Via Napoli Restaurant, Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Top 10 Favorite Disney Dining Spots – How About Yours?

posted on May 3rd, 2010 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Our Top 10 Favorite Disney Dining Spots

We love Top 10 lists. And ours change on a whim, especially when it comes to Disney dining. A delicious dish goes on the menu. A special offer catches our eye. So, for whatever reason, here are our Top 10 Walt Disney World restaurants (for spring). Share your favorites!

Victoria & Albert’s. OK, so this is a no-brainer since it’s the crème de la crème of Disney dining. But it’s the new Queen Victoria Room that has us buzzing about the exquisite service and divine cuisine – we felt transported to another most civilized place and time.

Kouzzina. The sweet potato hash with poached eggs topped with arugula has us dreaming of breakfast at Kouzzina. And we love to make a meal of the mezze for dinner: crispy calamari, clams and sausage in a wine broth, goat cheese-stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita, saganaki…with an zippy ouzo-tini. Opa!

The Wave. The earnest kitchen team works hard to bring diners a taste of Florida like the avocado and citrus salad with local greens, linguine with Florida littleneck clams, and their house-made sorbets.

Artist Point. Cedar plank roasted king salmon, need we say more? Add that smoky Portobello soup and the berry cobbler to seal the deal. With a glass of wine from Pacific Northwest vineyards, we’re happy.

Cítricos. A best-kept secret is the Chef’s Domain for a private dinner. We always start the meal with the sautéed shrimp with lemon, white wine, tomatoes and feta, then go with whatever the kitchen recommends, like the braised short ribs with creamy polenta that take us to our happy place.

California Grill. About to turn 15, the Grill is still hot, hot, hot – stellar views, fabulous food, but it’s Yoshie’s sushi that keeps us coming back. Her California Roll with jumbo lump crab, avocado and cucumber redefines the ordinary.

Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant. With white linens on the tables, it sure doesn’t feel like a theme park restaurant. How often do you find Loch Daurt salmon with scotch whisky maple glaze on the menu? And we’re slightly addicted to the Cobb Salad (order it for two to share as an appetizer).

Sanaa. We can stop with the naan bread and all those wonderful dips and spread. Mango chutney. Cucumber raita. Green mango pickle. But go ahead, order the tandoori lamb chops or the New York strip with golden raisin chutney. You won’t be disappointed.

Tutto Italia. The snazzy Italian waiters get a thumb’s up for this well-run dining room. And we always hope for an al fresco table. We love the house-made pastas, the melt-in-your-mouth baked eggplant, the fresh mozzarella. Authentic and delicious.

Le Cellier. For a World Showcase bargain, go for dinner and order from the “Chef’s Favorites” menu: start with spicy chicken and chipotle sausage with roasted corn polenta, then the salt-crusted prime rib and finish with maple crème brûlée. Yum.

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90 Comments 5 Replies

1

Travis from NH on May 3rd, 2010 at 10:30 am

Teppan Edo is by far the best restaraunt on property. Not only is it a great dinning experience with the chefs cooking on the giant grill in front of you, but the food is simply amazing. Amazing food + great atmosphere + outstanding CMs = the best dinning location. :)

2

Lottie from MI on May 3rd, 2010 at 10:31 am

Oh man! I’m so disappointed that this list just came out. I’ve already made all of my advanced dinner reservations for August, and not one of these is on my list. I am looking forward to Coral Reef and Jiko, but there are still a few spots that I have left to fill. Now, I don’t know what to choose!

3

Michael from NC on May 3rd, 2010 at 10:32 am

I would include Boma (for variety of different, more exotic foods), and Ohana for sheer atmosphere. In EPCOT, I prefer Chefs de France to Tutto Italia. Love lunch at Liberty Tree in the MK.

I had no idea Sanaa had Indian food. Now it’s #1 on my next-trip list. I’ve been dying for a good Indian place at WDW.

You also win for mentioning the Portobello soup at Artist’s Pointe. That’s… quite good.

