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Anything remotely "chowish" in Disney World? At all?

Staying there in a couple weeks. Do not have the transportation to leave the resort.

Saw a lot of threads of people asking which Disney restaurant has the best steak. I don't mind steak, but that's a pretty easy thing to make. Which Disney restaurants (if any) are more ambitious?

Also, if anyone knows of any above-average bartenders at WDW, please share their name(s) and where they work with us!

Thanks.

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  1. While Disney isn't a gourmet heaven, it isn't as bad as some people make it out to be.

    With exception of the back end of EPCOT, the first advice it to get out of the parks. Downtown Disney has some good restaurants. Our personal favorite is Raglan Road. Good food with a Celtic twist. Excellant bar, with a good selection of beers on tap.

    FL residents.

    1. I know its a chain, but I like Wolfgang pucks at downtown disney.

      1. More later, but the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney sells good, fresh, hot and cold sandwiches at reasonable prices.

        Bob

        1. anything disney is going to be very, very expensive. (ie, $7 for a pint of beer at raglan) that said, you CAN find some decent choices in and around downtown disney if you search around, and they won't break your bank if you stick to sandwiches or appetizers.

          1. Thanks for the tips.

            How about the restaurants in the various WDW hotels? Any standouts?

            I've heard the sushi in the Dolphin or Swan (one of them) is really good.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Alcachofa

              It's called Mikado. It's in the Swan. One of the longest running sushi bars in Orlando. Small, just basic nagiri, sashimi, maki rolls, but fresh, high quality fish and made to order.

              California Grill has a separate sushi bar where one can eat, next to the hotel bar. First rate there also.

              The only other sushi on the property I know of is at the Japan pavilion restaurant -- it's actually served out of the tempura restaurnt -- the bar part. Nothing great, but adequate.

              Bob

              1. re: Alcachofa

                We are "Disney-holics" and have eaten just about everywhere in Disney. One of our favorites is Artist's Point at the Wilderness Lodge. Their smoked portabello soup is great. They also serve game which they do very well. The Flying Fish at the Boardwalk is very good for sea-food. Bon Apetit!

                1. re: Alcachofa

                  Stay away from the ones at Coranado Springs. Everything taste the bland. There is Little seasoning to the food.

                2. California Grill on top of the Contemporary is cutting edge, and of course pricey. Make sure to be there when the fireworks show begins at Magic Kingdom. Head outside to the roof to watch. Incredible. Excellent food and wine list. I also really like Todd English's Blue Zoo at the Dolphin.

                  1. The pub place in Downtown Disney. The fish and chips are really good, as is the chicken liver pate with chutney.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lax2mia

                      Are you talking about Raglan Road Pub?

                      Always stop there when we're at Downtown Disney (We're Cent. FL residents.)

                    2. I recommend Blue Zoo, in the same hotel as Shula's. It is wonderfully decorated with a glass-bubble theme, very original and pretty. Good seafood, and I still remember some very tasty flatbreads served as appetizers. We had a large party, half adults, a couple of younger teens, and a couple of kids, and they had no trouble letting some of us order from the bar menu, which was kid-friendly and less expensive. Note -- while in the park complex, they are independently owned and you can't pay using your Disney cards.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosh

                        The swan and Dolphin are on Disney property but are independents so they lack the same theming as the other hotels. When you say you can't use your Disney "cards" there I assume you mean your meal plan cards. You can certainly use your Disney Visa etc. I'm no longer sure if you can charge your meals to your room if you are staying at another Disney hotel but you could in the past.
                        Shulas and The Blue Zoo are both excellent.

                      2. I went to the California Grill earlier this year & was not happy at all. Food wasnt too great & service was blah. ANd the fireworks were a letdown - really - like watching them from accross town - which is exactly what it is.

                        I wish I had skipped it for one of my other high end choices - BlueZoo, anything at the Animal Kingdom resort, Artists Point. At the Land in epcot s a great market tupe of place using food grown there- had great salads & sandwhiches.

