When you’re at Disney World, you have two different types of meals you can get: counter service or table service. Table service meals are the sit-down restaurant style meals you may be familiar with. Each meal comes with a non-alcoholic beverage, one entree, and a dessert. It can also cover one full buffet option. Table service is included in the Magic Your Way Plus Dining package. During our stay, we dined at 7 different table service locations.
Wolfgang Puck Cafe
Type of Food: California Asian Fusion aka Anything Goes
Theming: California Casual (and if you are wondering, this is a reference to a book. Bonus points if you can name it in the comments)
Location: Downtown Disney Westside
I went to Wolfgang Puck Cafe on my 2007 Disney trip and wasn’t too struck by it. I needed a restaurant option in Downtown Disney so I decided to try Wolfgang Puck once again. Call it choosing the wrong dish last time because my 2010 trip shocked me with the flavor and fun my dish had to offer. Both my husband and I ordered off the Wolfgang Favorite’s part of the menu and we weren’t disappointed.
I went with the Chilean Salmon, described as “Center cut filet of salmon, pan roasted with garlic whipped potatoes, asparagus and basil butter sauce.” Doesn’t that sound amazing? Trust me, it was. The salmon was a little saltier than I am used to but paired with the basil butter sauce it was perfect. I paired mine with the chocolate lava cake, which was great, but I was left jealous the entire meal of my husband’s choices.
He ordered the Meatloaf, which was “bacon wrapped, with ground pork and beef, with garlic mashed potatoes and crispy onion rings” and he wasn’t smart enough to stop me from taking a bite. It was fantastic. The sauce was perfection and the bacon was crispy. He also ordered the key lime pie and after trying a bite, my decision not to get it too haunted me the rest of the trip.
50s Prime Time Cafe
Type of Food: American comfort foods
Theming: 1950′s Nostalgia
Location: Hollywood Studios-Hollywood Boulevard
This was my favorite meal of the trip in 2007 so I had to return again in 2010. The 50′s Prime Time Cafe is a very themed restaurant. From the instant you walk in, you’ll think you’ve been transported across time and thrown in an era where color TV doesn’t even exist. You’ll be eating in mom’s kitchen with big sisters and brothers bringing out your food and checking to see you’ve eaten your vegetables.
The meal plan says you can order most non-alcoholic drinks at Disney restaurants so I decided to get a root beer float and was met with success. Now on my last visit, I had ordered the roast beef which was fantastic. I had also ordered a chocolate malt which was practically endless. My youngest brother had ordered the fried chicken but refused to eat his veggies so I ate them for him and decided they were the best part of Disney. This time around, I ordered the fried chicken right off the bat just to try those Southern greens once more. Sadly they fell flat and while the chicken was huge and delicious, I was left regretting that I didn’t get the roast beef. My husband of course had beaten me once again and gotten the roast beef, which he ate gleefully. We both opted for hot fudge sundaes for dessert here.
Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars. Tip: Arrive early and request a TV table. Use your extra time to grab a drink at Dad’s Liquor Cabinet. Bonus: Want to try the pot roast without flying to Disney? Try this recipe courtesy of AllEars.
The Coral Reef
Type of Food: Seafood and steaks
Theming: Ocean inspired
Location: Epcot’s Future World inside The Seas
This is the last restaurant that I had been to previously and had decided to rebook. The fist time I heard about the Coral Reef was back in the day on TGIF when the Full House crew went to Disney and dined in front of a big aquarium. I had fallen in love and was determined to sit in front of that aquarium. I wasn’t disappointed this time when our hostess led us down to the front, right in front of the big blue tank. A turtle entertained us nearly the entire meal.
I opted for a strawberry smoothie in place of a soda and it was included in the dining plan so I was thrilled. I ordered the Grilled Mahi-Mahi – With ragu of rock shrimp served on Jasmine rice topped with hearts of palms. It was so good. It was truly the best Mahi I’ve ever had and I’ve eaten Mahi in Hawaii.
