With so many new spots to check out at Disney Springs, I was anxious to get back to a few of our longstanding favorites.
So on a recent visit to Walt Disney World, I took the opportunity to meet friends at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.
If you’re familiar with the former Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island, then you know that Raglan Road used to front the Pleasure Island District, right next to the expansive parking lots.
Well, with the redesign of the entire area and the birth of Disney Springs, Raglan Road seems to have moved! Actually, it’s in exactly the same place…it’s just that Disney Springs has bubbled up right out front of the spot. 🙂
While the outside orientation feels a little different, we aren’t complaining! Raglan Road was built from repurposed materials, shipped from pubs and churches in Ireland. As such, it’s always felt a little more antique than its surroundings.
But now, it fits right in with the circa 1900s feel of this new, old little town. And you’ll still find Cooke’s of Dublin, Raglan Road’s Counter Service location, off to the side of the restaurant. There are also two different bars that occupy space in the restaurant as well as the Hole in the Wall outdoor bar.
If you haven’t had a chance to explore inside Raglan Road, be sure to have a look around the next time you visit; there is so much to see here.
As you enter, you’re greeted by staff at the small entrance podium. Through a door to the left is outdoor bar seating.
To the right, you’ll find the Raglan Road gift shop, where you can purchase a wide range of memorabilia. This is a great spot to find that Guinness pint glass or t-shirt that you’ve been looking for.
The pub itself is roughly divided into three rooms, but you’ll find all kinds of cozy corners — and even a traditional “snug” or two — for lots of variety.
The Main Dining Room has soaring ceilings, crowned with a cupola trimmed in stained glass. During the day, the skylights allow for plenty of natural light to filter in. The high ceilings also lend themselves well to the performances that take place here. You’ll find live music and traditional Irish dancing daily.
The octagonally-shaped room is flanked by not one, but two bars! Suffice it to say that you won’t go thirsty at Raglan. Not a chance. 🙂
Beyond the Main Dining Room, the Music Room offers comfortable seating, and guests here still have a view of the entertainment in the Main Dining Room.
Perhaps the quietest area to sit is the Raglan Room. Lower ceilings and a narrow entrance mean that you’ll have an easier time hearing conversations — something that can be a bit challenging in other parts of the restaurant when the live music is happening.
For more details and photos of the beautiful pub, be sure to check out previous Raglan Road reviews, like this one.
We happened to be dining during the afternoon hours. As such, we had access to both the Lunch and Dinner Menus. It’s the best of both worlds!
While we love the incredible free-of-charge entertainment that Raglan offers in the evenings, lunchtime has its charms, too. For beginners, you can normally find a table during the day without an advance dining reservation. But also, because dancing and live music take place in the evenings, lunchtime is a nice time to have a quieter meal. (Weekends are the exception, when you’ll find live entertainment during the The Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch hours of 10:00AM to 3:00PM.)
It’s true that we have some serious favorites at Raglan Road. But even though the pub does offer a core menu of classics, fans should also note that Master Chef Kevin Dundon also likes to introduce new dishes as well. In fact, in the last year, Chef Dundon has included several menu items that utilize locally sourced ingredients. It’s a notion that’s central to Chef Dundon’s food philosophy — and it’s exciting to see that translated to Raglan Road as well.
Strawberry season was in full force for my visit, so it seemed a good time to try a refreshing cocktail — the Strawberry Fields Mimosa, which combines Ciroc Vodka, Aperol, Lemon Juice & Housemade Strawberry Puree topped off with Prosecco. This is a light cocktail that’s perfect for starting things off just about any time of day.
Along with our cocktails, we thought some Appetizers would be a good idea. I hadn’t tried the Smokie City, but it came highly recommended. The baked dip is served with Toasted Baguette Slices, and consists of Baked Smoked Haddock, Dubliner Cheddar Cheese, Diced Potatoes, and Cherry Tomatoes.
The strong Dubliner gives the lighter flavors of the other ingredients an extra kick (I LOVE me some Dubliner, and actually have some in my fridge right now). This is a guest favorite at Raglan, and is well worth a try.
I also couldn’t resist Raglan’s take on the Scotch Egg. You probably won’t be surprised to find out that the pub classic has been rechristened An Irish Egg here, however.
Guinness and Onion Sausage encase a perfectly Soft Boiled Egg. Pickled Cabbage and Saffron Aioli complete the plate. The sausage here is extraordinary! I’ve had my share of Scotch Eggs, and this is probably my favorite that I’ve tasted due entirely to the flavors in this sausage.
Did I mention that the egg is perfect? Here’s an inside shot, in case you had any doubts. 🙂
The Kids’ Menu isn’t something we’ve explored a whole lot previously. But thanks to my small fry along for the ride this time, we finally had our chance.
We tried the Gold’n Chicken first. The housemade Chicken Goujons — the fancy name for Chicken Fingers — came with an ample side of Raglan’s thick-cut Chips. However, for this particularly picky eater, we chose to substitute Raglan’s skinny chips instead.
The kiddo loved the chicken and fries, but the adults agreed that we would happily take an adult version of this kid classic any time. The skinny chips here are heaven. Usually they come with a dusting of parmesan and garlic when the grown-ups order them!
I thought the next dish was a great option for kids as well. Yummo Risotto is a kid-sized serving of Garden Pea Risotto, rendered even more creamy and flavorful by the addition of Pecorino and Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese. The dish is topped with a Grilled Chicken Breast Cutlet. (If this looks good to you, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a grown up-sized portion available as well.)
