Good meals- based on taste not DDP or characters

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by AAmom, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. AAmom

    AAmom Earning My Ears

    Jan 20, 2013
    Need suggesstions- Been very frustrating trying to find realistic reviews in regards to food quality. Lots of stuff out there on where to get most bang for your buck on the DDP- but in the very same review, they tell you the food isnt really good at several of the places they just reccomended!! Most of the other reviews seemed to base reccomendations on "kid appeal". Chuck e cheese has kid appeal, but I dont want to eat dinner there while on vacation. I do have 2 toddlers tho, so I know I can't take them to a super fancy place, even if it is Disney. And I realize this is a very subjective topic. My travel agent was reccomending some place in Disney and she kept saying "wonderful, just wonderful". When asked what restaurant it compared to at home, she said Applebees. I dont think I am a food snob, and I have eaten at applebees, but I would never describe it as "wonderful, just wonderful". So I am looking for restaurant suggestions (sit down and QS) that are based on yummy food, better than applebees, but not as fancy as Mortons or Ruth Chris. Many thanks!
  2. IllinoisMommy

    IllinoisMommy Mouseketeer

    Mar 31, 2011
    My favorite meals were LTT, Yak amd Yeti and Mama Melrose. Kids meals are pretty standard at Disney places IMHO. At LTT (lunch) I had a wonderful salmon salad (was a daily special), Mama Melrose I had the mushroom flatbread (yummy if you like mushrooms) and a salad (also very good), Yak and Yeti I had Beef and Broccoli (good but could find it at many places outside of Disney). Loved the drink Yak Attack. My son had the steak and shrimp plate- looked very good and he loved it.

    Really we liked all the places we ate ate, except for 1900 Park Fare. Was willing to pay for the characters but that was poor quality too (too loud, brief time with them- I missed seeing my daugher with Cinderella, and food was just OK).
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  4. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    Breakfast at Kona Cafe is truly superb. Best coffee on property, too.
  5. DEA

    DEA DIS Veteran

    Apr 17, 2009
    Any of the signature restaurants (Citricos, Narcoossee's, Flying Fish, Jiko, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul, Hollywood Brown Derby, Yachtsman Steakhouse) would fit the bill nicely. It's going to be pricey, but the food quality will be better than Applebee's, definitely.

    Heading down the price scale, Sanaa at AKL-Kidani Village, Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom, Kouzzina on the Boardwalk, Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion in Epcot, and Chefs de France in the France Pavilion in Epcot put out some very good food, and although Tusker House does have characters at Breakfast and Lunch, the food stands on its own.

    For QS restaurants, Columbia Harbor House and Be Our Guest in MK do a very good job, as do Sunshine Seasons and Tangierine Café in Epcot, and Flame Tree BBQ in AK. I like Fairfax Fare in DHS, although many do not like any of the DHS offerings. Also, Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express at DTD are both good QS options.
  6. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

    Apr 26, 2007
    Kona, Olivia's, Boma, Jiko, Sanaa (if you like it), Artist's Point, Cali Grill, Citricos, Flying Fish (hit or miss sometimes), Pucks (all the time), Brown Derby, Chefs De France, both restaurants in Italy, rose and crown (if you like it), marrakesh (if you like it), biergarten (if you like it), Coral Reef (hit or miss), Garden Grill (really the only character menu that is good quality..some of the breakfasts are ok)...

    most of the "disney" oriented places are not very good...chef mickeys and cinderellas on the top of that list

    other highly overpriced/overrated are le cellier, narcoosees, yachtsman's, most of the places in Studios and Magic Kingdom...

    If you want a no-BS assessment of food quality - it has declined and many of the places sling variations on the same tired buffet or "chicken, steak, salmon" sitdown menus...sadly
  7. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    (I have never eaten at Applebees, so I can't compare and contrast that for you, nor have I eaten at Ruth's Chris or Morton's, for reasons that will become incredibly obvious in a moment...)