4

David from TN on May 3rd, 2010 at 10:39 am

For me I would have to remove Tutto Italia and replace it with Yachtsman’s Steakhouse

5

Amanda on May 3rd, 2010 at 10:49 am

I think Jiko is the best on property. And I didn’t really enjoy The Brown Derby.

6

Zev on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:15 am

We are Kosher consumers, and we have the added difficulty of my wife being Gluten-free, so our choices are more based on atmosphere than for the quality and price of food.

-San Angel Inn in Mexico is a warm and calming candlelight experience. Especially when the mariachi band is playing. Good times!

-Biergarten Restaurant in Germany offers fun music enjoyment. And the beer is great!

-Les Chefs de France in France has such an authentic ambiance. Truly one of the best restaurants in WDW.

Notice how all of my choices were in Epcot?

The kosher food is very good, but I would love to see that expanded somehow so we don’t feel like we are restricted to only a few on-demand options, and the rest are minimum of 24-hours notice.

Just a note, while the kosher availability is good, there aren’t kosher and wheat gluten-free choices though. This could be mitigated by Disney having the same manufacturer offer some of their Passover line items- (which use more potato starch, than wheat starch). Just a tip.

Disney does a great job by having kosher food available on-demand at each park, and at so many on-property hotel resort locations. Thanks for that!

-Zev
mouseketweeter

7

Julie from NC on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:25 am

O’hana, Chef Mickey’s, Boma.

We’ll be trying Teppan Edo and possibly Kouzzina on our next trip down. We’re also going back to O’hana for The Best Friend’s Breakfast. Can’t wait!

8

Patrick on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:44 am

OK so now Anaheim locations please. :)

 

Pam Brandon on May 4th, 2010 at 11:30 am

Great idea, I will start working on my Top 10 favorites there too.

9

Melinda on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:11 pm

We spend our time at the CA parks and often go with a variety of ages (baby, child, teen, adult) and our top 5 choices reflect that. Our favorites are 1 – Carnation Cafe because they do priority seating and the food is classic and comforting; 2 – PCH Grill for the menu variety, interactivity for the kids and that they can handle huge groups (we often go with 20 or more); 3 – Plaza Inn for the amazing food at the Character Breakfast and the craveable fried chicken; 4 – Farmer’s Market because they carry the hand-dipped corn dogs, kid friendly food and healthy salads and have the best food to eat while waiting for a parade; 5 – Blue Bayou because the food is amazing and the atmosphere can’t be beat!

What are your CA top ten?

 

Pam Brandon on May 4th, 2010 at 11:31 am

Cal Top 10 coming soon!

10

Karen from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:11 pm

My daughter and I have been visiting WDW for many, many years! Our top favorites would have to be Boma, Liberty Tree Tavern, O’Hana, The Plaza, 1900 Park Fare, Crystal Palace, Brown Derby, and the Garden Grill.

11

Karl from VA on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:16 pm

The food, atmosphere, service, and wine list at Jiko are all fantastic – I can’t visit without eating there at least twice, and am really surprised this wasn’t on the list.

I agree with comments about San Angel Inn (I mean sure the food is good, but you can’t beat the view for atmosphere). Citricos has always been solid, though more about the food than the ambiance.

Nothing beats the Chef’s table at Victoria and Albert’s though. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy it twice, and it rivaled if not surpassed the best dining experiences I’ve had. This would include many top-rated and “celebrity chef” restaurants here in the USA as well as places like, you know, PARIS. Seriously… insane props to Chef Scott for managing to make things I like even better, and make things I don’t like, well, likable (if not fantastic / opinion changing). Have this experience at any cost. :)

Oh, and P.S. – El Pirata y El Perico is a guilty pleasure for any visit to the Magic Kingdom. I know it’s just tacos, but they’re SO GOOD. I always has ta git my pirate tacos.

12

Christine on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I have to agree with the Yachtsman’s Steakhouse. Excellent food there. I also love Flame Tree Barbeque at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for theme park quick service. At Epcot I love the Tangerine Cafe for the atmosphere and food. Also, it’s pretty much a given that Epcot is a fabulous place to eat. I loved the food at Spoodles and I’m sad it’s gone. I will have to try the new restaurant in its place the next time I’m there. I also think the milkshakes at the Whispering Canyon Cafe are the best on property. Bon Appetit!

