UPDATE: New California Grill Menu with Photos

As we mentioned in our update on the California Grill renovation, this popular restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be unveiling new dishes when it reopens.

California Grill is expected to start taking reservations within the next few weeks for its end of August opening. But right now, in an off-site kitchen, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki is creating delicious new dishes!

In our earlier post, I reviewed the three-meat meatballs — a new addition to the appetizer menu at the restaurant. They were delicious…

Oak-Fired Three Meat Meatball.

“We’re really trying to think of creative new ways to use our wood-fired oven,” says Piasecki. Those meatballs are one way, with pork, lamb, and veal spiced with house-made harissa.

An oaky, crispy crust makes them perfect for dredging in Meyer-lemon-scented chimichurri with a side of marinated picholine olives and a little orzo. “Perfect for sharing,” says Piasecki.

Three Meatball Appetizer.

Sourcing as much as possible locally is a priority for Piasecki. The Cape Canaveral prawns are a great example. He roasts them head on in the wood-fired oven and serves with oven-roasted tomatoes, charred lemon, and a handful of peppery baby arugula. (And he’s using the shells to make prawn oil.)


He’s also creating house-made duck charcuterie – prosciutto, sausage, rillettes, butter, and mousse, all made with duck and served with [Read more…]

News! California Grill Menu and Epcot’s France Ice Cream Shop Menu Updates

On my visit to Walt Disney World I got some great updates on the California Grill renovation at Disney’s Contemporary Resort,  and on Epcot’s new L’Artisan des Glaces France Ice Cream Shop opening! And I just couldn’t wait to share them with you!

L’Artisan des Glaces — Epcot’s French Ice Cream Shop Updates

The new ice cream parlor in Epcot’s France pavilion — L’Artisan des Glaces — will open in mid-June! Recently, I spoke with a General Manager of Operations at the France pavilion and found out a few great updates about the menu!!

Ice Cream and Sorbet Flavors
They’ll have 10 ice creams and 6 sorbets available. Varieties will change regularly and be served in either one scoop or two scoops with a choice of a cone or cup.

Flavors will vary and rotate, but standards will include chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, and — this one sounds awesome! – profiterole!

Details and Flavors for Liquor-Topped Ice Creams
Remember, you can also top your ice cream with liquor! If you choose the liquor option, it will be served in the same types of martini glasses that the famous Grand Marnier and Grey Goose slushes are served in at the outside kiosk in France.

Liquor flavors are still being finalized, but will likely include Grand Marnier, Grey Goose vodka, a rum from Martinique, and other options.

California Grill Menu Updates

During an informative conversation with California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki this week, I uncovered these fun updates!

Chef Brian Piasecki at California Grill!

California Grill Opening Date
California Grill is still looking at a “late Summer” opening…likely September. Get ready to make your reservations as booking should be available in the next 4 weeks or so.

New! Omakase Menu
I asked the Chef if he foresaw any Chef’s Counter or Chef’s Table option at Cali Grill in the future. While he said there wouldn’t be a typical Chef’s Table option, California Grill will be offering an Omakase menu at the sushi bar.

“Omakase” means “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese, and that’s exactly what diners will do when ordering this menu! They’ll receive a 12 course, chef-directed meal featuring modern interpretations of Japanese cuisine and sushi, progressing from lighter dishes and flavors to heavier and richer options in later courses.

The menu will change for this meal regularly, and that could mean that you get a completely different meal from night to night. The items will not be available on the regular menu and will only be available for those ordering the Omakase meal.

California Grill Menu Updates
We got a taste of a brand new menu item! The Oak-Fired Three Meat Meatball with [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Dinner and Fireworks Timing at Magic Kingdom

It’s time to delve once more into the Disney Food Blog Reader Questions Mailbag! We’re pretty sure that if one of you is asking about something, then many of you are probably wondering the same thing. :-)

Today, we are featuring a couple of questions that are all about how to ensure a good dining game plan to view Wishes at Magic Kingdom.

Wishes at Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant and Fireworks Viewing

Our DFB Reader asks…

When should we make our reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant so that we have sufficient time to enjoy our meal, and so we are on time to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes?

The long and short answer for this? It depends! Note that you won’t be able to see Wishes or the Parade FROM the restaurant, so dining first and then finding a viewing spot out in the park is important.

