Steakhouse 71 is a new restaurant that is set to open tomorrow (October 1st) in the former location of The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, just in time for the start of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration! The restaurant is themed after 1971, the opening year of Walt Disney World.
Thanks to a special media preview event, we were able to dine at this new restaurant for lunch today and now we’re bringing you a full review with all of our thoughts on what this new spot has to offer!
The atmosphere of Steakhouse 71 is quite different from what existed with The Wave. Some might go so far as to say it no longer looks like a ’70s car dealership in here.
The space has been totally transformed into a new dining experience at The Contemporary. As you walk under the restaurant’s new sign, you’ll enter a hallway with a multitude of photos depicting the early stages for the Florida project and the stages of construction of the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Once you’ve taken a trip down memory lane, you can stop at the check-in desk to speak with a Cast Member there.
Behind the check-in desk, you will find a bar and lounge area, just as you could find at the Wave.
There are a variety of elevated seats in this area. We’ll be checking out the lounge in the future, so be sure to check back for more details on that.
While you wait for your table to be ready, you can take a seat on one of the nearby couches.
There was a good number of little sitting areas for guests to relax here.
And while there’s plenty to look at between the patterns on the walls and carpet, and the colorful chairs, you’ll also want to look up!
Once your table in the restaurant is ready, you’ll head inside to the main dining area.
The carpet in the space now features a tan and blue geometric design.
There are traditional tables throughout…
…as well as some booth seating. We loved that the booth seating on this wall is now open to the lounge, rather than having the dining room entirely enclosed. It adds a nice amount of openness to the space. There are still no windows to the outside, but even just having this wall of “windows” to the lounge was a nice touch.
You’ll find tables for groups of 2, groups of 4, and larger groups as well.
Near many of the tables, you’ll find abstract artwork inspired by Disney World.
The colorful piece above depicts Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle, the train, and more. You might even spot a hidden Mickey or two!
In another part of the restaurant, there was some artwork that was more inspired by the designs and colors of Tomorrowland.
We also found art showing the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover with Skyway buckets up above…
…art of Space Mountain…
Basically, you’re going to want to take some time to really look at the space around you and look at the artwork carefully. Each piece is beautiful and has a wonderfully nostalgic feeling to it.
Throughout the space, you’ll find many square tables, but there are also some round ones. The tables themselves are fairly simple and plain, a mostly clean, white color. The decor on the tables is also minimal, with a gold candle holder in the center.
But, enough about the tables, let’s get onto the food!
When we sat down, we were provided with a paper menu.
You can start off your meal here by ordering an Appetizer. The appetizer menu includes items like French Onion Soup, Onion Rings, and a fan-favorite from The Wave — Bacon & Eggs.
Here’s a closer look at that appetizer menu.
Steakhouse 71 has a number of Entrées to choose from at lunch, including Crab Cake Sliders, a Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger, and more.
If you have a sweet tooth, there’s also a selection of Desserts to choose from!
For the kids, there are specialty non-alcoholic drinks, appetizer selections, and entrees (as well as sides to get with the entrees).
Adults can choose from a selection of Beer…
…as well as Wines from the Disney Family of Wine…
…or from a traditional Wine list to pair with their lunch if they wish.
You can also end your lunch with a Specialty Hot Beverage.
You’ll also find some non-alcoholic specialties available, like the EARidescent Sip-a-bration, some specialty cocktails, and more drink selections.
Alright, now that we’ve gone through the menu, it’s time to EAT!
When it comes to appetizers, we started with the Sea Salt-dusted Potato Brioche.
This is served with butter and a roasted garlic-tomato spread. And yes, that butter does have “71” written on it. And yes, we hereby demand that all butter feature fun designs on it like this — like seriously, so fun!
The bread is a potato brioche and was very fluffy and airy. It tastes very much like the bread you would get at a place like Yachstman Steakhouse or another signature restaurant in Disney World — good, tasty, great to eat before your main meal. The addition of the tomato spread was also nice.
Overall, the bread was fine, but in our opinion it’s the type of bread that should just be complimentary. We love carbs just as much as the next person, but we just don’t feel like this one is particularly worth the $12 cost.
Next, we grabbed the French Onion Soup. The soup features a rich beef broth, crouton, and Gratinée Cheese.
This soup was PACKED (and we mean PACKED) with flavor! The crouton in it was very tasty but not overly soggy. While there was plenty of cheese in there, the soup wasn’t overloaded with it. Sometimes an overwhelming amount of cheese can stick together and overpower the entire dish.
That wasn’t the case here. There was a lovely layer of cheese on top, but it broke apart nicely with just your spoon, giving you the chance to have a bit of it with each bite. And truly, this is the type of soup you can chew on — you know what we mean? It wasn’t a thin french onion soup. IT was VERY flavor dense. Compared to the french onion soup at Be Our Guest, this one is much more flavorful and thicker.