13

Jeffrey from MN on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:20 pm

‘Ohana is by far our favorite. We can’t do a Disney trip without eating there.

The Major Domo at Cinderella’s Royal Table is excellent and we love the entertainment at the Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Review.

As for Anaheim – we’ve only been a couple of times but the last time we found the BBQ Place back behind Splash Mountain. Can’t recall what it’s named, but I remember the food. It’s right near the petting corral.

14

Laura from TN on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I would agree highly with Travis, I LOVED Teppan Edo. The food was amazing and they were extremely kid friendly there. That was important to me. Since I grew up a “Disney Kid” going several times a year from infancy to adulthood, I have had the pleasure at dining at almost all of the restaurants listed, all fabulous, all wonderful, I have enjoyed them greatly!!! Looking forward to my next visit to the land where adults get to turn back to children!!!!!!

15

Lisa from OH on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Boma, O’hana, The Wave, Narcoossees, Kona Cafe, California Grill, Tutto Italia, Crystal Palace, Wolfgang Puck, Garden View Lounge. :)

I still have so many places to try, but these are my top 10 favorites so far. :) I would love to try Sanaa on my next visit, as well as Jiko.

16

Jonathon from NY on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Bistro de Paris at Epcot is awesome!!

Nothing beats Napa Rose at the Grand Californian in Anaheim.

17

Amanda from TN on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:28 pm

California Grill is by far one of the best restaurants at Walt Disney World. Not only was the food beyond wonderful, our waiter was fantastic! He helped with not only food allergies, but also finding out what our likes and dislikes were before letting us order. It was an experience that has yet to be met by any other restaurant. Plus being able to watch Wishes from the balcony with the music playing is a lovely way to end your meal.

18

Jeffrey on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I like Yak & Yeti, Teppan Edo, and the Coral Seas. I agree with Le Cellier. We are trying California Grill this year!

19

Gina from TX on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:30 pm

We love California Grill. Atmosphere is lovely, food is divine, and watching the fireworks from the catwalk to a must!!

20

Lou from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Like choosing a favorite child, so is the decision of “best” restaurant on property, as there are so many excellent options.

I have to say that California Grill is tough to beat. From the environment to the menu to the excellent staff, it has everything for a complete dining experience.

The sushi is arguably the best on property, and the array of items from the open kitchen, from appetizers to desserts, is outstanding. Plus, the view of the Magic Kingdom doesn’t hurt, either!

Kudos to Yachtsman (my choice for best steak in WDW), Sanaa for wonderful diversity of flavors (love just sharing a number of appetizers with the group), and Victoria & Albert’s for most memorable dining experience – anywhere.

Great… now I’m hungry… ;)

Lou M
WDWRadio

21

Paul on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I try to get to Beaches & Cream at least once per trip (best Burger on property). I’m also in love with Boma at the AKL and ‘Ohana at the Poly.

In the parks, I’m a big fan of Akershus, Tusker House, Yak & Yeti, Liberty Tree Tavern, and Hollywood & Vine.

22

jessica on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Definitely the Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom! Great place to cool off, get some good food & drinks!

23

Ashley from IL on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I would add teppan edo in japan, the coral reef in the seas and my favorite, the restaurant in cinderella’s castle.

24

Anonymous on May 3rd, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Glad to see Ohana was not on the list….most highly over rated at WDW. California Grill was amazing last month…I would highly recommend!

25

Kirsten on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm

There are alot of great dining experiences throughout the Parks that seem to have gotten overlooked. From fast food offering everything from smoothies to buffet style all the way to steak and chutney. There is so much to choose from, but there seems to be a couple that are missing.

- The Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom by far has the best dining experience to offer for animal lovers of all ages. It’s fun, the service is great and who doesn’t love sitting where the jungle comes alive (and for those w/ sensative ears there’s a special spot for them too)!
My family loved their experience at Animal Kingdom so much, that we have visited the resturaunt at Disneyland and Seattle! But the one at Disney World is by the best of them.

