Review: Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Nestled in Epcot’s Italy pavilion at Walt Disney World, Tutto Italia Ristorante is open for lunch and dinner. Welcome back DFB guest author Rebecca Dolan with a review!

Epcot’s Italy had long been one of our family’s favorite places to dine since we started visiting in the ‘80s. We were huge fans of the pavilion’s original restaurant L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, and were admittedly a little crushed when we heard it was going to be closed and replaced with Tutto Italia. (Yes, this happened like seven years ago, but the wound is still fresh.)

We’ve been back to Tutto a few times since with mixed experiences, so we ventured back a few months ago to give it another go.

Atmosphere

You’ll find Tutto Italia off the Italy pavilion’s central piazza. Enter under the large black awning (that says Tutto Italia, of course). The understated lobby area is small, so be prepared to stand while waiting for a table if it’s crowded. The lobby also connects to the Tutto Gusto wine bar, which makes for a nice place to enjoy an early glass of wine if your wait is long.

Outside Tutto Italia

Outside Tutto Italia

Off the front of the building is a patio with some seating (how very Mediterranean of them) which is great for a balmy Florida evening, though probably less so for a scorching July afternoon. In fact, Tutto Italia is one of the few full-service restaurants along the world showcase to offer outside seating.

Enjoy the chance to dine full-service outside at Epcot

Enjoy the chance to dine full-service outside at Epcot

Inside, the dining room looks much like it did in this building’s previous incarnation as Alfredo’s. Murals still decorate the walls and giant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, otherwise it’s lots of dark wood and booths that make the room seem small and crowded.

Inside the no-frills dining room

Inside the no-frills dining room

Eats

The menu features a number of familiar Italian classics like fried calamari, antipasto, lasagne, ravioli, and risotto. For those not into carb-loading at lunch, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.

Appetizers

Appetizers

Pasta Entrees

Pasta Entrees

Entrees and Children's Menu

Entrees and Children’s Menu

Each meal starts out with a plate of pillowy focaccia bread plus olive oil for dipping and whole green olives for munching. I’m a big fan of the olive oil here, which always seems to be more fruity and flavorful than what I can get in the store.

Focaccia and olives to eat while you look over the menu

Focaccia and olives to eat while you look over the menu

I also took this opportunity to order the “tropical blend” iced tea. I’m not sure how Italian that really is, but I’m a sucker for flavored iced teas and this fruity brew did not disappoint. A glass of sangria, however, had a little too much of some alcohol in the mix, which kept its fruitiness from coming out. We kept trying to ask exactly what was in it to no avail.

Being an Italian family, we can never visit Tutto Italia (or any Italian restaurant for that matter) without ordering the antipasto platter. The version here came piled with cured meats, cheeses, farro salad, artichoke hearts, eggplant caponata, marinated mushrooms, and sweet peppers. It was easily enough to feed four, and could be shared by more depending on your appetites.

The grande antipasto misto

The grande antipasto misto

We also ordered the Fior de Latte mozzarella, which was accompanied by roasted sweet peppers. It was indeed creamy and delicious, but both, as it turned out, were components of the antipasto platter. So, it was unnecessary repetition.

Fior de Latte mozzarella with roasted peppers

Fior de Latte mozzarella with roasted peppers

After finishing our appetizers we put in our entree orders. Curiously, the orders came out less than 10 minutes after we ordered. Sure pasta isn’t exactly time intensive, but the quick turn around made us wonder how much of the meal was pre-prepared. That might have accounted for the fact that much of it was cold. So, you may want to take a bite before your server walks away.

I went for the spaghetti, which came topped with beef and veal meatballs and pomodoro sauce. I rarely order spaghetti and meatballs out since they almost always fail to live up to expectations. And, while this was definitely not my grandmother’s spaghetti, it was better than most restaurant versions I’ve encountered. The sauce was thick and low on chunks (there are few things I hate more than chunky sauce) and the pasta was just firm enough. The meatballs were ok, if a little dense.

Classic spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce

Classic spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce

The penne caprese, topped with tomato sauce and cubes of mozzarella, is similar to the spaghetti. The big difference (aside from the pasta shape, of course) is the sauce that’s lighter tasting and flecked with bits of cherry tomato and basil. Nothing mind blowing, but nothing to complain about.

