Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 2, 2012

It’s menu-changing season at Walt Disney World!

New Menu Items at Animal Kingdom

This week we got the chance to highlight a few updates in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where they’ve unveiled new menu items at three counter-service restaurants! (More of this menu change mumbo jumbo coming up tomorrow, by the way…)

Let us know what you think about the new options!

Disney Food News

Catch up on your Disney Food reading!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Update — Dinners With Cat Cora

Kouzzina by Cat Cora has added two more events to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival signature dining schedule.

Chef Cat Cora and the Kouzzina chefs will host additional dinners on October 2 and October 4 at 8pm. The cost is $170/person. The first signature dinner at Kouzzina will be held on September 27 at 8pm for $160. Note that Chef Cat Cora will only be in attendance at the October dinners.

Spots are extremely limited, and will go fast. Call 407-WDW-DINE to book.


We’ve got more food news (including restaurant closure updates, new dining locations at Aulani, a food truck at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a PCH Grill Passholder Preview in Disneyland, special offer at La Hacienda and San Angel Inn, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

A DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book Reviews

Thanks to Disney by Mark for a great review of our DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Pick up your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival today, and get planning. Don’t forget our great DFB Deals of the Week on this Guide!

Here’s some great advice from the Disney by Mark review:

Last year was my first at the festival and I found myself overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make. There was so much I wanted to do but I only had a limited time at Epcot…and Epcot is BIG. I found that in just one reading this guide has helped me plan my entire visit so I don’t collapse from exhaustion!

See? No exhaustion! ;-) Read the full review here! And, check out another great review at Jackie’s Magical Moments this week!

Now it’s your turn! Download your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book here! Get $3 off with our Deal of the Week!

On to the Round-Up

DisZine highlights the Great Irish Hooley event at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney this weekend.

Cookie Madness enjoys a treat from Epcot’s Biergarten – Bavarian Cheesecake.

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups hides out with a snack at the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

A Wedding Cake Blog shares an adorable Minnie Mouse cake!

Mouse on the Mind dines at the California Grill overlooking the Magic Kingdom!

Main Street Gazette reviews the changes taking place with the restaurants in Epcot’s France pavilion.

AllEars takes a close-up look at the Pinocchio Village Haus.

DisneyParks looks back at the opening of Hollywood Scoops in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Review: Citricos at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

Come along with us on a great date night destination at Walt Disney World — Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

If you haven’t had the pleasure, there are so many reasons to give this wonderful restaurant a try. It’s a little easier to get an Advance Dining Reservation here than other, more popular spots in the Magic Kingdom area.

But with food that rivals the hottest spots at Disney World — and a quiet, comfortable atmosphere — this has become a restaurant we return to again and again. Does it continue to wow? We shall see…

Atmosphere

Citricos is tucked back behind Victoria & Albert’s (another review we’ll be treating you to soon!) on the Grand Floridian’s second floor. And with that “hidden” location, Citricos is often the overlooked signature dining spot here in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Diners often gravitate to California Grill or Narcoossee’s over Citricos in favor of spectacular fireworks views.

But don’t underestimate this place. While the fireworks viewing potential is pretty small here, sometimes being the “odd man out” can make a restaurant even more compelling. Citricos’ strengths come in the form of warmth, elegance, and a very quiet, comfortable atmosphere. I keep saying “comfortable” over and over again, and I’m pretty sure it’s because these dining chairs are some of the best on property! No kidding!

Seating Area

Warm light, sunny colors, and copper details make this an inviting space. (And did I mention the chairs? They’re comfortable.) A full bank of floor-to-ceiling windows lets in plenty of natural light during daytime hours.

Seating Area Near Windows

I like the whimsical, colorful glass touches on the tables. The candle holder and bread plates really add a pop of color to the formal place settings.

Table Setting

It’s always fun to watch the action in the open kitchen. The setting is beautiful, and the staff is poised and professional as they go about dinner service. (Don’t forget to take a peek as you walk to your table to see what items you might want to try!)

Exhibition Kitchen and Expediting Station

Off to the side of the restaurant — just next to the kitchen — is the Chef’s Domain. I’ve had the pleasure of eating in this private dining room recently for a good friend’s birthday dinner, and it’s very nice. You can order from a specialized menu or stick with the regular offerings. For events ranging from a private dinner party to a more elaborate affair, this is a great spot. This must be booked well ahead of time, and there’s a food and beverage minimum cost.

