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For the foodies out there - what are the best restaurants in WDW?

BASS

Active Member
I wouldn't call myself a foodie, but I'm a little bit tired of the "real" foodies dissing WDW restaurants. Sure, you can find a lame meal or a so-so waiter from time to time. But I've been enjoying WDW dining, both inside the parks and in the hotels, for over 20 years, and have had some killer meals. And even if the food isn't killer, it's usually at least pretty good. And in many cases the atmosphere more than makes up for any shortcomings in the food.

I just didn't want the rookies to be overly influenced by the jaded "foodies" posting here.
But the reality is that some have a more refined palate. Without knowing op, we have no clue where op lands on that spectrum. There are plenty of options here so op can review the menus and determine which are more appealing than others.
 
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California Grill was not great when we went there but someone said that and I’ve heard they have improved. I want to try it again but have to admit my family has resisted.

Yachtsman 12 years ago. 2nd worst meal (and I am talking food quality) we ever had at Disney. Second only to coral reef

Flying Fish was a good meal about 8 years ago but we haven’t gone back

Victoria &Albert is amazing but they have done a HUGE price increase and that is making us not go this year. We decided to try Monsuier Paul instead.

Spice Road. After our first time it has been a MUST every trip since. Good food atmosphere and staff.

Il Mulino. We went there for the first time last year and going back this trip.

Skipper. Same, tried it last trip and going back this time.

Saana is really good. Appetizers better than main courses. We like it for lunch. Only Animal Kingdom Lodge place were you can watch the animals while you eat.

Also trying Jiko this time. We’ve done Boma a bunch of times as the best buffet at Disney in our opinion but as the price went up and the kids are now adult price we decided to go for Jiko. The way my kids eat it will literally be cheaper to have them eat there
 
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danyoung56

Well-Known Member
But the reality is that some have a more refined palate. Without knowing op, we have no clue where op lands on that spectrum. There are plenty of options here so op can review the menus and determine which are more appealing than others.
I completely agree with the above. I just wanted to demonstrate the other side of the question - that you can indeed get a very nice meal within WDW borders. Now, can you find better restaurants elsewhere? Probably. But that's not the question.
 

leonalvarado

New Member
I'll be in WDW for 5 days--and we are a foodie family. Which restaurants should I definitely include on my list? I'm looking for the best of the best in terms of food, not the prettiest. Recommendations?
EPCOT: Monsieur Paul, by far the best restaurant in all of the parks. Chef de France and Le Cellier both good and specially if you like meat. Tutto Italia, great pastas. Magic Kingdom: Crystal Palace, The Liberty Tree Tavern, Be Our Guest, (none nearly as good as the restaurants in Epcot but the best fare in the MK). Animal Kingdom: Tiffins, (very, very good). Hollywood Studios: The Brown Derby, (the best restaurant in the park), The Scy-Fi caffe, (not so great on the food but tons of fun and great unique drive-in theater atmosphere).
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
Hi - Thank you for the honest comments. "Foodie" is actually someone who enjoys food for pleasure--and it has nothing to do with expensive or pretty. A foodie can eat at a Michelin restaurant or a food truck, and the ambiance does not make a difference. What you are describing are millennials, my three siblings are like that. :)

But seriously, thank you for the feedback.

As for turmeric and cayenne--don't disregard them. I had a bad case of gout and those ingredients helped me with inflammation--true story!!!
I think the term foodie is thrown around fast and loose. Me personalty, I agree with the latter part of the Wikipedia entry that you quoted as the definition. "Many journalists, like Roberto A. Ferdman, author of Stop Calling Yourself a 'Foodie' in the Washington Post, also criticize the word saying "There is a great irony in describing yourself as a food insider in a way no actual food insider ever would." Ferdman claims that people who associate themselves with being a "foodie" are in fact distancing themselves from the group they wish to be associated with. The author then states that there is nothing wrong with having an interest in food, in fact this popular trend is helping the food movement thrive. Ferdman's main argument is that since the word is so widely used, its meaning has become ubiquitous and some meaning is lost upon the need to constantly announce how much someone likes to eat. "

It seems every other person announces themselves as a "foodie" and the word has lost any real meaning, hence my indecision about what sort of recommendations you were looking for.

