at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the foremost restaurant for fine dining in Walt Disney World.
Elegance is paramount in every aspect of the dining experience at Victoria & Albert’s, from decor to service to food. If you and your significant other want a fancy, sophisticated night out, Victoria & Albert’s — with its dinner jackets-level dress code and ten-and-older age restriction — is a unique experience.
What sets Victoria & Albert’s apart from other fine dining at Walt Disney World is the personalization that goes into each guest’s experience. About a week before guests dine here, the restaurant reaches out to learn about each diner’s allergies, likes, and dislikes.
Personalization can take multiple forms at Victoria & Albert’s, from the substitution of a specific ingredient to the creation of an entirely new dish, and so diners receive dishes that suit their likes from start to finish. That’s pretty amazing.
I’ve dined at Victoria and Albert’s multiple times, but usually I choose the chef’s table in the kitchen. This time I headed into the regular dining room. I wanted to figure out 1) Is the experience worth the money, and 2) Which is better — the Chef’s Table or the Main Dining Room? Let’s find out.
Victoria & Albert’s has three dining room experiences from which to choose: the Main Dining Room, the Queen Victoria Room, and the Chef’s Table. As I mentioned, on this visit, I dined in the Main Dining Room, which houses layers upon layers of tasteful Victorian style. Luxurious window and wall treatments, muted colors, and classic wood accents create a space that is comfortable, but formal.
Place settings are meticulous, and tables are spaced to provide a bit of privacy.
In the Queen Victoria Room, there are fewer tables, and thus the experience in this dining room is a bit more exclusive.
Details even extend to the ceilings at Victoria & Albert’s, including this beautiful painted ceiling and intricate chandelier.
For the ultimate dining experience, guests can opt for the Chef’s Table, which brings a small group of diners into the kitchen, where they can speak to sous chefs throughout the meal and watch the action in the kitchen.
No matter where you dine, place settings include these embellished Victoria & Albert’s plates. Something about that gold filigree style writing means you’re in for something special.
The Menu at Victoria & Albert’s is extensive — but only one sheet of this menu is for the meal itself. Rather the bulk of it consists of various available drinks meant to be selected and enjoyed at different times throughout the meal.
Believe it or not, there’s a Still Water Menu. This is worth a look for the sheer craziness of the whole idea. You’ll find the “House Water” toward the bottom. That’s included with the meal.
I did NOT order myself a glass of Svalbardi Polar Iceberg Water, which apparently can only be harvested during like one hour every year and has to be done with golden ice picks filled with unicorn hair. It’s vintage — aged 4000 years — so you know it’s good. 😉
I did, however, order the $9 Danish water, just to see if it was something special. Spoiler alert — it tasted like water.
There’s also an extensive Single Malt & Blended Scotch Menu, with prices ranging from $11.50 to $460.00 per two-ounce pour.
Toward the end of the meal, diners might prefer to peruse the Tea Selections menu. Varieties include Oolong, Black, Green, and White with a range of flavors and scents.
Coffee Selections are varied. (Wait until you see how it’s brewed!)
There are also Cordials & Digestifs for every palate and price point.
Please note: the menu experience was altered somewhat after my most recent visit. Previously (as on my visit), guests were able to choose from either a seven or ten course tasting menu. However, the experience has just changed to the Chef Degustation Tasting Menu. The difference is that guests will enjoy anywhere from eight to twelve courses, with the amount of courses varying based on the portion size of some of the dishes. The current price is set at $235 per guest plus tax and gratuity. Wine pairing is also an option for an additional $150.00 per guest.
I had chosen the Chef’s 10 Course Tasting Menu. The menu comes personalized with your name and the date on which you dine, making this a worthwhile souvenir of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It also includes a brief description of each course as it has been designed.
To be honest, this personal touch is something I really love. For the price of the meal, it’s expected that each course will be thoughtful and expertly crafted. But the attention to each diner’s preferences shows a desire to please that, honestly, you don’t find in every high-end restaurant.
My dining companion and I began our meal with cocktails. The Mint Pineapple Julep was delicious, with lots of muddled mint and a cover of swirled, hardened sugar. This was refreshing and light — a good way to begin a long, rich meal.
The Ultimate Long Island Ice Tea is likewise light and refreshing, with a large wedge of lemon and a splash of Coca Cola.
Bread is brought to the table, warm and fresh from the oven.
It’s accompanied by Himalayan salt and a quenelle of soft butter. You don’t want to fill up on bread, but this is a delicious and homey way to start the meal.
My meal began with an Amuse-Bouche (translating to mouth amusement, basically). It’s a small, single bite of food meant to excite the palate. My Amuse was Delta Asparagus with Champagne and Buttermilk. The innovation was intriguing and delicious.
