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Disney chow for foodies

Helping brother in law plan, two foodie adults and children who go with the flow.
What are chowworthy eateries in the Disney resorits?
Quick bites, snacks and sit down please.

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  1. yosemite sam has several posts about orlando/disney area...

    this one should help

    u can search for/check his other posts for places off disney and farther away...

    1. Here's a good blog on this topic from a board regular


      My favs on-property:

      Best Overall:

      La Luce in the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort

      Best Hotel options

      Victoria & Alberts (VERY high-end
      )California Grill
      Bull & Bear Steakhouse

      Best In-Park (really none, but)

      Biergarten (for show not really for food)
      Via Napoli
      Brown Derby

      Downtown Disney

      Raglan Road
      Meatball Bar at Portobello's

      5 Replies
      1. re: YosemiteSam

        the best snack i like in the parks...especially on hot summer day, is in MK ...the dole whip

        and idk if they still have it but dino bites in AK had this huge ice cream cookie sandwich thing ..

        and i guess sam just waits for me to mention his posts....

        1. re: srsone

          Nah, you're just faster than me. I'm just glad people find them useful

          1. re: srsone

            ...mmmmmmm......Dole Whips are my favorite, too, followed by frozen Coke at the American pavilion in Epcot.


          2. re: YosemiteSam

            California Grill is closed until August 31st for renovations... it was my favorite restaurant during our last visit... Jiko was also excellent!
            We also loved the Brown Derby.

          3. Our favorite places to eat in Disney proper- (if you go off site, it's not high end, but i have to say orlando ale house is a fave low brow place)
            In resorts:
            Jiko, Sanna, California Grill, Blue Zoo, Kona
            In Parks
            Tusker House for lunch (i know buffet.. but still good), Via Napoli, Bistro de Paris,
            For counter service, Morocco in Epcot and the Columbia Harbour House

            Downtown Disney
            Bongos, Raglan Road ,earl of sandwich or Wolfgang Pucks

            California Grill
            Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

            1 Reply
            1. re: scholar399

              Second Columbia harbor house for counter.

            2. Depends on the age of the kids. Victoria & Albert's is a great dining experience but not worth it for young kids who won't eat much. I think there is a minimum age.

              You specifically asked for "in the resorts" so I'll answer that:

              One of our favorite places to eat is Animal Kingdom Lodge. In the main building (Jambo House) we like Jiko and the the buffet there is Boma which is really good if you are adventurous eaters. They have regular stuff like a meat station, but they also have neat African dishes you could try. In the Kidani building is Sanaa which is also good with more of an Indian influence I'd say.

              In the Grand Floridian, I like Citricos. You can't beat the view from California Grill at the top of the Contemporary.

              One other favorite is Yachtsmans' Steakhouse at the yacht Club.

              My husband's favorite is Flying Fish Cafe which is at the Boardwalk.


              California Grill
              Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

              Flying Fish
              Disneys Boardwalk Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

              1. We've enjoyed California Grill in prior visits to the World. Can any Orlando "Hounds tell us if it's still great, or has dropped off a bit?

                California Grill
                Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

                1 Reply
                1. re: DRN0001

                  I think it had dropped off for a while but we went in Feb 2011 and it was very good. I think the atmosphere isn't what it used to be since the implementation of the disney dining plan but the food is still good. It has always been a rather loud restaurant.

                  We hadn't been in years because the last time we went it was subpar but this last trip we decided to try it again and sure enough, it was good. :)

                2. Lots to address here. A true "foodie" will ONLY find happiness in Victoria and Alberts. There is other good dining in the World, in order, (1) Bluezoo (2) California Grill (3) Jiko (4) Citrico's (5) Artist Point (6) Shula's (7) Flying Fish. Other restaurants like Kona, Kouzina, Narcossee's, etc. and any' 'in park' restaurant are going to be just restaurants ... Some good, some bad, some mediocre but certainly not "foodie" worthy.

                  California Grill
                  Disneys Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

                  Victoria and Albert's
                  , Orlando, FL 32830

                  Artist Point
                  901 Timberline Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

                  Flying Fish
                  Disneys Boardwalk Resort, Orlando, FL 32830

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Keysmickey

                    true...but my 3 yo isnt a foodie yet...
                    so when she wants mickey mouse eared waffles for breakfast or a pizza for lunch we usually let her have one....

                    we'll work our way up to V&A with her..

                  2. This is why a disney specialist is good to use. Free dining promotion is going on now and some places have a six month out waiting list. I used http://mousetalestravel.com/ and they took care of everything!

