Disney World Dining Review
Just returned from 4 days in Disney World, gleaned a lot of great advice from the boards prior to my trip, thought I'd share a few observations.
We had limited time to book reservations prior to our trip, as it was for a conference at the last minute. Also, my husband is vegetarian, so that always throws us a few curveballs.
The first night we wanted something easy and quick and went to Paradiso 37. I had a delicious citrus salad that was definitely the highlight. Liked the wide range of menu options and service was good, prices were reasonable. Nothing notable except the salad, really.
We had reservations at Sanaa at the Kidani Villas the following evening. We shared the bread sampler and salad sampler, choices of three types of breads, three types of dipping sauces and three salads, and these were all excellent, especially a chickpea, cucumber and tomato salad and the mango chutney with paneer paritha and naan. I ordered the Tandoori Chicken with multi grain pilaf and kind of oddly, the sauce came on the side for dipping (a kind of Disneyfication I assume?) My husband thought his entree could have used a flavor boost, but overall we were pleased with our meal here. It would be fun to see more of the animals during the day for lunch. Prices were very reasonable. Nice to half 1/2 carafes of wine.
I had planned for us to go to Raglan Road the next evening, but we were taken to Portobello by the boss. Definitely nothing to write home about here and VERY expensive for the quality, although if you expect to pay for large portions, than this is justified, I suppose. I did not need nearly as much pasta as was in my bowl! Roasted garlic with bread was nice. I was not expecting anything amazing here.
Thursday we went to Restaurant Marrakesh in Morrocco at Epcot. We shared two appetizers, a mediterranean salad plate with falafel, hummus, tabouleh and babbaganoush and goat cheese and crispy pitas. The falafel was excellent, as was the Morroccan beer and belly dancer! We also shared an entree of roasted vegetables with coucous that could have been seasoned much better, but I suspect is another example of Disneyfication. Fun atmosphere and an enjoyable dinner. Somewhat spendy if you don't share an entree!
An absolute must not miss, in my opinion, was Jiko. This was our final dinner and everything was fabulous. We enjoyed African beers, the Crispy Savannah rolls with sweet corn and goat cheese were heavenly, as was the kalamata olive flatbread. The server offered a vegetarian menu to my husband after politely asking if either of us had food allergies or were vegan or vegetarian (wish more restaurants would do this!) . He chose a tofu dish not on the regular menu upon the recommendation of the server, which he thought was excellent, spicy and flavorful. My maize crusted wreck fish with tomato burre blanc was crispy, flaky and beautiful. We definitely would love to go back here. No room for dessert! The service was excellent and the atmosphere very fun at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Lunches were forgettable. As I was by myself during the day, I usually chose a salad or sandwich from counter service places such as Columbia Harbor House, Backlot Express, Pizzifari and the Patisserie in France. I was deeply saddened that we could not get into Le Cellier for the cheddar beer soup! We did not have the Disney Dining Plan, fyi. Frequently we were allowed to be seated earlier than our reservation, which was very nice.
Thanks for all the recommendations!
Just got back from a week there as well and thought i would add on:
First, we were on the meal-plan and I would not do it again. Not a ripoff, but i think I could order for value better without it and using up everything seemed a challenge. Getting two desserts a day for everyone in your party (especially with two kids under 5) was a bit much. Yeah we didn't have to take them but ...FREE
I'd rather just relax and put just what i wanted on the room card realizing anything under $40 A DAY + drinks and your making out. Also helps if you get delivery order from local grocery or online grocer for some staples for room (grocer better as you can get water bottles/juice/milk)Finally, kids meal were often sub par, even getting chicken nuggets I'd rather they split adult 8 piece real chicken pieces (Cosmic rays and Columbia Harbor for example) than chicken like nugget substance
We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort, (some long walks depending on room ,location) sit down Place there , Shutters, was competent faux-carribean fare, steak and roast chicken were good pasta was fine, mashed sweet potatoes, seasonal veg and rice and beans all good) Food court there was hit and miss. Turkey BLT and Turkey sandwich kids meal from deli were good, grill station was ok, also liked the croissants from grab and go area. Chicken Caesar was horrid white "grilled" chicken with lots of fat attached, I threw it away after a few bites.