When you’re making a dinner reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant (or any other dining location) and you’d like to view the Electrical Parade and Wishes, it’s important to check park hours to find out when each of the events are taking place on that [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 3, 2013

Mickey knows what’s up this weekend!!

We’re right there with you with the game on and the chicken wings on speed dial!!

But just in case you need a break from the pre-game coverage, we’ve got tons of awesome Disney Dining news to share with you today! Check out some of the latest updates below…

Disney Dining News

Catch up on Disney’s food news…

We’ve got additional food news, including restaurant closures, New Menu Items at Tamu Tamu Refreshments, Valentine’s Week Dinners and Specialty Cupcakes at Walt Disney World and Disneyland restaurants, Special Super Bowl Eats at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Exterior Renovation at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Lunar New Year Specialties at Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney Anaheim, Exterior Renovation at Rainforest Cafe, Hurricane Hanna’s Grand Opening, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

This week, reader @nellie204 shared this too-adorable photo she titled: “Standard Disney Breakfast at Saratoga!” via twitter!

We love the choice of breakfast foods, Nellie!!!

Standard Disney Breakfast at Saratoga!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013!!

This week we celebrated the grand launch of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book! This valuable resource is fully updated for 2013 visits, and is now available for purchase and download to help you make the most of your dining opportunities while in Disney World.

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 400 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite things — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next vacation! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBGuide.com to pick it up!!

For our Grand Launch Sale, use code: 2013 to get a $4 discount for a limited time! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

To celebrate the launch and to thank you for your support of the blog, we’ll be offering the Guide for $4 off its standard rate for a limited time! Order your copy now at DFBGuide.com and use code 2013 for your discount!

If you purchased the 2012 Guide and would like to purchase the 2013 Guide, we’ve got a special discount for repeat purchasers. Email me here to get a limited-time, one-use, exclusive discount code to purchase the 2013 Guide at a $6 discount. Please include the email address you used to purchase the 2012 Guide in the body of your email.

For more detailed information and screen shots from the e-Book, head over to DFBGuide.com! With a 100% money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose! :-)

Three Great e-Books: Over 30% Off!

Want even more savings?! We’ve bundled three of our most popular guides into one discounted price! Our DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle offers:

  • The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013, PLUS
  • The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, AND
  • The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks

All three are being sold together for the first time –and for a massively discounted price. Just $29.95 instead of the regular price of nearly $42.00.

Find out more about the DFB Guide & Snack Bundle here!

On to the Round-Up

WDW Today Podcast chats with us about Walt Disney World dining with kids.

Parents Magazine gives Disney Dining tips, including suggestions from yours truly! ;-)

Daveland visits the Main Street Market House in Disneyland.

DisZine reports on Splitsville’s Super Bowl Party!

The Drinks Business discusses wines at the exclusive Club 33 in Disneyland.

Running at Disney dines at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club resort.

Main Street Gazette samples the Milky Way Sundae at Beaches and Cream.

Disney Gals discuss keeping kosher at Disney.

Disney by Mark fuels up at Flo’s V-8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure.

News! First Look at the New California Grill Menu at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

We previously brought you the news that California Grill, one of Disney World’s most popular dining spots, will be closing for a major renovation on February 1.

The signature restaurant, located high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, will be closed until late summer. In the meantime, Chef Brian Piasecki is already busily creating a new menu that blends classic dishes with fresh updates. Thanks to Disney Parks Blog, we’re getting a few first looks at a few of the creations. First up: sushi!

Although Yoshie Cabral, the restaurant’s beloved sushi chef, is retiring, sushi will continue to play a big role on the menu.

New Sushi Creations

Some of the new items aren’t fish at all, but take their inspiration from traditional Japanese dishes, like Japanese-style Bone Marrow with Crunchy Panko and Sweet Onion Jam and Beef Tartare. I can’t wait to try these!

Traditionalists will also find Sea Urchin Nigiri with Mamanori (soybean paper), Salmon Roe and freshly grated Wasabi Root.

More New Sushi Options

Meat lovers will find plenty to tempt their palates, too. The 24-hour Braised Beef Short Rib with Truffle Whipped Potatoes, Vol-au-Vent (puff pastry) with Roasted Vegetables and Natural [Read more…]

Guest Review: California Grill at the Contemporary Resort

Today, we’re welcoming Alex F. with a signature dining review. Alex takes us with her to the top of the Contemporary Resort for dinner at the California Grill! Let’s go…

I have been to Disney World over 20 times and I have always wanted to write a review. So, finally I decided that on my latest trip, I would take pictures and review California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. I hope that this review is helpful and enjoyable!


