One Dozen Places Where I Like to Eat at Walt Disney World
My girlfriend and I go to Disney World a lot. Probably more than a middle-aged couple without children should probably go, but I’ll leave that issue for the therapists. I remember reading a column by Dave Barry where he complained about the food at Disney World, and it led me to the conclusion that he simply didn’t know the right places to eat. Therefore, I shall attempt to enlighten and entertain, for I have found that there is plenty of good food to be had at a variety of prices.
I would like to mention that all of these places accept reservations. I have sometimes heard that it’s hard to get a table at Walt Disney World. This is poppycock. I have no patience for people who can not make a reservation.
So without further ado, I would like to present one dozen places that I love to eat when I am staying at Walt Disney World.
12) Via Napoli
Via Napoli is located in the Italian pavilion at Epcot, and they feature wood-fired pizza. I know what you’re thinking: I can get pizza anywhere. Yes, but can you get good pizza anywhere? I think not. I recommend the Quattro Formaggi Pizza, which translates into four-cheese pizza. It’s a white pizza and those four cheeses are mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, and provolone.
11) Teppan Edo
Teppan Edo is one of those Japanese Steakhouses where they cook your food at your table. It’s as entertaining as it is delicious. Now if you’re a party of two you have to share your table with six other people, but we usually just ignore them. We went on my birthday and I was presented with my very own chef’s hat.
10) Kona Café
Kona is located in the newly remodeled Polynesian village resort, and although we’ve only stayed at the resort once, we keep coming back to Kona. Is it for the sushi or the many seafood entrees served at dinner? No. I’m sure they’re great, but we’ve never been there at dinner. It could be for their many breakfast items such as the macadamia-pineapple pancakes, which I’m sure are also magnificent, but there is only one reason I keep coming back. Two words: Tonga Toast. Imagine French toast, but stuff a banana in it, roll it in cinnamon sugar and fry it. Then pour strawberry compote over it. Serve it with a French press coffee for two and I can not imagine why you would want to eat anything else for breakfast ever. Any other argument is invalid.
9) Rose and Crown
There were at lot of things on the menu that I wanted to try. I wanted to try a Scotch Egg, but ultimately decided against it. The menu is pub food and we were sat outside by the water, giving us a wonderful view of World Showcase. We started with Black & Tans, which is a combination of dark ale with Guinness floated on top. I had the fish and chips, which were flaky and delicious.
8) Raglan Road
Raglan Road was always a place that we passed by on our way somewhere else until we decided to stop in for a bite. We got there at just the right time, soon after we were seated the place started to fill up. It has a great Irish pub feeling and to which inspired a Black & Tan to start. I also had the fish and chips because why not? Meanwhile my girlfriend had the Mammy’s Roast Chicken. I rate this just above Rose and Crown for one reason: the entertainment. Raglan Road features Irish clog dancers and it such a treat to watch the skill and talent displayed
7) Fulton’s Crab House
If you’ve been to Downtown Disney, then you’ve seen the big paddleboat. We had our last Valentine’s Day dinner there and had a wonderful view of the waterway between Downtown Disney and Saratoga Springs. I was a little disappointed to see that the lobster bisque was no longer on the menu, but I managed to mollify myself with the fried calamari. For my entrée I had the Atlantic salmon. As you may have noticed, I’m the kind of guy that when I see fish on the menu, I usually go for it. It was cooked perfectly and I had it prepared Oscar style, with jumbo lump crap and asparagus with Béarnaise sauce.
Yes, I’m talking about the bowling alley in Downtown Disney. We’ve been there three times already and we haven’t been bowling yet, because for us it’s all about the sushi. And crazy thing is, we get the same thing each time. We each get a different roll and share. I always order the Volcano Roll, which is shrimp, avocado and cream cheese and it is covered in shredded krab (yes, it’s not crab, but krab, otherwise we’d have to take out a loan to eat there). My girlfriend gets the Crab Rangoon Roll which is tempura fried. They have pizza and burgers there as well, but I’ll never know how good they are as long as they have sushi on the menu.
5) Yak and Yeti
This is one of those restaurants that I don’t think gets a lot of mention in the Disney conversation, and it think it’s because it’s not operated by Disney, but it shouldn’t be missed. After you tackle Everest in Animal Kingdom (seriously, after), you should head there for lunch. It’s a pan-Asian menu and we started off with the pork egg rolls that came with a chili plum sauce. On the day we were there the chef was trying out a new dish which is now on the menu. It’s an Atlantic salmon with a ginger glaze over noodles and I am so glad it’s been added to the regular menu. Rule of thumb: if they’re trying something new, try it!
4) Maya Grill
I like Maya Grill more than my girlfriend did and I think that’s because I like Mexican food better than she does. It’s located in one of my favorite resorts: Coronado Springs. Now I am all about the margaritas. On the rocks with salt if you please. When it came time to order, they had me at Grande Taco Platter. You can mix and match steak, chicken or shrimp tacos. I had the steak tacos, and they were done they way I like them: meat, onions and salsa, served with rice and beans.
3) Be Our Guest
Be Our Guest is modeled after the ballroom in Beauty and the Beast and it’s the only place that you can get alcohol in The Magic Kingdom. It’s part of the New Fantasyland expansion and has been insanely popular since it opened. This is definitely one that you have to plan well in advance. I’ve had the layered ratatouille and the sautéed shrimp and scallops, but the thing that I have to have every time I am there is the French Onion Soup. I’ve had it three times there, including a soft opening that we were lucky enough to attend. It’s hot and covered in gooey Gruyere cheese.
2) Le Cellier Steakhouse
I can not tell you how many times we have journeyed over to the Canadian pavilion to grab us some steak. I can tell you that my menu selections rarely vary at this place. I usually start with Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, which is something I have made in my own home and as good as that normally turns out, just doesn’t ever seem as excellent as they serve it here. If I just had ten bucks to spend I could just have that and be happy. However, there is no point in going to Le Cellier if you’re not having the filet mignon. If you’re a steak person, then you know this isn’t a dish that you have prepared well-done. It’s best served bloody and delicious on a bed of mushroom risotto. We also get the poutine fries, which here is served with a red wine reduction. Up to last year this was my favorite place to eat, but this Christmas it was eclipsed by…
1) Yachtsman’s Steakhouse
I know I’ve talked about fish a lot so far, but beef is where it’s at, baby. This was our Christmas dinner, and was hands-down the best meal I’ve had at Disney. It’s located in the Yacht Club Resort in the Epcot area and we arrived after a walk from Hollywood Studios after watching the Osbourne lights. We started with lobster bisque and ordered the 32 oz. Porterhouse Steak for Two. First off, the bread was served with a roasted bulb of garlic and a pat of butter. Just pop a roasted clove and mix with a bit of butter and you will have the best garlic butter you will ever have and wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. It comes with a choice of three sides, as well as au gratin potatoes. We chose mushrooms, onions, and creamed spinach. The steak was cooked medium rare with garlic butter and is sliced for you. I’ve eaten a lot of steaks in my time and I can only conclude that all the other places have simply been preparing it wrong. Normally we have desert, but we were stuffed to the gills. This is perfect for a special occasion, and I highly recommend it.
Well, there you go, my favorite places to eat at Disney World. Am I missing a few places? Sure. I could also add 50s Prime Time Café, Chefs de France, The Grand Floridian Café, The Tusker House, The Pepper Market, Mama Melrose, Liberty Tree, or The Plaza, just to name a few, and there are a ton of places I haven’t eaten yet, but plan to, such as Whispering Canyon or Spice Road or the new Trattoria al Forno.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Grab a fork and dig in!