Tasty Treat Tuesday – Top Romantic Dining Spots at Walt Disney World
Welcome back to Tasty Treat Tuesday here at MickeyBlog.com!
With Valentine’s Day less than 24 hours away, I thought we should take a detour from our standard Tasty Treat Tuesday feature to discuss some of the romantic dining options available at Walt Disney World. As we know, the goal of Tasty Treat Tuesday is to feature options that extend TO INFINITY AND … BEYOND those classic well-loved and iconic treats. With that goal in mind, today I would like to feature my top Romantic Dining Spots at Walt Disney World.
First – we are going to address the elephant in the room … there are five very obvious restaurants that are featured on EVERY list you will find for romantic dining at Walt Disney World. They are listed for a reason – immersive theming, good food, and a bit of Disney magic to make each meal memorable. I am not going to ignore them, because they truly are worthy of a spot on the list and worth a try. But let’s face it – these options are popular – because they are on EVERY list. And because of those lists – EVERY person wants to dine there. And unless you (or your Disney Travel Agent) are waking up at the crack of dawn on that 180 day dining window to make your reservation, you are likely to have a harder time finding a reservation at one of these locations at a normal dinner time. But don’t despair – the one thing I love about Walt Disney World is the magnitude of options available for every diner! That’s why I love to share what I find each week with you!
So, today I am going to list those classic “Top 5” romantic dining spots at Walt Disney World. AND – I am also going to provide my Tasty Treat Tuesday alternative for where to enjoy that same touch of Disney magic! So, grab your bottle of champagne and a bouquet of roses and join me on a romantic journey for food, fun, and magic!
ICONIC: VICTORIA & ALBERT’S
Before I share my list, I am going to address the granddaddy of all romantic dining at Walt Disney World – Victoria and Albert’s. This is a AAA Five Diamond award recipient since 2000 which offers a dining experience like no other at Walt Disney World. If you have the pocketbook to take your sweetheart to Victoria and Albert’s – I applaud you. There is no other comparison and I am not going to even try to offer an alternative option. Go for it and let me know what you think in the comments below! I’m still saving up my quarters to visit this one!
CLASSIC #1: BE OUR GUEST RESTAURANT
TASTY TREAT ALTERNATIVE: SAN ANGEL INN RESTAURANTE
Tucked away in Magic Kingdom’s fantasyland, is Be Our Guest Restaurant. Themed after the Beast’s castle from the movie Beauty and the Beast, it offers three highly imagined dining rooms from the classic movie. If you find yourself so fortunate, you can dine in The Grand Ballroom next to the windows and watch it “snow outside.” It truly is magical, whimsical and romantic! However, if you manage to find yourself tucked into the West Wing where the room rumbles with thunder and pictures magically transform from Prince to Beast, your sweetheart may not find the accommodations quite so dreamy. Featuring approachable french-inspired menu selections, the food will be tasty, but not overly memorable. If looking for romantic dining, is more about theming and experience at this spot than the food itself.
But if you are truly looking for romantic atmosphere and immersive theming, why not stop by the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase? Themed to depict an outdoor marketplace at night, the Mexico Pavilion is one of my favorites for charm and romance and San Angel Inn Restaurante is the key focal point. It is always twilight at this enchanting restaurant which serves Mexican cuisine under the soft fiery glow of Mayan Ruins. Request a seat by the river’s edge for the best views. After dinner, snuggle with your loved one on the boat ride just beyond the restaurant.
CLASSIC #2: CINDERELLA’S ROYAL TABLE
TASTY TREAT ALTERNATIVE: SCI-FI DINE-IN THEATER
Probably the second most popular restaurant in all of Walt Disney World is Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. This signature restaurant offers a character meal experience with Disney Princesses … inside Cinderella Castle … with views of the Happily Ever After fireworks from its antique glass windows. It really has the best of everything Disney has to offer in terms of romance – characters, atmosphere, magic, and memories.
Sci-fi Dine-in theater gets my pick as a Tasty Treat alternative because it brings back a nostalgia of a time when dating and romance was so much simpler. The interior of this Hollywood Studios restaurant is literally a 50’s-style drive-in “theater” which features classic burgers, shakes, and the silliest sci-fi movie clips. Who hasn’t dreamed of having a classic date snuggling in the back of a 50’s pink Cadillac with your sweetie while sipping a vanilla milkshake? Two straws please!
CLASSIC #3: JIKO – THE COOKING PLACE
TASTY TREAT ALTERNATIVE: SANAA
Some Disney Resorts have one great table service restaurant – or maybe two. But Animal Kingdom Lodge offers three – yes three – of my absolute favorite table service restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. We’ve featured Boma in a prior Tasty Treat post for their popular Zebra Domes. But if you want exotic food and atmosphere, the other two restaurants are both top notch!