And as a bonus, you can get a really good view of the pastry specialists working at their craft – yum!

Pastry Chef Preparing Desserts

Now, back to our regular old dining room experience! Just walking to our table was enough to excite us about the meal! We were ready to get started.

Eats

The menu at Citricos focuses on [Read more…]

The Most Expensive Meals in the “World”

On the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, we field several questions every day from guests looking for ways to economize on their Disney food budget. These are meaningful and important questions, and we’re happy to help.

But every once in a while I find myself wishing that someone would send in a question like, “My rich uncle has died and left me a gazillion dollars. What’s the most expensive meal I can buy at Walt Disney World?” (Or maybe I’m just wishing that I had rich uncle in poor health :-).)

V&A's caviar. Yummy (and expensive).

The quick answer to the expensive meal question is Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. This posh-beyond-posh restaurant will set you back at least $125 in the main dining room, or at least $200 in the even-more-posh-beyond-posh Queen Victoria Room or Chef’s Table.

And that’s not including tax, tip, booze, and supplementary extra caviar. I’m sure Uncle Moneybags would approve.

Disney World’s Priciest Meals

But I found myself wondering if there were any “regular” restaurant meals that would inflict nearly this much damage to my shiny red Disney Visa. I decided to figure out the most expensive non-V&A’s meal you could find at Walt Disney World (not counting special event or private event meals).

And as an added bonus, I realized that this would be a good tool for a guest on the Disney Dining Plan who was REEEEALLY looking to get his money’s worth.

So in order to compare apples to apples, or more accurately steak to steak, I decided to construct the most expensive standard three course meal at each Disney World signature restaurant: one appetizer/starter course, one single-serving entree, and one dessert.

Flying Fish, Boardwalk (DDP = Yes)

  • Chardonnay-steamed Mussels, $18
  • Black Angus New York Strip Steak, $42
  • Trio of Concession Sweets, $9

TOTAL: $69

Bistro de Paris, Epcot (DDP = Yes)

Review: California Grill

When planning meals for our October trip to Walt Disney World, I realized it had been a LONG time since we’d visited California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! And I haven’t reported on it here on the blog for over a year, so I figured it was time to get a little updating in!

Let’s head over to the check-in desk, shall we…?

Atmosphere

To access California Grill, guests need to head to the 2nd floor of the Contemporary Resort and visit the restaurant’s check-in desk (you can get here by elevator, or by taking the stairs/from the back of the lobby).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be waved over to a special elevator — one used only for California Grill guests — and taken up to the restaurant itself on the 15th floor of the hotel!

Entry from Elevators

I’m always immediately impressed by the nearly 360-degree view of Walt Disney World. The gorgeous, sprawling Grand Floridian Resort in front of you; the spires of Cinderella Castle, Big Thunder mountain, and Space Mountain to your right; and the Wilderness Lodge and Epcot to your left will make it difficult for most folks to tear themselves away from the walls of windows to take a look at the menu!

When you walk in, you’ll be greeted at the podium and (likely) handed a pager. No worries; there’s lots to do while you’re waiting. Start walking toward the windows and you’ll pass the California Grill Bar and head into the lounge area.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

California Grill Lounge

Here’s a tip! If you don’t have a [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘AMA ‘AMA Beachside Restaurant at Disney’s Aulani Resort

We’re so excited to have a review of Disney’s Aulani Resort’s premier restaurant just a few days after its opening! Mark Hickson is a Disney fan, a former Disney Imagineer, and a Hawai’i resident and food blogger (among many other things). We’re honored to share this article with our readers. Thanks, Mark!

'Ama 'Ama Beachside Restaurant

So the resort has been open for five days now and I thought it would be the perfect time to dine in the resort’s signature restaurant, ‘AMA ‘AMA. The restaurant is named after the tasty mullet fish ʻamaʻama that us locals enjoy.

Atmosphere

The setting is an open air thatched roof fishing shack and a minimalist fishing factory with concrete pillars and a large fish holding tanks complete with pipeline and spigot. Of all the beautiful facilities at Aulani Resort this place’s theme is the only one that doesn’t work.

