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Going to Disney and looking for restaurant recommendations. Gonna get engaged!

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sweetbreads39 Jan 24, 2011 04:19 PM

I am going to Disney this week 1-26 through 1-31. I am planning on proposing to my girlfriend and would like some recomendations for dinner. I am not necessarily looking to propose at dinner, just in need of some of your favorites. I am the chef/owner of a restaurant in New Orleans, but have not been to Orlando in years. Price is not an issue, but that does not mean it has to be the most expensive restaurant, unless it is just THAT good. In my experience most places over $100 a head are more about flash than food unless its the French Laundry,. What would you guys consider the best restaurants in the area? Something off the beaten path and local would be nice, but not a must.

  1. b
    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 24, 2011 07:17 PM

    Victoria and Albert's is the fanciest and most expensive restaurant on the Disney premises (at the Grand Floridian Resort), and I believe it's the only five-star restaurant in Orlando. I've never been and probably never will go -- I'm not a fan of that level of "fine dining," and wouldn't be even if I could afford it.
    http://victoria-alberts.com/

    Lots of people will come along and recommend Primo ( http://www.primorestaurant.com/locations.cfm?callname=orlando ) and Norman's ( http://www.normans.com/ ), but these are also too rich for my blood, and I can't vouch for them personally.

    The Ravenous Pig is my favorite restaurant in town, and a lot of other Chowhounds will agree that it is something special (especially for our area). It's about a half-hour drive from Disney, but definitely worth it.
    http://www.theravenouspig.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
      r
      Rona Gindin Jan 25, 2011 03:54 AM

      Disney World has a team of wedding professionals who will help you with the proposal. It also posts propsal ideas on its websites. (BTW I just tried Norman's again and it is worth the price. Haven't been to Primo in awhile but it traditionally has been excellent too.) http://disneyweddings.disney.go.com/engagements/walt-disney-world/detail

      www.RonaGindin.com

    2. y
      YosemiteSam Jan 25, 2011 05:54 AM

      First of all - congrats!

      On Disney property, the only two appropriate places for you (in other words a lack of kids running around and screaming) are Victoria & Albert's (I'll vouch for it but it is VERY formal and VERY expensive - but worth it) and the California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort. That second choice may be a nice option for you if you are into Disney. Call ahead and let them know it's a special occasion, and they will probably make sure you get a table overlooking the Magic Kingdom and the closing night fireworks 15 stories up - it's really nice.

      If you want to get off property, I have a unique option for you that's actually a shorter drive than Winter Park and is adult, romantic and emphasizes local products. It's called Chef's Table and it's in Winter Garden just up the 429 Extension (Western Beltway) - about 20 minutes from Disney. Here's their website: http://www.chefstableattheedgewater.com/ . The chef actually worked at Arnaud's in New Orleans but I don't feel he has a heavy Creole or other New Orlean's vibe on his food at all other than the quality. Menu changes every night depending on what's in season and the chef will visit your table and probably explain the menu to you.

      Finally, I do love the Ravenous Pig, and I would also recommend K in College Park for a romantic dinner, Funky Monkey downtown is (despite the name) very romantic and small with really good food, and if you want a little cheaper but still a nice experience try either Le Rouge or Dragonfly on the Sand Lake Restaurant Row area.

      Good luck and don't be too nervous! Come back after and tell us how it went...

      -----
      California Grill
      Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

      Chef's Table
      99 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787

      1. Mnash5 Jan 25, 2011 10:37 AM

        There are a bunch of great places at Disney. I certainly say the Chef's Table at Victoria and Albert's is one of the best meals I've ever had. The California Grill idea I think wold be great as well. I had a surprisingly great meal at Fulton's in Downtown Disney which is nice because house of blues and cirque du soliel is right next door and offer a good entertainment option as well. One of the great things about Disney is that they love to work with special occasions. As Rona pointed out above the link is a great place to start if you want to do things on property. Also, I read they have a private dinner cruise on the lake from the Grand Floridian during the magic kingdom fireworks.

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        California Grill
        Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

        Victoria and Albert's
        , Orlando, FL 32830

        1. askdrtodd Jan 25, 2011 11:33 AM

          Victoria & Alberts. if not that, Narcoosee's is nice when the fireworks are going off at night (also at Grand Floridian), California Grill, Todd English's Bluezoo.

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          California Grill
          Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

          Todd English's Bluezoo
          1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd, Orlando, FL 32830

          1 Reply
          1. re: askdrtodd
            r
            Rona Gindin Jan 25, 2011 01:24 PM

            I've never tasted the food but here's info on the dinner cruise.
            http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tours-and-experiences/specialty-cruises/

            www.RonaGindin.com

          2. s
            sweetbreads39 Jan 25, 2011 06:30 PM

            Thanks for all the recs so far guys. I will try and hit all of those places. I have reservations at Bluezoo tomorrow night, although I am usually a bit wairy of the "Celebrity Chef" restaurants. I have seen here how John Besh's restaurants and Emerils have gone way downhill once they started multiple openings. Hopefully I will be surprised. I am definitely going to check out the link about the engagement help.