                    1. Good to find this thread, but not sure it really answers that much. I don't want Disney people telling me where to go, because I don't know their tastes or what they consider fine dining. I've been to a Shula's and did not care for it. We're staying at the Polynesian. I want good food, and wasn't too impressed by the menus I saw there. I would prefer not to have to go too far for food; definitely want to stay on the Disney site, but want to eat well. Need 2 dinners. How about Il Mulino, or is that not onsite? Can someone recommend something not too far from Polynesian (which I think is near MK) that has great food, and give me some idea of what kind of food? We love seafood, Italian, French, Middle Eastern; we tend to stay away from lots of red meat. I really appreciate any help I can get.

                      34 Replies
                      1. re: LulusMom

                        To the best of my knowledge and 5 plus years of lurking, none of the contributors to this thread are shills for the mouse.

                        For all of your "loves", you can scratch that itch at EPCOT, a monorail ride away. Wear your tux and gown and go to the truly foodie place at Victoria and Albert's. California Grill is two stops away and a distant second to V&A.

                        Out of the theme parks, you have a choice of Ravenous Pig or Luna's. The Orlando food scene around the parks is driven by tourists who will probably not return in the next ten years, if ever. The quality generally reflects that.

                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                          Sorry, didn't mean to accuse anyone of shilling. Just the post directly above mine suggested using a disney specialist, and that is just what I don't want to do.

                          I'm thinking Epcot does sound like a good way to go; I found that the sushi place doesn't take reservations, so that might work. Are the Epcot places open pretty much all day, so that we can do an early dinner? This is my first experience with DisneyWorld and I'm finding it a little overwhelming.

                          We won't have a car, so hope to stay inside the park area the whole time. Thanks very much for your input. I appreciate it.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            ok.....im not a shill...dont know about a service either never used one....i just take my family there a lot...(living in florida helps)...but some people do like to have it all done for them...

                            Disneyworld is a very large place....each separate park has its own things...there are good places in each and average and then just park food...

                            staying on "property" will help as the buses run everywhere....but you may need to switch if you are going very far...Downtown Disney pretty much the "hub" of the transport system...they also give an extra hour for people staying at a disney hotel..called extra magic hours...you will need to check and see which ones apply
                            and Downtown and the Boardwalk area have good food as well...

                            if you have a smartphone there are apps for helping as well...

                            if you are going to plan yourself ..checking some of the websites plus CH will help ..
                            Allears.net is good site..there are plenty that can help you..yelp and travel sites can help with reviews as well

                            mouschow posts on here and has a site as well...

                            Disneyworld's own site has all the menus..times....etc as well..you can even have maps sent to your address...

                            epcot will probably give you the most choices of cuisines...due to each different "country" having their own foods and places to eat..

                            planning and reservations are amust if you are going to do any Character dining also as they tend to book early..especially at peak times...

                            all in all it does take some planning ..but do feel free to ask questions

                            1. re: srsone

                              We'll be there in July and can't wait..we'll report back...
                              Do they have a Club 33 at the Disneyworld?

                              1. re: srsone

                                We were there 1.5 years ago with my kids who were 3 and 5 at the time, so we did not do any "fine dining". But we did do "moderate dining".

                                If you only have 2 nights for dinners and no car, I would suggest planning one of your days so you end at Epcot and have dinner there. Lots of choices there, as stated above. We actually had a good lunch at the chinese pavilion restaurant, which surprised us since we live in NY and we have lots of good chinese food here. We also had a good dinner at the english pub place.

                                And for the other night, maybe take a shuttle bus from the Polynesian to Downtown Disney. My parents were with us that night and we had a pretty good dinner at Raglan Road. They take reservations.

                                1. re: valerie

                                  Agree on he Chinese Epcot place. I've been there twice and both times it was a lot better than I expected it to be. Also they are good for last minute planners because they usually have openings.

                              2. re: LulusMom

                                Hi LulusMom! I'm a little bit of a shill, in that I just became a travel agent about two weeks ago. So I'm a foodie first, and am just now starting to try to make some money helping people with their trips. (Haven't actually made any money yet, but that's OK.)

                                Anyway, I agree that you really can't rely on typical Disney experts to give good dining advice. I'm totally happy to help you with your plans if you'd like. It's what I love to do, and will make sure you eat well.

                                For your two dinners, I'd go to California Grill at the Contemporary (very close to the Polynesian by Monorail), and Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge (not as close, but well worth the bus trip.) California Grill is seasonal modern cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, including some sushi and sashimi apps. Jiko is African and fairly highly spiced, with a variety of seafood, chicken, beef, and game. They have an amazing South African wine list.