Jiko – The Cooking Place arguably offers the best food and service of the classic “Top 5”. Romantic food should be decadent, fragrant, and tantalize all of the senses. Jiko – The Cooking Place satisfies all of these with its wood-burning ovens serving richly spiced and fragrant African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. The Oak Grilled Filet served with mac n’ cheese is a popular guest favorite and the primary reason this restaurant tops so many lists for “best of the best.” But for the more adventurous eater, I much prefer the Botswana-Style beef short rib with cassava-potato puree or the Bo Kaap Malay Seafood Curry with lobster, calimari, red shrimp, mussels, coconut curry sauce and saffron rice.
Just steps away from Jiko is Sanaa – offering offers comparable African cooking with Indian flavors to its more expensive neighbor. The most popular dish is the Indian Style Bread Service with five different types of breads and accompaniments such as Red Chile Sambal, chutneys, spicy pickles, roasted red pepper hummus, and tomato-date jam. Intended to share, this tantalizing starter will stir the senses and entice the palette. What Sanaa offers that Jiko cannot match is the view! Expansive glass windows curve around the length of the restaurant offering gorgeous Savanna views of the exotic animals roaming the exterior of Animal Kingdom Lodge. This restaurant is best enjoyed for lunch or an early dinner where daylight enlightens a world of magic where gazelles, zebras, giraffes, kudu, ostriches, cranes roam as you dine.
CLASSIC #4: LE CELLIER STEAKHOUSE
TASTY TREAT ALTERNATIVE: THE BOATHOUSE
Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase caught fever as good “bang for your buck” when it originally opened as a 1 table service credit on the Disney dining plan. Even though it is now a more appropriately priced 2 credit signature restaurant, guests still flock to this spot for its classic Canadian cheddar cheese soup, mushroom filet mignon, and maple crème brûlée. Themed as a wine cellar inside a Canadian Chateau, this restaurant features soft candlelight and rich stone walls – the perfect atmosphere for romantic dining. However, in an effort to provide as many guests as possible the enjoyment of this restaurant, the tables of late have sometimes become a bit too cozy. Guests looking to have a private conversation with their sweetie may instead find themselves chatting with their neighbor…. so beware.
The Boathouse was one of the earliest restaurants to open in the newly re-imagined Disney Springs. But it has quickly grown a following for those looking for a classic dining option with delightful service and gorgeous waterfront views. Instead of Canadian-inspired fare, we find ourselves enjoying Florida’s best version of surf and turf at The Boathouse. USDA-certified Gibsons Blue Star Heritage Angus Beef, a raw bar with Oysters on the half shell, and key lime pie to finish. Or, for the ultimate splurge – try the Boathouse Signature S’mores Baked Alaska!
CLASSIC #5: CALIFORNIA GRILL
TASTY TREAT ALTERNATIVE: MORIMOTO ASIA
Located at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill features California cuisine. Known for its hand-rolled sushi and artisanal flatbreads, this restaurant offers a satisfying meal. But guests consistently return for the atmosphere over the food. Floor to ceiling glass windows offering views of Magic Kingdom places this spot as a top romantic dining location. If you time it right, you can watch Happily Ever After fireworks from your table as music from the show is pumped into the restaurant.
With the reimagining of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, new restaurants seem to pop up each month with tantalizing menus created by celebrity chefs. My favorite alternative to California Grill is Morimoto Asia. The restaurant’s towering two-story interior features 20 foot long crystal chandeliers, private dining spaces, and a Shanghai-influences lounges. Featuring pan-asian cuisine from Chef Morimoto of Iron Chef America, this signature dining experience offers sushi, dim sum, and entrees that will delight the senses and the palate. The food is perfect for sharing … decadent Peking Duck, spare ribs, and rock shrimp tempura. But my top pick is the Morimoto “Buri-Bop” rice bowl of korean style yellowtail which is served in a piping hot clay pot, finished with egg yolk and prepared table-side.
HONORABLE MENTION: FLAME TREE BARBECUE
Not all restaurants have to be “fancy” to be romantic. Flame Tree Barbecue, located in Animal Kingdom, is a guest favorite for its tasty barbecue eats. Most guests grab their plate and head to one of the nearby covered pavilions just steps away from the counter service restaurant. But for those seeking a bit of solitude and romance, take the off-the-beaten path down through the jungle. You will find the most amazing spots for dining tucked around Discover River that most guests never even knew existed!
How did I do? Did your favorite spot make the list? Let me know in the comments below!
I am a self-professed Disney foodie who loves planning Disney vacations! Want to eat around the world with me on a Disney vacation? Contact me today for a FREE quote!