    Well, we're vegetarian, so that's the sort of item we order at any given restaurant. (you can look at menus here on or over on, by the way...sometimes there is a delay in updating a suddenly-changed menu, but they are as updated as they can be!)

    We are looking forward to our dinner at Sanaa, lunch at Brown Derby (their coconut tofu noodle bowl is scrumptious), lunch at Tusker House (mmmmm), and tea at the Garden View at Grand Floridian. Those are tried and true for us with table service.

    We do also love Kona for breakfast, but just don't have room for it in this trip. We have a few new places planned, and I hope I like them, but I don't know. hope hope hope!

    As for counter/quick service, we ADORE Sunshine Seasons in Epcot as well as Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom.

    Everything else I can think of, I either can't remember my feelings about it, or it was for treats, LOL. Beignets at Sassagoula at Port Orleans French Quarter, School Bread, Cloudberry Horn, and Berry Cream Puff at Kringla Bakeri og Cafe in Norway at Epcot....definite MUST dos for us. :)

    Oh wait, we really enjoyed the breakfast at Hollywood and Vine as well as Crystal Palace, but that's because we found the really decadent stuff there. And the cheese grits at H&V. :)

    We're trying Cinderella's Royal Table (only time we'll likely eat in the castle!) and Ohana for breakfast on this trip (DH loves Stitch and wants to dine with him)...I doubt if the food itself will be worth it (with all the Kringla goodies we want to eat we probably shouldn't indulge in breakfast-y decadence!), but those are more for experience than the actual food.
  8. rizzo0904

    rizzo0904 Mouseketeer

    Nov 10, 2007
    I often wonder If the Disney food is actually good or if it's people getting caught up in Disney magic. Would you actually eat at these places if they were in your hometown?
  9. nanhol

    nanhol Always counting down to the next trip!

    Aug 7, 2012
    In or out of Disney I prefer to avoid buffet meals because the quality is generally lacking and there's often a bit of an ick factor with kids (or ill-mannered adults) around a buffet--even at Disney. We have one buffet breakfast during our upcoming trip, and we'll be there at opening, hopefully it will be okay.

    Some of our other meals I am anticipating because I've heard good things about the quality: Yachtsman's Steakhouse, Kouzzina breakfast, Kona Cafe. The other meals are mostly about the atmosphere, with hopes that the food quality is decent (or at least okay): Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre, Ohana, Inn at San Angel and Coral Reef. Even if the food is rotten we'll remember these meals for the experience!
  10. showers2flowers

    showers2flowers Mouseketeer

    Sep 28, 2012
    Good question--one I've been thinking about. I've decided I probably would eat at most of the restaurants, but I would expect some of them to be cheaper considering the quality of the product. The only reason I found some of the pricing acceptable was because I expect a pretty big markup when vacationing in a resort situation.

    OTOH, I had a couple of meals that I would have been happy to pay more than what I did, regardless of location. Jiko comes to mind.

    There are definitely quality meals to be had, but yes, too often I feel like a lot of the positive reviews I see amount to basically, "wow, it didn't suck!"

    Better-than-Applebee's quality meals we had on our recent trip: Jiko (so much we ate there twice), Sanaa, Boma (dinner; I was not wowed by breakfast), and (surprisingly to me) Akershus. I'd even put the fish and chips in the UK pavilion in this category.

    Everything else was pretty much Applebees (or if you are familiar with Perkins, I'd compare to that as well, especially in terms of breakfasts) quality, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you realize that it comes with a significant markup that does not reflect an increase in quality of the meal. That sounds bad. What I mean is, if you are eating a TS meal in most establishments, expect it to cost about 1.5x to 2x what you would pay for the same food at Applebee's. Do not expect the meal to be 1.5x to 2x better than what you would get at Applebee's. It's still going to taste like Applebee's for the most part.

    Not bad, but we all know we wouldn't pay those prices if we weren't a captive audience. What it boils down to for me is convenience--my time is worth more than my money when I'm on vacation. Yeah, I may have paid a crazy price for that early morning character buffet. But I also probably saved 45 minutes that I don't have to spend waiting in line for characters later. And let's face it, the food is just fine, it's hot, and most importantly, I didn't have to cook it. Because of that, I don't mind paying the price.

