Review: Margaritas at Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila

You guys know how much I love Epcot’s new tequila bar, La Cava del Tequila. Located in the pyramid of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, the Cava opened in August 2009 and has been a huge success!

The interior of this place is so cozy; it’s one of those hidden Walt Disney World gems that you just cherish once you find it. Heavy, painted furniture sits on large, rough tile. And the mural along the wall depicts [Read more…]

Review: San Angel Inn Restaurante

Well, we finally did it. After dreading a trip back to Epcot’s San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion due to a couple of bad meals there, we booked an ADR. It was more a “we have to go because I write a food blog” thing than an avid desire to give the restaurant another chance, but…as it turns out…we’d been missing out for far too long.

Atmosphere has always been the main selling feature of San Angel Inn. Located inside the Epcot Mexico pyramid with seating along the Gran Fiesta Tour river, this restaurant offers a fun ambiance that you just won’t get anywhere else (besides Blue Bayou in Disneyland, maybe!).

Because the Mexico Pavilion’s pyramid is home to the set-up of a Mexican village in the evening, the restaurant is in a perpetual state [Read more…]

Hacienda de San Angel Photos and Updates

Whew! News-heavy week here at the Food Blog! Today, let’s look at some newly released info about Hacienda de San Angel, the newly renovated restaurant opening in September in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion! Here are some great pics of the Hacienda de San Angel slide presentation given at the D23 Flowers and Fireworks event this past weekend. These were taken and donated by Lori Abramson — Thanks, Lori!

Hacienda de San Angel Intro Slide

Hacienda de San Angel will be opening with a bang in September 2010! What’s the “bang,” you ask? Illuminations, of course! The restaurant is ideally situated to offer incredible (and coveted!) views of Epcot’s nightly Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show. And with the addition of the table-service part of the restaurant, those ADRs might be tougher to get than Le Cellier for around 8:00pm every night!

Here’s an aerial image of what the restaurant looks like, under construction, right now. You can see how fantastic that view is going to be once it’s finished! Check out that outdoor, circular patio!

Aerial View of Hacienda de San Angel

The restaurant will have a whole new “backstory,” and a new service structure, which will allow the restaurant to operate as [Read more…]

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Disney World

If you’re ready to head out for the evening in Disney World, there are some great places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a margarita or two!

First of all, Epcot’s San Angel Inn is a great place to grab your evening meal (try the Pollo a las Rajas — it’s my favorite!). Accompany that with some flan or arroz con leche, or head over for an entirely different kind of dessert at the…

La Cava del Tequila! This brand new Tequila bar in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion is one of my new favorite places in Walt Disney World! Order up my favorite — the Aguacate (Avacado Margarita) — or sample another new and different margarita. They even have an incredible array of Tequila flights to suit your fancy. You can check out the full La Cava del Tequila menu here!

If you’re just passing by the Mexico pavilion and want to pay your respects, stop at the Taqueria del Lago outside for some quesadillas or taquitos, or at the Margarita stand near by for a portable fiesta ;-) (Unforunately, Cantina de San Angel isn’t open at the moment, but it will be re-opening soon with even more to offer those of us who love dining al fresco in Mexico!)

A Collection of Awesome Stuff

Two of my favorite people sent me some very cool things recently, and I wanted to share them with you on this “freeform Saturday” post.

First of all, a beautiful food pic from James Chapman. This is Le Cellier‘s sausage and corn polenta appetizer, which is out of this world delicious. It’s just too pretty not to give it the spotlight. Thanks for Mickey-fying the plates, James — how did you know that Le Cellier’s butter balls are my favorite part of the meal?

Le Cellier Sausage and Corn Polenta Appetizer

Le Cellier Sausage and Corn Polenta Appetizer

And secondly, I wanted to share with you some “random observations” from Jeff Kocan‘s recent trip. They’re too witty not to print as-is:

Just random observations that I meant to bring up: [Read more…]

Disney Food Round-Up: January 24, 2010

Eat hereWelcome to a brand new week with a whole lot of Disney food news! Let’s recap of the news covered right here on the Disney Food Blog, just in case you missed it:

Also, Disney food fans should check out the latest WDWToday Podcast — I got to sit in and talk about eating healthy in WDW!