Our reservations were for 5:30pm and my wife and I were seated directly. Unfortunately since it is an open air dining area (no walls), the sun was low enough to shine in so it was very bright and hot at our table. In retrospect I would wait until sunset to be seated.

Eats

Take a look at the official ‘AMA ‘AMA menus below:

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

For drinks I ordered a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo. It was fun, tropical and fresh with a light foam on top. Good enough to order a second, which I did! My wife’s coffee was [Read more…]

Disney’s Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant Earns AAA Five Diamond Award

The Disney Food Blog congratulates Victoria & Albert’s on receiving the AAA Five-Diamond for the 11th year in a row!

Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Victoria & Albert’s well deserves this honor – the highest awarded by AAA. Fifty-five restaurants were distinguished on the 2011 list, with V&A’s being the sole recipient from Central Florida.

The memorable meals are due to the fine talents of Chef Scott Hunnel, manager and sommelier Israel Perez, and Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek.

Chef Scott Hunnel

Check out some of the gorgeous cuisine Chef Hunnel creates at the Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table in this guest review from our [Read more…]

Review: New Le Cellier Signature Dinner

You remember when we analyzed the brand new Le Cellier Steakhouse Signature dinner menu a few weeks ago, right? Well, I finally had the chance to try it myself.

For those who are just tuning in, one of Disney World’s most popular restaurants, Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada pavilion, began offering a signature dinner menu (e.g. super expensive) at the beginning of March 2011. While the restaurant remained priced at one Disney Dining Plan credit for lunch, the dinner menu cost two Disney Dining Plan credits. For those of us who don’t purchase the dining plan, that means that the dinner menu was renovated and all prices bumped up a few bucks…or more.

Atmosphere
The decor and atmosphere at Le Cellier hasn’t changed at all. You’re still dining in a very small “cellar,” featuring candlelight sconces on the walls (not real candles, of course), rich woods and deep maroon fabrics, and stone archways creating the structure of the restaurant.

Le Cellier Dining Room

Le Cellier Dining Room

Le Cellier Ceilings and Chandeliers

The only thing upon arrival that makes you think something might be slightly different is the presence of some snazzy new napkin rings (I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen napkin rings at a Disney World restaurant…) and candles on the tables… [Read more…]

Review: Jiko…A Cooking Place

Well, my food-loving friends, it’s finally time to talk about one of my very favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. My husband and I spent our first Valentine’s Day at Jiko, and we’ve returned time and time again to enjoy consistently delicious meals.

Now, a few of you might be concerned that you won’t find anything on the menu that suits your taste in a restaurant that touts “African” food, but fear not; there really is something for everyone here.

Atmosphere

Jiko is located on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s ground floor and features floor to ceiling windows that look out onto a beautiful and peaceful water feature. But the windows are probably the least interesting thing about this restaurant’s design, which was developed by Jeffrey Beers.

Walking into the restaurant you’ll pass a bar area to your left and see the Cape Town Wine Room directly in front of you. (Yep, that’s it behind the glass walls of wine!) Jiko serves exclusively [Read more…]

Guest Review: Narcoossee’s

A big thanks to Mary Giordano, who has been kind enough to review another special dining opportunity in the Grand Floridian Resort, Narcoossee’s! You can see Mary’s other guest review for Disney Food Blog here. Take it away, Mary!

Narcoossee’s, known for its extensive seafood menu, is located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. It is just one of the resort’s three signature dining locations (the others being Citricos and Victoria & Albert’s). While planning my recent trip, I called ahead soon enough and booked dinner reservations at a premier time during the Wishes fireworks. It didn’t take long for Narcoossee’s to earn not one, but two “Best of” awards in [Read more…]

Review: Flying Fish Cafe

During April’s 5 Stars to Mickey Bars event, I was very grateful to have the opportunity to dine with some incredible women at the Disney World Boardwalk’s Flying Fish Cafe!

Atmosphere
Flying Fish Cafe has a whimsy about it that you don’t find at many of Disney World’s signature restaurants. The ocean-side carnival theme — including massive and colorful murals on the walls — fits well into the Disney World Boardwalk area. Even a few of the columns in the restaurant look like they’re covered in gold fish scales.

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

And the flying fish dangling via parachutes from [Read more…]