is located at the Grand Floridian Resort just a Monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Polynesian Village Resort. (And soon — possibly via walkway from Magic Kingdom!)
Grand Floridian Cafe
This Victorian-inspired restaurant serves table service eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with identical breakfast and lunch menus resulting in some truly epic brunch bites. We’re talking a Buttermilk Chicken and Waffle, an Eggs Benedict Flight, and more. Click here to see why brunch is brilliant at Grand Floridian Cafe!
But on this visit, we’re grabbing dinner. The dinner menu here is a separate entity from breakfast and lunch, but some popular ‘brunch’ items do appear at dinner, too! The Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger is available all day (see that review here!), as is the Miso-Glazed Salmon (reviewed below!). The Artisan-Made Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli is a favorite that’s good to go for three meals a day (more on that below, too!), and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken makes a reprise at dinner (but without the waffle).
The point is: Grand Floridian Cafe’s got your tastebuds’ backs all day long! 😉 So let’s see how dinner stacks up and whether Grand Floridian Cafe is good for more than just a fabulous brunch.
The atmosphere of Grand Floridian Cafe echos the Victorian tones of the entire Resort. Flowered wallpaper is layered with heavy white moldings, patterned carpets, and columns. The check-in desk is relatively small, but since this isn’t an overly-crowded restaurant (most of the time!), that’s okay!
The Cafe is able to text diners when their tables are ready (once they’ve checked in in person!). We waited about five minutes and did receive the text when they were ready for us. Hopefully this technology will help reduce the sting of having to wait when you arrive.
The dining room continues the Victorian elements, with the space anchored in part by an octagon-shaped area in this center of this space. Inside the octagon, an ornate chandelier glows warmly.
The space is fairly bright, with large arched windows letting that Florida (or, you know, solar system…) sunshine stream in. Diaphanous curtains provide softness without blocking the light.
There’s plenty of seating here, and the space is relaxed despite the (usually stuffy) Victorian touches. You definitely get a slight garden feel between the floral decor elements, light furniture, and moldings that resemble lattice.
You’ll also typically find gorgeous floral arrangements bringing that natural element inside.
Place settings are simple, with a small vase and bread plates holding court with silverware and cloth napkins.
Even the dishware is relaxed. No gold rims and monograms here (we’re looking at you, Victoria & Albert’s)!
The menus at Grand Floridian Cafe keep the floral theme going, and they’re really pretty. In a way this design and the font used on the menus are fancier than the restaurant actually is in spirit. There are plenty of Specialty Cocktails here, including the Key West and Florida Sunshine.
We also received a huge book of cocktail offerings identical the one we received at 1900 Park Fare recently. Click here to find that review and see the full cocktail offerings.
Non-Alcoholic Specialties include the Mega-Berry Smoothie, Odwalla Lemonade, and a Specialty Character Drink. The first two would qualify for Disney Dining Plan users, but typically the character cups are not, so keep that in mind if your kiddos are choosing a specialty beverage.
Grand Floridian Cafe also features options from the Disney Family of Wines and non-Disney wines (see above).
The menu for Dinner here is not as extensive as that for breakfast and lunch (which essentially is two meals on one menu), but the options include Appetizers, Entrees, and Enhancements.
Note that the Seasonal Soup, Shrimp Cocktail, Heirloom Apple Salad, Onion Soup, and Fried Mozzarella are available at all mealtimes.
Entrees are nearly all meat- or seafood-centric, so vegetarian and vegan diners will want to speak to a chef about options here. In some cases, tofu may be substituted for a meat protein, or a custom pasta dish may be offered. (The Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli may work for vegetarians, so be sure to pay attention to that one on the regular menu!)
Enhancements (e.g. extra sides that Disney introduces so you’d have to spend more than what your Disney Dining Plan includes) include Poached Lobster and/or Shrimp and Scallop Skewers.
Dinner at the Cafe begins with whole-wheat dinner rolls and butter. We appreciate this touch (and all the carbs).
Here at DFB we rarely pass up an opportunity for fried cheese, and the Hand-Breaded Fried Mozzarella at Grand Floridian Cafe fits the bill for our daily fried cheese quota (which we totally made up).
Two large triangles of mozzarella are breaded, fried crispy, and served with tomato jam and artichoke relish. No dipping sauce here.
The flavors here are fresh and light (with the exception of the fried cheese, of course!), and the balsamic glaze on top added another level of acidity that is welcome to cut through the heavy cheese.