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, restaurant critic extraordinaire, reviews San Angel Inn.

SamLand’s Disney Adventures visits the Tiki Room Lanai in Disneyland and shares his Dole Whip. Did you know the Tiki Room was envisioned by Walt as a dinner theater restaurant?

Daveland takes us to the Hollywood Brown Derby. (Amazing photos, yet again.)

Main Street Gazette takes us on Epcot’s World Showcase Wine Walk!

Duckman’s Blog shares a fantastic story about a custom cake at the Polynesian. goes to Kouzzina! Opa!

AllEarsNet has an incredible report about a vegan meal at ‘Ohana. Chef TJ does it again!

All Things Cupcake spotted some great cupcakes at Disney World!

Only WDWorld shares a delicious look at Epcot’s Tangierine Cafe.

Orlando Sentinel’s Daily Disney shares a blast from the past with six recipes from Spoodles, and also asks Is Rainforest Cafe or T-Rex better for kids?

Speaking of Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex, WDW Central wonders if the entertainment justifies the expense.

Thanks again for all the great food posts! Looking forward to this week’s delicious Disney posts.

San Angel Inn Review

Special thanks today to Chip over at Chip & Co. for this great guest review of San Angel Inn in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion! Also, thanks to Annabel Freeman for contributing the fantastic food photos!

A lot of people overlook San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase, and I have to ask myself “why?” San Angel Inn Authentic Mexican Cuisine has something for everyone, and if you give me a few moments I will show you some of the nuances that make it a restaurant you will not want to pass by on your walk around the World Showcase.

San Angel Inn Entryway

San Angel Inn Entryway

First off, let me talk about the ambiance:
When you walk into the marketplace you are greeted by what I feel is one of the most breathtaking views in Epcot. A beautiful wishing fountain greets you as you walk down the ramp. You hear the buzz of the people in the marketplace checking out the different wares for sale. The soft glow of the lights makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to Central Mexico. The view of the Aztec Pyramid in the background rises high over the marketplace, and upon walking into the restaurant the bold and beautiful colors of the tables are scattered before you. A gentle glow of the lamps on the table adds a sense of romance to this breath taking view.

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

You can hear the sounds of the newly updated Grand Fiesta Ride with Donald Duck in the background, which reminds you that you are not in Mexico, but still at Disney World. For some, this might be a bad thing; but for me, I want to remember I am at one of the greatest places on Earth: Walt Disney World!

Bring on the grub:
I recommend ordering the ceviche with any flavor of Frozen Margarita as an appetizer. If you don’t like seafood, the nachos are great, too. The Margarita is a lifesaver after a long day of trekking around the park. If you are there with a special someone be sure to mix those drinks up so you can sample one of each. You won’t be disappointed.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

All the entrées are fantastic; I have yet to have anything I didn’t like. A fair warning though: the food here is different from the typical “American-ized” (I hope that’s a word) Mexican food you have back home. My first time eating here I was expecting just a traditional meal that I would have at my local restaurant (which is very good I might add –- shout out to La Hacienda), but I was caught off guard by the flavors and spices used at the San Angel Inn!

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Be daring and try something new is what I always say when on vacation. (Insert cheesy sarcastic comment here!) What my family and I always do is order different items so we can sample more than one dish. Everything on the menu is full of flavor and just blows your taste buds out of the water.

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

If you have a child like we do, the childrens’ menu will not disappoint. It is by no means chicken fingers (where is that part on a chicken by the way?) or hamburgers. Your kids will be able to sample some good, authentic, Mexican cuisine.

On to dessert, all I can say is WOW! I could eat the items on the desert menu everyday for the rest of my life. (Of course I would probably weigh 800 pounds if I did.) I have never had Flan before I came to San Angel Inn, and though I have tried it since, none can compare to the texture, smell, and melt in your mouth goodness of the Flan they serve there.

You have heard the good; now on to the bad and the ugly:
For 2010, Disney has dropped the San Angel Inn from its Disney Dining Plan. This makes me quite upset! My family and I absolutely love eating here, but now are going to have to either pay money out of pocket or maybe try to pop in for a drink and dessert. If any Disney Execs are reading this, maybe they could do Chip a favor and add this wonderful restaurant back!