    OP, FWIW, we took our six year old with us to Jiko twice. There were several other children in the restaurant dining with parents as well. All were very well behaved, and the restaurant had enough ambient noise that they were still able to chat, color, etc. without having to be constantly 'shushed' by parents. Other posters can probably talk about other signature dining establishments, but from what I've heard, except for V&A, you really don't need to rule out signature dining just because you have young kids.:)

    BEASLYBOO 2017, watch out!

    Oct 5, 2007
    Unfortunately cost and quality don't always go hand in hand at venues like Disney, Universal etc. Here's some of our favorites!

    Resort restaurants: OKW, Olivia's, SSR, The Turf CLub, BWV, Kouzinna, BLT, The Wave, AKV, Sanaa & Boma (the only buffet we still do), Yacht Club, Yachtman's Steak House, Dolphin, Bluezoo, Swan, Il Mulino on them ore pricy side!

    Theme Park Restaurants:

    Epcot: France, Lunch only, Les Chefs, or QS the Boulangerie/Patisserie (Now Les Halles), Morroco, Tangerine Cafe, Marrakesh, Canada, Le Cellier, Great Britain, The fish and chips shop, Norway, QS the Kringla Bakery Italy, Via Napoli

    MK. Love the new BOG for dinner, LTT for lunch only,

    DHS, Sci-Fi for lunch only, 50"s Prime Time, The Brown Derby,

    DTD: Love Raglans, Wolfgang Puck Express, T-Rex, House of Blues

    Sometimes we share entrees so that we can try appetizers etc., We've had delicious meals at all of these restaurants!
  12. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Kona Cafe at the Poly: it is really good food.
    Tusker House at AK: even though it is a buffet, again really good food.
    LTT at MK: Lunch and dinner were both winners with my family.
  13. Kwaschitz

    Kwaschitz Mouseketeer

    Jul 7, 2011
    I wouldn't call us food snobs, but we do tend to plan our park days based on our ADRs ;)

    Most of the world showcase restaurants fit the bill of being actually good food in addition to having good atmosphere. I think a lot of people reviewing them aren't basing this on the more "authentic" flavors (in quotation marks because we are still in the US and there are some modifications made for the American palate). For instance - I've seen people pan the restaurants in the Italy pavilion - some even going so far as to say that it's "not as good" as Olive Garden.

    I like San Angel - I grew up in southern NM eating food in the homes of many first generation Americans (the kids; the parents were born and raised in Mexico). I find the flavors to be fairly authentic but not quite as strong.

    Via Napoli is fantastic.

    I have only eaten at Nine Dragons once - it was good, but didn't make the list of "every trip."

    I can't speak to Teppan Edo, but Tokyo Dining for me was a bust. The sushi was fine, but not spectacular (for that Kona has a sushi bar with a couple of rolls that really knocked my socks off!)

    Les Chefs de France is very good and among our favorites (if nothing else the cheese platter is amazing!)

    Rose & Crown is a favorite - mostly for the potato leek soup that I still dream about (doesn't everyone??)

    At HS, we LOVE the food at Brown Derby. Seriously good.

    MK doesn't have much that the food alone would draw us. I like the food at Tony's (it's not spectacular, but it is good) and CRT (again, same review as Tony's) but for both of those it's the atmosphere that really does it.

    At AK - Yak & Yeti is good (though we had terrible service there) and the food at Tusker House is wonderful.

    Outside of the parks:

    Maya Grill is really good! LOVE it.
    Only did breakfast at Ohana (couldn't get in to Kona) but LOVE the bread there. The rest of the meal was just "ok" but that bread...I'll go back for that alone.
    Kona was always packed (we didn't make ADRs because we were staying there and figured if we were hungry maybe we'd get in...) but without an ADR, you can order anything off the Kona menu at the sushi bar just outside/in the lobby. We loved it so much that we actually saved snack credits for a sushi roll before bed most nights. If there was one here? I'd be there every couple of days. It's that good.
  14. JennaDeeDooDah

    JennaDeeDooDah My oh my what a wonderful day!

