Here at the DFB we are all about the seasonal eats, and our Disneyland correspondent Heather Sievers (find her over @DiningInDisney on Instagram!) found a totally delicious seasonal soup in Disneyland. Chicken Pot Pie Soup (served in a bread bowl for ultimate awesomeness) can currently be found at The Harbour Galley!
With so many new (and not-so-new, but still greatly loved) dining experiences in Disney Springs, it can be tough to decide where to make your precious Advance Dining Reservations.
So on a recent visit to Disney Springs, I checked out Paddlefish — this time in the dining room (as opposed to the top deck bar) to get an overview of some of the menu’s most popular items. And while most of it was good, some of it was great (and one item — spoiler alert! — was just bad).
Paddlefish is a brand new restaurant in an old, established building. You’ll recall that Fulton’s Crab House used to reside here, in the docked, multi-storied Empress Lily on Lake Buena Vista; and actually this spot has been a restaurant since 1977. When Paddlefish opened, guests were greeted with a combination of old and new. Neutral and trendy gray paint gave the restaurant a streamlined look, but some details of old remained, like brass railings and the fabulous sternwheel.
So what do you say? Shall we paddle in?
The first floor bar at Paddlefish is a beautiful space, with its curved, recessed ceiling, wall of windows, and various seating arrangements. Definitely a comfortable place to grab a drink or two! [Read more…]
Looking to treat Mom to an extra special meal this Mother’s Day? We have a few great options for you at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Restaurants!
Garden Grove Cafe
You’ll feel like you’re in a garden, with all the comforts of being in the a/c! Garden Grove Cafe at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort is the perfect spot to spoil Mom this Mother’s Day.
And with two different options, there’s something for early risers as well as those who plan to let her sleep in a little. If it’s breakfast you’re after, enjoy Garden Grove’s special Mother’s Day Breakfast Menu.
When: Sunday, May 10, 7:00 — 10:00AM
Where: Garden Grove Cafe, Walt Disney World Swan Resort
Cost: $35.99 for Adults, $19.99 for children ages 3-9, children under three eat for free
Menu highlights include [Read more…]
We’re dining “Under the Sea” today at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant!
Coral Reef Restaurant
And if you’re wondering if it was all part of my plan to insert that song in your head for the rest of the day, the answer is “Yes.”
(Insert evil laugh here. )
Coral Reef is one of only two Table Service Restaurants in Epcot’s Future World (the other being Garden Grill), and the only one open for lunch, which is the meal we’re having today. But first things first: in order to eat at Coral Reef, you’ve got to find it. Just head to “The Living Seas…” whoops! I mean, “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” Pavilion.
And once you get your fill of the birds chanting “Mine, Mine, Mine,” just hang a right…
… and head as far as you can towards the back. (The outdoor sign will help, too.)
So, now we’ve found it! Let’s head in…
As per usual with Disney dining, there are some fun details to take in here, starting right at the entrance.
The dining room is well-concealed for the “big reveal” to come, but touches in the check-in area (which expands into a fairly large hallway) give several indications as to what awaits you once you dine.
What are those lights, anyway? Jellyfish?
But as fun as it always is to check out the little things, the truth of the matter is that everyone is here to see one, single, MAJOR “detail.” The aquarium!
Yep — the dining room has giant picture windows that look right into the massive Living Seas aquarium. It’s like you’re dining in a submarine.
And here’s an interesting thing about Coral Reef: in most restaurants, several of the tables for two are often tucked on the outer perimeters, and sometimes that can lend to a feeling of being a little removed from the atmosphere. At Coral Reef, many of the tables for two receive “front rows seats” for the big show. Our table for two was right next to this table for four.
Our server presented Fish Guides to us, so we could identify some of the marine life swimming by.
Being that close contributed just a little extra to an already unique experience. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…
Though I gotta say, this felt [Read more…]
Shades of Green located at Walt Disney World is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) for United States Military Members and their families!
This month, Shades of Green is offering a Food, Wine, and Music event along with discounted meals, and an Easter Basket delivery service. Check out these great happenings at Shades of Green!
Shades of Music: A Food, Wine, and Music Experience
Enjoy the second annual Shades of Music on April 4 and 5th featuring a World Cuisine Buffet with live music.
Cost: $16.95 adults; $7.95 kids
Reserve your spot now by calling 407-824-6466.
Steak and Seafood Specials
Mangino’s is open 5PM-9:30PM and offering Steak and Seafood Specials on Monday nights in April. Enjoy Surf and Turf or Prime Rib!
No landlubbers? Fridays in April feature [Read more…]
During the busy holiday season, Walt Disney World accommodates famished guests with unique dining experiences. Guest reviewer @MealTrip, takes us to Tortuga Tavern’s Island Dinner Buffet in the Magic Kingdom! Book your meal online or at 407-WDW-DINE.
During the holiday season, through January 4th, the dining area that is normally utilized for Tortuga Tavern counter service dining is trying out something new. From 5pm until 9pm they’re hosting a dining event called the “Island Dinner Buffet.”
Tortuga Tavern is normally a walk-up, counter service Mexican food location, just across the street from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. I was curious as to how they would frame out the rather open, free-seating area so passers by would not inadvertently sit down and join the buffet. The solution… planted palm trees.
Many, many planted palm trees tucked into every nook and cranny, between every garbage can and bench, which all added to the Island theme quite nicely — and surprisingly, did provide separation from the main walk way.