In our opinion, this french onion soup is one of the best we’ve had on property recently. You can try it for yourself for $10.
Next up, we grabbed the Bacon & Eggs. Again, this is a returning dish from The Wave, and is one that we have LOVED in the past.
The dish itself is made with maple-lacquered pork belly, smoked cheese grits, and the “perfect egg.” If you’re wondering what the “perfect egg” is, you’re not alone! We asked back when we first had this dish. The name “perfect egg” has to do with how it is cooked. The “perfect egg” is essentially a sous vide egg that has been cooked in a water bath to 143 degrees and then brought back (in an appropriate way and with the right timing) to 135 degrees. This cooking method generally turns the yolk into a sort-of custard that is absolutely enchanting!
We loved the “bacon” in this dish as it was actually pork belly, offering a bit more fattiness and flavor. It was very tasty! The sauce that was served with the pork belly was also delicious and really enhanced the flavor of the dish overall.
You can grab this dish for $15.
Next, it was time for something FRIED — oh yeah, give us the Steakhouse 71 Onion Rings!
These onion rings are hand-breaded and served with a spicy ranch dipping sauce. This dish is actually plant-based and that ranch was actually a vegan version. We really enjoyed these. They were fried well and weren’t overly oily or soggy or anything like that.
The dipping sauce they were served with was especially good! It complimented the onion rings well, adding another layer of flavor, and just the right amount of kick.
This was a solid, tasty plant-based option. You can try these for $9.
During our meal, we also grabbed the Fork & Knife Caesar Salad, which features Caesar dressing, croutons, and shaved parmesan.
The Caesar salad was actually very good. The dressing was very creamy but wasn’t overpowering in terms of flavor. The croutons appeared to be a kind of garlic-toast style of crouton which gave the dish an extra burst of flavor as you munched on them (oh and they were delightfully crunchy too).
The Parmesan shavings were of the thicker, larger variety and they added that nice cheesy touch to the dish. Overall, a Caesar salad is one of the safer options in terms of appetizer choices here, but there’s nothing wrong with that! We felt like the dish was tasty and was a decently good portion size.
You can try this item for $10.
Now, it’s time to move on to the entrees! We actually got the chance to try 6 of the entrees today. First, we got the Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger.
The burger is made with a signature blend of beef, American cheese, lemon aïoli, red onion, and house-made pickles. It’s all served on a brioche bun. Also, while it is not listed on the menu, the burger patty is topped with a piece of pork belly.
With your burger, you get the choice of a petite wedge salad, parmesan fries, or pasta salad. We went with the parmesan fries (cause, cheese, hello).
The burger was a big hit at our table. It was VERY delicious, cooked well, and had a ton of a wonderful ingredients — cheeeeeeeese!
We really enjoyed that the burger had a piece of pork belly on top of the burger. That added another layer of salty and savory flavor to the dish and really made it more than just a traditional burger. The burger is very much a greasy, diner-style burger and we absolutely LOVED that. You could tell that the signature blend used was on the fattier side. That, coupled with the pork belly, made this a big favorite of ours.
You can grab the burger for $20.
The fries the burger was served with were fun and flavorful — a solid fry with a whole lot of parmesan cheese on top of them. The only issue we had with these is that there were a bit overdone and hard. Think like fries from Chik-Fil-A that have been left in the fryer a little too long. If you’re a well-done fries fan, then these might be fine for you. But, if you’re more of a soggy fry fanatic, be aware that this will be a bit crunchier than you might typically like.
Keeping with the beef theme for a minute, we also grabbed the Steak “Frites.” This dish is made with hanger steak and features garlic-parmesan waffle fries, chimichurri, and truffle aïoli.
This entree was actually very good! We’ve had our fair share of overcooked steak in Disney World (it happens), but this was nicely cooked! It was not overdone and was wonderfully flavorful. Truthfully, the steak we got was actually one of the better ones we’ve had on property.
The chimichurri sauce was also fantastic — spiced without being spicy. The meat on its own was fantastic but the sauce really kicked it up a notch and provided a nice oily sauce to dip it in.
You can get the steak for $26.
Looking for a classic dish made fancy? You might just find that in the Gourmet Grilled Cheese!
This dish is made with toasted brioche, gruyère, smoked gouda, shredded pork belly, caramelized onion jam, and arugula. It’s served with your choice of a petite wedge salad, parmesan fries, or pasta salad. We grabbed pasta salad for this dish.
Most of us thought the grilled cheese was AMAZING! The caramelized onion jam in there gave it a fantastic level of sweetness, balancing out the saltiness and savory nature of the cheese.