    Mar 29, 2012
    For me, it completely depends on the restaurant. We have restaurants close to our town that are very similar to Biergarten and Teppan Edo and we eat there. If we had a restaurant like Sci-Fi or 50's Prime Time, I would definitely eat there. I would not eat at a place like The Plaza, though. Nothing special about it. So basically, it is much less about the food and much more about the atmosphere.
  15. Itinkso

    Itinkso Faith.Trust.Pixie Dust

    Jul 15, 2004
    We eat at Applebee's once every five years and always wonder why we even bothered! :)
    If in our hometown, this is where we would eat:
    Wolfgang Puck Express on a weekly basis
    bluezoo for a special occasion
    Jiko for a special occasion
    Sanaa when the desire for curry or naan bread and dip arises
    Kouzzina for breakfast
    Turf Club for lamb chops because I've never attempted to cook lamb
  16. ErinsMommy

    ErinsMommy And though she be but little, she is fierce.

    Apr 20, 2011
    Yachtsman and Plaza were our favorites and we would eat at either if it was in our hometown.
  17. Tinker'n'Fun

    Tinker'n'Fun Apple peaches pumpkin pie, not ready holler "I"

    Mar 27, 2005
    In the parks:

    MK: LTT Lunch only. Very good home cooking food. From pot roast to salads to a good burger.

    AK: Yak and Yeti: lunch and or dinner. CS or TS. Yes, TS is much better but the CS is very good. Sweet and sour chicken with fresh green peppers and pineapple, plus many more.

    HS: I would go to any of the restaurants. They are all good as in Applebees, TGIF's. None are superb, but all our very, very good.

    EPCOT: Any restaurant. Seriously, we have never had a bad meal. Find the menus and pick what you want. Even a bad meal is a good meal (hope that makes sense.

    Best Breakfast: Sit Down: Kona - Buffet: Boma

    Lunch/Dinner sitdown: Grand Floridian Cafe - Buffet: Boma again, and for more Americanized food: Ohana (now I did not like this restaurant, but I truly believe it was me being overtired and unhungry). I know the potential is there.

    I didn't put any Signature restaurants because they are all good on their own merits. Some better than others, but I believe you can get a really good meal with a lower price than them. If money is no option, again look at the menus and GO. You shouldn't be disappointed.

    The only meals that I would put believe your neighborhood TGIF's might be CS at the resorts. It has always been hit/miss for us.

    Have fun planning.
  18. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    For the ones I mentioned as being places we like going to, YES. Absolutely. But remember, I'm not talking about the whole menu, but the vegetarian options. They might very well have horrible food for omnivores.

    One of the things that makes me glad I'm not living in Orlando is that I would have the need to eat at my fave restaurants all the time and that would never go along with my weight-loss efforts. It's best to keep them across the country, LOL.

    I guess I don't know why you don't trust people reviewing things. We're all coming from our own tastes, our own backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and if you read a review, take it as face value. If I say the coconut tofu is marvelous, why not believe that that's how I feel? (and DH too, and now our food costs have gone up because DS tried thai food and LOVED it, and that dish is close to Thai without the spice, and I think we'll be paying for an adult dish for DS instead of the grilled cheese this time, LOL)

    If I don't like something, it doesn't matter *where* I am. We had the fabulous opportunity to eat at Club 33, and one of the things that people RAVE over was something that was definitely not to my liking.

