Review: Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

It’s quiet, it’s refined, the food is decent, and it’s one of those “hidden gems” when it comes to seeing the Magic Kingdom fireworks!! What more could you ask for? ;-)

Narcoossee’s boasts prime real estate at the Grand Floridian resort on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon and has some of the best seafood on Disney World property.

Atmosphere

Getting to Narcoossee’s can be a bit of a trick — maybe that’s why it’s still not all that difficult to get an ADR here!

The restaurant is located at the end of the Grand Floridian transportation boat dock, which means it’s about as far from the front door of the lobby (and the monorail) as you can get! If you wind up taking a boat there, it’ll be easier; but since Narcoossee’s is a signature dining location, you’ll likely be a bit dressed up, so a boat from the theme park might not be the best choice. ;-) Once you arrive at the lobby, ask a Cast Member how to get there. It’s much easier than trying to follow signs or a map.

Narcoossees Sign

Upon arriving at the restaurant, you’ll walk past the Chef’s vegetable and herb garden, which lines each side of the entry sidewalk to the resort. (Oh yeah, remember that Narccoossee’s is outside the main lobby, so bring your ‘brella if [Read more…]

What Disney Foods Do YOU Crave?

Well, I’ve been home from Walt Disney World for two weeks now, and I’m already craving some dishes and snacks I know I’m going to have on my next trip (um…Karamell Kuche, anyone?).

So, a while back, I asked over on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page: What Disney Dish Are You Craving Today? I got some fantastic answers! Let’s take a trip down a delicious road of favorite dishes and menu items in Walt Disney World… (Note: You’ll see some sad news about the Jiko Filet with Mac and Cheese about halfway down the page. I’m just warning you.)

A Few of the Classics…

With all the changes in Disney World’s menus lately, it’s nice to know these favorites have been around for a good long time:

Fried Chicken at 50’s Prime Time Cafe
This classic, simple dish has been on the menu at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ages, and we’re glad it’s not going away!

Fried Chicken at 50's Prime Time Cafe

‘Ohana
Folks wrote about loving the wings appetizer and the dessert — that fabulous Bananas Foster Bread Pudding — at [Read more…]

The Five Best Steaks in Disney World

I started out this evening writing a post about the best underrated steaks in Disney World, but then realized that I hadn’t even done the five best steaks in Disney World, yet! So here you go! (Also, please note that this post isn’t about the best steakhouses in Disney World — that’s another post altogether…which Jeff promised me he’d help write…right, Jeff?)

The Five Best Steaks in Walt Disney World

Yachtsman Steakhouse Cowboy Steak

Yachtsman Steakhouse is a tidy little nondescript restaurant churning out some really incredible food. All light woods, white tablecloths, and windows, you really don’t know what to expect when you walk in; but do me a favor and order yourself a steak.

The Cowboy Steak is just about my favorite cut of meat. It’s a ribeye that still has its bones, and it has incredible flavor all on its own. However, I always order it with some melted garlic butter on top, which makes it even better.

Sadly, the Cowboy Steak isn’t on the menu at “press time,” but they change the steaks up quite regularly at Yachtsman Steakhouse, so think happy thoughts and maybe it’ll be there when you are.

Cowboy Steak with Potato Gratin

Le Cellier Filet

Ah, yes. How would I dare do a “best steaks” post without include this darling of the Disney set? Luckily, I’m right there on the bandwagon with everyone else who loves the Le Cellier Filet with Wild Mushroom Risotto and White Truffle-Herb Butter Sauce.

The filet is always tender, and coupled with that superstar mushroom risotto it just can’t go wrong.

Le Cellier Filet — Dinner Portion

Jiko Filet

Found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko is a bit of a dark horse in the favorite steak category. But anyone who’s tasted it knows that their Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Macaroni and Cheese and Red Wine Sauce is a force to be reckoned with.

