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.


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.


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.

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.


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!

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…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Romance

Thanks to DisneyFoodBlog readers on facebook and twitter, we’ve narrowed down the top three “Best Restaurants in Disney World for Romance.” These were runaway winners, folks — no other restaurants received even close to the number of votes these did.

And I think they’re spot on, actually; though I’ll also mention some much-loved runners-up just in case these are booked when you call to reserve that special Anniversary or Honeymoon dinner.

Walt Disney Restaurants for Romance

#1 Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
There are several notable things about V&A’s: 1.) It’s the only AAA 5-diamond restaurant in Orlando (and one of only a handful in Florida), 2.) It’s the only Disney World restaurant where children (under age 10) are not welcome in the dining room, and 3.) Its chef’s table is the hottest ticket around (more on that later).

At Victoria and Albert’s, service is a prix fixe six-course meal including the freshest ingredients flown in from all over the world. Each table is constantly attended by two servers, and harp music gently fills the small, 65-person dining room.

tomato and cheese salad

Should you prefer something even more grand and exclusive, you can call six months in advance to book the Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table. Seated at an ornate table inside the kitchen, you and up to nine of your friends can indulge in a meal designed specifically for you.

Victoria and Alberts Chefs Table

Victoria and Alberts Chefs Table

Chef’s Table Champagne Toast

One of many Chef’s Table Desserts

#2 California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
California Grill is one of my very favorite restaurants in Disney World, and I have to say that it’s most romantic while the sun is setting behind the Grand Floridian Resort and the wide Florida sky turns every shade of purple, pink, and orange.

California Grill Sunset

California Grill Sunset

That said, many will disagree with me and say that it’s most romantic during the Wishes Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, when the lights are dimmed and the music is piped into the dining room.

The View From Our Table Just Before Wishes Fireworks

The View From Our Table Just Before Wishes Fireworks

Either way, California Grill, sitting on the 15th Floor atop the Contemporary Resort, offers incredible views and truly delightful food. Sample one of the many flatbreads, the market-inspired soups, or the sushi that the restaurant’s known for. They’ve also recently added an Ostrich dish to the menu that I hear is quite good!

California Grill Bar

Some of our favorite dishes are the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli appetizer, a California Grill favorite, which has been on the menu since the restaurant opened; the delicious Filet Mignon; and the famous Banana Creme Brulée. Recently we tried duck and bison dishes, which were incredible!

All Natural Duck Two Ways

#3 Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House
Folks, I have to say this is probably my personal vote for most romantic restaurant in Disney World. In fact, we love it so much that we decided to spend our Valentine’s Day here this past February!

Jiko is dark — very dark — and beautiful. Where other restaurants have fireworks and shows, Jiko has a simple wall in the back of the restaurant that slowly changes color throughout the night to mimic the African sunset.

Jiko Sunset Wall

Jiko Sunset Wall

There’s much more about the Jiko decor in a previous blog post, but let it suffice to say that the dark, glossy wood, and brilliant colors are quite sensual.

Jiko View

Jiko View

On to the food, Jiko’s chefs have long given Disney guests credit for wanting to experiment. The menu reflects African staple ingredients used in simple, but creative ways. The filet mignon is always a winner. Even if it doesn’t come with the mac and cheese, you can order it as a side dish.

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko

Thanks again for all of your votes! If you don’t see your favorite in the top three, surely you’ll see it in the honorable mentions below. If you’d like to add your favorite, let me know by posting a comment on this blog. You can also contact me via email, facebook, and twitter (see the links at the beginning of this post!)

Honorable Mentions
Other restaurants that made the DisneyFoodBlog fan list for most romantic were:
Bistro de Paris at Epcot’s World Showcase
Le Cellier at Epcot’s World Showcase
San Angel Inn at Epcot’s World Showcase
Tutto Italia at Epcot’s World Showcase
Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Todd English’s blue zoo at the Dolphin Resort
Garden View Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Les Chefs de France at Epcot’s World Showcase
Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Grand One Yacht, available for charter and private dining at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Thanks again, everyone!

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!

California Grill: Spots Still Available for Independence Day Dinner July 4th!


California Grill has availability for their Independence Day Dinner, an exclusive dine-a-round Food and Beverage event with well bar. Guests can dine on Summer Lobster Rolls, fresh sushi, Boneless St. Louis style pork ribs, Black Angus Strip Steaks, sweet buttered corn, summer salads, a variety of desserts, and many more exquisite dishes.

They will have characters, a DJ with dancing, strolling entertainment, fortune teller, and magician. This wonderful meal offers an incredible viewing location of the Magic Kingdom’s Disney’s Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky at 9:00pm and then the festivities continues with additional viewings of firework presentations at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 10:00pm. This is one celebration no one should miss!

Adults and children are $220. The price includes tax and gratuity. Call 407-WDW-DINE or enter 6:30pm, July 4th into the reservation request for California Grill in Disney’s online system.

Good luck!