                        I did go to & enjoy Kona & Brown Derby. The Crystal Palace & Caseys on either corner of MainStreet in Magic Kingdom were very good.

                        Best for me was to walk around & nosh at Epcot. Again - I really regret not going to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Although I did spend a great afternoon having mixed drinks at the outdoor bar in the Animal Kingdom park

                        For the most part - except Cali Grill - I did not feel the prices at Disney were higher that home. I live in the Baltimore/DC area - if that tells you anything.

                        1. There is one restaurant generally regarded as true "fine dining" on the Disney property. It is Victoria & Albert's (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/...) in the Grand Floridian Resort. I have not dined there. Reviews from both real diners and food critics have been very positive. Prices are supposed to be sky high. Service is supposed to be exemplary. They handle a lot of special occasion dinners (surprise engagements are a specialty). It is a semi-formal dress place (in Disney/Orlando terms... jackets required for men, dresses or "pants ensembles" for women). Reservations are a must, as far out as possible.

                          BTW, we had dinner at L'Originale Alfredo di Roma in EPCOT (including the signature Alfredo) and thought it was terrible.

                          I know it's off-property and not available for you, but for others reading this thread out of similar interests, my two favorite restaurants for driving to when staying near or at Dizzy World are Thai Thani (in a chintzy little strip mall across from SeaWorld) and the Columbia in Celebration. The former is a beautifully decorated Thai place with good food and the latter features Spanish/Cuban fusion in a comfortably upscale atmosphere.

                          If you really want a backwoods treat, you need to drive about an hour west on I-4 towards Tampa and have a steak at Farmer John's Red Barn. The sides are terrible. The ambience is nil. Finding it is an exercise in frustration. But the quality of the steaks makes up for everything. Better than Berns in Tampa and all the other high end steak places down there. Call them for directions if you're considering the pilgrimage.

                          1. If you value fine Italian cuisine at all, I highly suggest you give L' Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante at Epcot (in the Italy section, of course). It's very, very good.

                            1. A few more, in no particular order, as promised earlier.

                              Both Jiko (pricy, diner only) and Boma, (breakfast and dinner) at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Reasonably authenitic Africian cuisine. Worth it, especially if you like South African wines.

                              Disney has several other fine restauants in its hotels. V&A has been mentioned, as has California Grill. Add to those Artist's Pointe at the Wilderness Lodge and Citrico at the Grand Floridian.
                              Also Spoodles for tapas at Boardwalk, Flying Fish for fine dining, the Big River brew pub at Boardwalk. Also Beaches & Cream at Yacht & Beach for one of the best burgers in town, great handmade shakes and ice cream desserts.

                              In park, choices are quite limited. Stick with light lunches, fruit, salads, etc. -- although some of us love the dinosaur-sized turkey legs they serve at various kiosks.
                              Epcot restaurants are hit and miss. I usually have good luck at Le Cellier at Canada, sit down restaurant at Mexico, the food court at The Land and at the France pavilion.
                              I like the Brown Derby a lot and many folks like the comfort food at Prime Time Diner, both at MGM.

                              At Downtown Disney there are a few. I left off the sushi at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant downstairs, it's exceptionaly good. Fulton's has fresh, well-prepared seafood at outrageous prices and a lousy, touristy ambiance -- they take no reservations. I've had pretty good luck at Portobello Yacht Club lately, and Raglan Road has already been mentioned, as has Earl of Sandwich.

                              Dolphin and Swan have a couple. Schula's steaks, while more expensive, are a cut above the steak at Yachtsman at Yacht and Beach Club. BlueZoo already mentioned and worth it, as has Mikado.
                              One more suggestion would be Fresh in the Dolphin. Breakfast and Lunch only, Mediterranean food, quite good.

                              Boatwrights at the Port Orleans Resort and Olivia's at the Key West Resort are worth the trip.