The macaroni and cheese adds a sharp taste while the red wine sauce adds a tangy accompaniment to the smooth Filet. It really is an orchestration of flavors that anyone can enjoy. I mean, just look at that picture! Don’t you want to dive in?!?

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko

Shula’s Steak House Cowboy Steak

What can I say — another cowboy (did you know I currently live in Texas?). Shula’s Steak House is a fascinating place for so many reasons — Don Shula himself, the 48-ounce eat-it-all-and-you-get-your-name-on-a-plaque steak, the menu on a football, and so much more. But today we’re just talking about steak, and the steak is luxurious. Shula raises his own cattle, and there is a bit of a “Dolphin Difference” at this place. The meat isn’t dressed in any special way, but the taste is out of this world.

Cowboy Ribeye

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

While there are several restaurants that I could slide into this final spot, Flying Fish Cafe wins the slot because it’s innovative and eager-to-please. It’s an incredible steak at a seafood place — pretty hard to come by, yet I’m always hearing recommendations about it! When I finally tried their signature Char-crusted Certified Black Angus New York Strip Steak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Root Vegetables, and Pole Beans with Classic Sauce Foyot, I understood what all the shouting was about.

It has a different taste to it than any other steak I’ve eaten in Disney restaurants. The char-crusting gives it a depth that might be a bit too much for some folks, but for a steak-lover like me makes it just unique enough to edge out other favorites.

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

By the way, I didn’t know what Pole Beans were, either. Apparently they’re just beans that are grown on poles or trellises. See, I learn so much by writing this blog.

Let the Discussion Begin

I know that there are a lot of you meat-heads (ha ha) out there who have different ideas about the best steaks in Disney World, so let’s hear ‘em! Like I said, I’m putting together a post about the most underrated steaks in Disney World, and I can always use suggestions!

Let me know your favorites in the comments section below :-)

WDW Moms Panel: Good Eats When Going Solo at Disney

Earlier this week, we had a guest post giving some tips and tricks on dining solo in Disney World. Today, in our fifth post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series, I asked the moms what they would eat in Disney World if they were blissfully alone for a whole day. Get ready for some delicious answers!

From Mom Anna S.

Without children in tow, I would start my day off at the Grand Floridian Café for some lobster eggs Benedict. This is about the most delicious and indulgent way to start your day at Walt Disney World! Although I will admit, my sweet tooth would be crying out for the stuffed croissant!

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

It’s off to EPCOT to explore the shops that my children usually are too bored to enjoy, and lunch at the best location on the planet for “fast” food – the Yakitori House. A Japanese Curry for lunch, followed by a Kaki Gori at the shaved ice stand, is a perfect balance of flavors and textures – sort of a fire and ice combo.

After an exhausting day shopping, I am off for my favorite meal anywhere on Walt Disney World property – the filet mignon and macaroni and cheese at Jiko. Arguably the best meal I’ve had anywhere, my mouth waters just thinking about the level to which the Jiko chefs have elevated this simple meal.

The day does not end until I swing back into the Magic Kingdom, where I’ll enjoy my dessert – the world famous Dole Whip with fresh pineapple spears on the side. Although, with no children tagging along, I’ll have a WHOLE Dole Whip to myself, and I may not have room for the sweet juicy pineapple!

From Mom Erin F.

I’m lucky enough to go on an annual solo vacation to Disney World; I’ve been three times so far, with the fourth trip coming up in January. My dream breakfast is beignets at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter — calories don’t count on vacation! Then it’d be anything hot and fried –- mini donuts at Blizzard Beach, fried dough, etc.

One thing I really enjoyed on my last solo trip was going to the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge — I got a raspberry mojito and the flatbread from Artist Point.

My dream dinner? Jiko!

From Mom Jennifer W.

If left alone for one day at WDW the choices for incredible food would be endless. It’s funny to think that when I first started going to WDW I thought the only meals available were character meals! However, over the years I have learned that there is so much more!