Cookes of Dublin at Downtown Disney - didn't quite realize everything was batter fried, fish and scallops sure but kids mini sausages? Should have kept walking to Earl of Sandwich or Puck express but wife was hungry.
Adult dinner at Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge was awesome. Our dinner orders were slow due to some large parties, but great waitress brought us an amuse of Smoky Portobello Soup with Roasted Shiitakes and Chive Oil to tide us it was an earthy delight. Entrees - Grilled Beef Tenderloin with roasted fingerlink potatoes, sauteed baby spinach, blue cheese fritter and port wine reduction $40 - Grilled Buffalo Striploin - with goat cheese polenta, ancho-cherry compote, baby golden beets, asparagus and dark chocolate red wine reduction - were both very good, I would order buffalo there repeatedly. Signature fruit crisp Artist Point Cobbler - Seasonal berries and housemade black raspberry ice cream - also quite good. There was also a new chocolate dessert that was nice and fudgy.
Tusker House Buffet - at Animal Kingdom was solid especially as a place to get warm when it was about 40 with off and on rain. Carved beef and pork were fairly standard but tasty. Seafood stew and roast chicken were good. Nice "taste of africa" with plenty of family options as well.
Mama Melrose's -Disney's Hollywood Studios - again nice escape from rain, nice red sauce fare> if i wasn't on meal plan i would have gotten app or salad but got the steak which was solid. Other entrees were good too: Shrimp Pipette - wood-grilled over pipette pasta tossed with artichokes, peas, peppers, sweet onions in a basil and four cheese cream sauce. Oven Baked Chicken alla Parmigiana - over spaghetti $16.99. Mama's Tiramisu was weird and over creamy, Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake was better.
TANGIERINE CAFE -Morocco -Counter Service - LAmb Schwarma plate was good, I didn't like the chicken option, really bland.
Kringla Bakeri og Cafe Norway -looked good but we didn't go in for some reason.
Aloha Isle - Adventureland- Pineapple float was a nice treat. pineapple or orange Dole Whip with pineapple juice $3.99
Columbia Harbour House - Liberty Square - BLT Salad with chicken chunks not gourmet but OK, wife liked fried shrimp, tuna and hummus sandwiches looked good. Kids split adult nugget plate with apple slices and liked it. desserts all pretty bad.
Cosmic Rays - roast chicken with green beans an mashed was nice. Ribs were very fatty and i would not order again.
Cinderella's Royal Table - if you have a little princess its worth the visit. All the princesses stopped by each table for pics. Food was pretty good. Castle Salad and BLT Salad were both good. Pork Chop, Prime rib and chicken were good. My mother sent back the Cavatappi Pasta for being cold and taste-free. Deserts were all good representations.
Overall, you get about what you expect, look for value and vegetables where you can.
Thank you so much for posting your experiences. My husband and I are taking our kids to Disney next year and I was wondering where would be good places to eat. Does anyone have an recommendations for places within or around the <a href="http://www.swandolphin.com/">... World resort</a> http://www.swandolphin.com? That's where we are staying.
The Garden Grove restaurant in the Swan Hotel has a pretty good seafood buffet on Mondays and Fridays. Don't get me wrong, it's not gourmet by any means, but it's pretty solid fare with lots of "kid-friendly" options. I also like the sushi at Kimonos, also in the Swan. If you go to Restaurant.com, you can get $25 gift certificates for both restaurants for $2 each (use coupon code "SHARE" for the next three days only). The certificates are good for 1 year from the time of purchase. Restaurant.com also has $25 gift certificates (for $2) for House of Blues, Shula's, Bluezoo, Il Mulino, and other restaurants on Disney property as well. I'm not exactly thrilled with these other options (IMHO they tend to be a bit too pricey for what you get), but research them and see if anything peaks your interest.
Hope this helps!!!
House of Blues
, Orlando, FL 32830