Editor’s Note: See comments below for good discussion on this topic; some restaurants may sign up for the plan later than others. Our fingers are crossed!

Wrap it up already:
OK…OK… Overall, the San Angel Inn dining experience is one of my personal favorites at Disney World. Between the romantic ambiance and the scrumptious food I can think of no better place to take my family. It is good for a romantic couple’s meal (try to get seated near the water) or for a fun family experience. The service there is second to none.

So next time you are on your trek around the World Showcase, stop by Mexico, have a delicious meal at San Angel Inn, and think of me… OK maybe not… Enjoy!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 1, 2009

Eat hereA belated Happy Halloween to everyone! I hope you all had some wonderful treats (and very few tricks!).

Welcome to November and the first Disney Food Post Round-Up of the month — there’s already a LOT happening… . And remember, this week is your last chance to experience the incredible Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Click that link for information, highlights, and photos and menus from the World Showcase international marketplace kiosks!

On with the Round-Up!

Disney Parks Blog highlights an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner at Disneyland in the Disneyland Hotel. Sounds delicious!

Scott Joseph Orlando has an exclusive — the recipe from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie. This recipe was featured in the Cork, Ireland, marketplace kiosk.

Meet The World in Progressland shares a truly wonderful post revealing some incredible Halloween Disney details in Tokyo Disneyland’s popcorn carts.

Main Street Gazette showcases the Animal Kingdom’s Royal Anadapur Tea Company — one of my favorite places to have breakfast in the World.

5 Kingdoms compares the different “Casey’s Corners” throughout the Magic Kingdoms. Take time to read it and not just look at the pictures ;)

The Disney Chick is back with another wonderful Disney recipe, complete with photos of each separate recipe step. This time, try out the Shrimp With Tomato Feta Compote from Citricos in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Daveland presents us with some great indoor and outdoor photos of Disneyland’s Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen –> River Belle Terrace.

Theme Park Insider reviews Disneyland’s Cafe Orleans. (You really owe it to yourself to look at these photos today. Trust me.)

Mouseplanet reminds us what’s great about San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase. (Stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog this week to see even more great reasons to enjoy San Angel Inn!)

Global Disney Pinvestigation shares the latest news and concept drawings of the restaurants on the Disney Dream cruise ship! Also, check out his great Epcot Food and Wine Festival photo blog.

Touring Plans reminds us to stop by the ESPN Club on Disney World’s Boardwalk.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Disney food posts! If you spot a great food post this week that you think belongs on the round-up, be sure to let me know — just click on “contact me” at the top of the page!

Thanks for reading!

Dining in Disney World With Kids, Part 2: Suggestions from the WDW Moms Panel

Hooray! Our fourth post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series! Thanks to all the moms for their fantastic stories, tips, and insights.

Today, this post also serves as Part 2 of our Disney Food Blog Dining in Disney World With Kids series, in which the moms share their top picks for age-appropriate dining experiences. Take it away, Moms!

From Mom Erin F. — Kids’ Ages: 10-13

I’ve got the tweens and young teen segments. The 10-yr-olds love Crystal Palace and Chef Mickey’s. There are so many choices at the buffets (breakfast pizza is a favorite!).

Tables for Tea at the Grand Floridian

Tables for Tea at the Grand Floridian

I also enjoy the Grand Floridian tea. So much of the dining at Disney is the experience, not just the food. Part of that experience is allowing kids to learn and experiment in a safe arena. When working in New York City, I was invited to tea at the Waldorf, and I was completely freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. This type of experience can help kids to learn how to handle fine dining situations that they might encounter in the future.

Finally, there are some spots that the kids like, which offer great vegetable options. Garden Grill at Epcot offers fresh veggies from the Land, and Teppan Edo includes veggies mixed into the chicken. So you can get slightly healthier food.

