Sebastian’s Bistro is the table service restaurant offering at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
This eatery opened last October as extensive renovations at the Moderate Resort came to an end. Our first visit to Sebastian’s was fine (see our review and first look here!), but we weren’t exactly rushing back to try it. For starters, although it’s a lovely restaurant, it’s off the beaten path a bit if you’re not staying at the resort.
But the food also didn’t knock our socks off. It was good, but it wasn’t great. Our advice at the time was not to go out of your way to try it, but that you might give the Caribbean-inspired dishes a whirl if you were nearby.
Would our most recent dinner change this recommendation? Or is Sebastian’s at risk of sinking under the sea? The restaurant has already closed its lunch offering, so now it’s open only for dinner.
Sebastian’s Bistro is the Resort’s replacement for the formerly lackluster Shutters, and the updated decor was a welcome change. Right from the entry, it’s clear you’re in the Caribbean (Disney’s version, anyway). Shutters (the architectural detail, not the old restaurant) give you an island vibe, and the colors are vibrant.
On this night, the Resort and its centerpiece Old Port Royale (where you’ll find Sebastian’s as well as Banana Cabana and Centertown Market) had been rained upon, and the wet wood surfaces somehow enforced even more dramatically the Caribbean feel.
The dining room has a breezy, beachy feel due to high ceilings and ocean-inspired colors and fixtures.
Seating is at tables with comfy chairs upholstered in fabric in shades of blue. The white-washed wood tables are chunky but convey the brightness of the seaside.
Table settings are simple, with the water-color menu really taking center stage. Because why shouldn’t it?
The restaurant’s titular crab looks joyful as he cavorts amongst the coral, and if you’re not smiling right now looking at him, are you even human? (Better check for fins!)
Sebastian’s opened last October, but as is often the case at Walt Disney World’s table service restaurants, the menu has already experienced some changes. We stopped in for dinner to try a few items we hadn’t previously reviewed.
The Drink Menu features a few fun Non-Alcoholic Specialty Drinks (take note, those of you on Disney Dining Plan!), including The Peachcomber, Mutiny Punch, and Landlubber Lemonade.
Specialty Cocktails also receive a bit of an island twist with options like a Guava-Rita, the Caribbean Smuggler, and a Caribbean Mai Tai. Where’s all the rum? It’s also here: mixed in drinks and served up in a flight!
The menu of Appetizers, Dinner Mains, and an Enhancement include Caribbean flavors like Jerk Chicken Wings, Coconut Shrimp and Grits, and Spiny Lobster Tail.
And Desserts offer fruity and chocolatey bits like Mango-Passion Fruit Panna Cotta and Warm Chocolate Pudding (with cocoa nib tuile!).
We ordered the Empanada Sampler, which features two fillings: one grilled fish and one braised beef.
The fillings are encased in flaky fried pastry, and these were thankfully fried such that they didn’t absorb (and therefore taste of) too much grease. The frying also achieved a nice browning and crisp edges.
The fish filling is mahi mahi, and while it was fine, this wasn’t a big hit. The flavors weren’t dynamic enough for our group.
The braised beef, on the other hand, was very flavorful, and the amount stuffed into the empanada was generous. This was juicy and tender — really a great option. We might try ordering this with just beef in the future. So less “sampler” and more “beef”. 😉
For dipping, the Sampler includes Guajillo Chili Sauce. This is very much a tomato sauce with only a hint of pepper and no heat to speak of, so don’t fret if you’re heat-averse. It was fine but not amazing.
The Cuban Black Bean Soup was a delicious and hearty option. We imagine a bowl of this in the cooler days of winter would be incredibly satisfying.
The stewed black beans are vegan, according to our server, and they were tasty on their own. But for carnivores, the toppings are really the stars of the soup. House-made Chorizo was awesome — spicy, meaty, and delicious. Our only complaint about the chorizo is that we wanted more chorizo.
Jasmine Rice, Micro-cilantro, and a swirl of herbed Sour Cream completed the dish, and each element contributed something to the dish. The starchy rice was a nice conduit for the stronger flavors, the cilantro added a light freshness, and the sour cream was a thoughtful contrast.
Overall, this was a pretty stellar bowl of soup. Vegan readers will want to confirm when dining at Sebastian’s, but the soup on our visit was vegan, and so without the chorizo and sour cream, it would be a simplified but still yummy option. Note that there are currently also a couple of other vegan/vegetarian appetizer options, making this a pretty good spot for plant-based apps!
For Dinner Mains, we went a meatier direction with the Taste of the Caribbean. This is a trio of components (selected by the diner) with sides of rice, black beans, and shaved carrot. We opted for Coconut Shrimp, Jerk Chicken, and Slow-cooked Pork, but other options include Goat Curry and a Plant-based Curry.
