We’re heading back to one of Disney’s best kept signature dining secrets — Citricos!
The fancy-schmancy restaurant is located at the lush and luxurious Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, which is home to no less than three Disney Signature Restaurants. (Victoria and Albert’s and Narcoossee’s round out the list.) Narcoossee’s has the great fireworks view, and V&A’s is the best restaurant in central Florida, so you might be wondering what could possibly set Citricos apart and make it worth your time and money?
Well, let’s take a look, and maybe I can help you to answer that question.
You’ll find Citricos on the second floor of the Grand Floridian, off of the main atrium and tucked behind Victoria and Albert’s. It’s at the back of the hotel, and as a result, offers really lovely views of the resort’s grounds.
As you enter, you’ll walk through Citricos Lounge, where you can enjoy a cocktail and a menu of small plates, even without an advance dining reservation.
The decor here is in keeping with the rest of the Grand, but it walks a fine line. It’s slightly more modern, and there’s an almost Mediterranean feeling to it. While the rest of the resort channels turn of the (last) century Florida, you might feel like you’ve escaped to the Riviera in this corner.
Take a peek at the exhibition kitchen if you get the chance, where copper and other warm hues dominate.
The Chef’s Domain is another option at Citricos. Located near the exhibition kitchen, it’s basically a private room versus the Chef’s Counter concept at Napa Rose or Flying Fish. You can order from a specialized menu, but the regular menu is available as well. It’s a great option for small special events. It must be booked well ahead of time, however, and there’s a food and beverage minimum cost, so keep these things in mind.
The dining room itself has an airy, open feel, in part due to the large bank of windows on one side.
Overall, the space is comfortable and inviting.
And while you aren’t going to choose Citricos with a mind to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks — Narcoossee’s is your Grand spot for that — just look at this beautiful view! I mean, I can’t promise you a rainbow. But still.
Back inside, you’ll find very comfortable seating, with padded, comfortable chairs and lots of space between tables. And the colored glass accents on the tables are a nice touch.
Now that we’ve taken a little look around, let’s dig into the most important detail — the food.
Note that, as with most Signature restaurants in Disney World, Citricos is a (somewhat) market driven eatery. As such, some of the things we enjoyed are no longer available. Still, many dishes do remain. And sharing what we ordered gives you an idea of what you can expect at any given time from this spot.
Ok — so, let’s dive in with a look at the Menu.
While things are currently a little different where the appetizers are concerned, many of our favorite dishes are mainstays, and you’ll still find them available. I never miss a chance to enjoy their Arancini, a deep fried ball of Rice that’s stuffed with Cheese and Italian Sausage.
Next, we went for the Cheese Board Experience. Pretty grand name, eh? The offerings are often different from visit to visit, but the artisanal cheeses are always fantastic, as are the accompaniments.
A Charcuterie Plate is nearly always available as well, although just like the cheese, the selections here tend to change a little here and there. The current offering is very similar to this one, however. We enjoyed Prosciutto, Sopressata, Dry Pork Coppa, Beef Bresaola, Palacios Chorizo, Domestic Olli Artisanal Salame, Pecorino Romano, Medjool Dates, Bread and Butter Pickles, and Almonds.
Another perennial favorite is the Sauteed Florida Local Shrimp, with Freshly Squeezed Lemon, Chardonnay, Ripe Tomatoes, Garlic, Cilantro, and Sharp Feta. This thing is amazing. I’ll never forget when the chef brought it out for me to try the first time. I don’t even love shrimp, but I’ll eat just about anything in this broth. (I do tend to avoid the cilantro.)
I did have a chance to enjoy a seasonal soup. When I visited, they were offering Roasted Acorn Squash Bisque, garnished with a Heirloom Apple and Bacon Sweet Potato Biscuit and Tupelo Honey Cream.
We couldn’t resist ordering the Slow-Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly as well. Here’s, it’s served with White Bean Hummus, Smoked Jalapeno, Sweet Onion, and Hibiscus BBQ Sauce. You can usually get a version of this next door at Mizner’s Lounge as well.
Soon, we were ready for the next course. My friend ordered another long-standing Citricos favorite, Berkshire Pork Two Ways. The entree featured rotisserie-roasted Pork Tenderloin and slow-braised Pork Belly. Sweet Pea Tarragon Risotto, Braised Escarole, and a Pork Reduction finished the plate.
We also enjoyed the Crispy Pan Fried Veal chop “Elephante”, which was served with Butter Mashed Boniato, Baby Rainbow Carrots, Roasted Cipollini Onions, Citrus Butter, and Madeira Sauce. This one is only available from time to time, but if it is on your visit — GET. IT. This was out of this world.
The Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon is always good here. During our visit, it was accompanied by Crushed Yukon Gold Garlic Potatoes, Amber Pepper Relish, Broccoli Rabe, and a Cabernet Reduction.
Another friend opted for the Red Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs. The rich dish was served on a bed of Melted Leek and Parsnip Puree, Wilted Ice Spinach, and Mushrooms, and was finished with Natural Jus.
After our entrees, we couldn’t resist a look at the menu of Desserts and After Dinner Drink Offerings. In addition to coffees, teas, and traditional spirits, Citricos offers a good selection of Cognac and Scotch to choose from. Check out our previous review, where we shared the full experience of learning more about the spirits and trying a few!
We decided to skip the spirits this time. My friend did enjoy a French Press of Coffee, however.
Regarding desserts at Citricos, very little seems to change. Ever. You might see one or two seasonal options, but the main selections are there to stay.
In the case of icy treats, the popular Trio of Gelatos is always a good choice. During our visit, our friend sampled Italian Vanilla Bean, Raspberry, and Cappuccino.
Since it was Fall, we decided to indulge in a seasonal flavors of the Pumpkin Cheesecake Dome, which was served with White Chocolate Ganache and Cranberry Sauce.
But possibly the most famous dessert at Citricos is the Warm Chocolate Banana Torte, complete with its showstopping Belgian Chocolate Crown.
Vanilla Ice Cream provides a nice contrast to the warm dessert.
My favorite Lemon-Scented Cheesecake wasn’t an option the last time we visited, but it’s back on the menu now! I’m assuming it had made way for the pumpkin version when we were there last.
You will never go wrong with Citricos. During my many visits here, I have experienced uniformly excellent food and service. That’s something that I don’t take lightly, since the one thing that seems to be consistent at Disney is — you guessed it — inconsistency.
Still, I would like to see Citricos change things up a little bit more, and take a few chances. While the food is good, I find that I often order the same thing over and over because choices change very little. And also, keep in mind that service at Citricos can be very slow compared to other Disney spots. I like the leisurely pace, but it may be a problem for guests who have other plans for the evening (an after dinner FastPass for the fireworks, for instance).
But I’ll leave you with this: if your first choice for a signature restaurant is already booked up (we’re looking at you, California Grill), or your favorite is undergoing a spruce up like Flying Fish currently is, then take a chance on Citricos. I’m confident that you won’t regret it.
Now, I’d love to hear from all of you! Is Citricos one of your favorite Disney Dining Destinations? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!