From Mom Amber V. — Kids’ Ages: 0-5

My kids are 4 and 16 months. Obviously we’re in the character dining phase right now, and there are definitely character meals that are better than others! Probably my favorite character breakfast is with Lilo and Stitch at ‘Ohana. I have to say that while I enjoy the wider variety of foods available at a buffet, there is something to be said about the food being delivered to your table. I can’t count the number of times I’ve run up to a buffet to grab something and missed seeing my kids with one of the characters. At ‘Ohana you don’t have to worry about that, and the food that they bring to you is quite good. I’m a big fan of the breakfast potatoes. They are seasoned with just the right amount of salt, and your server will always bring more! We enjoy this breakfast from start to finish – the welcome bread and fresh fruit are a great way to start. Also, Mickey waffles . . . enough said!

Another favorite character meal is the Garden Grill at Epcot. Again, served family style which makes the whole experience so much more relaxing and enjoyable for Mom and Dad! My four year old daughter got a huge kick out of the fact the restaurant slowly rotates and just loved watching the changing view. The food is great and I like how the menu changes based on the season and what types of fresh fish and vegetables are available. They bring out food for the adults and the basic kid favorites like macaroni and cheese and fries for the kids who may not be so adventurous. The Garden Grill is another great meal from start to finish, and currently the only character meal to meet Chip and Dale!

From Mom Anna S. — Kids’ Ages: 4-18

Eeyore Leads a Parade at Crystal Palace

Eeyore Leads a Parade at Crystal Palace

I have kids that range in age from 4 through 18, so we have to work with a huge range of tastes and entertainment preferences. My oldest daughter has the most adventurous palate in the group, and at 18, she thinks she’s worldly and sophisticated. She loves places like Sanaa, can’t wait to try Kouzzina (Christmas week, I hope!), and raves about Restaurant Marrakesh.

The two little ones wouldn’t think a trip to Disney World was complete without a visit to Crystal Palace or Chef Mickey’s, but they are old enough now to really enjoy the entertainment at Whispering Canyon Cafe and ‘Ohana. The one place the whole family loves and returns to often is Boma. The kids are comfortable there, they love visiting the savanna before and after dinner, we enjoy the story tellers and the parade in the lobby, and the food is amazing.

From Mom Kara B. — Kids’ Ages: 7-14

We cherished the chance to bring my father with us to 50s Prime Time Cafe. He pretty much sat there talking about the shows he had watched that were on the TV as well as all the little knick knacks and decor he remembered. An absolute nostalgic moment for him.

TV Table at 50's Prime Time Cafe

TV Table at 50's Prime Time Cafe

Meanwhile, my kids were, of course, totally absorbed by the TV shows (they are such zombies if anything is playing on a screen) as well as all the antics of the cast members. So much giggling, and I didn’t have to ask them to finish their veggies or keep their elbows off the table! The funniest thing was my son disappeared into the bathroom for a suspiciously long time — he had been washing his hands thoroughly in case they checked beforehand.

Similarly, I think Whispering Canyon Cafe is a hoot! We ate there with my family, my brother’s family, and my parents. Immediately, the cast members placed bandanna hats of various shapes on all of our heads, so we were all laughing at one another (forgetting we each had hats). Then all of those mischievous antics of the cast members; we all laughed and laughed and laughed. The kids all enjoyed the pony races, too. And I come a family of huge carnivores (I’m constantly mocked, sadly, since I prefer soybean curd), so the endless platters of meat were perfect for them.

From Mom Joanne M. — Daughter’s Age: 9

There are really too many, so here are my nine year old’s current faves. Last month we visited the 50’s Prime Time Cafe for the first time, and she still hasn’t stopped talking about it. The decor is totally cool, with old fashioned TVs and furnishings. The service totally makes the experience! You really do feel like you’re in your granny’s kitchen, and the best part was when the server fed Nicole her veggies.

Whispering Canyon Cafe has been our must do for the past several years and remains in my daughter’s top two! The food is consistently good, but we go back for the activities, antics and excitement. Be forewarned, it’s LOUD! But guests of all ages get up and dance the hokey pokey, sing happy birthday to fellow diners, and participate in wooden horse races through the restaurant. No matter what you order, be sure to ask for ketchup!

From Mom Whitney P. — Kids’ Ages: 4-13

Because we have four children, from age four to 13, three girls and a boy, I am always on the hunt for restaurants with BROAD appeal both on the menu and in the experience. ‘Ohana’s all-you-can-eat fare fills up my growing 9- and 12-year-old boys, and is varied enough for my picky 4-year-old.