A heaping plate of penne

A heaping plate of penne

The lasagna was pretty standard, with layers of pasta, chunky meat ragu, and creamy bechamel sauce. Carnivores will appreciate the generous amount of meat tucked between those pasta sheets, but as a cheese lover, I was disappointed that the ricotta and mozzarella cheese I’m used to weren’t there. The flavor was fine, even without the cheese, but between the too-soft pasta and too-much bechamel, the texture was mushy.

Hearty lasagna al forno

Hearty lasagna al forno

The Polenta Valsugana was a big [Read more…]

First Look! Trattoria al Forno to Replace Kouzzina by Cat Cora on Disney World’s BoardWalk

We are getting our first details today about the restaurant that will replace Kouzzina at Disney’s BoardWalk when it closes later this year.

Trattoria al Forno will join other eateries at the deluxe hotel and entertainment district. The restaurant is slated to open this December.

Trattoria al Forno Logo

The menu will feature Italian fare with an emphasis on regional specialities and classic preparations. Many ingredients will actually be made from scratch, in-house. We can’t wait to try the freshly handcrafted Mozzarella and the house-made Cavatelli!

The restaurant will also have wood-burning ovens, and they’ll put them to good use making — you guessed it! — Neapolitan-style Pizza! Will it be like Via Napoli meets the BoardWalk? Sounds good to me!

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

I’m Hoping for Pizzas Like the Quattro Fromaggi from Via Napoli!

But they aren’t stopping there. Eating through Trattoria al Forno’s menu will be like [Read more…]

Guest Review: Lunch at Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Welcome back Guest Author Katie Roth with a review from Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot!

My husband absolutely loves lasagna, so I knew we had to try Tutto Italia. I wasn’t convinced that it would be better than Mama Melrose’s or Via Napoli, but I was willing to give it a shot. On this particular day, we were dining at lunchtime.

Atmosphere

The décor was very fancy; dark woods everywhere, crystal chandeliers, ornate carpets, and colorful murals lining the walls. This atmosphere seemed too fancy for tank tops, shorts, and sweats.

Inside Tutto Italia!

Dining Room.

Our seating area wasn’t in the main dining room, but a smaller room that connected to the outdoor dining area.

View of Outdoor Patio.

Once we were seated, a waiter came to take our drink orders. What was very offsetting about this was the fact that he would not acknowledge my presence no matter what I did. I had to practically yell as he walking away that I wanted a Coke. Working in a male-dominated industry and going through this every day while getting my undergrad degree, I was used to it; however, I do not think behavior such as this is appropriate AT ALL in a public service driven industry. I think steam was coming out of my ears. (I’m off of my soapbox now.)

Finally, our primary waitress came to our table and took our order. She was very helpful and guided us through the menu while making suggestions to me, the non-lasagna-enthusiast. She was very nice.

Before our entrees arrived, we were treated to a [Read more…]

Review: Wine Country Trattoria at Disney California Adventure

Today, we are heading west for a visit to Wine Country Trattoria at Disney California Adventure! Located within the Pacific Wharf section of the park, Wine Country Trattoria is part of the Golden Vine Winery, celebrating the bounty and goodness of California wine country.

Wine Country Trattoria Plaque

Located centrally within the park, this spot makes for a beautiful haven during a busy day of park sightseeing. And if you’re planning to take in the spectacular World of Color light show, then you may also be interesting in booking a Dining Package for viewing the show later in the evening. The package includes a three-course prix fixe meal as well as access to a special viewing area for World of Color.

But would the food measure up to the beautiful surroundings? We wondered, too. Time to find out!

Atmosphere

I love the look and feel of WCT. It has a relatively big footprint, with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. Your first view is this hand-carved limestone fountain and a low, wide arch into the dining room.

Fountain at the Entrance

Cool and rustic touches are all around you, with tile floors below and beamed ceilings above. The variegated plaster walls give way to murals depicting California wine country.

Indoor Seating with a Wine Country Mural

There’s ample seating indoors, even if tables are situated a bit close together for my preference.

Additional Indoor Seating

But unless it is extremely hot, I heartily recommend that you [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora

I’ve been writing this blog for a loooooong time (since early 2009, to be exact), and you know we make it our focus to visit and review any and all Disney restaurants on an updated schedule.

Well, it had been a while since we had been to Kouzzina for dinner (for breakfast, this is one of my favorite spots!); so on a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we took ourselves over for a lazy stroll on the Boardwalk to have dinner at this rustic, Greek-style family restaurant.