But, we will say that the caramelized onion jam did make this dish pretty sweet. That sweetness might be too much and somewhat off-putting for those who don’t like that sweet-salty mix, so that’s something to keep in mind!
The pasta salad was actually quite nice. It was nice to have something that was lighter and not fried as a side option. The gourmet grilled cheese is priced at $16.
Next up, we grabbed the Prime Rib Sandwich, which is made with shaved prime rib, caramelized onions, herb aïoli, provolone cheese, arugula, and horseradish cream. It is also served with your choice of a petite wedge salad, parmesan fries, or pasta salad.
This sandwich was very good. The chefs shared that the au jus sauce actually takes 4 DAYS to make. That’s quite the undertaking! The prime rib is cooked with the au jus sauce, so it has a lot of great flavors built right into it.
The bread was pretty crusty and crunchy, but a little bit too much so for our taste. Overall, it was just a lot of bread in our opinion and since the dish is not served with a side of that au jus to dip it into, that made things a little dry.
In all fairness though, we did let this dish sit for a fairly significant amount of time, so that could have contributed to just how crunchy and bread-y it felt. But, we can’t deny that having some au jus to dip the sandwich into would be a welcome addition. The Prime Rib Sandwich is priced at $19.
Next, it was time for some crab! We got the chance to try the Crab Cake Sliders, which are priced at $19. This dish is made with lump crab cakes, Old Bay rémoulade, tomato, and pickled slaw, and it is served on a brioche bun. These sliders are served with your pick of a petite wedge salad, parmesan fries, or pasta salad.
You essentially need to smash the crab cakes yourself in order to even fit them in your mouth (unless you can take a VERY large bite), so that was interesting.
The crab flavor definitely came through in this dish.
If you aren’t a big fan of crab, you’ll probably want to steer clear of this one because (again) you could really taste that crab flavor. There was a good amount of actual crab in the dish (making it a decent value for the price) and the aioli it was served with complimented the dish nicely. Overall, this one’s for the crab lovers!
We grabbed a petite wedge salad with this dish. It was very good! It was a very classic wedge salad with blue cheese and egg, but it was nice to have something that was light and crisp and slightly different than a plain side salad.
Lastly in terms of entrees, we grabbed the Vegetable “Wellington.” This plant-based dish is a sort-of take on Beef Wellington. It’s made with mushroom duxelles and fire-roasted artichokes wrapped in puff pastry. It’s served with a romesco sauce and Brussels Sprouts.
Seriously, this Wellington was a surprise HIT! The Wellington was delicious it blew all of us (well, most of us) away! Some at our table didn’t enjoy it because it does have a lot of mushrooms. If you’re not a mushroom fan, then this will NOT be a good choice for you.
But, if you do like mushrooms and artichokes, you might really enjoy this. It’s a great plant-based option for those who eat plant-based as well. The dish was packed with flavor. Essentially, it tasted like a spinach and artichoke dip (with mushrooms) that had been wrapped in bread.
The romesco sauce it was served with had a little bit of a kick, but nothing overpowering. One of our reporters shared that they’d TOTALLY order the dish again!
The Vegetable Wellington was priced at $26.
Of course, we had to save room for dessert! During our trip, we got to try ALL 4 desserts offered at lunch. We’ll start with the Apple Tart Tatin, which is made with Caramelized Granny Smith Apples, Puff Pastry, and Blackberry Gelato.
This item is plant-based and very tasty! If you’re a fan of baked apple desserts, this is probably a good choice for you. The pastry on the bottom was a bit too crispy for our liking, but the top portion which contained the apples and crunchy topping was very tasty.
Overall, it’s a solid plant-based dessert. The Apple Tart Tatin is $8.
Next, we’ll tackle Steakhouse 71’s signature dessert in a way — the Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake. The cake features layers of whiskey-infused chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and raspberries.
This cake is undoubtedly beautiful, especially with that bit of gold leaf on top.
But, in terms of its taste — it basically tasted like a regular chocolate cake.
Considering that this is sort-of the “signature” dessert of this spot, it was a little bit of a disappointment. The cake wasn’t bad by any means, just not anything spectacular. The cake is priced at $11.
Next, it was time for Crème Brûlée! This sweet treat features vanilla and chocolate-layered crème brûlée, fresh berries, and chantilly cream. We liked that the vanilla and chocolate were layered and that the chocolate was on the bottom.
With some other chocolate crème brûlée dishes, we’ve gotten a sort-of burnt chocolate taste which is not the best. Since the chocolate layer was underneath, we didn’t get any of that burnt chocolate taste.
Instead, it was just a solid, tasty treat! This dessert is $10.
Finally, we had the Ambrosia. This dish is made with a Coconut Chiffon Cake, Mandarin Curd, and Compressed Pineapple.
