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Re-Imagined California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

Time flies when you’re at the top of your game, and a year after re-opening with a classy new interior and new seasonal menu, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki and his talented team are busy keeping guests happy seven nights a week.

“California Grill is a total experience – great food, interesting wines, craft cocktails, and an incomparable view,” says Chef Brian. He and general manager Michael Scheifler conduct a beautifully orchestrated evening with efficient, knowledgeable staff.

Pork two ways (wood fire tenderloin w goat chesse polenta_ braised lacquered belly and country applesauce

Any misses on the new menu, we asked Chef Brian? “We change the menu so fast with what’s fresh and available, so far it’s been a success,” he answers with a smile. The most-ordered dish is the Pork Two Ways with grilled pork tenderloin and lacquered pork belly served with warm goat cheese polenta, mushrooms and a touch of sweetness with house-made applesauce. For starters, the house-made charcuterie is another hit. And, of course, the buttery filet mignon with heirloom tomato risotto, baby vine tomatoes, basil and tomato butter is a top pick, too.

Chef Brian loves his new kitchen, with gadgets like a sous vide machine that seals ingredients in plastic for slowly cooking in a water bath for super tender, perfectly cooked dishes. “Most guests don’t want to know about the cooking techniques, they just love the results,” says Chef Brian.

The kitchen team reaches out to local farms, and with Florida crops just coming into high season, look for lots of local fruits and produce on the fall menu – as well as Florida seafood. A simple salad has never tasted better than the one made with local greens and topped with a poached Lake Meadow Naturals egg and Palmetto Honey vinaigrette.
Yuzu-marinated Sashimi (tuna salmon himachi snapper seaweed salad

The list of favorites must include the Cucumber Fizz cocktail, flatbreads (try the heirloom tomato BLT flatbread with lemon mayo) and the sushi (we’re fans of the yuzu-marinate sashimi). “And desserts are flying out of here,” says Chef Brian, thanks to the creativity of Pasty Chef Jeff Barnes – his hot banana fritters are the biggest hit.

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As for that stellar view, the new fireworks deck has given more guests a front-row spot for the nightly Magic Kingdom Park fireworks. While you can sit at your table with the fireworks sound track piped in, most guests love to walk out on the two decks for a bird’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom Park from the 15th floor. Now that’s a one-of-a-kind ending to a your day.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

Comments

  • My husband and I were there in June for our honeymoon. Everything we ate was fantastic. The server we had was so amazingly sweet and even brought us a glass of champagne while we were on the deck watching the fireworks (I wish I could remember her name). One of the best meals and experiences that we have had. We definitely got to witness the Disney magic while dining there.

  • The California Grill is always on our menu at least once during every trip. Manager Gary has an awesome team and with Chef Brian behind the helm in the kitchen its a win / win combination. The wait staff is always incredible and the restaurant immaculate. We always love it when we get our favorite waiter, also named Gary. seating by the window for the fireworks is nice if you never did it before, but any seat in the house is good for us. I actually like sitting in the new booths in front of the kitchen to watch the chefs do their “Magic”. So I will say, Happy Anniversary California Grill and many more!

  • My wife and I visited there earlier this year for the first time and everything was terrific. Even my wife who is known as a picky eater was able to find something to enjoy. A very relaxed atmosphere and you can’t beat the view. Best part was enjoying the fireworks without having to pick out a spot in the park hours beforehand. Having the music piped in really made that a more enjoyable experience. I would revisit in a heartbeat!

  • My wife and I were there last year and the food was fantastic. Chef Brian visited our table and we told him that he should have been a baseball player “cause he knocked it out of the park”. I am very confidant that we will have the same results this year. Do miss the Duck In All its Glory though.( Hey Brian, got the hint ?? 🙂

  • Went there last month for the first time in 3 years and the difference was remarkable. MUCH better experience all around – great new space, servers were perfect, the manager (Gary) friendly and engaging and the food was some of the best I’ve ever had at Disney. The adults in our group ordered 5 different entrees and every single one of them was prepared perfectly. We’ll definitely be back next year – this place almost single handedly restored my faith in quality dining at Disney.

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