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

But with that said, I honestly think I would start my day at one of my favorite breakfast spots … the Crystal Palace at the MK. It just does not get any better than biscuits and gravy, potatoes, eggs, and sausage, and of course if there is room, how can one resist the Mickey Mouse waffles?

I would then need to walk some distance before enjoying lunch! I think this would be eaten at the Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. Just a quick lunch where I would enjoy a wonderful taco salad and perhaps a tasty margarita as well. And no afternoon at WDW is complete without a Mickey Mouse ice cream. Frozen to perfection, I truly can say I love these.

Okay now dinner? Ohhhh that is so incredibly hard to choose! I think for this particular day I’m going for a fantastic meal at Jiko! On my last visit there, I was amazed by everything I tried. The seafood and steak dishes were by far my favorite. As I walked home completely full and satisfied I think I would call this a great day, but wait – on the way out of the park there are those darn Rice Krispy treats with chocolate on them! Oh well, everyone needs a midnight snack!

From Mom Jodi G.

I’d go with a light breakfast, and then have lunch at the Brown Derby. The grapefruit cake and the Cobb salad are my favorites.

For dinner, I’d just roam around the World Showcase eating the best from each country – crepes, funnel cakes, pretzels… etc.

From Mom Kara B.

After much thought, I decided the California Grill would be a great way to celebrate ME! I could spend as much time as I wanted leisurely enjoying an elegant multi-course meal with no little kids bugging me to eat fast so we can go back to the Magic Kingdom.

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

The views there are worth a million bucks, so I’d have to have a window seat so I could soak in all beauty of the Seven Seas Lagoon and its surroundings, especially the Magic Kingdom. And then there is the outdoor balcony areas, which before the fireworks are so wonderfully peaceful looking out at the entire WDW resort area; a true moment of zen to gather one’s thoughts and think of all the good in the world.

I also have to admit I was tempted to put down the Wishes Dessert Buffet, which I have yet to try. I think it would be a great way to socialize and meet people, indulge on sweets, and catch a premium seat to watch Wishes.

PS: I’d also love to have room service in Cinderella’s Castle Suite.

From Mom Joanne M.

Oooh, fun question. I would head to (or hopefully I’m already staying there) Stormalong Bay at the Beach and Yacht Club and start with a delicious cocktail at the poolside bar. Then I would head over to the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. I have to be honest and tell you it’s not because it has my favourite dish, but because we had to cancel our August reservation because my daughter was sick. It’s long been on my list to try, and I would love to enjoy it at a relaxed pace.

From Mom Heather R.

Alone – I can’t even imagine it!

I’m not generally a big breakfast gal, so anywhere I could grab a decent cup of coffee an everything bagel with smoked salmon would make me happy. I used to say Starring Rolls in Hollywood Studios, but unfortunately the last time I was there the lox was no longer an option.

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

For lunch, a bowl of clam chowder at Columbia Harbor House always makes me happy.

Dinner is always my biggest meal of the day, and what a tough decision! I think I’ll go with the Flying Fish, a perrennial favorite. I’d start with the Chardonnay-steamed Maine Coast Blue Hill Bay Mussels. Although I’m not always a huge fennel fan, these are delicious. Strange as it sounds at a seafood restaurant, the Char Crusted New York Strip Steak there is fantastic and in my opinion, among ofthe best steaks to be had in Disney.

I don’t usually indulge in sweets, but if I were to make an exception, the beignets at Port Orleans are really yummy.

And a drink/treat? Definitely a Grey Goose Slush from Epcot.

Gosh, I just realized I’ve spent my whole hypothetical day running back and forth to different eateries! Now that really IS blissful!

From Mom Whitney P.

I’m always on a quest to try something new when I’m at Disney, rather than visiting old haunts, so I’d probably make a bee-line to the new Kouzzina, showplace of fellow Mississippian Cat Cora.

