza-by-the-slice shop by the name of Pizza Ponte. That business venture was so successful in the town of Disney Springs that it allowed Maria and Enzo to purchase the closed air terminal and transform it into Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante.

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante

The couple clearly decided that “air terminal” was the look they were going for, because the space still celebrates the Golden Age of Travel — beginning with the “Passenger Check-in”!

Passenger Check

Passenger Check

All Gates!

All Gates!

The grand staircase leads to the main dining room which continues to showcase the the 50-foot ceilings of what was formerly the terminal lobby.

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante

Grand Staircase as seen from Main Dining Room

Grand Staircase as seen from Main Dining Room

Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

According to the story, these are the same windows that Clippers (large sea planes) flew into during the heyday of the Golden Age of Travel, and they still make the most of the Lake Buena Vista views.

Windows with Lake Buena Vista views

Windows with Lake Buena Vista views

Only these days, you can watch the Aerophile ballon take flight!

Waterfront Views

Waterfront Views

Prosecco with Aerophile Balloon in background

Prosecco with Aerophile Balloon in background

The Art Deco style remains intact, and elements of the former terminal still exist (you can still see the gate numbers surrounding the main dining room).

View of Gate Number and

View of Gate Number 1 and future upstairs seating area

The circular ceiling continues to display an Art Deco mural that highlights various cities in celebration of travel.

Destinations Mural

Destinations Mural

In the center hangs a silver globe which offers a bit of Disney whimsy by highlighting the geographic points for Disney World, Disneyland, and Marceline, Missouri (Walt Disney’s childhood home and inspiration for Main Street, U.S.A.).

Globe and Mural

Globe and Mural

The entire Ristorante brings to mind a bygone era when traveling was an occasion to be marked with dressing up in the finest clothes. (But don’t worry — theme park gear is welcome here.) And music further sets the scene, with a mixture of Italian music and artists like Frank Sinatra and Doris Day playing in the background.

Destination Prints

Destination Prints

Destination Prints

Destination Prints

Of course, Maria and Enzo did need to make a few additions; among them, seating for the diners!

Table Seating

Table Seating

Mixed Table and Booth Seating

Mixed Table and Booth Seating

Booth

Booth

The tables and booth settings include bright red napkins, which nicely accent all the color in the room.

Table Setting

Table Setting

Up the stairs from the main dining room is the First Class Lounge.

First Class Lounge

First Class Lounge

You can make a request to be seated there if you’d like.

First Class Lounge

First Class Lounge

But — and this is pretty sweet — just like in real life, some guests may be “bumped up” to First Class from time to time!

First Class Lounge

First Class Lounge

First Class perks include a complimentary glass of Prosecco for adults, and Wings pins for the kiddos!

The Ristorante really is stunning, making the most of the 1930s travel theme and combining it with the views and setting of modern-day Disney Springs.

Eats

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante serves Southern Italian cuisine.

Maria & Enzo's Ristorante Menu

Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante Menu

The Media Event gave us the opportunity to view the menu and sample some of the Sicilian cuisine of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. We’ll be interspersing those offerings from the event as we show you the full menu. (Scroll down to see full restaurant portions ordered and paid for by the DFB.)

Disney fans may know the inspiration behind the quotes on some of the artwork on the menu!

"Dream It, Then Do It"

“Dream It, Then Do It”

Below is the Antipasti (small plates) and Zuppa (soup) menu for starters.

Antipasti and Zuppa Menu

Antipasti and Zuppa Menu

Rice and Goat Cheese Ball

Rice and Goat Cheese Ball

Tomato and Mozzarella

Tomato and Mozzarella

The Salumi e Formaggi offerings feature Prosciutto di Parma.

Salumi E Formaggi Menu

Salumi E Formaggi Menu

The Prosciutto may be ordered individually or as part of the Chef’s Selection of 3 cured meats and cheeses for dinner (or 2 of each at lunch).

Prosciutto

Prosciutto

Prosciutto

Prosciutto

The housemade Paste choices include Rigatoni alla Norma.

Pasta Menu

Pasta Menu

Rigatoni alla Norma

Rigatoni alla Norma

And, just for fun, check out the GIGANTIC bowl of Spaghetti in honor of both the new restaurant and National Spaghetti Day, which just so happened to fall in line with the day of the dedication!

Giant Spaghetti

Giant Spaghetti

Here is a look at the Steaks, Chops, and Fish menu, along with the Parmigiana.

Steaks, Chops and Fish and Parmigiana Menu

Steaks, Chops and Fish and Parmigiana Menu

The sweet Dolci options include Cannoli.

Dolci Menu

Dolci Menu

Cannoli

Cannoli

And we also got to enjoy some Tiramisu.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

The apertif and cocktail offerings include a selection of variations on Negroni cocktails.

Cocktail Menu

Cocktail Menu

Negroni

Negroni

Classic Cocktails include a Sicilian Mule and a Manhattan via Milano.

Additional Drink Selections

Additional Drink Selections

The Giardino Punch and Roman Sangria are family-style drinks serving three to five guests.

The Wine List is both impressive and extensive. It represents Italy’s wine regions and offers over 100 selections. And you may be interested to know that Maria & Enzo’s has acquired the sommelier from Epcot’s Tutto Gusto.

White Wine

White Wine

First are the By the Glass selections.

Wines by the Glass

Wines by the Glass

And, of course, the By the Bottle. (As with all the menu pictures in this post, click on the image to enlarge for easier reading.)

Wines by the Bottle

Wines by the Bottle

Red Wine

Red Wine

But it’s not just all wine at Maria & Enzo’s… here’s the Birra list!

