Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is one of those tucked-away restaurants on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon that we don’t always think of first – but what a treat. The place has plenty of loyal fans and was so busy on a recent evening that we grabbed seats at the bar, ordered a glass of red wine and settled in with Sergio the bartender taking care of us.
“Narcoossee,” by the way, is a Native American word that means “little bear.” (Just thought you might want to know.) When the beautiful resort was designed, the name seemed fitting for its historical architecture. The casual restaurant is octagon-shaped with plenty of windows for viewing the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant.
Chef Joe Wilson is one of those bright, engaging chefs who gets excited talking about cheese and wine and the best Florida fish available. And he also makes the best béarnaise sauce we’ve ever tasted – a dollop atop a buttery filet mignon. “I’m having fun every day,” says Chef Wilson with a broad smile.
It’s really the delicious fish that is the restaurant’s claim to fame – a whole Maine lobster; hefty crab cakes; sautéed Prince Edward Island mussels in a light, creamy pastis-scented broth; shrimp and crab chowder with homemade oyster crackers. His crispy whole snapper is a work of art.
And vegetarians will be right at home with his beautiful roasted beet salad with goat cheese and orange-honey vinaigrette. And you can make a meal of the cheeses, from an Australian blue to Gruyère from Wisconsin. The cheeses change with the seasons but you’ll never be disappointed, each served with delicate honeys, apricots and preserves, and homemade slices of crisp buttery bread.
And we’d be remiss not to miss the almond cheesecake from Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek’s bakery. Take it home if you have to, it’s worth the calories.
Be duly warned, the little restaurant books up fast. If you’re considering dinner at Narcoossee’s, book ahead at 407-WDW-DINE. Have you tried Narcoossee’s? What’s your favorite dish on the menu?