Wonderful CM at 'Ohana Dinner

Wonderful CM at 'Ohana Dinner

The coconut races and limbo are fun for everyone, even hula lessons for my teenager girl. If you’re not able to time your reservation just right to watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the restaurant while they pipe in the accompanying music, you can always head down to the Polynesian’s beach for the view!

Biergarten has become a perennial favorite because my kids love the buffet that’s heavy on meat and potatoes fare with familiar flavors. It’s the floor show that can get folks out of their seats, though, especially for the Chicken Dance!

If I could add a third, it would be Teppan Edo. The chefs do a fantastic job of slicing and dicing as entertainment, and with grilled chicken, meat, or seafood on the menu, there’s something for everyone.

From Mom Jo Y. — Kids’ Ages: 11-13

My girls are aged 11 and 13 and every trip they request the same 2 restaurants. Their favourite character spot is the Crystal Palace as they both adore the Winnie the Pooh characters. They also love all the food on offer; the choice is huge so everyone will be able to find something they like.

For fine dining they love Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian; they enjoy the fact that it’s a more grown up restaurant and it serves “posh” food. They also like a reason to dress up!

From Mom Kim L. — Son’s Age: 9

I went straight to my 9 year old to answer this question. My son says his two top picks are Chef Mickey’s and San Angel Inn. Chef Mickey’s is a hit because it’s fun with the characters and your family can ride the monorail after dinner. San Angel Inn is a top choice because if you request a water table, then your child is entertained by waving at people as the boats float by.

From Mom Kay B. — Kids’ Ages: Adult; Grandkids’ Ages: Toddler

First I will speak about my grandkids (toddler age): The top restaurant experience for this age is Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue in Fort Wilderness. Toddlers are hard to keep in their seats and here is a great spot where you can get them to eat some good food (same as you would get at the Hoop De Doo Revue) and where they can dance their evening away with the characters and the live country music band. This is the best up close and personal character opportunity as well, since they can choose the character to dance with and be with him/her for as long as they want. There are always a couple of characters who stand quietly off to the side for those who are more shy. Parents can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine or beer while their kids are happy and letting loose all their energy so they can go home and sleep well!

Chef Mickey at Chef Mickey's Restaurant

Chef Mickey at Chef Mickey's Restaurant

Second choice is the Chef Mickey character dining at the Contemporary resort. This is just a great place to see all the major known Disney characters all at once, and the food buffet is outstanding. You will often see more adults taking food from the “kids” section, and I will admit I have snagged some of the great mac and cheese myself. The dessert choices are wonderful, and the kids love making their sundaes topped with all kinds of unhealthy things!

Now for my kids’ age (young adults): My children have always enjoyed the opportunity to get dressed up and head out for some special dining experiences, so Victoria and Alberts is a top choice for this and especially the Chef’s Table opportunity. But for families watching their budgets this spot becomes more exclusive. So the other choices would be Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian, as their menu is sophisticated but still in touch with a young palate. It is off the beaten path for many guests and can tend to be a little more quiet then some of the other restaurants.

For entertainment purposes I have two second choices and those would be 50’s Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios and the Hoop De Doo Revue in Fort Wilderness. Primetime is a classic spot to remind your teens or young adults of their often forgotten table manners. They soon realize if they don’t heed your advice they could be singing “I’m a Little Teapot” to all the other guests and making that a stepping stone for their next Idol audition! Hoop De Doo Revue is just a fun and rowdy place for all ages to let down and get into the moment. If you are lucky enough to be chosen for a participating part in the show it is even more fun. Young adults can enjoy humor too!

From Dad Doug I. — 2 Princesses (not sure of the ages, Doug!)

The first is Chef Mickey’s. It has some of the best buffet-line foods, and the setting and character experience are ideal for younger children. The second is 50’s Prime Time Cafe. I think that the kids enjoy a bit of sassy fun, and the food is always great.