                                The park restaurants are fun, but not of the same quality as the resort restaurants. If you really want to stay in the parks for dinner and eat early, I'd recommend the Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios, and Bistro de Paris in Epcot.

                                I'd also really highly recommend Raglan Road at Downtown Disney (also accessible by Disney bus).

                                Whatever you do, do NOT go to the sushi place in Epcot. It's awful. There is a sushi bar in the Swan hotel, which is considerably better. It's not an appropriate spot for kids later at night though, being the only karaoke bar in the parks. But I've eaten there with my 10 year old for an early dinner at the sushi bar and it was fine.

                                Hope that was helpful!

                                1. re: MouseChow

                                  I agree with the Contemporary suggestion, but I think the Jiko isn't a good one in this case. I suggested those earlier in the thread, but with no car, and little kids at the end of the day, I don't think Jiko is the best option because of the bus ride.

                                  Kokomos is the name of the sushi place in the Swan and it is very good.

                                  1. re: MouseChow

                                    Bistro de Paris in Epcot sounds perfect...

                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                      All of July are some of the busiest days at WDW. If you want to eat in a sit down restaurant on property, you need to make reservations now.

                                      1. re: cavandre

                                        THIS, although if your preferred restaurants don't have a reservation open currently keep trying because there's always cancellations (except maybe Victoria & Albert's, I seriously doubt you could get a reservation there now).

                                        A lot of people recommend Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but we absolutely loved Boma, the buffet restaurant there. Lots of choices, literally something for everyone, and the food was great. We did both breakfast and dinner there and I would happily return again for either. We also loved Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge (we had our anniversary dinner there a few years ago). Good Northwest cuisine well presented. But even if your kid's an adventurous eater don't deny him/her the simple joy of a Dole Whip or a cheese dog at Casey's Corner!

                                        1. re: MandalayVA

                                          Mandalay, I totally agree, Boma is the only buffet I really like. I'm not a fan of buffets in general, mostly because it's hard to maintain the quality of the food, and I hate having to fetch it myself. But I admit, Boma is a rare exception. I still don't like having to get up, though.

                                          And Artist Point is excellent!

                                      2. re: Beach Chick

                                        BC, my husband and I went to Bistro de Paris for our anniversary dinner last September. It was very good, and if you time it right (start dinner between 8 and 8:30pm) and get a window seat you'll have a great view of the Illuminations fireworks. Very romantic (except we brought our 10 year old along...felt guilty leaving her to eat pizza and play video games...oh well.)

                                        1. re: MouseChow

                                          Thanks Mouse Chow!
                                          Can't wait and I'll ask for a window table..
                                          My anniversary/birthday is in September too... ; )

                                      3. re: MouseChow

                                        Thanks so much MouseChow - I appreciate your information, and your offer to help. And very much thank you for saving us from a bad sushi meal! I've taken just a little time looking at the Epcot dining website and wonder what you think of the Moroccan place? And the English pub? I'm going to take a look at the California Grill menu - do you think it is probably already fully booked for mid-March?

                                        Again, I very much appreciate your help (and everyone else's). I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole Disney World thing!

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          You're very welcome! Marrakech at the Morocco pavilion is OK. For atmosphere, it's one of my favorite spots in the World Showcase. The tilework is lovely, and it never seems crowded. At dinner there is a belly dancer (family appropriate all the way), which is fun. The food is not great, but not bad. If you don't have regular access to Moroccan food at home, then I'd recommend it. My favorite items there are the chicken bastilla app, the lamb shank, and couscous.

                                          The Rose and Crown in the UK Pavilion is one of my favorite spots, but I didn't recommend because you seemed to go for lighter dishes, and most there are on the heavier side. (Scotch eggs, shepherd's pie, bangers and mash, etc.) The fish and chips are not bad. If you're interested in pub food, I'd really recommend Raglan Road instead. It's truly excellent.

                                          Oh, and I think the Beach Boys briefly took over RedBean's post. The sushi place in the Swan is Kimonos, not Kokomos. ;)

                                          You shouldn't have trouble making a reservation at California Grill, especially since you're looking to eat an early dinner. I just went onto the website and put in Wednesday 3/14 at 5:30 and they had availability.