                              If I think of anything else, I'll add it on. All of these are accessible by the Disney transportation system.

                              Bob

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Bob Mervine

                                I have the same feeling about Cap'n Jack's as you said about Fulton's. . .except I don't even think the seafood is well-prepared anymore. Small menu served with the gentleness of a giant cruise-ship dining hall. Crabcakes rock, but for the wait, and the noise, and the total suckiness of service, I'd skip it. (And my family's been going there for years, and until recently we loved it.)

                                1. re: Bob Mervine

                                  Spoodles is not really tapas anymore. The flatbreads are often talked up, so I tried one - not impressed. I stayed at Port Orleans & ate at Boatwrights a few times & really would not reccommend at all. The food court there was better on all counts.

                                  1. re: foster

                                    Too bad about Boatwrights, but not surprised. Quality was much too good for the price and the croawd at that location.

                                    if true, shame on them about Spoodles. One of the unique places at WDW. Will check that one out.

                                    Thanks,

                                    Bob

                                2. I agree with the poster who recommened Alfredo'd at the Italian pavilion at Epcot. We had a nice meal there and very good service and good wine.
                                  I also would recommend, at Epcot,for dessert walk over to the patisserie in France. They have a wonderful selection of pastries and good coffee.

                                  1. I have to reply to this post as we just got back a week ago. We ate in Downtown Disney and really enjoyed Fultons. They were very expensive (but not really for Disney) My daughter and I shared the snow crab legs which was awsome and a side of grilled asparagus (excellent). My husband had a trio of seafood that he said was eh..ok. They bring you really good rolls and some crab dip along with the recipe which I will try to recreate for T-day. Service was good, but a tad slow, we didn't mind, as we were dinning.

                                    We also ate at Earl of Sandwich. All the sandwiches we had including the PB&J were very good.

                                    For a quick meal, the take out window at Rose & Crown has awsome fried fish (I never eat fish anywhere esle as I am not a fan of fish)

                                    We also ate at L'Originale Alfredo di Roma in EPCOT, While we all really enjoyed the food, I wouldn't go often as it was very expensive for 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 kids meal, 3 desserts, it ran around $120.00 or more, I don't remember the exact amount. This was at lunch, not dinner.

                                    We also had a nice lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. My daughter did not really care for the sandwich heard around the world, but we liked the turkey dinner and the grilled pound cake dessert was to die for.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Kari

                                      I think I went to Liberty Tree Tavern once around T-giving, and they had a traditional all-you-can-eat turkey dinner with all the trimmings, AND characters! I enjoyed it immensely and didn't remember the price being too outrageous considering it was in-park, w/characters and AYCE.

                                      I ate at Alfredo's several years ago and thought it was decent, but not worth going out of the way for, especially since great Italian places are to be had everywhere.

                                    2. Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot was a pleasant break and a nice meal--nothing too ambitious on the menu, but the dining room is beautiful, the staff was wonderful, and it's not something you can find a lot of places. They do roast meat very well, and I really enjoyed the chicken with preserved lemons.

                                      A fairly recent menu is here:
                                      http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/men_mo...

                                      The website (http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/menus....) has a lot more sample menus that you might find helpful.

                                      1. Disney food is pretty standard, but they do have one fabulous dessert/snack that is addictive! In the Magic Kingdom near the Tiki Room theater, Dole sponsors a little tiki stand. They sell the most delicious combination of soft-serve yogurt and slushy pineapple juice (kinda like a root-beer float but with pineapple). It's the only place you can find the snack in the park, and it is fabulous on a hot day. A great treat!

                                        1. In Epcot we like the Mexican stand obviously in Mexico. Prices, for Disney, aren't bad either. Go to France for dessert in their bakery, it's sort of tucked away in the middle of France but just look for the line out the door. We always go with six of us and we love to get four or five desserts and just go to town.

                                          We love doing the breakfast buffet at Boma in the Animal Kingdom lodge.