From Mom Heather R. — Kids’ Ages: 2-6

My daughters are younger — 6.5, 4, and 2.5 — so character meals and buffets are perfect for them right now. One of our favorites is the Play and Dine at Hollywood & Vine character meal in Hollywood Studios. It’s a buffet, so the kids can dig in immediately, which at this age is often very important so they don’t get restless waiting for food to arrive.

Little Einsteins Sign Autographs at Hollywood and Vine

Little Einsteins Sign Autographs at Hollywood and Vine

Breakfast there is good, but we prefer lunch. There are a wide variety of dishes to choose from (my girls adore the seafood pasta) and Jo-Jo, Goliath, Leo, and June (Little Einsteins) keep the kids entertained. The children are periodically invited up front to sing and dance along with their favorite characters, which is fun for the kids and gives mom and dad a chance to eat un-interrupted, if only for a moment. The only downside to this restaurant is that it shares restrooms with the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, and there is always quite a wait. I’d recommend taking your children for a potty break in the park just before you have your meal.

A fun, non-character meal for kids is dinner at ‘Ohana in the Polynesian resort. While not a buffet, the food is served family style so it arrives quickly, and service is always very attentive. You’ll also find a strolling ukulele player, leis for the kids, and fun games like coconut races and hula hoop contests to keep little ones entertained.

From Mom Jodi G. — Kids’ Ages: 3-5

My kids are age 3 and 5, and I recommend ‘Ohana (for breakfast) and the Garden Grill (for dinner) for families like mine.

From Mom Beth C. — Kids’ Ages: 11-13

Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge is one of my family’s favorite restaurants! This little restaurant tucked in the Wilderness Lodge has a simple, down home menu. Ribs, chicken, and pork chops are done with a northwestern flair. They have amazing all you can drink milkshakes. However, the fun at this restaurant is why we make it a regular on our trips! The jokes, the pony races and ketchup – trust me to ask for ketchup – make this a fun place to dine! You can be loud and get a great meal. It is near the Magic Kingdom via a short boat ride, and the Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful hotel. After a day in the park, it is nice to go somewhere else to eat. You can then go back to the park or head home for the evening.

California Grill Sunset

California Grill Sunset

Also, when my family goes on vacation, we like to treat ourselves. We do things that we would not do at home. It is also an opportunity to get dressed up and eat at fancy restaurants. While we live just outside Manhattan and have amazing restaurants near home, it is not something we do except on vacation. My husband, Jim, and I really believe that our girls will never know how to appreciate fine dining if they do not experience it. With this in mind, I would recommend the California Grill. We first visited this restaurant alone and then again when Jess and Nicole were three and five. We rediscovered it last year when we were looking for a special night out. The food is always different and seasonal – pumpkin raviolis are yummy in the fall. You can see the chefs preparing the food, which I think helps children appreciate the hard work that goes into the meal. The pastry chef even explained his dishes to my girls. The atomosphere is great, especially if you have an Advance Dining Reservation which overlaps the fireworks. Watching the fireworks from the top of the Contemporary is so cool. My husband’s only disappointment is that they no longer make the most amazing lemon chiffon souffle!

From Mom Margaret F. — Kids’ Ages: 6-12

Our top two locations to dine with our children are easily:
1. Chef Mickey’s: what could be better than dining with the big cheese himself? The location is fun and lively with the open area to the Contemporary resort and the monorail zipping though, it just has such a fun happy feeling to it. Of course the added bonus of Mickey and his pals can’t be beat, and my kids love the “dance parties” throughout the restaurant. There is a great selection of salads, fruits, vegetables, meats, and desserts, so even the pickiest eater should be able to find something to fill their stomachs. This is a great location to celebrate a birthday with the children and just enjoy the magic of Disney.

Teppan Edo Chef

Teppan Edo Chef

2. Coral Reef (and a close second Teppan Edo): While both of these locations may seem like they are better suited to an adult guest, they are very kid friendly. There are delicious choices on the kids menu, and personally my husband and I never have a problem finding an entree here. These two spots are all about the setting for our family. There is a great entertainment value here and my boys have always been mesmerized by the scenery and the “show”. Coral Reef offers an amazing view of the floor to ceiling aquarium that runs the entire length of the restaurant. My kids love watching all of the fish, sharks, and turtles (with an occasional scuba diver) swim by. It is like a science class while we eat. Teppan Edo offers a table side show performed by the very talented and entertaining chefs. The boys love watching them chop, dice, and grill our meal right before out eyes. At both locations there is never a cry of “How much longer”, or “I’m bored,” and that is priceless to us.

