Boatwright’s Dining Hall might just be one of Walt Disney World‘s best-kept dining secrets. Located within Port Orleans Riverside, it’s a great spot to seek out if you’re looking for a quiet table service dinner outside of the parks.
Boatwright’s has had a few menu updates since our last visit and most recent guest review (hello, All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Chef’s Platter!), so we were excited to get back to Port Orleans Riverside to check it out.
If you weren’t looking for Boatwright’s Dining Hall, you might never know it’s there. This table service restaurant is open for dinner only and specializes in down-home, southern-style cuisine. It’s also one of the easier Walt Disney World restaurants to get into without a reservation or on short notice.
Boatwright’s Dining Hall recently debuted the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Chef’s Platter, and we were very much looking forward to the opportunity to try it out.
But first! This restaurant is themed after an old boat construction warehouse, so you can anticipate being greeted with warm lighting, a casual feel, and various boat-building tools and boat hulls as decor.
The theme of a boat-building warehouse is carried through from the in-progress boat hull to the tools on the wall to the compass-like in-lay on the tables.
Whether you’re here for a dinner for two or have your whole family with you, Boatwright’s can accommodate groups of any size. Plus, the kiddos in your group will probably love looking at all of the tools on the wall and listening as the parents make up the purpose of the tool!
Alright, I think it’s time to place our order!
As we’ve mentioned once or twice before, there’s an addition to the menu here. You can now get an All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Chef’s Platter here in addition to other entrees.
Boatwright’s also offers a special “Best of the Bayou” Menu which is a four-course prix-fixe menu. This menu really does offer some of the best or most popular items on their full menu, so if you’re looking for this type of meal dive in!
Each meal at Boatwright’s Dining Hall starts with warm, sweet cornbread and fluffy whipped butter. This is still complementary, which is nice…so many restaurants now charge for the bread service.
If you’d like something more than cornbread, there are plenty of appetizers available!
The Andouille Sausage-Cheese Dip ($13) is served in a bread bowl and features Andouille sausage in a three cheese blend.
This one is yummy, but the well in the bread for the cheese dip is small. So the cheese dip portion is on the stingy side. If your favorite part of this is eating the bread bowl afterwards, you’ll be fine. But if you’re looking for ample dip, this won’t suffice.
Still the flavors are excellent, and this isn’t too spicy if you have a less adventurous eater in your party.
Continuing the cheese theme, the Mardi Gras Fritters ($9) are filled with house-made pimiento cheese and are served over pepper jelly. These were highly recommended to me by a friend and I can totally see why!
Our server told us that these are “what mozzarella cheese sticks want to be when they grow up,” and that’s basically the perfect description. They have a mozzarella cheese stick feel…just with bigger flavors.
Entree time! Let’s start with the new on the menu All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Chef’s Platter. With this platter, you get bottomless ribs, Nashville hot chicken, smoked sausage, barbecued beef brisket, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, street corn, and green beans for $33.
It reminds us a lot of the All-You-Care to Enjoy Skillet at Wilderness Lodge‘s Whispering Canyon Cafe. This All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Chef’s Platter at Boatwright’s is a great opportunity to try a variety of different dishes and sides that’ll please multiple palates.
Unfortunately it’s not all “wow” material. The hot chicken had great flavor, but was tough and dry; and unfortunately the breading was almost sharp feeling and too crunchy. The brisket was fine, but not as flavorful as I’d like. The sausage was very good, and the ribs were very tender and acceptable flavor-wise. The mac and cheese was creamy, but bland. And the corn wasn’t akin to any elotes or street corn I’ve had before. It just didn’t come together.
So the skillet is an OK option if you want to try a lot of different things; but I’d probably stick with one of the better entrees like the prime rib or jambalaya, personally.
The Deep South Shrimp and Grits ($23) comes with creamy, Charleston-style grits, Andouille sausage, and sustainable shrimp, topped off with red-eye gravy.
The gravy here was truly delicious, and the grits and shrimp were quite good. The sausage gave some great flavor as well. If you’re a shrimp and grits fan, I’d recommend.
General Fulton’s Prime Rib ($35) is slow-roasted in Boatwright’s signature blend of chicory-coffee seasoning and served alongside mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and horseradish cream. This was as good as it’s always been — not as good as the Prime Rib over at the new Snow White character meal at Artist Point, but still worth the price.
You can’t have a southern-style restaurant without Jambalaya. A New Orleans classic, Boatwright’s Jambalaya ($19), features spicy shrimp, chicken, and Andouille sausage over rice. A vegetarian version is available, too! This is one of my favorite dishes here historically, but, honestly, it might be better to grab it at Sassagoula Float Works over at Port Orleans French Quarter — I think it’s a little better there (and cheaper).
You can’t have dinner at Walt Disney World without having dessert, right!? We ordered four on our visit and they were ALL delicious — seriously the highlight of the meal! The major bummer for desserts here, though, was that instead of buttercream frosting, the restaurant used whipped panna cotta as an accent texture. I really missed that sweet-salty flavor and heavier texture of the buttercream frosting here.
First up was this Red Velvet Cheesecake ($8). The red velvet was clearing an accent here as there wasn’t much of it; but there didn’t need to be. The cheesecake was excellent on its own, though my dining companion and I both thought that this could be a no-added-sugar dessert considering how little sweetness there was to it.
According to the menu, there’s bourbon-vanilla cream involved, but that’s not really a flavor we tasted a lot of.
The Joie de Vivre Peanut Butter Mousse Cake ($8) comes with peanut brittle and triple berry sauce. I expected this one to be a typical blah-bland “candy bar” dessert as I’ve seen in so many Disney restaurants lately. But I was SUPER surprised! The peanut butter layer was almost like a light cookie dough, and the flavors were SO GOOD. I can definitely recommend this one! The bottom layer, by the way, is a super dense brownie.
How about some St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake ($8)? I LOVE LOVE LOVE butter cake, and always order it when it’s on a menu. This one was wonderful — if a little too sweet (I know, how is that possible!?). This version is topped with bourbon sauce and toffee brittle.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the chocolate! Spiced chocolate sauce and whipped vanilla panna cotta have come together to make this Mississippi Mud Pie ($7). Even though I’m not a huge fan of the all-chocolate-all-the-time desserts, this one was actually very, very good.
If you’re looking for southern comfort food in a casual, comfortable atmosphere, give Boatwright’s Dining Hall a try! It’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks and the resort quick service locations, and you won’t have to stress yourself out trying to get a reservation. From meat-heavy dishes to vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone in your travel party!
I know a lot of my readers and viewers don’t LOVE this one, but honestly I’m pretty pleased with it each time I go. 😀
Have you been to Boatwright’s Dining Hall lately? Leave a comment and tell us all about your favorite menu items!