When people ask me what I love most about living in Florida, it’s right now – that time of year when it’s starting to warm up but isn’t yet blazing hot. March and April are pretty perfect here in the sunshine state, so it should come as no surprise that it’s my absolute favorite time to enjoy the al fresco dining options at Disney Springs. Fresh air and fresh food are a winning combination … read on to learn more about my top picks to enjoy an outdoor meal:
The BOATHOUSE: With picture-perfect views of Lake Buena Vista, I love dining on deck at The BOATHOUSE. Whether you choose a standard table, a high top or the comfy patio furniture (yes, you can get served there, too!), I’d suggest the lobster roll. On a warm day, it’s not too heavy (they make it just the way I like, without too much mayonnaise) in spite of the whole Maine lobster used in every roll, and don’t even get me started about how amazing their French fries are! To drink? A nice IPA fits the bill, but for something extra-refreshing, sip on the Cucumber Cooler.
Frontera Cocina: A table here gives you a front row seat to one of the best looks at the springs of Disney Springs. Right over the water, you’re almost guaranteed to feel the cool breeze in your hair as you sip your margarita (my go-to!) and savor every bite of freshly made hummus, a nice alternative to the equally delicious guacamole. Of course, you’ll also find tacos, tortas and an array of entrees by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, but on a warm day, nothing on the menu beats their Taqueria Salad with Mojo garlic grilled shrimp.
Paddlefish: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the third story deck of Paddlefish is one of the best kept secrets at Disney Springs. If you haven’t yet found your way to the open-air rooftop of this iconic paddleboat-inspired seafood restaurant, put it on your “to-do” list. For a special evening out, order the Seafood Tower – everything is fresh and chilled to just the right temperature. The drinks are divine, too … grab a group of friends and treat yourself to a carafe of perfect-for-spring house-made red sangria with Framboise, Crème de Mure, orange juice, tempranillo, and seasonal fruit.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant: For more than a decade, the patio at this authentic Irish pub has been dazzling guests with incredible entertainment on their outdoor stage, all the while serving their full menu of favorites to guests lucky enough to snag an outside table. While you can certainly experience patio dining seven days a week, think about booking a brunch reservation with options like the “Full Irish” (a full Irish breakfast, naturally), “Ellis Isle Steak’n Eggs” and “Pancakes Diaspora”—all pair nicely with the Strawberry Fields Mimosa.
STK Orlando: A favorite for late-night, STK Orlando is another great spot for dinner and drinks under the stars (and beneath ambience-adding string lights)! While steak is what they’re known for, and rightly so, the Buratta Salad is among the best I’ve had. Cocktails abound, but for an appealing accompaniment, order a glass of the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, a vibrant, peppery white wine with bold fruit and floral notes.
Date night for two, girls’ brunch, family lunch … whatever the occasion, Disney Springs is the place to enjoy it, especially now with our incredible Central Florida weather!
Do you have a favorite al fresco setting at Disney Springs? If so, share in the comments below – I’d love to know.