Essentially, it was a sponge cake on the bottom with a sort-of panna cotta texture on top, topped with those pieces of curd and meringue on top. Personally, we feel like this wouldn’t scratch our desert itch. It’s not boring by any means.
It is flavorful and is light. If you’re looking for a sweet treat to end your meal that is very light, and you like the texture of the panna cotta, cake, and curd all together, then you might enjoy this.
You can grab the Ambrosia for $8.
When it comes to drinks, we got to try a few. First, we had the Vodka Gimlet. This drink is made with Tito’s Vodka, Green Chartreuse, Seedlip Garden, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade.
We loved this drink! The flavor was really great as it features a non-alcoholic vodka mixed in as a flavor agent. That extra touch of the non-alcoholic vodka made this drink really tasty and gave it a certain herbaciousness! You can grab it for $13.
Next, we grabbed the Tequila Sunrise for Two. The drink is made with Herradura Reposado Tequila, POG Juice, Rosemary Simple Syrup, and House-made Grenadine.
If you like sweet cruise-style drinks — you know, the ones you just picture yourself holding while in your bathing suit, sitting in the hot tub of a cruise ship as the ocean passes by — then we think you’ll love this drink!
You could taste the alcohol, but it was essentially a sweet, citrus-heavy tequila drink and it was delicious (at least to some in our group). Others in our group felt like the drink was too sweet, so if you don’t really go for the sweet drinks, you might want to choose something else.
The ice in the drink does melt pretty quickly though, making it feel a bit watered down, so that’s just something to keep in mind. You can try the Tequila Sunrise for $26.
Next, we got the Fig Manhattan. This drink is made of Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Cointreau Noir, Fig Simple Syrup, and Orange Bitters.
It had a slight sweetness from the fig, which helped to balance the scotch. But, it didn’t taste overwhelmingly of fig, so don’t necessarily let that ingredient concern you. You can try this drink for $16.
Finally, we grabbed the Raspberry Gin Sour, which is made of Tanqueray No Ten Gin, Lemon Juice, and Raspberry Sage Syrup. This drink was VERY alcoholic. It was gin-heavy, not sour-heavy. So, if you like strong drinks that aren’t too sweet, this might be a good choice for you.
The Raspberry Gin Sour is priced at $14.
And that’s a full look at our lunch meal at Steakhouse 71!
Nosh or Not?
Take a midday break and stop by Steakhouse 71 for lunch if…
- You want some really flavorful dishes — We had quite a few dishes at Steakhouse 71 that were packed with flavor, especially the French Onion Soup, Steak Frites, and Stack Burger. If you’re looking for some tasty versions of these dishes, Steakhouse 71 is a good choice.
- You’re looking for a quieter lunch away from the parks — Steakhouse 71 has the best of both worlds as it is away from the parks (and so naturally a bit quieter) while, in reality, only being a few steps away from Magic Kingdom. If you’re in the Most Magical Place on Earth and looking to eat somewhere near Magic Kingdom that is away from the park crowds, this could be a good pick.
- You’re looking for something different than the “standard” theme park food — If you’ve grown tired of your chicken tenders and fries, and you want something more substantial, more filling, and slightly more unique, this could be a good choice. The food options here aren’t particularly unique, but they are different than the typical items you’d find at a quick service spot.
Grab lunch somewhere else if…
- You’re dining on a budget — While lunch at Steakhouse 71 isn’t as expensive as other options on property, it also isn’t cheap. Paying $19 for Crab Cake Sliders or $26 for a Vegetable Wellington at lunch is a bit pricey compared to some cheaper options you can get.
- You’re looking for something quick — This is a table-service option, and while it isn’t particularly slow in terms of service, it also isn’t a grab-and-go type of situation. So, if you’re in a hurry, grabbing lunch here might not be a good choice.
- You want super unique food — While we really enjoyed many of the options we had here, and some of the choices are very flavorful and delicious, many of them are fairly standard dishes with a small twist. If you want something truly unique (we’re talking bread service, spiced chicken, or other treats you can’t really find elsewhere, then you might want to venture to a spot on World Showcase or another restaurant.
Overall, we really enjoyed a number of the dishes from Steakhouse 71. The French Onion Soup was fantastic and very flavorful; the Burger was SO good; and the Vegetable Wellington was a surprise hit for many of us. Some of the other dishes were good, but not super special. All in all, we like the new environment at Steakhouse 71 and think some of the dishes are really flavorful!
We’ll be curious to see what dinner tastes like here and just what some of the unique lounge dishes are like. Be sure to check back with us for more details!
What is your favorite restaurant in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Today, we were invited by Disney World to attend their media preview of Steakhouse 71. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