Thanks again to all the “moms” who are participating in the interviews! Be sure to check out the first post in this series if you missed it: Dining in Disney World With Kids, Part 1.

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!”

WDW Moms Panelists Consider: What Are Some Underrated Disney World Restaurants?

Here’s our third post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series! You’ve met some of the moms and heard about their most magical Disney dining moments and their thoughts about the best dining values in Disney World. Today we get to hear what restaurants the moms think might not grab the spotlight as much as they should…

From Mom Erin F.

The Wave Trio of Desserts

The Wave Trio of Desserts

The Wave – really nice stuff and good wine flights. Good tasting desserts, and they have really lovely food.

Another one that I tried – Raglan Road – had really delicious food. And I was very pleasantly surprised by the food on the plate (I had shepherd’s pie). The Strawberry Salad was poppin’ in your mouth delicious. If they can make a basic green salad so tasty, they’ve got something good going on.

From Mom Amber V.

The two places that come to mind are the Grand Floridian Cafe and Maya Grill. I think they both get lost in the shuffle, especially if you aren’t staying at the Grand Floridian or Coronado Springs. When we ate at Maya Grill, we were able to walk up and get a table without an ADR, which was a surprise. We found the menu, service and atmosphere to be really wonderful. The Grand Floridian Cafe is a great choice for a refreshing, light lunch and is also a nice respite from the parks.

From Mom Anna S.

It seems to me that the one restaurant I can ALWAYS get a reservation for is Restaurant Marrakesh at EPCOT, and I love it there. We have had some of the best, most attentive servers of our Disney dining experiences there, and there is never the feeling that you are being rushed so they can turn the tables over. The kids enjoy the music and dancing, and the food is delicious. We eat here at least every other visit.

From Mom Jennifer W.

Flying Fish Cafe! I rarely hear anyone talking about makings ADRs here, and it is one of the best restaurants at WDW! It is a bit on the pricey side but worth every dime. The chef will even come to your table to personally discuss your order if you like. The atmosphere is a calming change from the hustle and bustle of many restaurants and the food is top notch. I highly recommend The Flying Fish to all my friends who are looking for something different at WDW.

From Mom Kara B.

Walt Disney On-Screen at Sci-Fi Dine In

Walt Disney On-Screen at Sci-Fi Dine In

Disney provides a chance to experience something new and exciting around every corner, so often for us a magical Disney experience may be more about the experience rather than the actual food. For example, Sci-Fi is an absolute must see for us every trip, regardless of the constant criticism regarding the food. Stick with hamburgers and milkshakes and all is good (I’ll gladly share that their tofu entree is de-lic-ious!). However for us, it is clearly the atmosphere that makes this restaurant a must-do. In the middle of a hot trip (we visit in June), escaping into the cool “night” air is so relaxing. The kids sit in the front seat; my husband and I sit in the back. We feel like we are on a date because the kids are shockingly silent watching those campy movies. In fact, the entire restaurant is eerily quiet. Again, total relaxation. And of course, we all get those silly drinks with light-up ice cubes and use them at home for a fun souvenir.

From Mom Joanne M.

1. Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney. Awesome view, fantastic food, and great selection. We love going there for lunch before heading to DisneyQuest. It’s not on the Disney Dining Plan, so we’ve never had a problem getting a table.

2. Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. The food is great, and where else can you simply turn your head and watch Wishes?

3. Kona Cafe – I have to say I’m not sure that this one is underrated, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the dining experience I have to mention it. The service was fabulous and attentive, menu varied, and great food! And the Kona Kone is the coolest dessert on Disney property!

From Mom Heather R.

In the Magic Kingdom I think the Plaza Restaurant is a real hidden gem. The location is quite convenient, and while the menu is somewhat limited, the food is excellent and the portions are quite large. My Chicken Strawberry Salad was not only delicious, but HUGE – easily shared between two people.