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

Even though I’m not much for eating table service alone (although some of my fellow Disney Panel Moms–and Dads–do), I’d have to make an exception for this restaurant. I love to make meals out of an array of appetizers, so I’d probably order her Kouzzina spreads of Chickpea Hummus, Kalamata Fig, and Harissa Yogurt along with the Spanakopita! (And that’s what I’m planning on doing when I go with my family in October!)

My favorite drink? Hands down Disney’s Pina Colava, a raspberry sauce-laced pina colada. It’s a given when I’m at Brown Derby, but I’ve also enjoyed it at Sanaa and Teppan Edo. It tends to be seasonal, but if it’s not on the menu, I’ll ask anyway!

And no visit to Magic Kingdom would be complete without a Dole Float, a favorite of mine and fellow Disney Mom Margaret.

From Mom Beth C.

I would go during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and sample all of the treats from around the world. I did this last September and really enjoyed myself. I finally had the opportunity to eat at the Tangierine Café in Morocco. I had been wanting to try this restaurant for years but my schedule when touring with my family never worked out. This was the perfect opportunity to try this cafe. The food was delicious and fresh and eating it out side listening to the Moroccan music was a perfect way to enjoy a lunch alone.

From Mom Jo Y.

Well first I’d have to have a funnel cake, we don’t have them here in the UK so I have to have one every single trip. Just plain though, no strawberries or ice-cream.

Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich

Counter Service would have to be Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney; I would order The Full Montagu with beef, turkey, cheese and salad followed by a delicious cupcake.

Whilst in DTD I’d nip over to Goofy’s Candy Company to make my own rice crispy treat. I would cover it in milk chocolate, rolled in choc chips and drizzled in caramel.

Dinner would be at Narcoossee’s, where I’d dine on filet mignon with potato gratin followed by key lime crème brulee. If I still had room after that I’d visit the Magic Kingdom for a pineapple Dole Whip float from Aloha Isle, and then waddle back to my resort!

From Mom Kim L.

I would begin with breakfast at Boma. I’d request a cozy table near the window. Afterwards, I would walk around the resort.

For a mid-day treat, I am heading to the Grand Floridan for afternoon tea in the Garden View Lounge. I would choose strawberries and cream along with lemon pound cake. I highly recommend the Princess Breakfast tea.

My evening would end with a delightful meal at The Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. Dim lighting and delectable food provide a perfect way to wind down.

From Mom Kay B.

If traveling alone I would definitely choose spots that not only have great food but also good entertainment. Top spots that I would head to include 50’s Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios, where I would not be able to pass up their pot roast, milk shakes, and s’mores for dessert!

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

There are two EPCOT restaurants I would head to and those are the German Biergarten, where I can get my schnitzel and spaetzle, and of course good beer, while watching the show.

Teppan Edo is my other choice for this park since you can watch dinner being prepared right in front of you. I love all the food, chicken, and steaks and seafood, so anything goes here, but it must be accompanied by one of their specialty “umbrella” drinks to make it complete!

In the Magic Kingdom I would head to Casey’s Corner and enjoy a good dog and fries while watching the people on Main Street and listening to the piano player……all the time hoping the ducks won’t take a nibble out of my leg. :)

Absolute snack musts are a bag of popcorn and a hunk of peanut butter fudge from any of the Disney fudge spots!

From Mom Amber V.

If I had a day at Disney World all alone to enjoy my favorites, I would start with Tonga Toast for breakfast at the Kona Cafe. I would be sure to get all of my favorite snacks — dole whip float, popcorn, and Mickey Bars at some point throughout the day.

My choice for lunch would be something quick like a hot dog at Casey’s or a BLT salad from Columbia Harbor House, because I would want to save room for a fabulous dinner at my absolute favorite restaurant — Jiko. Barbecue chicken flatbread, filet mignon with macaroni and cheese, and the pistachio creme brulee is my idea of the perfect meal to end a fabulous day at Disney!

