LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – If a little culinary indulgence is part of your vacation plan, these award-winning Disney kitchens offer everything from a casual dinner to haute cuisine, in settings from a French castle to a quiet dining room. And if wine is your passion, Walt Disney World Resort has more sommeliers than any other company in the world — more than 300 at last count — to help you navigate the wine lists.
California Grill. When guests step out of the elevator on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the panorama view is the first sensation. Whether watching the sun dip slowly over the Seven Seas Lagoon or the bird’s-eye perspective of the Magic Kingdom, diners know it’s going to be a memorable evening. Cuisine features seasonal ingredients and a lighter touch, such as heirloom tomatoes, local seafood and pristine sushi. Known for its solid wine list, California Grill, under the guidance of sommelier Michael Scheifler, offers about 250 wines on the list, 80 by the glass.Open daily for dinner.
Artist Point. At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in a setting inspired by historic national park lodges from the early 1900s, Artist Point focuses on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest with creations like cedar-plank-roasted salmon, steamed mussels and buffalo striploin.The wine list, exclusively from the Pacific Northwest, includes smaller producers and unusual grapes, and complements the beautifully presented dishes. Finish with the fresh berry cobbler with housemade ice cream — flavor depends on what berries are in season. Open daily for dinner.
Be Our Guest Restaurant. In Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest Restaurant magically takes diners into the splendor, elegance and fairytale charm of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” with a setting right out of the classic animated feature film. Breakfast and lunch are inspired by a French bistro, with dishes such as a classic croque madame and croque monsieur, braised pork coq au vin style and tuna Niçoise salad. Dinner is a more elegant affair with entrées such as thyme-scented pork rack chop, herb-crusted lamb rack and pan-seared salmon with leek fondue and saffron potatoes. Gourmet cupcakes – strawberry cream cheese, triple chocolate and lemon meringue — and mousse-filled cream puffs are finished tableside. And just for dinner, select wines and beers complement the French-inspired cuisine. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Cítricos. New American cuisine includes bold starters like shrimp with lemon, white wine, feta and tomatoes, and specialties like grilled swordfish or red wine-braised beef short ribs, and diners can watch the chefs at work in the restaurant’s stylish on-stage kitchen. Chef Phillip Ponticelli’s menu makes wine pairings easy, suggesting a perfect match with each dish, or sommeliers can pair a wine with any course from a list of nearly 200 vintages. The spacious restaurant includes the Chef’s Domain, a glass-walled dining room that offers up to 12 guests a private dining experience. Open daily for dinner.
Flying Fish Cafe. The on-stage kitchen is a high-energy dinner show for guests, with a Chef’s Counter for dining right in front of the oak-fired grill where Chef Tim Keating and his team turn out nightly specials inspired by the best local produce and Florida seafood. The potato-wrapped snapper is the most-ordered dish, on the menu since the restaurant opened in 1996. An extensive wine list offers more than 50 selections by the glass, with suggested pairings. Open daily for dinner.
The Hollywood Brown Derby. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, tuxedoed waiters add to the ambience of Hollywood’s heyday in a dining room inspired by the original California restaurant. And while you’ll find original recipes like the addictive Cobb salad and the dense grapefruit cake, the kitchen puts an all-American spin on the menu with creations like crispy spiced duck breast, char-glazed filet of beef and pan-seared, coriander-crusted black grouper. Excellent wine pairings are recommended on the menu. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Jiko-The Cooking Place. African-inspired dishes like piri piri swordfish and Nigerian-spiced pork shank are stars of the eclectic menu in this AAA Four-Diamond restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The restaurant’s fare is creative and satisfying, paired with an impressive list of wines exclusively from Africa — one of the largest collections in any restaurant in the United States. After dinner, take a stroll alongside the resort’s own savanna with wildebeests, zebras, giraffes and more African animals. Open daily for dinner.
Le Cellier Steakhouse. Designed to feel like an old wine cellar with low ceilings and stone walls, this is one of the most popular Epcot restaurants, showcasing Canadian beef (and classic poutine). The filet mignon with white truffle butter sauce is tops, but fans also love the Cheddar cheese soup made with Moosehead Beer, on the menu since the restaurant opened in 1982. But the chef steps outside Canadian-sourced creations, too, with dishes like the house-made cannelloni and chicken and waffles (with Canadian maple syrup). Pair any dish with a glass of wine or Canadian beer. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Monsieur Paul. Tucked upstairs at the Epcot France pavilion, this elegant dining room pays homage to Chef Paul Bocuse, Monsieur Paul is decorated with mementoes of Chef Paul Bocuse’s extraordinary culinary honors – he achieved three Michelin stars for 48 straight years at his famous Lyon restaurant, Auberge du Pont de Collognes. The menu, created by Chef Francesco Santin who worked with Chef Bocuse in his restaurant in Lyon for 15 years, is built on the Bocuse tradition of French classical cuisine with the freshest ingredients. Open daily for dinner.
Tokyo Dining. If you’re looking for pristine sushi and one of the prettiest views at Epcot, head to Tokyo Dining in the Japan pavilion, where three sushi chefs put on a show creating sushi, sashimi and uramaki (inside-out rolls). Or try the hot dishes such as panko-crusted oysters, spicy tempura calamari, or grilled tuna or salmon. Sake, beer and wine accompany. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Trattoria al Forno. This casual, family-friendly restaurant showcases classic Italian cuisine including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, fresh pasta and pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens. Chef Christian Rumpler and his team are creating a true taste of all of Italy’s diverse regions, from tagliatelle carbonara to braised beef Bolognese with house-made cavatelli. Pastas and main courses are paired with wines, 100 percent Italian from historic wine regions including Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont, with 60 offerings by the bottle and more than 25 wines by the glass. Open daily for breakfast and dinner.
Victoria & Albert’s. Chef Scott Hunnel at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is at the top of his game with Central Florida’s only AAA Five-Diamond Restaurant and one of only two with Mobil’s Four Stars. The intimate restaurant also won the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, with 700 selections on the menu and 4,200 bottles in its cellar. And Victoria & Albert’s is one of just 800 restaurants in North America to receive the DiRōNA Award of Excellence. The menu changes almost daily, with specialties from Florida’s farms and ports, and from around the globe. The best seat in the house is at Hunnel’s Chef’s Table in the kitchen.
Yachtsman Steakhouse. See the steaks aging in a refrigerated display near the front door, then peek in the open kitchen to see them sizzling on the oak-fired grill. The classic menu includes starters like lobster bisque and heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella with compressed watermelon, and you can ask for just about any cut of expertly cooked meat, from a first-rate filet mignon to porterhouse and tender beef short ribs. There are plenty of bold reds on the wine list, but food-friendly whites are there, too. Open daily for dinner.
For reservations at any Walt Disney World table-service restaurant, visit www.disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463).
Disney dining has evolved to meet the discriminating taste of its guests, offering innovative, fun and healthful dining choices. Disney delivers everything from stellar, award-winning dining experiences to immersive dining that transports guests into cherished stories. There are more than 450 places to eat at Walt Disney World Resort, including fine dining in unforgettable settings, Disney character dining and quick-service restaurants. Behind-the-scenes innovation leads the way with allergy-friendly menus at up to 120 quick-service and table-service locations. Walt Disney World Resort also is one of the largest single-site purveyors of wine, with more Level One sommeliers than any other company in the world. Each year, Disney’s culinary team creates fresh dishes and new beverage choices for special events including the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. For more information and to make reservations visit www.disneyworld.com/dine.