My husband ordered the salmon, a dish that is served constantly but the preparation changes regularly. Sadly I didn’t take a photo of the menu here so I’m not sure how his was prepared. For dessert, we both ordered The Chocolate Wave. It’s a chocolate and alcohol based lava cake served with whipped cream, raspberries, and a raspberry sauce. It was very good but nothing spectacular.
Type of Food: Italian
Theming: Italian Cafe
Location: Epcot’s World Showcase in Italy
My husband made me promise I would find an Italian place for us to eat at so I chose Tutto Italia. Our dinner reservation was at 4:30 so we arrived around 4:15. To our surprise, the waiting area was completely full while the seats were completely empty. We checked in and waited for them to call our name. At exactly 4:30 names started to be called in every direction. We were called fairly quickly and seated on the sunporch. Someone came by to take our drink orders and drop off complimentary breads (Pane De Casa – with Tuscan olive oil – herb and parmesan grissini breadsticks) and Verdure (Olive “Giardiniera” e Ricotto con Basilico aka mushrooms and olives.) Neither dish did that much for me but it was nice to see an add-on to make this place feel special. The bread could use an upgrade and I’m not a fan of mushrooms or olives though my husband appreciated the gesture.
Before I could even dig in our drinks arrived. We were asked if we knew what we wanted and we did so we put in our orders. We had looked over the menu online when choosing this place so we were fairly prepared ahead of time. Not 5 minutes after we placed our orders, they arrived on our table steaming hot. I assume they bake a lot of things in advance here and have them ready to go once they release the crowds into the restaurant. I typically prefer a bit calmer of a dining experience but I didn’t really mind because they gave us plenty of time to enjoy the food once it had arrived. I had ordered the Cannelloni al Forno, it’s served with spinach, ricotta, bechamel and parmesan cheeses. My husband ordered the Lasagna al Forno, served with meat ragu, bechamel and Parmesan cheese. Both of our dishes were fine but not spectacular.
For dessert, I got the cannoli and he got the lemon sorbetti. Mine was alright, I’d never had cannoli before and I may just not be a cannoli person. The plating was adorable though. I loved the attention to detail. My husband had only ordered the lemon sorbetti because he was stuffed but it ended up being his favorite dessert of the trip. You’ll notice his love of sorbet only escalated on our trip.
Type of Food: Canadian Steakhouse
Theming: Wine Cellar
Location: Epcot’s World Showcase in Canada
If you believe the Disney hype, this is the best restaurant in Disney. It certainly is one of the busiest. The only open spot on our entire trip was on Day 5 at 7:50 PM. In response to the high demand and the high quality, Disney recently raised dinners here from a table service credit to a signature dining location, meaning it takes 2 table service credits to cover 1 meal. Don’t worry though, lunches still cost 1 credit and the portions have only been adjusted slightly. You can easily find something you love here. I sure did.
When you walk into Le Cellier you’ll notice it’s meant to resemble a wine cellar. The name Le Cellier literally means “The Cellar” so the theme is quite apparent even in the name. Each table is in a designated area labeled by Canadian province. Your server fist offers you complimentary bread: Sourdough for the Sourdough festival welcoming the sun back to the Yukon territory; Multigrain for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, which produce over 50% of the world’s grain; and Pretzel bread for Ontario, which holds the world’s second largest Oktoberfest each year. The Pretzel bread was our overwhelming favorite and our server brought out a second batch of just pretzel bread for us. I had ordered some of the famous Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. While not included in the meal plan, I made sure to add it on based on the popular reviews. It was delicious but a tad over-hyped. I would order it again though.