Before we dig in, let’s chat about the Goat Curry. Previously, the menu included a Goat Curry option, but it was omitted on the current menu. Our server told us that if diners wish to do so, they can order the Taste of the Caribbean with three servings of Goat Curry. The same is possible for the Plant-based Curry, so vegan and vegetarian diners can opt for that if they wish. (Although there’s a cheaper Caribbean Vegetable Curry that might work, too!)
Okay, back to the meal at hand. The Jerk Chicken component of our Taste of the Caribbean was a tasty play on spicy (from the jerk rub) and sweet (from the glaze). The chicken was grilled (check out those grill marks!), and it was really good.
The Slow-Cooked Pork was our favorite of the trio. It had the right level of saltiness and seasoning, and it was incredibly tender. We could tell it was genuinely slow-cooked. So delicious. We could probably double-up or triple-up on the pork on this dish and be satisfied (and full!).
The Coconut Shrimp was our least favorite component, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good! There just wasn’t anything particularly special about them, so they couldn’t compete with the flavorful chicken and pork. These were fried perfectly and had a good ratio of breading and coconut.
The sides were basic and fine on the dish, with that rice really benefiting from glaze run-off from the chicken. Overall, this was a delicious plate of food. And at $32 for this main entree, it could be a terrific table-service credit value on the Disney Dining Plan! (Pair it with a cocktail and dessert for a total DDP value of well over $50!)
Another great DDP value (and pricey out-of-pocket option) is the Grilled Rib-Eye. This juicy steak is a 10-oz. cut of USDA Choice Rib-Eye, and it’s packed with flavor!
The flavor comes primarily from a slathering of Chimichurri sauce, heavy on the cilantro and garlic!
The steak was cooked to our specified doneness, so no complaints there. And while the server explained the steak is not marinated, it certainly eats as if it was — that’s to say, it’s super tender and lovely to eat.
Also lovely: the Sweet Potato-Plantain Mash! This was surprisingly good. We found it to be a decent balance of sweet and savory, and it was a colorful accompaniment for the steak.
Adding freshness to the dish is a pile of Arugula Salad tossed in a light vinaigrette and some Roasted Peppers. We enjoyed these, too!
We ended our thoroughly indulgent meal with one more indulgence: Classic Mile High Key Lime Pie. Why the mile-high moniker?
This is why! A veritable mountain of shiny vanilla meringue! It’s toasted golden-brown, and it was fun to eat. But if you’re not a meringue fan, you’ll definitely want to go a different direction because this is pretty serious. (Notice, though, that the meringue is separated from the key lime custard itself by a thin layer of… we’re not sure. It didn’t add any flavor, but we surmise it’s there for stability.)
The key lime custard itself was dense, rich, and tart: really, really delicious!
Though the menu doesn’t say this, our slice came with a scoop of guanabana sorbet and some diced tropical fruit. According to our server, the kitchen has three flavors of sorbet — guanabana, mango-lime, and guava — and there’s no way to know exactly which yours will come with. So if you have a preference, definitely ask about this when you place your order!
Also: hello, thick, buttery graham cracker crust! How gorgeous is that?!
In case you were wondering, we could not finish all of this food. 😉 Our server kindly packed it up and included some classy plasticware so we could enjoy the leftovers later. This is a great help for those staying at the Resort who want to limit food waste and maximize their midnight snacking!
So, phew! We’re full! Not only that, we left very satisfied from this meal experience!
Nosh or Not?
Make a deal with a sea witch for some fins so you can swim into Sebastian’s if:
- You love the flavors of the Caribbean and want to enjoy them on vacation.
- You’re calling Caribbean Beach home, and you want to try all of the Resort’s restaurants.
- You’re on a mission to try cuisines of the world while in the World.
Point your feet elsewhere if:
- You aren’t staying at or traveling near Caribbean Beach Resort.
- Table service meals or Resort dining aren’t on your schedule this trip.
- The flavors of the Caribbean just aren’t your thing. (There’s LOTS of cilantro.)
This visit to Sebastian’s was definitely a step-up from our last one. And while we still think it’s too inconveniently located to be a must-do recommendation, once the Disney Skyliner opens, it may well be more accessible and worth the 5-15 minute trip through the skies from Epcot. For sure the flavors evoke the Caribbean, and the atmosphere is both relaxed and elegant, making it a nice place to dine overall. Will life always be the bubbles at Sebastian’s Bistro? We can’t know for sure… so we’ll have to swim on back!
Interested in the Disney Skyliner gondola system that will carry guests over Walt Disney World and to and from Caribbean Beach Resort? Click here for a closer look!
Have you tried Sebastian’s Bistro? Tell us about your experience by leaving a comment below!