As for turmeric and cayenne, I have no problem with those ingredients. It is the sprinkling of stuff around the plate that I was referring to. That seems to be the plating method du jour. It used to be everything was in a ring mold, then it was to cook up a giant crisp of some sort and stick it in the top, then it was dabs of coulis around the rim, now it appears to be tossing powders all across the plate.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Our list will vary from others depending on our particular tastes and favorite menu selections. Our top dining spots if you take out atmosphere and just go by menu selections, have included Yak & Yeti, La Hacienda, BoG, Cali Grill, Liberty Tree Tavern, Narcossees.
 
Have a good BlueZoo story. The food was very good but hubby will NEVER go back. They brought out our main meal. They were making a big show of it lifting the lids at the same time. Hubby had ordered something with this orange sauce. The sauce wasn’t on it. The waitress took the sauce and I think again was trying to do it with some sort of flourish. Anyway she proceeds to pour the whole boat of sauce in his lap, not on the plate. NOTHING was compted, no manager coming over and apologizing, they offered to pay to have his pants cleaned which we did handing them over to hotel that night. Came back stained so he had to throw them out and get new pants!
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
By any chance are you going during the EPCOT F&W Festival? I have found several of the extra ticketed dining experiences to be worth every penny. I feel like others have given you a reasonable expectation food wise. It helps me when I think about just how massive Walt Disney World is, and how many people they are feeding daily. My go to recommendations are Tiffins, Flying Fish, and Citricos for tasty, better than the average Table Service meal. I hope you enjoy a fabulous, food filled trip!
I agree about the F&W extra ticketed items. They are excellent.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
There is a simple reason. The food doesn't stake up in anyway to food in real cities sorry... Coral reef would be out of biz in NYC or Boston in about a week if they kept those prices.... The poster was asking for great food which is not really at Disney anymore.... I know you love everything which is fine, but Disney is not where you go if you want high end food....
That has been my chief complaint about WDW dining in the last 10 years or so. I understand location pricing, and I accept that something at WDW will cost more, but lately things have started costing a LOT more, while at the same time food quality has gone downhill.

The food is not BAD at WDW. In fact it is GOOD, just liek food at some of the local restaurants I frequent is good. In most cases the food at WDW is nothing out of the ordinary, and the prices are actually well above what I pay for much better dining around here, event taking into account the "theme park upcharge"
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
But the reality is that some have a more refined palate. Without knowing op, we have no clue where op lands on that spectrum. There are plenty of options here so op can review the menus and determine which are more appealing than others.
It's not even about a refined palate. I am firmly in the "WDW dining is no longer worth it" camp. Yet I enjoy all sorts of food at all sorts of places.There is a local bar around here that I eat at often. In no way is it "refined" food, but it has good beer, good solid entrees, friendly service, and is priced accordingly. There is a Asian place I go to a lot that is a BYOB in a strip mall. Again, hardly a refined place, but they have some of the best fish around, and they don't skimp. They also know me in there, and when I sit down they will offer things not on the standard menu. Stuff they found in limited quantities at the fishmongers.

WDW really amounts to high prices institutionalized food.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
We live in Brooklyn, so my baseline might be off. You are right, I should focus on the experience. Thank you for the honest advice.
We live on Long Island as well, but we've enjoyed many a meal at WDW. Yes, some of it is because of the ambiance, but the food was good too. Some faves were California Grill, 'Ohana, breakfast at Kona Cafe (tonga toast and macadamia nut pineapple pancakes), Le Cellier, Rose & Crown, Biergarten, Wolfgang Puck's, Brown Derby, and Chef Art's Homecomin'. We also enjoyed some of the buffets such as Trails End and Cape May's. There's plenty of fun and delicious food outings to be had at WDW.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Hi - Thank you for the honest comments. "Foodie" is actually someone who enjoys food for pleasure--and it has nothing to do with expensive or pretty. A foodie can eat at a Michelin restaurant or a food truck, and the ambiance does not make a difference. What you are describing are millennials, my three siblings are like that. :)

But seriously, thank you for the feedback.

As for turmeric and cayenne--don't disregard them. I had a bad case of gout and those ingredients helped me with inflammation--true story!!!
ABSOLUTELY!! lol one of my friends who like me is a former NY'er runs around Philly now trying to find the best pizza. It's really about finding great spots.

I do agree with many of the previous posters. lower your expectations a bit. first remember this is still a vacation destination so prices do not equate to quality. there is going to be a mark up just because you are a captive audience.

What I've found to be true is that the resort restaurants are much better than the park restaurants.