From Dad Doug I.

I do this often, as work travel and book research trips leave me solo in Orlando.

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Typically I seek out whatever is new, but while I love many of the character meals and some of the ones that involve a show (like 50’s Prime Time or Whispering Canyon Cafe), many are ones where going solo just makes me feel a bit out of place. So some of my favorite solo dining places that I like to frequent include:

Breakfast: Kona Cafe at the Polynesian (Strictly for the Tonga Toast!)
Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ or Tangierine Cafe
Dinner: California Grill
Snack: Popcorn from the carts as you enter the Magic Kingdom. Walt would have wanted it that way!

Dirty Little Confession: While I like all that, I have to confess that I have dined, on more than one occasion, at “Snackapalooza!”. Don’t waste your time searching for it on a park map. I coined this phrase for those times where instead of going to a restaurant, I ‘surf’ the World Showcase promenade, getting a few different nibbles from the national pavilions. I love getting a bite here, a bite there, and sampling cuisines from around the globe!

From Mom Margaret F.

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a few solo trips to Disney world, and while I was first worried that I would be lonely or look out of place, I quickly discovered how much I have still missed while rushing after my children on our family trips.

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

I love eating at Tony’s Town Square and sitting on the outside porch. In an odd way, with all the crowds passing by, it is remarkably peaceful to me.

While the food is delicious, it is such a great place to watch the excitement and joy of the guests as they first enter Magic Kingdom, or to listen to the recaps of their amazing day as they exit the park. Watching the kids (and mom and dad) jump in glee at the sight of Main Street and Cinderella Castle continues to remind me why I love Disney so much.

One of my favorite treats is to grab a Dole Whip Float and sit on a bench near the Castle hub and watch all of the guests stop for a picture by the Partners statute. As I enjoy the best treat on property, it makes me smile to see so many guests stop and admire Walt and Mickey hand in hand, and hopefully Walt knows how much joy he continues to bring to so many everyday.

Thanks again to all the “moms” who are participating in the interviews!

Don’t forget, if you’d like to share your “most magical Disney Dining moment,” send me an email! I’m collecting stories and will post them in the next post of “Chicken Soup for the Disney Foodie soul!”

Spotlight: Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse SignYachtsman Steakhouse is one of those Disney Resort restaurants that I didn’t even know was there for several years. Then one day I caught Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel eating steak at some hoity-toity restaurant during the Yacht and Beach Club “Great Hotels” special, and I knew I had to try it!

Restaurant Forum Plaque

Restaurant Forum Plaque

I was lucky enough to do so during Disney’s first free dining stint several years ago. It’s now become a standard in our Disney restaurant rotation whenever we need a special treat or celebration.

Located in the Yacht Club Resort, Yachtsman Steakhouse is a high-end dinner spot with a view of Stormalong Bay. Specializing in delicious grain-fed beef steaks, the restaurant has a glass-walled butchering room where guests can actually see their steaks being prepared!

Butchering Room

Butchering Room

Led into the restaurant past the open kitchen, guests can catch a glimpse of the dessert offerings before being seated in a dining room furnished in sturdy knotty pine, leather, and brass. If you’re lucky enough to be seated in my favorite section – the semi-circular room with plenty of window tables – be sure to take a glance upward at the simple, elegant chandelier above.

Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen

Dining Room

Dining Room

The View From Our Favorite Table

The View From Our Favorite Table

Chandelier

Chandelier

As I said, this restaurant is a permanent fixture on our “fancy places” rotation; and I will say that spots only get on that list when we know we can expect excellent service, fabulous food, and a comfortable atmosphere. We’re picky, and this place fits every one of our guidelines.

That said, there are always little changes and updates being made to the menu. Desserts are tweaked, the cheese plate is rotated, and even steak offerings can be different from time to time (we were sorely missing the boneless rib eye), but we always walk out happy. It’s like a miracle.

