Here at Wandering in Disney we take dining seriously. The misconception that theme park food all has to be the same fried food every time has slowly changed but that was a small piece of why this blog came into existence. I’ve spent a good amount of time writing dining reviews and ranking restaurants. Almost all of those posts have included some thoughts on the atmosphere and value that the restaurant has. I thought it might be interesting (and hoping it is!) to simplify things and just write about the very best meals I’ve had at Walt Disney World.
There’s no denying that service, atmosphere and value play a crucial role in a dining experience. But all of that can be washed away when the food is unbelievable. It’s no surprise that many of the meals on this list match my table-service restaurant rankings. Likewise, I don’t think it’s shocking that there aren’t many counter-service spots on the list. While there are plenty of solid options, it’s no secret that the quality of food tends to go up with table-service restaurants.
One last thing to note before we get to the list. There are a few meals on here that I’ve returned to and they haven’t been as good. I’ll try to make note of that when writing about them. I don’t dine at these places enough to know if I got really lucky one time or unlucky the other time. Obviously, a restaurant should be consistent and most of these places are consistently good. There is a thin line between a very good and great meal though and, with all things that are opinion based, your mileage may vary. Let’s get to my favorite meals at Walt Disney World!
Victoria & Albert’s (Grand Floridian Hotel)
It’s no surprise that the most expensive restaurant at Walt Disney World also offers the best food. The plating and presentation alone is spectacular here and the complexities of flavor is at an entirely different level than anywhere else on property. That isn’t a knock to everywhere else, Victoria & Albert’s is just that impressive. With an ever changing multi-course (at least 7 courses) menu, there wasn’t a stand out dish to me but rather an expertly crafted meal where the previous item compliments the next.
California Grill – Brunch at the Top (Contemporary Resort)
The California Grill Brunch combines a buffet consisting of sushi, salads, meats and cheeses with heartier breakfast and lunch entrees. While the whole experience is sublime, the food is some of the very best in Walt Disney World. The sushi is high quality and the entrees are delightful, especially the Steak and Eggs. Unfortunately, the brunch hasn’t reopened with the restaurant but I’m guessing over time it will return.
Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian)
It’s been a few years since I’ve experienced dinner at Narcoossee’s but two things stick with me. The first being the very fresh and delicious lobster. This ended up being the best seafood I’ve had at Walt Disney World. The second part of the meal I distinctly remember is the Corn Soufflé, which was perfect home cookin’ goodness. Narcoossee’s menu, like most restaurants, has changed through the pandemic but it’s hard to go wrong with seafood here.
One of the lone counter-service restaurants on the list is a favorite among Disney World fans. Sitting in the Morocco Pavilion, Tangierine Café offers better food than the table-service restaurant in the same pavilion. Honestly, it offers better food than most table-service restaurants. The Shawarma Lamb Platter is delicious, full of flavor and a gigantic plate of food. The wraps are also good. We’ll see if the restaurant can maintain its quality after reopening and the pavilion changes sponsors. As for now, it’s an incredible place to eat.
Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village)
It’s no surprise but Sanaa is on this list for one reason – the bread service. There are other quality options on the menu that are certainly enjoyable but the bread service is one of the best single items in all of Walt Disney World. Coming with five different Naan Breads and nine different sauces to dip them in, sharing this is one of the most fun food experiences at WDW. Although I wouldn’t judge you if you just get it all for yourself too.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Disney Springs)
I’m not against some good, old fashioned southern cooking and boy does Homecomin’ deliver on that. The real reason that this restaurant makes the list is because of the Fried Chicken & Doughnuts. I love fried chicken and this is some of the best anywhere, juicy with a little bit of powdered sugar on top to add a touch of sweetness. The doughnuts are a nice accessory but it’s really the chicken that shines through. All of the sides we’ve tried are also fantastic. It may not be like much else on this list but Homecomin’ is full of wonderful comfort food.
The latest addition to the list is from the Riviera’s counter-service restaurant. We adored the breakfast here, both the Lemon Blueberry Pancakes and the Croque Madame. The pancakes are fresh and plump, a perfect sweet breakfast. The Croque Madame is a little more inventive and a heavier dish but no less delicious. Both items are among the best breakfast (not just counter-service) options I’ve had at WDW.
There are loads of other options to include on this list but I have to cap it somewhere! I plan to add to it over the years but clue me in on restaurants and items I’m missing in the comments.
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Categories: Restaurant Reviews
The signature restaurant Takumi-Tei in Epcot was terrific. And expensive, and did not take Disney Dining Plan when I was there in Feb. 2020. I wish it would come back.
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That one is definitely on my list to try if and when it comes back.
I’m dreaming of Sanaa’s bread service!