We enjoy Boma in AKL, if you are adventurous its good.
Olivia's in OKW is a best kept secret. I've never had a bad meal there. definitely hit it for breakfast.
The Boathouse has excellent seafood but warning for some reason we thought it was really loud
Via Napoli for their pizza, now once again, no it's not NYC pizza. it's not supposed to be but it's very good.
 
I'll be in WDW for 5 days--and we are a foodie family. Which restaurants should I definitely include on my list? I'm looking for the best of the best in terms of food, not the prettiest. Recommendations?
The absolute best restaurant at WDW is Victoria & Albert's and it's not even close. It's very expensive though, and is only suitable for adults (I think)

My personal favourite is California grill. Amazing food and views
Monsieur Paul - very very good
Flying Fish - Excellent
I also love Jiko and Boma (Boma for breakfast..mmmm)
 

Nottamus

Well-Known Member
Yak & Yeti in AK
Boma at AKL
Sanaa at AKL

to name a few of our favorites. But we are a firm believer that it doesn't have to be the most expensive to be awesome...
 

Hockey89

Well-Known Member
That has been my chief complaint about WDW dining in the last 10 years or so. I understand location pricing, and I accept that something at WDW will cost more, but lately things have started costing a LOT more, while at the same time food quality has gone downhill.

The food is not BAD at WDW. In fact it is GOOD, just liek food at some of the local restaurants I frequent is good. In most cases the food at WDW is nothing out of the ordinary, and the prices are actually well above what I pay for much better dining around here, event taking into account the "theme park upcharge"
I agree. We had "good" food when we went down this past summer outside of YM/Morimoto.... Tiffans is good nothing mind blowing but solid cooking. I enjoy Bluezoo for sure.... Yaki & Yeti very tasty for lunch... Jungle Nav was also enjoyable....

The point of this thread was high end and I wanted to set those expectations that it doesn't exist. Plus, throw in the price points it's silly....

Capa was actually excellent so I would hit them up if you don't mind going to the Four Seasons...
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Just wanted to chime in with the advice about managing expectations.

Candidly, if we're judging on food quality alone, I've yet to come across any restaurant at WDW that really knocked my socks off. (Granted, I've not eaten at V&A or Jiko, although I hope to someday. I did have brunch at the California Grill, and both the service and entree execution were objectively awful - the worst meal I've ever had at WDW, second to an ill-advised lunch at Hollywood & Vine 15 years ago.) That's not to say I haven't had many very good meals at WDW, because 98% of my Disney dining experiences have been good ones that left me feeling I'd be happy to return to that restaurant in the future, but it tends to be the atmosphere and service that draw me, more than the freshness/quality/ingenuity of the menu, or the presentation of the food.

My advice is to choose the restaurants that excite you most (both in terms of menu and concept/theming) and expect good -- if not great -- experiences. Just realize that most of them probably can't compete with the upscale (and/or international) dining in your local area, even though the sky-high prices will [falsely] seem to suggest a high level of elegance. Keeping our expectations in the middle has allowed us to be genuinely, pleasantly surprised and delighted by many of our WDW meals (in most recent memory, the buffet at Crystal Palace, Yak & Yeti, Skipper Canteen and Via Napoli, all of which had food that far exceeded our expectations.)
 
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Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
In my experience, a whole lot of food at Disney World seems designed to not offend the pickiest eaters, rather than be truly memorable. It's pretty rare that you encounter really bad food, but also rare that the food measures up against what you might routinely eat in Europe or some of the better US dining cities.

That being said, the meal that surprised me the most on my last visit was Skipper's Canteen. This is clearly the best and most "adventurous" food (only by Disney standards, though) in the Magic Kingdom. It was too easy to get a reservation, however, which is usually not a good sign... this usually means that the average Disney guest has not been hooked, and that a dumbing-down of the menu is on its way.

My go-to for a great classy meal was Artist's Point at the Wilderness Lodge, but this has now been replaced by a Snow White character dining restaurant, and from the looks of it, the menu has now been made more "kid friendly". Now that this is gone, I guess I have to splurge on Victoria and Albert's or California Grill.

I was impressed by Tusker House at Animal Kingdom, but my last visit there was long enough ago that it's probably not the same anymore. The only constant with Disney Restaurants is that they always change.
 

mariedarling

Active Member
I am no "foodie" by any means but these are my top restaurants in WDW in no particular order

Yachtsman
Skipper's Canteen (Recently went there for the first time on my trip in Nov and i was pleasantly surprised)
California Grill
Citricos
Nomad Lounge (snacks/apps/lighter lunch)
il Mulino
The Brown Derby
 
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