                                          For something quick and inexpensive for lunch Peco's Bill Cafe in Frontier Land at the Magic Kingdom near splash mountain. Great burgers and you add your own toppins including sauteed onion and mushroom. My wife liked her BBQ pork sandwich.

                                          It's fun to get a turkey leg.

                                          Wolfgang Puck's both the Cafe and Express are our favorites in Disney. Note these are in Downtown Disney.

                                          So long as you stay away from the chicken nuggets and string fries from the fast food stands in Disney it's not all bad.

                                          1. I always stop by the California Grill. I have never had a bad experience there. Make sure to make reservations. They fill up fast.

                                            I tried Flying Fish Cafe on the Boardwalk last visit. Everything was wonderful. Pricey, but wonderful. The menu (from what I remember) was small, but as I love all fish I was very happy.

                                            Next door to the Flying Fish Cafe is Spoodles. Again, the menu is limited, but my dish was great. It is a relaxed, family atmosphere place that I enjoy for less fancy nights out.

                                            Lastly, if you like fried dough/funnel cakes I highly recommend stopping along the Boardwalk for the tasty treat. They are fresh, warm and delicious. Just don't make the mistake I did last time... I ate at Spoodles first and went straight for my funnel cake after the check. An hour later I felt lucky that I didn't explode from over eating.

                                            Enjoy!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jennifer810

                                              Spoodles also has very good breakfast!

                                              1. re: jennifer810

                                                We always love the California Grill, we usually get in there and have dinner at the bar, great bartenders and no reservation needed. Usually it is very hard to get into.

                                              2. Thanks for the tips. As those of you who have been to WDW with a large group including a lot of kids have probably guessed, I could not even come close to checking out most of the tips. I’ll bookmark this thread in case I go again with fewer kids!

                                                I did not personally eat at the Coronado Springs place, but enough of my relatives did to concur with the earlier post: stay away! I did have a “Cadillac” margarita at the bar there, though. It had higher quality liquor ingredients, but still used crappy sour mix. The limes they used for garnish were plump, however, so the bartender was kind enough to supply us with some extra lime wedges to squeeze into our margs. Much better then.

                                                MGM:
                                                Mama Melrose’s: meh. Standard low-rent italian. The pizzas did look good, though. I did not get to taste those.

                                                EPCOT:
                                                German pavilion: meh. It wasn’t bad, but it is not hard to make this type of food. Should have been better.

                                                Chefs de France: tuna was tasteless. The olive tapenade-type sauce it came with was tasty, but I love olives. I don’t think it was really a standout otherwise. The escargot was better. I take it the three chefs mentioned are famous in France or something? They should be ashamed. Service was very good, though.

                                                Why on earth doesn’t every country in Epcot have, like, a “street food” stand? They all serve pastries!! WTF! There is that fast food place at Mexico, but it is Taco Bell type stuff. (Maybe one step above the Bell.) France has crepes... good idea, run with it other countries! Especially Morocco, which should have like 10 food carts.

                                                The turkey leg was very satisfying one day for lunch. It had almost a pork-like flavor. Maybe because it was sooooo salty. It really hit the spot as I must have been craving protein in a major way.

                                                I think that was it, except for the fast-food type stuff.

                                                1. Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian is amazing serious food. Setting is okay. Service is good.

                                                  California Grill is very very good. Sushi is some of the best I've ever had. Wine list is huge and there are some good values on it. View from top of the contemporary is great with the sunset and the fireworks afterward.

                                                  Raglan road is pretty good. Fun place to drink. The Bartenders and staff at the Adventurer's Club is a riot. They do a lot of improv in character.

                                                  In EPCOT, the italian place is not bad. The antipasti platter is very solid and makes a great shared lunch. Everybody eats at the British Pub....yuck. Morocco is pretty good. I actually lunched at Chef's of France. I thought it was good for lunch. Nice but small wine list. Hear good things about the canadian steakhouse; le cellier??

