Review: Dinner at The Boathouse in Disney Springs
Boathouse drinks? Been there. Boathouse raw bar? Done that. Watch the Amphicar launch? Check. Yep, I’ve been to The Boathouse more than a few times. The Dockside bar is a great place to unwind with a drink overlooking the waterways that connect Disney Springs with the nearby Resorts.
Inside, I’ve sat at the bar after a long hot day in the Parks to order some of the restaurant’s famed fresh oysters. I was able to watch a big sporting event on the flatscreens that hang overhead. In fact, when it comes to the new-era Disney Springs restaurants, I’d have to say the Boathouse is the one I’ve frequented the most. This is why it’s hard to believe that I haven’t had a meal at the restaurant until my most recent visit!
When sitting down to make reservations for my most recent visit to the Resort (180 days in advance!), I did something that was long overdue…I made a dinner reservation for the Boathouse! I’d been to the restaurant on three separate occasions for appetizers and drinks, but never for a ful- blown meal! Since I had been here before, I knew exactly where I wanted to sit when I arrived- outside on the docks!
Your Table is Ready
You can sit outside at the bar without a reservation. The tables that sit on the true floating docks in the middle of the open water is where we initially sat. I was really excited to be sitting in the middle of the busy waterway. We were just about to place our drink order when a breeze rocked the docks severely. My family and I immediately asked to be relocated to a table near the outdoor bar. So unless you’re looking for a nauseating meal, ask to be seated at the Dockside bar, NOT the docks themselves.
Once we were settled at a much more stationary table, the ordering began! The evening was gorgeous with a light breeze, and sitting outside along the water is the perfect setting for the Boathosue. In fact, that water-side setting of the Boathouse makes its themeing seem as though it is the most perfectly planned and executed of any restaurant on property.
The menu is full of fresh seafood offerings and even includes a menu featuring fish that has been caught that very same day; pair the fresh menu with the on-the-water seating, and you’re immediately transported from Central Florida to New England’s most active fishing town!
So Many Options at the Boathouse
I could have sat out at the bar all night long enjoying the views, but nudges from my hungry family made me hurry up my ordering process. Since I was at the Boathouse I couldn’t not order seafood, so I opted for the mixed greens salad and added salmon. My mom placed an order for fried clam strips and hand cut fries. I was glad my dad decided to break the seafood trend by ordering a burger. In fact, I almost ordered it myself and would have to steal a few bites! I mean, I had to sample some for the purposes of this article, of course…
Before I get to the meal proper, I have to pause and talk about an unexpected treat. The rolls. At first glance, the 6 little dinner rolls look pretty average sitting on a plate next to a metal cup of butter and I passed the plate without even considering eating one until I heard my mother- through a carb-loaded mouth- say ‘wow’. After she’d managed to swallow, she told me to ‘DEFINITELY try one; with the butter!’.
Since I know my mom wouldn’t make a big deal out of an average roll, I obliged. Within about 5 minutes, we were ordering seconds! The soft, warm, pillowy rolls basically collapse when you bite into them. I mean that in the best way. They were served so warm that whatever semi-sweet glaze is brushed on top had seeped through the top. It actually penetrated the underlying soft center.
Thank goodness the food didn’t take long to come or I probably would have ordered rounds 3 and 4 of those rolls. The burger, clams, and fish on my salad were absolutely searing hot when our waiter brought them to the table. My mix greens salad came topped with grilled pineapple, marinated feta cheese, macadamia nuts, and a pineapple dressing. A surprisingly generous cut of freshly cooked salmon sat on top of it all, and with an ingredient list that eclectic, I wasted no time digging in.
The sweetness and slightly charred flavors coming from the grilled pineapple made the entire dish. It contrasted the naturally bitter flavor and crunchy texture of the greens. The juice from the pineapple did such a great job of covering every ingredient in the salad. I didn’t have to add a single drop of dressing. The salmon was cooked as it should have been, and while it was tasty, wasn’t anything outstanding.
My mom’s clams were also served very hot, and I really liked the presentation- for me, it brought back memories of ordering clam strip buckets on the Jersey Shore. It’s obvious that the strips are house-battered and fried because the batter is not only light, it was applied in a ratio that was tailored to the cut of the clam strips.
My mom really enjoyed the strips, nut when I asked to taste one, the fishy flavor was over powering and I wasn’t able to enjoy that house-made batter as I’d hoped. I don’t think I’d be able to eat an entire order of these myself, yet my mom really liked them! To each his own.
Lastly, I had to try my dad’s burger. He ordered it cooked to medium temperature, and I the restaurant definitely delivered him with a true medium burger. That was a win in his (and my) book since more often than not, Walt Disney World restaurants tend to overcook their burgers.
The burger patty itself was juicy, charred on the outside, and very flavorful. The hand-cut fries that came with it though really stole the show. They are lightly fried yet very crispy and tossed in a perfect amount of seasalt. They leave your mouth watering for the next one before you’ve even swallowed!
After dinner, the sun had set on our lovely outdoor meal, and we decided to pay and take a walk before we left Disney Springs. My family is always game for a post-dinner drink when we’re on vacation, and when none of us could think of a more perfect place to than along the water, we went back to the Boathouse and requested our very same waterfront table!
We ordered a round (I got the blueberry-studded vodka/lemonade and would highly recommend it) and drank in the last night of our vacation as slowly as we drank our cocktails. Overall, I would recommend the Boathouse for dinner.
It’s a great place to bring restless kids. Get one of the tables along the water and ask them to count the number of boats and Amphicars they see. Or have them draw the beautiful waterfront view of Saratoga Springs to keep them engaged before the food comes. The menu is expansive to accommodate everyone from fans of fish to adamant landlubbers. The burger is proof that even their signature dishes are up to par!
What Say You?
So, will you check out The Boathouse on your next trip? Comment below to let me know, I’d love to hear about your experience!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer thrilled to be a part of your Disney vacation planning! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!