This evening, we ordered our dinners and were faced with the first change: weird butter. Usually, Yachtsman brings a basket of gorgeous onion and sourdough rolls along with a HUGE pat of butter topped with sea salt. Today, the butter was in a dish with oil and balsamic vinegar. Butter’s my favorite, so I was a bit concerned; but this stuff was amazing. Yes! Please add weird oil and balsamic vinegar to my butter!

Yachtsman Steakhouse Onion Rolls and Roasted Garlic

Yachtsman Steakhouse Onion Rolls and Roasted Garlic

Sourdough Rolls

Sourdough Rolls

Butter with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Salt

Butter with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Salt

We moved on to salad and my cheese plate. The salad was simple and elegant; the cheese plate was delicious as always. I know I owe you guys a cheese plate blog, which I’ll do soon, but for now, here’s the pic and description of the plate.

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate Descriptions

Cheese Plate Descriptions

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

From there, we enjoyed our entrees (…steak) and extra order of fries (what can I say? We were in the mood for fries!). My steak — the Cowboy Steak — was a bone-in rib-eye. I substituted gratin potatoes for the fried onion strips on the menu.

Cowboy Steak and Potato Gratin with White Diamond Cheddar

Cowboy Steak and Potato Gratin with White Diamond Cheddar

Yachtsman Filet with Mashed Potatoes

Yachtsman Filet with Mashed Potatoes

French Fries

French Fries

At this point, you can imagine we were stuffed, so we skipped dessert. But no worries; I took a shot of the dessert tray for you!

Desserts

Desserts

Here’re the specs! Enjoy!
Yachtsman Info

Dinner menu here. All other menus (including wine and dessert) can be found here.

“Book Early” Series: California Grill

California Grill Logo

California Grill Logo

I’m sorry, but it has to be done.

I know it’s redundant, expected, and utterly stereotypical (three things I try to avoid), but I have to give props to the California Grill.

The General Overview (e.g. My Opinion)
I have had good meals there, and I have had not-so-good meals there. There’s been good service and bad service. And the tables that aren’t window tables make the dining experience decidedly “less than.” But, all in all, California Grill–sitting high atop the Contemporary Resort in Disney World–is essentially a great, expensive restaurant with good food worth paying for. And while you might expect the atmosphere to be a
little “nose-in-the-air,” the staff, in my experience, have been knowledgeable, down-to-earth folks who just want you to have a great time and enjoy yourself. For this, I love the California Grill.

Sunset at California Grill

Sunset at California Grill

Booking Early and Watching the Fireworks from California Grill
So why do you need to book early? Well, most of the time, you don’t. But I put it in my “book early” series
because one of the much-touted experiences in Disney World is watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from your table at California Grill. This makes the reservations around the fireworks hour go quickly–you’ll need to book the full 180 days in advance to get a table during the fireworks if you’re headed to Disney World in a busy season, and at least a month ahead to get one during the slower months. That said, fireworks-view
tables aren’t guaranteed–all you can do is request a window table when you check in for your meal.

And if you don’t care whether you’re there for fireworks or not, you should be able to get a table at California Grill realtively easily, as long as you’re willing to eat at unpopular times.

Potato Celery Soup

Potato Celery Soup

I will say that I actually don’t enjoy watching the fireworks from California Grill. The vantage point of the restaurant is too far to the right of the castle, giving you a rather skewed view of the show (many of the fireworks are actually set off about a half mile behind the castle–being able to see this distance could essentially ruin the show for some people). Nope–I don’t care about the fireworks; but one of my absolute favorite Disney World experiences is watching the sun set from my table at California Grill. It sets behind the Grand Floridian, and the resulting skyline reflecting off of Seven Seas Lagoon is phenomenal. This I can highly recommend!