                                                  At the Animal Kingdom there is a very very good lunch place in the little african village area. Something like cooking place?? Great roasted chicken.

                                                  Hear good things about Jiko and Boma at the AK lodge, but cant comment personally.

                                                  1. Without being repetitious, there's little on your post to disagree with.

                                                    Adventurers Club is an awesome after dinner place, but it has become so "inside" that I sometimes wonder if people who just wander in there aren't more like part of the joke than anything else.

                                                    One has to enjoy British pub food to get much benefit out of the menu at the Rose & Crown, but they are always good for a cold, fresh Bass ale or Guinness on a hot day. Can't take that away from them.

                                                    I would personally quibble about the food at Morocco, but that is more of a personal taste than anything objectively wrong with the food. It can be quite tasty if one knows what to order -- and not order -- harira soup and lemon chicken good, lamb usually overcooked and not good.

                                                    Le Cellier at Canada is quite good, if overpriced, and if steak or salmon are the objective. I like the mussels ($10) or the cheese soup ($5) and a salad ($5) over the $28 filet for the price.

                                                    In AK, Tusker House does have a half of a rotisserie chicken for under $10.
                                                    Jiko is subtitled "The Cooking Place," a dinner-only restaurant at the hotel.
                                                    I suspect you are referencing Tusker House in the park -- where the salmon is quite good for the same price as the chicken.

                                                    For an up-to-date and very comprehensive list of all the Disney restaurant menus with prices, the all ears Web site is your friend.
                                                    Visit:

                                                    http://www.allearsnet.com/menu/menus.htm

                                                    Bob

                                                    1. You'll find several posts like yours by typing "Disney World" in search. You are definately not alone in your quest for hound worthy eats!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: curleegurl

                                                        Uh, yes, thanks, I'm already back and have posted my report above. :o)

                                                        I did a search, and found too many people looking for steak, that's why I mentioned it in my original post.

                                                        Regarding a post below: the Bongos restaurant is a disappointment to anyone who has had even half-decent Cuban food. If you are REALLY in the mood, it would suffice, but that's it. The Cuban sandwiches outside aren't too bad. This was based on another trip 5 years ago.

                                                      2. I second Jiko and Blue Zoo. Coming from Chicago I'm pretty picky about good food since there is so much here. Both restaruants are excellent! I also recommend Kona Grill at the Polynesian for lunch. They have a more fancy version of the Hawaiin plate lunch and their teriyaki sauce is to-die-for! The Cobb Salad at the Brown Derby inside MGM is great for lunch too.

                                                        1. As a tangent - Epcot holds a Food and Wine Festival in Fall which is really quite good.

                                                          1. We have two favorites the Harbor House inside Disney and Bongos Cuba Cafe at downtown Disney. If you eat at the Harbor House try the tuna sandwich and sit upstairs above the walkway next to a window. It's a great place to people watch and enjoy a meal. I've enjoyed the Ropa Viejas at Bongos a few times. Bongos also offers Cuban sandwiches to go up front.

                                                            1. Jiko is great. Thoughtful combinations of flavors, nice design.

                                                              1. My husband and I may divorce over his Disney obsession. Though he's a foodie like me, he is inexplicably drawn to this place and unfortunately we're going this year. He even bought a freakin Disney Zagat! BTW, the Disney dining plan is totally worth it. You pay $37 a day for a breakfast or lunch, snack, and app., entree, dessert and drink at most of the restaurants. Makes being there slightly more palatable. That being said, here are this foodie's Disney picks:

                                                                1. Boma--wonderful roast beef, interesting sides, great desserts like cocoanut tiramasu. I really do enjoy this place and thought it better than it's more expensive sister restaurant Jiko.