After that, I veered off the typical Le Cellier track and went rogue on my dining options. Most people tend to order the mushroom fillet mignon and the chocolate whiskey cake but I instead opted for the New York Strip Steak. It was topped with bercy butter and served with Gruyere Yukon Gold Potato Gratin. I don’t regret that choice for a second. That steak was perfect. For dessert, I got the blood orange sorbet. I’m in the middle of a two-year love affair with blood oranges and when I saw blood oranges on the menu, I had to have them. It was perfection. In fact, it was so good my husband ordered the exact same meal. Finally I no longer had to stare at his plate in envy because my food was perfect.
Liberty Tree Tavern
Type of Food: American Classics
Theming: Colonial America Tavern
Location: Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square
Liberty Tree Tavern brings historic America to your dinner table. The building uses lots of hardwood and older styled lighting to set the stage and even when you peer out the window, you’ll notice the olden style distorted glass. The cast members working as your servers even dress according to the times. One of the nice touches about this place is that your drinks come in a decorated mug. It reminds you of being in a pub back in Colonial times.
Most food on the menu involves meats and ideas rooted in history. For instance, I got the Pilgrims’ Feast: a traditional roast turkey with herb bread dressing, mashed potatoes and green beans. It was good but a bit cold, as though it had been pre-made and sat under a heat lamp. My husband got the Colony Salad with Washington apples, sweet pecans and applewood smoked cheddar and grilled chicken tossed with field greens in honey shallot vinaigrette. He wasn’t much of a fan but that’s mostly because he’s a salad minimalist. His only excuse for ordering the dish was that he was just so full he couldn’t eat anything more.
For dessert, they keep it simple here. I got the Apple Tart with a shortbread crust, ice cream and caramel sauce. It was sweet and moist, quite perfect with the ice cream and the crystallized sugar on top. My husband got the strawberry sorbet that included oranges in the mix and was topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries. He seemed quite pleased with his choice but that may be his sorbet love affair talking.
Menu sneak peaks available at WDWinfo and AllEars. Note: Liberty Tree Tavern switches over from an a la carte lunch to a family style dinner location between 3 and 4 PM so make sure you choose which meal you want before making a reservation. If you remember Liberty Tree Tavern as a character dining location, this too has changed and there are no more characters. Bonus: Make your own Colony Salad, Turkey Gravy, or Apple Tart. I’ve tried the recipe for the apple tart and it’s a pretty good copycat if you throw on some course sugar, ice cream, and caramel sauce.
The Contemporary Resort
Type of Food: Sustainable New American
Theming: An Ocean Wave
Location: The Contemporary Resort, Lobby Level
This dining location came at the last minute. I had planned to stick to the monorail track on our last day of our trip but I didn’t like my Magic Kingdom dining options and I’d already had 3 Epcot dining options. So I turned to the resorts. We wanted a quiet meal that was a bit upscale for our last night and eventually The Wave looked like a good fit, even if it didn’t have many online reviews. I’m so glad we took a chance to venture outside the Disney comfort zone and try The Wave because it was incredible.
They keep everything very dark inside with blue and orange lights lighting your path, reminding you of sand and the sea. Our hostess brought out some multigrain bread to start us off while she brought us our drinks. The pacing was good, on top of your needs but not hovering or avoiding you. Once again, my husband and I were in sync with each other and we each ordered the Grilled Beef Tenderloin. It’s served with a port wine jus, potato and onion gratin and summer ratatouille. The entire dish was incredible. I don’t even like ratatouille and I loved this serving. Beef tenderloin is a delight in itself and it was prepared magnificently here. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
For dessert, I was too stuffed to eat anymore but too in love with The Wave to not try something. The desserts here are served as trios so you get 3 tastes with each order. We each opted for the Sorbet Trio and it was served with Lemon-basil, Pineapple and Strawberry sorbets.
It was a great dish and each flavor complimented the others. I think I liked the lemon-basil best but as I say that I remember how a bite of that was really better when it had some strawberry on the spoon with it and really, the strawberry was only okay unless you paired it with the pineapple. Together they flourished.
Wondering which dish was the favorite of the trip? Check back tomorrow for a top 10 list of best Disney dishes.