Soup Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

Finally–the FOOD!
California Grill food is amazing. Now, I’m not a food critic by any stretch of the imagination; I have a 12-year-old’s palate at best and still LOVE me some chicken fingers and fries. But the fact that California Grill can please the food critics AND me has to be saying something!

On my most recent trip, I fell for the new potato-celery soup. It was so delicious that I asked our server for the recipe and, unable to do so, kindly brought me a list of the ingredients. California Grill’s market inspired menu means that the soup and other highlights change frequently, but I can only hope they’re all as wonderful as this.

Cheese Board

Cheese Board

My other favorite (as you know if you’ve been following the food blog) is the cheese plate. California Grill has a lovely one, and every time I’ve tried it (it changes occasionally as well, of course), I’ve been pleased. I’ll do a blog in the near future highlighting the plate here.

My companion and I also tried the famous (it’s been on the menu since California Grill opened in 1995) Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, shiitake mushrooms and basil. This was superb. Along with the interesting (and surprisingly light) flatbreads, you could easily make a meal out of the appetizers at California Grill.

But why would you want to?!? From there, I indulged again in the always delicious Oak-fired Filet of Beef with cheesy Yukon gold potato mash, sautéed broccolini, and teriyaki barbecue sauce. Yes, it’s 44 bucks. But if a meal is going to be worth 44 bucks, it’s this.

One of the Many Flatbreads Available

One of the Many Flatbreads Available

Desserts are never the highlight at Disney’s “signature” restaurants (and nothing’s going to come close to ‘Ohana’s bread pudding), but California Grill is quite famous for its butterscotch and banana creme brulee.

Of course, with a theme like California, the Grill is known for its wine list (and extremely knowledgeable accompanying staff). And the restaurant also has a selection of sake to accompany its sushi bar.

Just Go. You’ll Be Glad You Did.
My parents recently asked me to suggest a “signature” restaurant where they could celebrate their anniversary in Disney World, and I immediately settled on California Grill. Although I do enjoy most of the

Filet of Beef and Cheesy Yukon Potatoes

Filet of Beef and Cheesy Yukon Potatoes

other “high-end” restaurants in Disney World, one of the most celebratory and beautiful–not to mention delicious–in my estimation is easily the California Grill.

Make your reservations up to 90 days out by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Don’t forget that California Grill has a dress code (no ripped jeans, bathing suits, flip flops, etc.), and that the check-in desk is on the 2nd foor of the Contemporary Resort while the restaurant itself is on the 15th.

“Book Early” Series: Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Lots of folks just glide right by the large, wrought-iron gate leading to the beautiful replica of Vancouver’s Victoria Gardens in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. They figure it’s just a garden, of which there are MANY in Disney World, so why stop to gawk when you could move on to Soarin’?

Breadsticks

Breadsticks

Le Cellier, that’s why. French for “the cellar,” Le Cellier is the Canada Pavilion’s table-service steakhouse restaurant that’s known for its filet with mushroom risotto,

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Cheddar Cheese Soup

cheddar cheese and Moosehead Beer soup, and delicious breads. Le Cellier has been on top for a while now, and quality and service haven’t seemed to suffer for the many years I’ve been dining there. It’s dark, cellar-like dining room provides plenty of cover for Disney big-wigs who have been rumored to hold business meetings on the premises.

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Le Cellier is part of our “Book Early” Series, because it’s practically impossible to get a dinner reservation here, and only slightly more possible to get a lunch reservation.

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

The place is booked solid six months in
advance, and, in my opinion, Le Cellier could easily pay an extra cast member full-time wages to turn away potential walk-in diners.

When you do get a seat, indulge in that Cheddar Cheese soup, the new sausage and corn appetizer, and the lovely filet mignon (though we like the good ol’ burger, served with black diamond cheddar, just as much). If you still have room

Burger and Fries

Burger and Fries

for dessert the maple creme brulee is wonderful, but I tend to grab the seasonal cobbler most of the time!