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            Emeril's
            5885 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

            5 Replies
            1. re: sweetbreads39
              e
              Edward Tyson Jan 25, 2011 07:29 PM

              I like the menu at Bluezoo but the food and service never match the atmosphere and prices. My last visit was so bad I left after apps and went upstairs to Shula's steakhouse were we dined the previous night. Emeril's Tchoup Chop is fun and doesn't require a ticket to Universal Studios which Emeril's does require.

              Victoria and Alberts is very formal but the food and service are superb.
              Congratulations and best of luck on your engagement.

              ET

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              Emeril's
              6000 Universal Blvd Ste 702, Orlando, FL 32819

              Emeril's Tchoup Chop
              6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando, FL 32819

              Victoria and Albert's
              , Orlando, FL 32830

              1. re: Edward Tyson
                b
                Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 25, 2011 07:41 PM

                Actually, Emeril's is in Universal Citiwalk (aka "Shitty-walk"), the section with restaurants, shops, and clubs before you enter the two theme parks. You'll have to pay for parking there, but not park admission.

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                Emeril's
                6000 Universal Blvd Ste 702, Orlando, FL 32819

                1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                  s
                  sweetbreads39 Jan 25, 2011 08:13 PM

                  Im not traveling all the way from New Orleans to go to Emerils. I have worked there in the past so Im sick of it. I may cancel my reservations a Bluezoo, thats what I was afraid of ET. V&A is booked up.

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                  Emeril's
                  5885 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

                  1. re: sweetbreads39
                    askdrtodd Jan 26, 2011 05:31 AM

                    If it helps, last time we were there we had a great and attentive server, maybe a couple months ago. Food was great too, and the restaurant is very nicely decorated.

                    1. re: sweetbreads39
                      y
                      YosemiteSam Jan 26, 2011 07:40 AM

                      The two restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge are decent too - Sanaa and Jiko both have unique flavors, plus you get to see the animals up close - again if you are all the way here why not do something you can't do in New Orleans? Next thing you know folks will start recommending you go to Pat O'Brien's for a Hurricane :)

                      Did you look into California Grill?

                      I still say you should consider the Chef's Table - might as well get off-property and into a local neighborhood right?

              2. srsone Jan 26, 2011 05:29 AM

                disney parks blog has a top ten list of ways to propose at disneyworld...if u google it --
                and im sure if u contact their wedding/event planning they could do pretty much anything special u can think of...

                but are u just looking for a restaurant only for the proposal or have u thought about anything else?

                as far as just good eating at disney...we have lots places we like from the the dole whip stand..cat coras kouzzina was good..the tusker house buffet ..dino bites ice cream cookie sandwich (its huge)...fultons..wolfgang puck express.. house of blues... raglan road fries

                and what hotel are u staying at? each hotel has at least 3 and usually one upscale restaurant
                we usually stay at port orleans riverside..but that may be to much like home for u...

                1. s
                  sweetbreads39 Jan 31, 2011 08:02 PM

                  Thanks for the recs guys. We stayed at the Grand Floridian and ate out every night. We were restricted to restaurants within the Disney property unfortunatley. We first booked the Old Key West and it was horrible, so we switched to the GF. We tried all the restaurants in the hotel. Citrico, Narcossees, The Grill, and V&A. All were pretty run of the mill except V&A which was good, but not worth the price. Way heavy on truffle oil, and it seemed like they were more focused on showing off expensive ingredients rather than using ingredients that actually complement each other. We tried JiKo and were very impressed. Everything was presented beautifully and I thought they did a great job of using different flavors from every region of Africa. BTW Disney is a great form of birth control for a couple getting engaged, or anyone who thinks they may want kids. Oh and she said yes.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: sweetbreads39
                    askdrtodd Jan 31, 2011 08:08 PM

                    LOL that's awesome, "oh and she said yes". :)

                    Congrats man, glad it worked out in the end!

                    1. re: sweetbreads39
                      b
                      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Jan 31, 2011 08:13 PM

                      Congratulations!

                      1. re: sweetbreads39
                        y
                        YosemiteSam Feb 1, 2011 06:04 AM

                        First off congrats - agree on the other Grand Floridian resties that's why I didn't recommend any of those. While my meals at V&A haven't been as you described, it wouldn't surprise me if they on occasion slipped into that realm - they are trying to be a WOW experience to justify the prices, so that can often end up with a heavy hand. It takes a lot of confidence to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves but still charge the high prices due to quality and talent that a French Laundry or a Le Bernadin can pull off.

                        I think you may have been happier with California Grill as they have a nice light touch with their menu.

                        But in the end, the trip wasn't about the meals after all. Congrats again, and next time you come back get off property - we're not New Orleans but we do have some great local independent options

                        -----
                        California Grill
                        Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

                        1. re: sweetbreads39
                          LilMsFoodie Feb 1, 2011 07:35 AM

                          I totally agree with you re: V&A. Everyone seems so high on it, and it is really not so great IMO. Most people have not had traditional French service and that may be one of the things that people enjoy.

                          Jiko has been my favorite since it opened and I just love trying the great south African wines.

                          I had an appalling meal at Citricos a few years ago and wouldn't go back there again. Thanks for your comments.

                          1. re: sweetbreads39
                            srsone Feb 2, 2011 04:26 PM

                            congrats!!

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