Atmosphere

Kouzzina is the first signature restaurant developed by Iron Chef Cat Cora. We visited for dinner when the restaurant first opened, back in Fall of 2009 (you can read that review here). There has been a mini-renovation in the dining room and lobby since we last visited, and there are a few new menu items as well.

And even though Kouzzina is branded with Cat Cora, you can still catch little Disney touches like this hidden Mickey we saw in the lobby. See if you can spy it the next time you visit!

Entryway Decor - Hidden Mickey

The first thing you notice when you enter the restaurant post-renovation is that the lobby is now actually less “waiting area” and more “gift shop,” with Kouzzina and Cat Cora’s wares throughout.

Entryway Sales - Cat Cora's Cookbooks

You’ll find cookbooks for sale here, as well as the types of olive oils and spreads you’ll find [Read more…]

A Valentine’s Day “Family Date” at Disney’s Soda Fountain

When I think of  Lady and the Tramp, my mind immediately goes straight to the “Spaghetti Kiss” outside of Tony’s Italian restaurant where the cute pups enjoy their first date. Well… that and the Siamese cat scene. 

This year, Disney’s Soda Fountain and Studio Store in Hollywood is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a very special candlelight dinner where you can engage in your own spaghetti kiss, if you please…

Here comes the spaghetti kiss!

My family and I headed to Hollywood on a family “Valentine’s Day” date night to check it out.

Disney's Soda Fountain

Atmosphere

The first thing I noticed was the adorable set up. The decor included red and white table cloths, candlelight, and even bread sticks. Just like the movie. Disney even added an extra touch, a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Epcot’s Tutto Italia

Join me in welcoming back guest author Aaron Crum with a review of Epcot’s Tutto Italia! Grazie Aaron!

This classic Italian restaurant is tucked back behind the tower in Epcot’s Italy, and as soon as you see the sign out front and enter the lobby you know you are in for a special treat.

We had reservations at lunch, and while I stayed outside to snap a couple of photos, the rest of our party went ahead into the lobby.

By the time I headed in, our party was already seated at our table. We were promptly greeted by our waitress and a welcoming basket of bread and olive oil.

Tutto Italia Sign

Lobby

Atmosphere

The restaurant itself has a quaint feel to it, and the walls are lined with “replica” Italian paintings.

Seating Area

If you happen to be at the restaurant when it isn’t busy, it can be very romantic and relaxing. However, with such a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Planet Hollywood


Bill Iadonisi returns with a star-studded review of a Downtown Disney restaurant – Planet Hollywood. Take it away, Bill!

No one can mistake the iconic “Planet Hollywood” restaurant. With its girded blue starred globe and flying saucer overhang over the entrance, it’s like nothing else around.

This Hollywood themed restaurant was the brainchild of Robert Earl, a prominent figure in the food and beverage industries, specializing in themed based eateries. His financial backers at the start were stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and Baron Montague.

At its peak there were over one hundred restaurants worldwide, now only 20 remain.

View from Upper Level

Hanging Props

Planet Hollywood is a themed restaurant in the style of Rainforest Café and T-Rex, other Downtown Disney watering holes. If you love anything about Hollywood, blockbuster movies and film stars, this is the place to dine.

It’s three floors of [Read more…]

Fresh Look at Disney World: A Disney Dining Trip Report

Mark Weaver and his family had never been to Disney World together before their March 2010 trip, and that was Mark’s first time back to the “World” in 10 years! As I’m sure you’re getting used to my “frequent visitor” perspective on these restaurants, I’m honored to share with you this dining trip report from a foodie who’s looking at WDW with fresh eyes. Thanks, Mark! (When Mark’s not dining in Disney World, you can find him contributing awesome news articles and features over at DisZine.com)

Our dining experiences at WDW were amazing. Sadly we missed 2 of our ADRs (and went home early) thanks to everyone getting sick on the last 2 days of our trip; however, we still had a great time and ate a lot of great food. Here’s an overall review of where and what we ate!:

Disney’s Pop Century Food Court:
After we checked in, we headed here to get some food that didn’t come from the cooler in the back seat of our car (YAY!). Overall, it was pretty good. I had the Parmesan Chicken which was very well done. The chicken was fully cooked — very crunchy, and the pasta with alfredo sauce was pretty good as well. I was able to get extra sauce at no extra cost which went very well with the breadstick. Speaking of the breadstick, I was actually surprised that it was not just a plain breadstick. It was seasoned with herbs and matched well with the entire dish.

Pop Century Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My wife had the vegetarian lasagna, which she enjoyed more than [Read more…]