Beer Menu

Beer Menu

Non-alcoholic beverages are available as well. I love that the Mocktails include a Seasonal Limonata, though I would probably opt for the blood orange Sicilian Blush.

Drinks

Drinks

Smaller aviators (shout out to Soarin’!) can enjoy a fun presentation for their menu.

Kids' Menu

Kids’ Menu

They can see their choices after unfolding the paper.

Kids' Menu

Kids’ Menu

And their meals are served on trays, in keeping with the theme!

Food shown above was part of a Disney World Media Event. You can see more in our…

Full Portion Meal — Ordered and Paid For by DFB

Again, after the Media Event, we were able to return to Maria & Enzo’s to select from the full menu. With the regular meals (Maria & Enzo’s will be open for lunch and dinner), bread service is included.

Bread Service

Bread Service

It’s continually distributed around the room throughout the meal, so you can always ask for more, if you like!

Bread Service

Bread Service

The crusty Italian bread is meant to be enjoyed with the Olive Oil sitting on the tables.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Bread and Olive Oil

Bread and Olive Oil

Even so, we chose an appetizer: the Caciocavallo Fritto.

Caciocavallo Fritto

Caciocavallo Fritto

These balls of fried Sicilian cheese are served with a spicy tomato and pomodoro sauce.

Caciocavallo Fritto sauce

Caciocavallo Fritto sauce

We really enjoyed the Caciocavallo Fritto. The dry, but still very creamy, cheese had a really unique flavor, and the spicy sauce put it over the top. My recommendation? See if you can request a side of it to dip your bread in, even if you don’t order the Caciocavallo Fritto!

I also ordered a Green Gin Smash from the Classic Cocktails.

Green Gin Smash

Green Gin Smash

Hendricks Gin is paired with Ancho Reyes Verde and lime, simple syrup, basil, and cucumber for a spicy-meets-fresh flavor.

Green Gin Smash

Green Gin Smash

I chose my entree — the N’Casciata al Forno — from the Pasta menu.

N'Casciata al Forno

N’Casciata al Forno

This layered baked pasta dish is made with a meat ragu, peas, LOTS of zucchini, and the same caciocavallo cheese from our appetizer.

N'Casciata al Forno

N’Casciata al Forno

The zucchini layered on the top led me to think the dish would be really heavy on the veggies, but upon digging in the dish is quite meaty and savory. I appreciated the zucchini more as I ate, as it added a nice texture, giving the lasagna a little crisp. And here is a look at the varieties of pasta inside.

Pasta noodles in the Lasagna

Pasta noodles in the Lasagna

It’s definitely a heavy dish (in a good way), with a bit of zest to it, and I really enjoyed it.

Finally, for dessert, I went with the Cassata Siciliana, a traditional Sicilian ricotta layered sponge cake, only with a colorful twist.

Cassata Siciliana

Cassata Siciliana

Cassata Siciliana

Cassata Siciliana

Mildly sweet and with a light texture, it’s served with a dollop of cream nicely dotted with vanilla beans.

Cassata Siciliana

Cassata Siciliana

And it was a lovely way to end our first meal at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante!

Nosh or Not?

You might want to fly into Maria & Enzo’s if:

  • You want to experience the Table Service component of this new trio of Italian eateries.
  • You are a fan of any of the following: cool theming, good Italian food, or a solid wine list.
  • You are taken in by terrific waterfront views. (Granted, you can get those in a lot of Disney Springs dining spots these days, but the windows in here are pretty killer.)

You might want to pass on visiting Maria & Enzo if:

  • You prefer other Disney Italian restaurants and would like to return to them rather than try a new one.
  • You’re fine with Italian food but have limited time and would rather explore Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar or grab a quick bite at Pizza Ponte.
  • You are already overwhelmed by all the great dining choices that have already come to Disney Springs and are having a hard time narrowing your choice down as it is. Things sure have changed around here, my friends!

Overall

I must admit… I had the same thought I mentioned above in the “Not” section. I was pretty confident that there were enough Italian eateries in Disney World as it is (with more coming yet to Disney Springs), so when I heard the original concept for Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, I was skeptical. But the theming is good here and we enjoyed the meal. Is it our new favorite? Not yet. We’ll probably visit a few more times and see how we feel then. Stay tuned.

Again, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is not yet fully operational, and our understanding is that they are aiming for January 10th to be entirely open to the public. But you can make reservations via OpenTable for dates on or after January 15th now, in case you like what you’ve seen here and wish to experience for yourself.

And don’t forget… this isn’t Enzo’s only gig in town. So…

Check out our First Look at Enzo’s Hideaway and Tunnel Bar here!

Let us know what you think so far!

Are you adding Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante to your list of Must-Try Restaurants in Disney Springs? Please let us know with a comment!

Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Today, we were invited by Disney World to attend their media preview of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ

Comments

  1. Dave says

    Well, I just got back last night and was sad to see I missed the opening of M & E’s. I did have a slice at Pizza Ponte and enjoyed both the food and the staff. Next trip I guess, but then Terralina will be open too?? Although, any place/person good enough to steal away the head chef from Sinatra and Steve Wynn and his pay level, must be committed to highest end quality. Thanks for the review and great pics as always AJ !

  2. Nicole says

    We have a trip booked Mother’s day weekend and are trying to make a reservation for Maria and Enzo’s but that’s not an option. Any idea how we can book an ADR?

  3. DFB Sarah says

    Nicole: Maria and Enzo’s reservations can be made on OpenTable.com starting on January 15. We expect to see them available through DisneyWorld.com and the My Disney Experience app in the future too!

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