My kid loves rice, risotto, AND peas, so this worked out well for him. And, of course, the grownups all snuck a few tastes as well and we loved it! 😉 Look at all that cheesy goodness going on in that risotto!!!!
But there’s plenty more to explore!
From the lunch menu, one of my friends opted for the Steak Sanger. The Open-Faced Sandwich includes Grilled NY Strip and Basil Grilled Vegetables. It’s dressed with an Herb Aioli, and is offered with a side of Chips.
This was good, though not exactly what we expected. I guess I was thinking it was a sandwich — like with two pieces of bread. But this is very open-faced indeed!
But here comes our favorite choice of the day — the Pork by Pork. The dish offers Pork prepared two ways: Sage and Onion Stuffed Pork Loin, and Cider Braised Pork and Apple Fricassee. The whole thing is topped with a pork cracklin’ (which, incidentally, is the second time I was served cracklin’s at a Disney restaurant on this trip — maybe it’s a trend).
The dual dishes are served over creamy Mashed Potatoes and are topped with Warm Applesauce.
The Sage and Onion Stuffing is the same that you’ll find in the Hog in the Box entree on the Cooke’s of Dublin menu.
And overall, this dish was ah-mazing. We were told that it had originally been a seasonal menu item, but that it was so well-loved by guests that it was staying on the menu longer-term. I’m so glad, as the flavors and textures here are perfect. We couldn’t stop eating it! This is comfort food at its best.
Another friend went for the savory Our Pie to Try, which is served with a fresh Side Salad. The filling of the pie changes regularly, so it’s always fun to find out what the special is.
This time out, the filling was Pheasant and Potato. We were told that during the week, guests will usually find beef or chicken filling the pie. But on weekends, when Raglan sees more traffic from locals, then switch it up to something a little more unique.
This was good, but I’m not sure pheasant is my thing! I would definitely choose the Pork by Pork over this any day!
While our meals were certainly satisfying, there was no way we were passing up dessert. And while we planned to try a few new things, we couldn’t resist starting with a Raglan Road classic — Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding.
The pudding is served overflowing a large coffee cup, and comes with two different sauces — Creme Anglaise and Butterscotch.
This is an excellent bread pudding. But I’ve had it several times over the years, and always felt that it was…missing a little something. Well, on this visit I figured it out.
In the past, I’d opened up the bread pudding and poured the sauce inside…all tidy-like. This time, I just dumped everything in those little buckets all over the bread pudding so that it soaked the whole dish. And THAT was the ticket. USE ALL YOUR SAUCES FROM THE BEGINNING. Don’t worry about the mess. That’s how you get the best texture and flavor out of this one. (That’s a PSA for the other super-tidy people out there like me.)
What might even be the better choice is to ask for a second plate, dump the bread pudding out on the plate, and pour the sauces over the whole thing — making sure you get every inch covered. Oh, and then ask for some ice cream to put on top. I’m totally doing it that way next time.
(Think I’m a little crazy about trying to maximize my food enjoyment? I agree. But that’s why you love me.)
Finally, it was time to try a new entry to the lineup — Granny Dundon’s famous steamed Orange Pudding. The traditional pudding is a moist Cake with a rich Caramelized Orange Sauce that’s steamed right along with the cake. If you are a fan of Sticky Toffee Pudding — or any British, Scottish, or Irish Pudding — and you favor Orange, you’re going to love this one. We sure did. In fact, even though it has a lighter texture and flavor, it was one of our favorites of the day! Another one that we couldn’t stop sneaking tastes of.
We also were intrigued by the Uisce Berry.
Whiskey-Poached (Uisce beatha is the Irish Gaelic term for whiskey) Sweet Life Farms Strawberries take center stage here. They’re paired with an Irish Oat and Firewater Bar. The cake is garnished with a Mead Emulsion and Vanilla Ice Cream.
This one…well, it didn’t hit the mark as well as the other desserts for us. The Irish Oat Bar had the harder texture of a non-fat protein bar. I would have LOVED if this was more like a soft British flapjack (basically oats, sugar, and lots and lots of butter), since flapjacks are one of my favorite foods on the planet. But as it stood, this one did not impress in flavor or texture. I’d recommend the Bread Pudding or Orange Pudding over this one.
Once more, Raglan Road brings its “A” Game. Seriously, despite my personally not liking that dessert, every other dish we tried was a winner. And I find that while some Disney restaurants are flailing — having difficulty maintaining consistently good food and service — Raglan just keeps getting better and better. That’s not very common when it comes to Disney World restaurants — believe me.
If you’re a longtime fan of the Pub, you’ll still find many of your favorites. But the team here isn’t afraid to branch out and try new things as well. After all, they aren’t looking to celebrate only where Irish food has come from; they’re routinely looking to share a glimpse into what’s happening there right now as well.
Even with all of the new kids on the block, I’ll continue to enjoy my visits to this spot when I’m after an authentic slice of pub experience. People ask me all the time which restaurants I recommend in Disney World, and I always have to stop and think about “what’s good right NOW,” since so many of them cycle in and out of favor with me. But I can always consistently recommend Raglan, no matter what. And that’s saying something.
What are you looking forward to trying the most during your next visit to Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!
Our thanks to Raglan Road for inviting us to dine. You can see the DFB disclosure policy here.