At this point, the secret is out – Walt Disney World has some AMAZING food!
When I was a kid, it was basically all burgers, pizza and nuggets, but there’s now a huge variety of foods, ranging from authentic specialties and lighter fare, to well-themed dishes and trendy foods. And of course, for those of you who are craving the theme park classics, you can still find the “junk food” you grew up loving!
When you add the special events throughout the year (especially the Epcot festivals), there are also many limited-time offerings – some of which are so popular, many guests will plan their vacations around festival dates.
Here are the 7 best foods that I enjoyed during my last trip, in late January/early February of 2018…
Saumon en Croute Façon Paul Bocuse
L’Art de la Cuisine Française booth (France Pavilion), Epcot International Festival of the Arts
We tasted many of the amazing foods offered during our first visit to Epcot’s newest festival, but this dish was by far our favourite. It was described as “salmon in a puff pastry crust Paul Bocuse-style with spinach and beurre blanc sauce”. It was basically a mini Salmon Wellington, shaped like a fish. The fish was perfectly cooked without making the puff pastry soggy, and beurre blanc sauce was good enough to drink on its own.
We considered going back for seconds!
Crispy Virginia Oysters
Flying Fish, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
This was our fourth time dining at this Signature Dining restaurant, and we had forgotten how much we love the menu here. Lots of modern, playful approaches to fresh seafood, both local and flown in from exotic locales.
Our entire meal here was incredible – hands-down the best meal of this trip, but the dish that really stands out was the fried oyster appetizer. Our waiter could tell that we were planning on sharing both of our appetizers (the oysters and a Mile Zero Shrimp Cocktail), so he asked the kitchen to split up both apps on two separate plates. He pointed out that the chef generously added an extra oyster to each of our plates, so the dish didn’t look too small when split up!
The oysters were ridiculously crispy, but the batter didn’t take away from the delicate flavour or texture of the oysters. They were served with Flying Fish Roe, Sea Beans and Lotus Root.
Jumbo Lump Crab & Avocado with Tarragon Remoulade
The Boathouse, Disney Springs
Full disclosure, I have yet to experience a complete meal at The Boathouse. This was our second visit, and both times we sat at the bar and enjoyed appetizers and cocktails.
I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the full menu at The Boathouse, but due to nostalgia and a strange sense of loyalty, I always seem to choose Paddlefish, located basically next door. They both have very similar offerings, but I have personally found Paddlefish’s menu to be a better value than The Boathouse’s, which is strange, considering that Paddlefish’s ambiance gives it a more upscale feel.
All of that being said, I loved this dish so much during our March 2017 trip, I really wanted to have it again on our departure day, before we had to head to the airport for our evening flight.
This appetizer feels like a classic mid-century American dish, along the lines of ambrosia salad, a great casserole or a fine Jell-O mold. Basically, it’s a halved large avocado is overturned, to top a generous pile of fresh, perfectly-cooked lump crab meat. So, it’s like you lift the avocado to a reveal a crab surprise! The whole thing is topped with a homemade tarragon remoulade sauce and served with assorted pickles.
It’s a deceptively simple dish, but SO good – I’d definitely get it again.
Zucchini and Poblano Rajas Tostada
Frontera Cocina, Disney Springs
I never would have expected to love a vegetarian appetizer this much, but these tostadas are one of the best Mexican dishes I’ve ever had!
I love Mexican food and Chef Rick Bayless is my favourite “celebrity chef”, so it’s no surprise that this is one of my favourite restaurants at Walt Disney World, let alone at Disney Springs. It was our second time dining here and both times, every single dish was wonderful. But we both agreed that the best item on both visits was this Zucchini tostada.
It’s described on the menu as “Crispy tostadas, garlicky grilled squash with poblano rajas, fresh goat cheese, creamy black beans, pea shoots and frisée (contains dairy)”. The veggies are so fresh tasting, and it’s a symphony of textures. The flavours are so well-balanced, I could eat three orders of this appetizer and nothing else!
Shrimp & Grits
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Disney Springs
After Flying Fish, this was our second-favourite meal of our trip. It was our first time visiting Homecomin’, and after hearing and reading so many rave reviews, it did not disappoint.
There were SO many things on this menu we wanted to try. We decided to order a bunch of stuff and share it all. It was all soooooo good, including the Deviled Eggs, the Fried Green Tomatoes, the Braised Kale & Collards, and the Hush Puppies. We didn’t even get to taste the famous fried chicken and donuts – next time! But the dish that REALLY stood out was the Shrimp & Grits.
We both love this classic southern dish, so we try to order it whenever we see it on a menu, and they made a GREAT version at Homecomin’. It was described on the menu as, “Pan-seared shrimp with tomato gravy and Tasso ham served over creamy Bradley’s grits”. The grits were SO rich and warming, like a great bowl of polenta, and the shrimp were perfectly cooked without being overwhelmingly spicy.
We’ve since purchased a package of grits and we’ve recreated this dish at home – it was THAT good!
‘Ohana Bread Pudding à la mode
‘Ohana, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
‘Ohana is one of those restaurants that returning guests love to revisit! When booking my own and my clients’ dining reservations, it’s always one of the first reservations I’ll try to book, because it’s so popular – right up there with Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s and Cinderlla’s Royal Table. If you don’t have a dinner reservation for ‘Ohana a few months out, forget about it!
The All-You-Care-To-Enjoy dinner is a wonderful dining experience, where moist, tender meat and shrimp skewers, grilled over natural hardwood charcoal, are delivered to your table. If you’ve been to ‘Ohana before, it’s similar to trendy Brazillian steakhouses, or Churrascarias.
‘Ohana also has wonderful live music and from many tables, a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks!
We were both quite sick from a flu at this point in our vacation (especially me), so we were able to eat much less than we normally would have. I, myself was full after just a few bites of the delicious steak, chicken and shrimp, along with a small sampling of the appetizers.
But once the dessert arrived, all bets were off! Suddenly, my appetite returned with a vengeance. This bread pudding was unbelievably moist, and the Bananas Foster-esque caramel sauce put the whole dessert over the top. And on top of that, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream? Yowza! I still can’t believe we finished it.
This was absolutely the best dessert we had on this trip.
Ice Cream Flight
Ample Hills Creamery, Disney’s Boardwalk
This wonderful new ice cream parlour features over a dozen house-made varieties of ice cream. You can go in a get a little taste of the flavours before ordering, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably still be overwhelmed by the options.
For people like us, they offer the Ice Cream Flight, were you get six “small” scoops of any ice creams of your choice! We found that this was the perfect amount to share among two people, and it was very reasonably priced.
Here are the flavours we chose:
- PB Wins the Cup – Vanilla Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Chocolate flakes and House-made Peanut Butter Cups
- Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace – Dark Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream with Housemade Oatmeal Lace Cookies
- Baked/Unbaked – Vanilla Ice Cream with pieces of Housemade Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brown Butter Cookie Dough
Malty Salty Pretzel Punch – Vanilla Malted Ice Cream with Chocolate-covered Pretzel Pieces
Sweet Cream n’ Cookies – Sweet Cream Ice Cream with pieces of Back-To-Nature Sandwich Creme Cookies
Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (my personal favourite) – The creamiest Vanilla Ice Cream made with Cream Cheese and gobs of House-made St. Louis-Style Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. A staff favorite!