    And I think a lot of people here on the Dis are the same way in terms of telling the truth.
  19. Paradise18

    Paradise18 DIS Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    Absolutely agree with the above statement. I also love Via Napoli. Their pizza is fantastic, IMO. I am hoping to convince DH to eat there twice this summer.
  20. Masonmj84

    Masonmj84 DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2011
    All of the signatures I've eaten at totally blow Applebee's out of the water (they'd better for the prices charged, even considering it's WDW) and, in that regard, it's laughable to even put them in the same sentence. I've eaten at 7 of the and would rank them:

    1. Artist Point
    2. California Grill
    3. Jiko
    4. Flying Fish
    5. Citricos
    6. Yachtsman
    7. Hollywood Brown Derby

    I've eaten at 3 Epcot table service restaurants and would rank these as:
    1. Via Napoli
    2. Chefs de France
    3. Coral Reef

    The first two of these are also significantly better than Applebees (from a pure taste perspective, Via Napoli is, IMO, arguably better than Brown Derby, even though Brown Derby uses more expensive ingredients). Coral Reef is somewhat better than Applebees, but, IMO, not by a lot (I'd compare it to an average to somewhat below average Red Lobster).

    The only other in-park table service lunch/dinner I've eaten at is 50's Prime Time. Taste-wise, I'd put this in the same ballpark as Chefs de France, although the style of food is completely different and I think the quality at Chefs de France is somewhat higher (the best comparision to 50's PT outside WDW would be an above-average Cracker Barrel).

    I've eaten at three character breakfast buffets, Crystal Palace, Tusker House, and Cape May. From a food quality perspective, all three are very close (would probably give a slight edge to Tusker House) and come close to what you'd get at a mid-priced (e.g., $20ish) but not higher end Vegas breakfast buffet (i.e., don't go in expecting Wynn or Bellagio).

    I've also eaten breakfast at CRT, which although it's more expensive, doesn't have, IMO, as good of offerings as any of the above breakfast buffets (the pastries are pretty good but everything else isn't much better than IHOP/Denny's quality IMO).

    Finally, I've eaten at 'Ohana a couple times. I think the food here is quite tasty (I actually enjoy the experience better than at least a couple of the signature restaurants) but I've always had ADRs when the restaurant opened at 5 pm and, in that regard, have never experienced the dry meat or poor service that some complain about. The best comparision, style-wise, is probably to a Brazilian steakhouse and, if you're used to eating at one of the higher end chains (e.g., Fogo de Chao, etc.) you may come away disappointed (the meat offerings at 'Ohana, while tasty, are not on the same quality level). In any event, I've found it to be light years better than Applebees.
  21. topmonkeygirl

    topmonkeygirl DIS Veteran

    Sep 24, 2008
    Here are some of our favs.

    50's Prime Time - Authentic southern fried chicken, I'm a Southerner so I should know.
    Sci Fi - Burgers, onion rings, and milkshakes are awesome. I wouldn't stray from that.
    Hollywood and Vine breakfast - One of my fav breakfast, and I have no idea who the character are I just like the breakfast there.
    Akershus - Breakfast is really good, and character interaction is wonderful.
    Tuskar House - Breakfast awesome, characters awesome. Not just standard buffet breakfast but has some African inspired foods.
    Flame Tree BBQ - Out of this world BBQ.
    Rainforest Cafe' - Food is good, service is slow, but there's plenty for the kids to look at.
    Crystal Palace - One of DH's fav breakfast places, I think it's just O.K. Character interaction is terrific.
    Cindy's Table - The new menu is worth the price, and princess' are great.
    Whispering Canyon Cafe' - Great breakfast, and the antics are worth the trip.
    Kona lunch - Wonderful fish tacos and sticky wings, some of the best service we've had in all of Disney. (we've been to Artist Point, Narcoossee's, Le Cellier, Yachtman, and Cali Grill)
    Ohauna - breakfast great character interaction, food was good and hot.
    Liberty Tree Tavern - Love, love, love the food. Good service, quick, didn't want for anything.
    Columbia Harbour House - is one of our fav quick service location. Food is much better than most.
    Boma - Another place that is worth traveling to for breakfast. This is mine and my DH's fav breakfast places to go to. Kind of like Tuskar as far as the African inspired foods go but more dishes to choose from. Go a little or stay and linger after the meal to check out the resort. Great gift shop, beautiful lobby, animals to look at, and art work to check out.

    There's my 2 cents, hope it helps.

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