At the Fort Wilderness Resort, the Trail’s End Restaurant serves up home cooking style food at a very reasonable price, and since it’s a buffet (and a reasonably priced one at that!) it offers a good bang for your buck.

The Grand Floridian Cafe (guess where?) is also a real hidden gem. I can’t recommend any one particular standout menu item, but I know that every meal I’ve had there has been very good, service was attentive, and I leave intending to visit again. In a way I like it when that happens, because if I eat somewhere and have a particularly fantastic dish, I’m very likely to never try anything else! It’s good to branch out. :)

From Mom Whitney P.

Where do I begin? The Boardwalk Pizza take-out window is one of the best values, with a pepperoni pizza slice at $3.99! Its crust is like no other pizza on property! My indulgence is opening packet after packet of parmesan cheese and topping it off. I like to eat it outside at one of the nearby tables and people-watch. That, with a view of the water, is a great dining experience whether you’re alone or with your family.

If you’re looking for night-life, I recommend Kimono’s at the Swan. I’m a fan of karaoke and can sing with the best of them–from the comfort of my seat! It has the most extensive sushi menu on property, in my opinion, and if no one has the guts to get on the small stage and belt something out, you can sing along with the evening’s hostess.

From Mom Jo Y.

My family love Kona Cafe at the Poly, last trip I had the most delicious steak there, I much preferred it to Le Cellier and recommend it to everyone. I love how they have sample desserts on show as you enter the restaurant and if you time it right you can wander down to the beach afterwards to watch Wishes!

From Mom Kim L.

The Paint Room at Backlot Express

The Paint Room at Backlot Express

My family loves to eat at the Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when we are looking for a counter service meal. There’s always a quiet corner with fascinating props to view.

Also, Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West serves wonderful dishes in a relaxing atmosphere. This is a hidden gem.

From Mom Kay B.

I think one of the most underrated food spots is Citricos. This is an unbelievable restaurant that is constantly being overshadowed by Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian. It is family friendly yet can still be a romantic spot with a table in the inner room by the windows. The food is excellent from appetizers through desserts and the service has always been outstanding. They also have a nice wine room that can be reserved for a little more intimate dinner opportunity.

Another table service restaurant that is often forgotten and shouldn’t be is Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. This is another outstanding location for food, service and ambiance.

In the counter service category I would say that Flametree in the Animal Kingdom park is not remembered and this is the one place we will go and not try to get dining reservations because we would all rather just eat at this counter service location. The barbecue is excellent, served in large portions, and then the area to sit in is quiet and relaxing. We take the path down to the lake and sit under the cool trees to catch a breeze on a hot day.

From Dad Doug I.

I think that Biergarten does not get it’s due as a fun dinner venue. While I can think of a few German classics that should be added to the menu, the buffet combines a lot of great choices, as well as some americanized selections for choosy kids. And the entertainment value is a nice plus. Finally, I love that you can meet people in their long table seating arrangements.

I also like San Angel Inn more than most. Having grown up in Mexico City, I think that some of the selections there are more authentic Mexican than you can typically find in the U.S., but it seems to get panned for cuisine, often by guests looking for more Tex-Mex style choices (which I love too!).

From Mom Jodi G.

I think sometimes the resort restaurants are overlooked, and the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge are top-notch.  Jiko, in particular, is my favorite restaurant on property.

Sleepy Hollow's Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich

Sleepy Hollow's Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich

From Mom Beth C.

The Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom is a great spot to grab a treat. They have homemade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. You can watch them bake the cookies right there! Sleepy Hollow is located right over the bridge as you cross into Liberty Square. It is a great place to get a snack before the parade or fireworks or if you are walking to the other attractions in this area.

From Mom Margaret F.

One location that our family really loves and I think misses some of the spotlight is Mama Melrose at Hollywood Studios. While it is often crowded, I think it often does not get the attention it deserves. We love the feel of the restaurant, with the warehouse setting and open kitchen. It is very family friendly and comfortable. The menu slection is top notch. The flatbread choices are delicious, and the bruschetta is superb. The pasta choices have a perfect blend of herbs and spices. My favorite here is the sirloin with grilled asparagus and red wine sauce. Mouth-watering for sure!

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!”