My next course was New Zealand Langoustine with Pickled Daikon (radish) and Avocado. The langoustine — which are like incredibly supple, large prawns — were arranged well to create just a couple of nice-sized bites. But just a heads’ up: this comes to the table cold, which I was not expecting. I like shrimp, but I’ve never been a fan of cold shrimp or shrimp cocktail, so this wasn’t my favorite dish.
My third course was Gulf Shrimp with Poppy Seed and Lemon Ravioli, and it was very good. The shrimp with the soft ravioli was a surprisingly great combination, and the lightly cooked celery placed around the plate lent the dish some welcome crunch.
Between the third and fourth courses, my server brought around an herbed bread with a crazy-cool presentation of butter. This second service of bread is timed to cleanse the palate before diving into some of the richer dishes of the evening.
Ball of butter atop a sculpted mountain, anyone? It was beautiful, and the bread was delicious.
For the fourth course, my dining companion received Wild Turbot with Toasted Capers and Preserved Lemon. It was perfectly cooked and well-balanced, with acid coming both from the capers and the lemon.
We also received Dover Sole with Spanish Chorizo Bouillabaisse. This was really fun, from the roulette of Dover sole to the stewed tomatoes and perfectly cooked shrimp. The sauce was complex and delicious.
Next up we got away from the sea and had Marcho Farms Veal with Fava Beans and Summer Truffles. This was a dish full of surprises and complimentary flavors. The summer truffles were phenomenal with the meat.
The Rohan Duck with Lavendar and Glazed Florida Peaches was a good combination. The peaches were sweet and paired surprisingly well with the duck. The lavender was (thankfully) subtle. I loved the little crisp on top of the duck.
The penultimate course was beef, and it was my favorite of the meal. The dish is Australian Kobe-Style Beef with Potato Pinwheel and Ramps. There’s an option to add a spectacular piece of Miyazaki Japanese Beef, and you know I had to have that. Miyazaki Japanese Beef is top-grade Wagyu raised and classified in Japan, and there is no finer bite of beef on the planet. Everything on this plate was just awesome.
And then there was cheese — a Selection of Cheese From the Market. This was a great way to transition from the savory courses to the desserts.
For the final dessert courses, my dining companion had a quenelle of Berry Sorbet with crispy bits. This was super refreshing.
Remember that coffee menu? Here’s how they do coffee at Victoria & Albert’s: in this fabulous coffee siphon. You will not regret ordering the coffee. 😉
For the dessert courses (yup, there were two!), I was served this ab.so.lute.ly awesome Lemon-Strawberry Cremeux. The circle of rich, creamy lemon pudding was flawless.
The strawberry compote was hidden inside (and carried throughout the garnishes, save for that simple, sweet violet). I can’t say enough about this dessert. The texture of the cremeux was smooth and full of lemon flavor, and it was divine with the accompaniments.
The next dessert, a Bittersweet Chocolate Dome on Praline Crunch, was rich and playfully plated. Each component was well-executed, and combining those components kept the dish from becoming one-note. Plus there’s a bit of edible gold on there. So pretty.
And with that, our ten courses were complete — but the delicious bites weren’t over. Victoria & Albert’s provided White Glove Chocolate Truffle Service, and they did not skimp on the sweets, which were packaged so I could take them with me. I left with a delicious box of exquisitely crafted truffles.
The final piece: I was given a rose at the end of the meal. A nice touch.
Nosh or Not?
Treat yourself to Victoria & Albert’s if:
- You want to have a SUPER High-End dining experience while on vacation.
- You appreciate fine dining and want to try one of the most highly rated restaurants in the country.
- You and your significant other want a quiet, adult night out.
Skip Victoria & Albert’s if:
- You are vacationing with the kiddos and don’t want to find a sitter for the night.
- You balk at spending hundreds of dollars on a single meal.
- You don’t care for “fancy” food.
There is no dining experience quite like Victoria & Albert’s in the World or, really, in the world. You’re a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, and yet you are cloistered away into an elegant space and receiving world-renowned service and celebrated cuisine. Every meal is a unique dining experience — so even if you choose to splurge on Victoria & Albert’s more than once in your Disney travel lifetime, it’ll be a new experience every time.
Now, let’s answer those questions from the beginning: Is it worth the month? Personally, I think it is worth the money. The experience and quality is unmatched. However, compared to my experience in the Main Dining Room, I would absolutely recommend the Chef’s Table. While the meal is terrific anywhere you dine, there’s something special — and a bit more relaxed — at the Chef’s Table, and a meal there is a grand culinary adventure. I’m not a fan of SUPER fancy dining, and in the kitchen, things are lot less formal. Plus, you get the opportunity to ask the chefs what they’re working on, what they enjoy about working there, how the kitchen “works,” etc — which is so much fun as far as I’m concerned! It’s worth the added cost for this opportunity.
But no matter where you dine with Victoria and Albert, expect to have the meal of a lifetime.