- Rose & Crown Pub for a great taste of Irish and United Kingdom tradition.

I would be interested to find out the top 10 resturaunts for those on a budget. Fancy dinners are great, but when you have children under 12 chances are the closest to grand dining you’ll come is a Character Dining experience. Which isn’t bad, as long as you have it planned out in advance!

26

LeighAnn on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I love O’Hana’s – its really too much food for me, but what I can eat of it is delicious!! I love the atmosphere, its unique and different. You dont feel like you’re at an amusement park, more like you are at a relaxing Polynesian resort.

27

stephanie from CT on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I’m going to second Teppan Edo for the food/atmosphere combo, and add O’Hana for dinner for the same reason…it may not be Loch Daurt salmon with maple glaze but the skewered meats are fabulous as are the apps, island bread, dessert and noodles served with dinner, and the entertainment engaging but not obnoxiuos. I also concur with Le Cellier 100%. As far as italian, being from the east coast, nothing compares to home…

28

heather on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I agree with Sanaa, Artist Point, and Citricos. I’d replace Tutto Italia (overpriced and just average) with Le Chefs de France. As much as I liked The Wave, I’m not sure it’d make my top ten. Of course, there are still seven restaurants on property we haven’t tried yet; we’re getting three out of the way next month, though!

29

Sylvie on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:15 pm

me and my family favorite is cristal palace for breakfest

30

Linda from PA on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Coral Reef and Teppan Edo

31

William from VA on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Flying Fish! Most wonderful food and fantastic service. Hard to believe it didn’t crack the top 10. Yachtsman as well.

32

Betsy from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I give you credit for mentioning one of the most perfect meals on property – the exact one from Artist Point that tops my list of favorites at Disney. Having had the pleasure of staying at almost every resort on property (last ones are the Treehouse Villas in July and the Yacht Club in August), and eaten at many of the restaurants, including all on this list, I must say you have done well. I would also suggest adding Jiko at AKL and Flying Fish at the Boardwalk as a couple of my favorites.

33

Kevin from MA on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Narcooses at the Grand Floridian is better than all of the places mentioned above and the scenic views from any seat in the house is awesome!! The Wave should not even be considered with any of the others.

34

Meredith from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

My #1 favorite is Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian…Great Atmosphere and you can watch the fireworks from the deck. Try the crab cakes and filet mignon!! AMAZING..
I preferred Alfredo’s and ate there every time! Now it is Tutto Italia and it was impressive as well.
Ohana is a great family dinner with all you can eat and they keep bringing it to you! Coral Reef at Epcot, Teppan Edo, Le Cellier…Enjoy!!

35

susan from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Have eaten there at least 10 times and been very impressed all 10. Service is always excellent and the food is out of this world. Can not believe it did not make the list. My other tw favorites did though..California Grill and Citrico’s. Can not wait for May 30th, we will be dining at Citrico’s once again!

36

Carol on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Just ate at Teppan Edo and at O’hana for the first time on my last trip in March and enjoyed both. And Teppan Edo’s wait time went by much quicker than what they told us! (There were only 2 of us so this probably factored-in.) Enjoyed both places very much! My family always makes a point of eating at the 50′s Prime Time Cafe on every trip but it’s always better if you have waitstaff who really get into the theme.

37

Amber on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:30 pm

We’ve never had a bad meal anywhere on Disney property, but the 2 experiences that stand out the most are Le Cellier and O’hana, and that is not taking into consideration the atmosphere..that’s just the food. If you add in atmosphere, I’m not sure I could limit to ten..everyplace is fabulous in it’s own way.

38

susan from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:33 pm

While we are talking about dining, why is it the only place that enforce the dress code is California Grill. It is very annoying when we take the time to dress for dinner and shell out 150-200 dollars for dinner, the people next to us are in their park clothes. They tell you whrn you make the reservation what the dress code is, so please tell the places to dine in the deluxe resorts at least to enforce the dress code! Thank you!

39

Jenny from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:52 pm

GERMAN FOOD! Oh so lovely German food. <3 I grew up some years as a child in Europe, and my ultimate favorite place to go for dinner any night of the week is to Germany in EPCOT.