                                                                2. Brown Derby--the Cobb Salad is unique.

                                                                3. Kona Cafe for Banana stuffed french toast

                                                                4. Dole Whip in the Magic Kingdom across from Swiss Family Robinson Tree House

                                                                5. The Moroccon restaurant in Epcot is fun.

                                                                I once talked to a sales lady about other food in Orlando, and sadly, she said Disney was where even Orlandoans went to eat, so that may cheer you up.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: VAfoodie

                                                                  My guilty pleasure when going to Disney is to get a Dole Whip.

                                                                  1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                    are those the custards available in the magic kingdom?

                                                                    1. re: Icantread

                                                                      It's Dole soft-serve ice-cream called a Dole-Whip served right outside of the Jungle Cruise. You can get it swirled with vanilla or straight, cup or cone , with sprinkles and as a float (my personal favorite.) You can also get pineapple spears! Maybe I've spent too much time and money at that stand over the years ;)

                                                                      1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                        the ice cream is also available at the quick service at the Polynesian

                                                                    2. re: TampaAurora

                                                                      I worked as a Chef for Disney for several years. The Dole whip or float remains my one true vice now that the Beaver Tails are gone.

                                                                  2. We were at Disneyworld a month ago and had a great food time. Albert and Victoria's was amazing! Great food and service and, finally, a restaurant that's quiet. Yes, you can actually hear your DCs speak! Very relaxing after a long day of walking through the parks. It's a multi-course offering and everything is excellent. My wife just didn't care for one course and they were great about it....offering to replace it and then taking it off the bill. We also had a great meal at Blue Zoo and we always make a stop at California Grill at the top of the Contemporary. The lunch buffet at the Norwegian restaurant in Epcot is quite good as well.

                                                                    1. I would highly recommend the restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The fine dining one - there are two. It is hard to get a reservation Though. Definitely call before you leave home. The food has African influences...unique, delicious and well prepared. You can sit at the appetizer bar and watch them prepare everything. Good wine list too...

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cillak525

                                                                        5 years ago we stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge and ate surprisingly well. Even in the cafeteria-type place by the pool there were some choice offerings- I ate quite a bit of their African influenced stew (I forget the name), if I remember corrctly, and it was very affordable.

                                                                        I'm glad this thread was bumped- we'll be down there again next month and I'll be armed with some of the other recs listed.

                                                                        1. re: cillak525

                                                                          Yes, Jiko and Boma are both excellent. Boma is the buffet (you still need a reservation, it gets crowded). The oxtail soup is my fave thing at Boma, but everything is good. DH and I had great monkfish at Jiko a couple of years ago.

                                                                        2. Count another rec for Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge! It was fabulous....the Artichoke Flatbread Appetizer was amazing. And the rest of the meal was great too.

                                                                          1. Victoria and Albert's is incredible. It's a AAA 5 diamond restaurant (one of only 5 in florida) and as such the service and food are impeccable. My wife and I have eaten at 3 different AAA 5 diamond restaurants (V&A, Eden at the Rimrock in Banff, L'Escalier at the Breakers) and while all three were absolutely amazing meals, we both agree that V&A was the best.

                                                                            1. Blue Zoo (Todd English) at the Swan/Dolphin (can't remember which, but they are next to each other).
                                                                              Absolutely outstanding.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: cherie

                                                                                When we went Boma stands out in my mind. It had everything, good food, nice atmosphere and great pina coladas! The only reason we won't go to Victoria and Alberts is the need to bring dressy clothes.

                                                                                1. I didn't see this mentioned in the thread, so I'll add that the Heaven On Earth at Raglan Road is an awesome appetizer. It is fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs dripping in a honey-Guinness sauce. Kind of a small portion, so maybe get two b/c the name is appropriate!

                                                                                  1. The Blue Zoo and Shulas in the Dolphin Hotel.
                                                                                    Jiko or Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
                                                                                    Le Cellier in Epcot.
                                                                                    Narcoosees at the Grand Floridian.
                                                                                    Coffee at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian.
                                                                                    There are a lot of great counter service places that frequently get over looked.
                                                                                    The Tusker House and The Flame Tree BBQ are a few I like.