The entrance to the event is over by what is usually the walk-up counter. Because this is not the normal configuration of the space, payment for your meal happens at one of the restaurant’s normal registers before you are seated. This is a bit different for a Disney restaurant, but not unusual for a buffet.
There appears to be seating for around 350 guests at any given time, and before we get into the food, I picked up a great tip from one of the managers. There are at least 50 seats that are kept out of the booking system every day… until 24 hours before the next day’s meal. This is because some of the seating can be considered “not covered.” If they’re expecting inclement weather (i.e. rain or cold), they will not release those seats to the booking system.
So if you would like to go to the Island Dinner Buffet, and it looks like it’s completely booked up… fear not… unless it’s raining or exceptionally cold out, they may just have a bunch of extra seats that won’t hit the booking system until the day before you want to go. Because that’s pretty short notice in Disney-Speak, that may also mean there’s a chance that you can score a seat without any reservations at all.
This is great news for Disney Dining Plan guests with one table service dining credit and no [Read more…]
We have another delicious dish for you today from the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! It’s time for some CHOWDAH!!!
One of our favorite creamy soups is featured at the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth in Epcot’s America Pavilion. Traditional New England Clam Chowder, with its creamy, potato-based goodness, is the perfect meal for sweater weather.
And since sweaters probably aren’t what you’ll be wearing if you have this dish at Walt Disney World, we’re giving you the recipe today so you can make it once you get home!
And don’t forget — today’s the LAST DAY to enter our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cook Book Package contest! All you have to do is subscribe to the DFB Newsletter and you’re entered to win a 2012 and 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Cook Book package! Click here to enter!
New England Clam Chowder
Makes Approximately 8 Cups
Ingredients: [Read more…]
Update: Scroll to the end of the Eats section (yep, waaayyy down there!) for a mini-review of opening night, courtesy of one of our favorite DFB guest writers, Julie B!
We are headed back to the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort today, as we take a closer look at the brand new California Grill!
The outpouring of Disney food fan love has just been astounding throughout the last eight months as we’ve continued to watch the newly re-imagined California Grill take shape. Folks who love the restaurant and its amazing menu have been anxious for news. Would it retain its panache? Would beloved dishes from the old menu make the cut? How would we survive with no Yoshie??
We are happy to report that, if possible, California Grill is even more spectacular than before. We were happy to show you a first look at all that was new after last Thursday’s media event. Today, we’re unveiling more details. If you haven’t already, get ready to make those advance dining reservations. I think you’re going to like what you see.
Settle in. This is going to be a long one!
Immediately, as you step out of the elevator onto the fifteenth floor, you are enveloped by the cool vibe of California Grill. You know at once that you’re in for a special experience.
If you weren’t aware of it already, now you know: wine matters in this restaurant. A lot. Wine coolers aren’t dressed up to be anything else; they’re unapologetically part of the decor here. This makes sense, as the restaurant now boasts 1,600 bottles of wine in the state-of-the-art wine display.
You’ll find around 250 wines on the list, with 80 available by the glass. And with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, you are literally enveloped in a wealth of wine knowledge.
Straight ahead, you’ll find the trademark view of Seven Seas Lagoon. With any luck there will be a spectacular sunset over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa during your visit like there was for ours.
This area continues to serve as the lounge for the restaurant. You can still score a table here with no advance dining reservation, and the full restaurant menu is available for ordering.
The bar area continues to be highlighted by the ceiling’s circular cutout. While the shape is the same, the whole bar has been overhauled with new finishes. Comfortable seating beckons you to relax and have a cocktail or two.
To quote one of my Disney friends, nothing here is the same as it was! The lights are wonderfully whimsical. While modern, there’s still a retro feel here. In fact, the lights remind me a lot of old pictures I’ve seen of the Contemporary from the 1970s.
Tables are set for service. I was glad to see that the [Read more…]
La Hacienda de San Angel is special to both my husband and I for sentimental reasons, because this was one of the first restaurants we dined in for our honeymoon. While I wasn’t too impressed with this restaurant during that reservation, I was willing to give it another shot.
The views out of the windows are breathtaking, and if nothing else, I could get a great margarita.
La Hacienda is located directly across from the temple pyramid that is the focal point of the Mexican pavilion. The entryway can be somewhat hard to miss, especially if you are in the throngs of a major crowd with strollers!
Just look for the sign in the picture below. There is a hostess stand underneath the sign where check-in is required to gain access to the restaurant.
We arrived at the restaurant over 30 minutes before our reservation time just to check in, and to our wonderful surprise they seated us early! We were directed to the foyer/lobby area that contains beautiful blue lanterns. Another hostess in the foyer directed us to our seats.
The restaurant atmosphere is relaxed with an afternoon siesta feeling and is elegant without being stuffy. The decorations are subtle – at least much less subtle than stereotypical Mexican restaurants – with patterned ceilings, clean walls, star lanterns dangling from the ceiling, and wrought-iron accents.
While it’s not as scenic as a volcano or Mayan river with a Mariachi band playing in the background (San Angel Inn) – it did set a pleasant atmosphere for a meal.
The wall of windows overlooks the lagoon and the rest of World Showcase. If you’re able to get a window seat during IllumiNations, it is a great place to watch the show!
When we arrived at 5:30 PM, there were hardly any other diners there; but by 6:00 PM the restaurant was packed. After our meal, my husband said “They don’t need a volcano here! The food is the main attraction!” Needless to say, our meal this time around was OUTSTANDING!
I’m not a margarita person (tequila – bad experiences – won’t go there), but I made a promise to myself to be adventurous on this trip, so I went with [Read more…]
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!
“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.
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…]