The artichoke relish was a particularly great surprise. It was packed with garlic flavor, so if you try to avoid garlic, you’ll need to skip this appetizer or request it without the artichokes.
The mozzarella cheese doesn’t get ooey and gooey in this dish which may or may not work for some diners. We thought the flavors were terrific, so we could overlook this. But if you want a beautiful, long cheese pull, you won’t find it here.
From the Entrees, the Artisan-Made Spinach-Ricotta Ravioli is a fantastic option. This dish is packed with special touches, from the seared alba mushrooms to the Tuscan kale.
The pasta here is stuffed with ricotta and seasoned well. Toppings include those mushrooms and the kale (you can ask for either to be omitted if you’re not a fan), plus warm tomato vinaigrette, shaved Parmesan, and creamy herb pesto.
A drizzle of balsamic and this cheesy dish is filling even for those who typically enjoy meat dishes. There’s a reason the Ravioli is a diner favorite: it’s delicious.
The Cafe Meatloaf is a comforting dish made all the more so by thick caramelized onion gravy! (You’ll see a kiddo in our group requested the gravy on the side. Let’s just say the dish probably benefits aesthetically from a nice blanket of gravy atop the meat, as is the typical presentation!)
The meatloaf is comprised of ground turkey and spices (there may also be a binder of eggs and/or breadcrumbs, so double check if you’ve got allergies!), and it’s surprisingly flavorful.
The Cafe Meatloaf comes with a side of smashed red bliss potatoes, which are standard and nothing special. But we really enjoyed the buttery broccolini that comes with this dish. Overall, this is a simple and hearty offering that works for picky eaters (gravy on the side, perhaps?) and kiddos with big appetites!
Another child in our dining party opted for the Miso-Glazed Salmon… without the miso glaze. 😉 The glaze is typically thick and flavorful, so while we appreciate a simple plate of food (salmon, rice, green beans), the adults at the table would’ve preferred that salty/sweet glaze!
Still, the salmon was seasoned and cooked very well — in fact, the fish was delicious on its own, sans glaze.
The fish is a decent size filet, but the dish benefits from generous servings of sides.
Lemon sticky rice is super lemony. French green beans weren’t overcooked and have a simple, salty flavor.
For steak lovers, the New York Strip is a solid option. Simply seasoned, the size of this cut of meat was good. We ordered ours medium-rare, and it definitely came out closer to medium. But it retained is juiciness and flavor, so we didn’t complain.
Sides are simple on this dish, too. We enjoyed another serving of the buttery broccolini, and the potato gratin was terrific.
Point of fact, this would have been awesome to get with the meatloaf, too, since it’s got way more flavor without losing any of the starchiness.
The New York Strip should also come with roasted cipollini onions, but ours were forgotten. We love them, so we were bummed. If this happens to you (we’re guessing it was a very rare oversight), speak up and let your server know you’d like them.
Though these dishes were mostly simple and straightforward (the Ravioli is by far the most creative of the entrees we ordered), we enjoyed each one. They are satisfying and well-seasoned across the board, but the loss of those onions is unfortunate…and even if an oversight is a rare one, it’s still an oversight when you’re on an expensive trip to Disney World.
Nosh or Not?
Plan for dinner at Grand Floridian Cafe if:
- You enjoy quality food in a tranquil setting that’s just a Monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom.
- You’re staying at Grand Floridian and want relaxed table service dining.
- Visiting the Grand Floridian is on your to-do list, and you’d like to partake in quintessential Grand Flo dining!
Skip Grand Floridian Cafe if:
- You’re not interested in traveling beyond a Park or your Resort for dining.
- Table service dining isn’t your thing.
- You prefer food that’s a little more unusual or that features flavors from around the (real) world.
Grand Floridian Cafe is proving to be a consistently good restaurant for dining outside of a theme park at Walt Disney World. The food is great pretty much across the board, the dining room is peaceful and relaxed (despite its Victorian roots), and the location is convenient even if you’re not staying at the Resort.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed brunch and encourage readers who want to brunch at Walt Disney World to consider the Grand Floridian Cafe, and dinner has its appeal, too, so we’ve enjoyed trying them both multiple times. Overall, I’d say brunch is the better choice here — the menu, in our opinion, is more appealing than dinner, and in our experience brunch has been the better meal as well.