California Grill, a signature dining restaurant located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, features unique views through the walls of windows and the two observation decks.

While dining here, you can either have close up aerial views of the Magic Kingdom from one side of the dining room, or distant views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios from the other (you can see Spaceship Earth, the Swan and Dolphin hotels, and even the Tower of Terror).

Table by the Window with Magic Kingdom View

To access the California Grill, you must check-in on the 2nd floor to the right of the escalators. Years ago, you were able to simply go straight upstairs and check-in, but that has all changed. Now, once you have checked in, you can head over to a special elevator just for [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 8, 2012

Beauty and the "Beast" Mosaic in Be Our Guest Restaurant

We hope your holiday was filled with lots of great food this week! The big food news this July 4th was the confirmation of the California Grill closure.

Of course, we enjoyed seeing a new cupcake unveiled for the holiday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Did anyone see other holiday treats around the parks this week?

Disney Food News

In this week’s food news for Disney fans…

We’ve got more food news (including menu info for the new DCL Remy’s brunch, a new policy for Top of the World Lounge…plus LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

DFB Podcast Episode 6 Now Available

We’re pleased to announce that the sixth episode of our brand new podcast has been released! You can catch it over on DFBPodcast.com

In this episode of the Disney Food Blog’s DFB Podcast, we cover the latest Disney Food News, discuss two delicious Disney steakhouses, answer a few listener questions, and reveal the answer to our Episode 5 trivia question (as well as give you a brand new trivia question)!

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

On to the Round-Up

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups consumes some fun mocktails!

Designing Disney visits the Toad Hall restaurant at Disneyland Paris. Wow!

Daveland shares beautiful photos from the Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland.

Disney History shares a vintage interview with Walt Disney explaining why [Read more…]

News! Temporary Closure in 2013 for Disney World’s California Grill

Chef Brian Piasecki reveals a few details of the upcoming renovation of the popular California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World!

This high-end restaurant offers exquisite cuisine and top-notch fireworks viewing, but we’ll have to find another signature spot to dine for the first half of 2013! According to the DisneyParks Blog, we finally have a solid date for the restaurant’s closure that we reported earlier this year.

California Grill will close in early 2013, and re-open in the late summer. Save us a spot at this window table! ;-)

Great view from California Grill

Menu and Other Updates

While the menu will undergo some tweaking, a fresh, seasonal menu with top-of-the-line sushi will continue to be the main focus of the kitchen.

The continued use of creative flavors and techniques will allow chefs to [Read more…]

Guest Review: California Grill at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

Join us in welcoming guest author Corey Patterson with his first review on the Disney Food Blog. Corey starts off at the top of the world with his experience at the California Grill. Take it away, Corey!

Location, location, location. Every one knows these are the three most important aspects in a successful property. However, in the case of California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the food outshines even the outstanding location and takes top billing.

For a few years, I had heard that if I couldn’t eat dinner at Victoria and Albert’s (which is on my bucket list), then California Grill was a great alternative. So, when I attended a recent conference in Orlando, I made sure that eating at the top of the Contemporary was on the agenda.

And, I must say, after my first Cali Grill experience, I would wholeheartedly agree with the high praise.


As we arrived at the Contemporary Resort, we were a little unsure of how to get to the restaurant. But signage and friendly cast members quickly pointed out the reception desk on level 2. We checked in and were whisked away in the elevator to the 15th floor at the top of the Contemporary Resort.

Check In Desk

I purposefully made our reservation at California Grill at 9:20 so that we were sure to be there during Wishes, but I was still surprised to see the restaurant so busy at that late hour. I most likely underestimated the crowds for the week and really shouldn’t have been shocked since WDW is getting busier as summer approaches.

Since we made a reservation, we walked right in and didn’t wait more than 10 minutes for our table (which was enough time to grab something from the awesome bar!). A very nice young lady named Sam greeted us when our table was ready and made it a point to explain everything about the restaurant (such as the location of the Terraces and the restrooms,) and even slowly walked us by the open kitchen on the way to the table so we could witness the magic happening there.

Open Kitchen

While Sam was wonderful, we were a little disappointed when we learned [Read more…]