Olivia’s Cafe over at Old Key West in Walt Disney World is just about the most homey restaurant in Walt Disney World. Its only rival would be Trail’s End, and I see them both as a great place to meet up with old friends year after year.
These are the types of restaurants that inspire memories of heading off on summer vacation, reuniting with friends you haven’t seen in a while, and enjoying some good food together in an atmosphere that’s as familiar to you as your own kitchen. I guess that’s what Disney was going for with the Disney Vacation Club, and they’ve achieved it at Olivia’s.
In fact, when I walked into Olivia’s, it almost felt as though the needle scratched off of the record in the jukebox and everyone turned to stare at the newcomer. Because I’m not a regular at Old Key West, it really did feel like I was a bit out of place at this restaurant that’s frequented by Disney Vacation Club members who are owners at Old Key West.
Of course, that was only my perception. After checking in, we were quickly seated in a wide open dining room covered with nautical themeing and Disney Vacation Club member family pictures. That’s right — they hang family pictures sent in or delivered by Disney Vacation Club members who own at Old Key West. I think it’s a neat tradition!
Overall, the dining rooms are a hodge podge of booths, tables, ocean-worthy decor, and happy customers. That works for me!
Olivia’s specializes in home cooking with a taste of the Florida Keys. There’s lots of seafood (including conch dishes), key lime accents, and down home favorites.
We snacked a bit on the yummy bread we were served, and then got down to the business of ordering.
For appetizers, we tried the Soup of the Day (broccoli cheese), the caesar salad, and the Island BBQ ribs (really more of an entree than an appetizer).
The soup was delicious. Creamy, rich, and served in a portion size that still allowed me to have an entree and a dessert!
The caesar was fresh and crisp, with plenty of cheese and just enough dressing. The croutons were nothing special, but we liked the addition of the lemon half.
The BBQ ribs were, surprisingly, quite good! Who knew they did ribs so well in the islands? 😉 Moist, fork-tender, and served with a spicy-sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. These were probably one of my favorite parts of the meal. Next time, I’ll get them as my entree.
For entrees, we ordered the grilled pork chop with chipotle barbecue glaze and smoked cheddar mac and cheese, and the daily special — meatloaf!
The words “chipotle” and “mac and cheese” sold me on the pork chop, and it was actually pretty good.
I loved the choice of shell pasta for the mac and cheese (how apropos!), but I did need to add salt to the side dish.
The chipotle barbecue sauce could definitely have been spicier, but was a decent addition to the pork. This dish wasn’t a superstar in the Disney food arena, but it was definitely something I’d pop in to get if I were staying at Old Key West.
We loved that meatloaf was the daily special. It just fit the vibe of the restaurant — a family gathering place.
While the meatloaf was a little crumbly, it tasted great, and we were big fans of the side dishes — mashed potatoes and green beans. These are dishes that can be done well, or very, very badly, and at Olivia’s, they were great. Crisp, steamed green beans were a great compliment to the creamy, buttery potatoes.
I couldn’t help ordering a side order of Olivia’s Potatoes. I’d heard people rave about them, and they’re worth the hype! Basically, these are scalloped potatoes with some cheese added, but they’re done very well. I definitely wanted another order!
For dessert, the key lime tart and the bananas foster bread pudding sundae were no-brainers for us!
The bread pudding was — to quote “Jem!” — truly outrageous. Just look at that thing! We were very impressed with every component of this dessert, and we couldn’t get over the way the sauce formed a fun hot-cold coating on the ice cream. For some reason, I love it when sauces do that!
And we couldn’t leave without the key lime tart. I am a HUGE key lime pie fan, and I’d heard so much about this fantastic dessert that I could hardly wait to dive in.
It absolutely lives up to the hype, my friends. Thing about what you want in a key lime dessert: 1. Lots of graham cracker crust, 2. Awesome key lime filling that’s both sweet and mouth pucker-ing-ly tart, 3. Lots of graham cracker crust, 4. Lots of graham cracker crust. Well, this one delivers!
The addition of the meringue on top is genius as well. A smooth, light, super-sweet topping for the tart filling is the perfect counterpart in taste and texture.
Despite the slight awkwardness of walking into a restaurant where everyone seems to know everyone else…except me…, dining at Olivia’s is a treat. While the menu might be considered a bit plain Jane, you could also see it as good home-made cookin’ and just indulge in your comfort food inclinations for one night.
We loved that there was a daily special every day, that the servers knew the menu backwards and forwards, and that there were plenty of fun options to choose from.
And while we might not have fit into it…exactly…we liked the feel of being somewhere that people “come back to” year after year. Olivia’s is clearly a “neighborhood” restaurant around here, and we hope it gets to keep that kick-back-and-relax kind of feeling.
Have you eaten at Olivia’s Cafe? Let us know your favorite menu items, or your thoughts on the restaurant, in the comments section below! Thanks!