My mother and I always confuse friends by stating "Let's go eat dinner in Germany tonight." :-)

Whenever in Magic Kingdom it is ritual to go to the little Fish & Chips place right across from the Haunted Mansion and sit in a window seat. I always know what I want when I get to the podium. .. I think they appreciate that. ;-)

40

JOHN on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Le Cellier Need I say more? Back in 2007 we did Le Cellier 2 different times for dinner and not 1 time did I use anything to cover up the taste of the steak. Oh yeah, my wife just said “the cheddar cheese soup”

41

Crystal from VA on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I thought the Dinner Buffet at 1900 Park Fair was excellent last time we went. I also enjoyed Liberty Tree Tavern, I just wish the characters were still there.

42

ASHLEY from NJ on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Our absolutely favorite places to dine in Disney World are:
1. Le Cellier
2. The Coral Reef
3. O’hana at the Polynesian
4. Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian
5. Rose & Crown Pub

No trip would be complete if we didn’t have a reservation for there!

43

LORI from NC on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:02 pm

My parents loved, loved, LOVED LeCellier. And California Grill is definitely high on my list for our next trip to Disney. And I’d love to visit Brown Derby. It sure would have beat out our LAST Hollywood Studios dining experience! (Sci-Fi…MOST disappointing!)

44

Judi from NY on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Pecos Bill. Great burgers and even greater condiments.

45

Gregory from FL on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:06 pm

1. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue – 67 visits to date
2. Teppan Edo – but bring back the NY steak as part of steak and chicken combo. (they just switched to top sirlion 2-3 weeks ago)
3. Yachtsman Steak House

46

Iris from MI on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Ummmm, where is the Flying Fish Cafe’?
Where is Prime Time Cafe? And, and, and

I think there has to be a top 20 list :)

 

Pam Brandon on May 4th, 2010 at 11:33 am

Flying Fish Cafe is on Disney’s BoardWalk
50′s Prime Time Cafe is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

47

Brandon on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Boma is my family’s favorite.

48

Laurel from OH on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Many of these, we’ve yet to try. We even extended our last trip to two weeks, just so we could try to get more of the parks and the dining in the schedule without feeling rushed! Needless to say, it didn’t work and some of the “magic” was still lost. We went down knowing that you can’t fit ALL of Disney into one trip, but since this was the first time for our younger two and maybe the last time as a family (yes, we have one that old) we wanted to see and do as much as possible. We tried to fit in a good combination of our favorites [The Hollywood Brown Derby, The Liberty Tree, and Alfredo's:(] While at the same time, experiencing some of the “not yet tried”. Everything was wonderful, but I have come to the conclusion that the need for reservations and keeping to a schedule to meet the reservations still stole some of the magic out of our trip. Therefore, knowing that there are some awesome quick service restaurants in the parks and resorts, we have determined that our next trip is to be reservation free (unless we make one while there on site)! I say all this to make a suggestion. In the spirit of the magic that Walt intended for every family to experience, why not make a top 10 list of quick service/no reservation required restaurants?

BTW, maybe I’ll make one reservation…this princess still needs to have one meal at the palace!-)
**May your life be filled with magic!**

 

Pam Brandon on May 4th, 2010 at 11:34 am

I love the idea for a Top 10 Quick Service. Coming soon!

49

Kathryn on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:22 pm

We’re trying four new restaurants (new to us anyway) on the next trip: Kouzzina, California Grill, Bistro di Paris & The Flying Fish. Four places the kids never want to go so on the next trip with just me and hubby we’re spluring. Favorites if ours so far are in with the mix above, but another little treasure that no one seems to think of when they talk about the best resataurants is the Cape May Cafe at the Yacht and Beach Club. If you like Alaskan Crab Legs, this is the place to go. The rest of the buffet is excellent as well, but that’s my main objective when we go there. And they have kid-friendly food on the buffet as well so its a win-win all around.

50

MaryGail on May 3rd, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Boma wins for best buffet; Crystal Palace is incredibly good.
Teppan Edo is delicious and fun. Narcoossee’s is also amazing.

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