What are the best restaurants at Walt Disney World? That question has stirred up many fun and spirited arguments over the years among foodies and Disney fans alike. Of course Disney has some amazing restaurants led by the most talented chefs in the world, and it's nearly impossible to carve them down to 10. For instance, we could have written a top 10 list just for the endless, gourmet buffets and lively Character Dining experiences, but we'll have to get to those another day. Here's our list below of our favorite fine-dining restaurants on Disney property that give diners a little something special: whether it's an incredible atmosphere, a first-time flavor, a culinary masterpiece or an unforgettable experience. Feel free to message us on Facebook with your own favorites, and we're happy to indulge in one of our favorite topics with you.
1. Victoria and Albert's
This special-occasion restaurant is the only in town to receive the AAA five-diamond rating. Chef Scott Hunnel presents a 7-course dinner with wine pairings. You'll fork out a few hundred bucks for dinner, but I recommend that everyone does it at least once. Not only will you have a memorable meal, you'll have the most thoughtful service with special touches like a long-stem red rose, homemade breakfast bread for the next morning and a commemorative, personalized menu. Some of the menu favorites are the Beluga caviar, the jumbo lump crab with cucumber gelée, the masago-crusted Maine scallop with coconut curry broth and the Palmetto Farms Quail with Asian pears and Serrano ham jus. The coffee service is extra special, so at least order the decaf. The coffee brews at the table in a Cona glass vacuum pot for the richest and purest of flavors.
2. Flying Fish
This dressy-casual bistro at Disney's Boardwalk has a great atmosphere with a fresh menu. Start with a nice glass of wine—the knowledgeable staff can make a thoughtful suggestion—and the artisanal cheese plate of Manchego, Point Reyes Blue and Comté. The roasted heirloom beets with Vermont goat cheese, spiced pecans, citrus and young greens are also a nice place to start. Continue down a lighter path with the Idaho potato-wrapped red snapper and leek fondue or finish big with the popular angus New York Strip. Both sound good? No worries, they actually can come as a dynamic duo for $47.
3. Morimoto Asia
Goodbye Downtown Disney, hello Disney Springs. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened his first pan-Asian restaurant at Disney Springs. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the dramatic dining room or sit upstairs in the sushi bar or the chic Forbidden Lounge for small bites. Start with some Dim Sum like the steamed boa with pork belly and move on to the sticky ribs. Order the Peking Duck to share, which comes with steamed flour pancakes, apricot sweet chili and hoisin miso. The celebrity restaurant also employs the area's only saki sommelier.
Any of the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants (Boma and Jiko included) could have made the top 10, but Sanaa edges them out for atmosphere. While the property's extraordinary Jambo House is certainly worth a visit, Sanaa, which is tucked away at the smaller Kidani Lodge, just feels more private and intimate. Take a peek outside at the giraffes and zebras on the savanna then head over to Sanaa where you'll experience African cooking with Indian flavors. Dishes here are moderately priced (entrées from $16.99), and include items like butter chicken and tandoori shrimp cooked in flavors that reward the taste buds. You can also make a meal out of the naan with up to nine accompaniments like the coriander chutney, roasted red bell pepper hummus, spicy jalapeño-lime pickle and tamarind chutney.
5. Le Cellier
While this cozy dining room tucked into the cellar at the Canada Pavilion at Epcot is known for its steak, a meal can be made from the side items alone. The poutine fries are out-of-this-world good with toppings like Canadian cheddar, black truffle and red-wine reduction or soft-poached egg, heirloom tomato jam, applewood-smoked bacon and micro arugula. Those paired with the Canadian cheddar cheese soup, and you've found a plate of heaven.
6. Yachtsman Steakhouse
This restaurant is often overlooked but is worth a visit at Disney's Yacht Club Resort at the Boardwalk. High-quality, grain-fed beef is served in a handsome, New England-style dining room. Whether you prefer a Porterhouse, a New York strip, a rib-eye or prime rib, you'll be served a perfectly cooked and flavorable cut of meat with amazing sides like the truffle macaroni and cheese and fire-roasted corn with queso fresco.
7. La Hacienda de San Angel
Another Epcot selection, this choice doesn't get the hype it deserves. Most diners head straight inside the San Angel Inn or the counter-service restaurant outside and miss this gem that overlooks the World Showcase lake. There's only one way to start here: tequila. If you're feeling adventurous, order the premium tequila flight or taste the Florida-inspired orange mango fire margarita with mango puree, fresh lime juice and a Tajin chili powder rim. Try the braised shorts ribs, served with potato puree and chile de árbol sauce or the fried shrimp tacos with chipotle-lime aioli, cabbage, lime and salsa verde. Time dessert for the 9 pm fireworks show out your window.
Some Disney executives actually claim this is their favorite restaurant and not Victoria and Albert's next door. The chef at this Grand Floridian restaurant presents vibrant Mediterranean-style dishes in a lively atmosphere reminiscent of the Old World with its wrought-iron railings and mosaic-tiled floors. Favorites include crispy risotto, sautéed shrimp, braised veal shank, pan-roasted chicken and oak-grilled filet of beef served with whatever ingredients are in season.
9. California Grill
True to its name, you'll find the best West Coast flavors here with one big bonus: a stunning view of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom's fireworks. Solid starters are the heirloom tomato BLT flatbread, house-made charcuterie or the Sonoma goat-cheese ravioli. Innovative sushi is also offered like the pork-belly nigiri with spicy teriyaki and the medusa roll with Florida soft-shell crab and asparagus. Kids are entertained with fresh options like lettuce wraps with hummus, beef tenderloin with ketchup sauce, fruit kabobs with yogurt dip and chocolate pudding with Nutella. If you can't get a reservation, take a seat at the lounge.
10. Monsieur Paul's
This restaurant in the France Pavilion at Epcot is truly memorable. The views of the lake and the fireworks are second only to the amazing cuisine, served by a French-born chef. The soupe aux truffes are worth the splurge with the delicate flavor of black truffles with savory vegetables, oxtail and a puff pastry. The grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom crust and Bordelaise sauce is cooked to perfection, but save room for the Grand Marnier soufflé.