                                          1. re: MouseChow

                                            MouseChow, you are truly fantastic. Thank you so much. I will go ahead and try booking an early dinner (with a 5 year old, it kind of has to be early anyway) at California Grill. And you're absolutely right about The Rose and Crown. I looked at the menu, and it seemed *very* meaty, aside from the fish and chips. Not a lot for our family to choose from. The Moroccan food I get here is basically what I make myself (I'm a big fan of that cuisine). I do like the idea of the belly dancer as something for Lulu to get to see, but I'm sorry to hear it is just OK. But it sounds like it would be an easy get. Both of these aren't *too* terribly far from the Polynesian? I guess Epcot is a bit of a trek. I'm having the hardest time finding a really helpful map and getting some idea of the distances, which I've been told are huge.
                                            Again, MouseChow, you're a true peach. Thanks so much.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Actually, Epcot is pretty easy to get to from the Polynesian. There is a monorail stop in front of the hotel. If you get on at that stop, you have to go all the way around past the Magic Kingdom, and other hotels. But if you walk out of the Polynesian in the back and walk to the Transportation & Ticket center, you can get on a monorail which goes straight to Epcot.


                                              1. re: valerie

                                                Nice map, valerie!! And LulusMom, I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Since you don't have access to a Moroccan restaurant near home, you should go! I live near Boston and am spoiled by the variety of cuisines we have nearby.

                                                Since you like Japanese, there are a couple of great snack/light lunch spots in the Japan pavilion that you might want to try. Here's a link to a recent post I did about Epcot snacks.


                                                1. re: MouseChow

                                                  And thank you again MouseChow. I think I'm ready to make the reservations now, and it is pretty much all thanks to you. I really appreciate the help.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Harrumph. California Grill has nothing from 3-7:30 either night. I did manage to book at Marrakesh for the Sunday night; now just need Monday. They said to plan on 1.5 hours to get there from anywhere in the Disney world complex. True?

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Hmmm....I suppose it depends on where you are! If you are at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios the trip will be faster, but if you're at the back of Animal Kingdom park it could take that long. That's a bummer about the California Grill availability.

                                                      1. re: MouseChow

                                                        We're staying at the Polynesian, near MK. I ended up getting a reservation at Citricon (sp?) for the other night. My guidebook had said it was closed Mondays, but if Disney let me make the reservation, I think it must be open. Again, thank you so much for your help. We'll cheers you over dinner.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Can't wait to hear your report! I haven't been to Citricos but it's supposed to be excellent. Have fun!

                                                            1. re: MouseChow

                                                              Citricos was very, very good. I'd definitely recommend it. We started with arancini and a rare tuna with north african flavors - both were excellent. The bread was really good (and came with butter topped with sea salt - nice touch). My main was fish (sorry, can't remember what right this moment) over risotto; my mother had the veal shank and loved it. Lulu's next course was the cheese plate, and she was happy with the variety (a blue, a goat and something that seemed to be a lot like a gruyere).

                                                              Marrakesh was not very exciting food-wise, unfortunately. But it made up for it in entertainment. Lulu was mesmerized by the belly dancer and music, so it was well worth it. And the room itself is gorgeous. But food-wise - eh. Mousechow definitely had that right.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Thank you for reporting back! Citricos is on my list for next trip. That North African tuna dish sounds yummy. And yeah, Marrakech is all about the atmosphere. Glad Lulu liked it!

                                                                1. re: MouseChow

                                                                  I think you'll be impressed with Citricos. I hope you make it soon.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Looks like I'm heading down for the Epcot Food & Wine festival in October. Yea!!

                                                                    1. re: MouseChow

                                                                      always a fun time. Can't wait to go again.

                                                  2. re: valerie

                                                    Thank you So much Valerie. That is great info.

                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                            For some reason you misinterpreted my post...I suggested using someone that does Disney planning...not someone that works for Disney. The person I use goes to Disney 10 to 15 times a year and eats like I do plus has tried everything in the park! I find that to be a useful tool!

                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                          Hi LLM,

                                          I just came back from Orlando. Here's my long (winded) post.


                                          Also, check your in box, I sent you an email with some non-chow tips.

                                          1. I actually like Ohana which is in the Poly and has some entertainment for kids. Is the food the greatest - no but my family enjoyed it very much.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lmeersand

                                              I recently had dinner at The Maya Grill at The coronado springs resort,, Very good and somewhat adventurous menu for a disney hotel. Steaks grilled over mesquite wood and flavorful sauces. I would hit this place if you wanted someplace quiet and out of the way. The hotel is for conventions and when I stayed there and would walk by the maya grill it was never crowded and had a nice dark lit feel to it with not too many kids!

                                            2. B.t.w., on our last visit, we were very impressed with Citricos (our first time), and slightly disappointed (compared to prior visits, and in light of cost/value) with California Grill and Jikos.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: DRN0001

                                                We really liked Citricos too. Upscale but casual, very good food and service.