One of the things I look forward to the most when going to Disney World is dining at the incredible array of restaurants found at its four parks and hotels. Although all the ones I’ve eaten at (and I’ve eaten at many over the years) had their own merits and charms, I decided to list my top five in no particular order.
San Angel Inn (Epcot’s World Showcase)
This is one restaurant that I’ve eaten at on just about every visit to Disney World. When I was younger, my brother and I were each allowed to pick a restaurant and following the summer I spent in Mexico as a teenager the San Angel Inn was always my choice. Its location inside the Mexico pavilion (which is situated inside of a recreated Mesoamerican pyramid) is phenomenal. Located at the lagoon’s edge on the promenade, the setting makes for an intimate meal. (The restaurant is billed as a top spot for a romantic meal.) While the menu does feature your typical “Mexican” cuisine such as tacos and nachos, it also features more exotic fare that includes mole poblano (grilled chicken breast served over a bed of chicken morsels, carrots, chayote chiles, with the classic sauce of spices and a hint of chocolate) and sirloin con chile relleno (grilled beef sirloin with chile ancho sauce, served with beans and cheese stuffed pepper, poblano rice and fried plantains).
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot’s World Showcase)
I’ve only dined here once but it was a fantastic experience. Although my parents and I were a bit hesitant over an entirely Norwegian meal (thoughts of there being nothing but herring consumed us), we were pleasantly surprised by the endless bounty of delicious offerings. Akershus does offer a Disney princess character breakfast; however, I recommend eating at lunch or dinner where you can partake in the Royal Feast, an all you can eat buffet. Selections include deli meats, salads, and cheeses as well as entrees like fresh poached cod, braised beef short ribs, venison stew and a multitude of dessert options. The best though was a miniature viking ship made entirely out of chocolate.
The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast-1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian Hotel)
There is no shortage of character breakfast options at Walt Disney World, but the one held at the Grand Floridian Hotel is perhaps my favorite. As its name denotes, it’s hosted by Mary Poppins along with Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, and friends. The restaurant itself is elegant and the highlight of the decor is undoubtedly Big Bertha, a band organ built in Paris over a century ago which sits 15 feet above the floor in a proscenium. Breakfast selections are standard, although they are a bit more upscale than at other character breakfasts which is no surprise considering that the Grand Floridian at Disney World was modeled after a a grand 19th century hotel in the Orange State.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano (Hollywood Studios)
I think of Italian food as offering “reliable comfort” for one’s stomach and Mama Melrose’s does exactly that. Flatbreads are the specialty at Mama Melrose’s and are prepared in a wood-burning oven along with pasta, grilled fish, and vegetarian options that also grace the menu. The real winners are the items found on the dessert menu, which include crema limone-lemon custard topped with with fresh whipped cream and berries, and honey-hazelnut and ricotta cheesecake.
Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
I’ve only eaten here for lunch but had a terrific meal. The Liberty Tree Tavern is colonial themed (decor that looks like it belongs at Colonial Williamsburg graces the walls and rooms) and its menu features dishes that complement it such as New England clam chowder, New England pot roast, and the pilgrim’s feast which includes traditional roast turkey and herb bread dressing, mashed potatoes, and a garden vegetable. (Dinner is an all-you-can-eat buffet.)
Note: All of the restaurants feature a children’s menu. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance at most Walt Disney World sit-down restaurants.
|San Angel Inn-image courtesy of makinmemoriesphotoblog.com|