Ultimate Guide to the Best Seafood at Disney World
What is the best reason to visit Walt Disney World Resort? The food. Period. And I’m not just talking about Food and Wine Festival here. No matter what time of year you visit, no matter the Park, no matter the time of year, the food options across the Resort are truly some of the best a foodie will find on any vacation. There are succulent, traditionally prepared dishes from every corner of the globe that stand up just as well to the American-style meals that are being served at the Resort. The seafood at Disney World is fantastic!
Since I like to try new things when I’m on vacation and, more recently, still stick as closely to my health-conscious eating as I can, I’ve found myself ordering quite a few seafood dishes on my last few visits, and, to put it lightly, the lack of hype and excitement in the online community around the dishes I’ve been served is…fishy.
Fish is one of the most healthy and sustainable protein options- both for the body and the environment- and whenever someone suggests fish for dinner, my first thought is always “did someone say sushi?”. Sushi is its own food group in my own personal food pyramid, and my favorite place to order some of the freshest tasting and most expertly prepared sushi on Property is Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!
Where I live, the sushi is very high grade. What I’m trying to say is; Kona’s fish had some big shoes to fill. Well, they did not disappoint, as the tuna and salmon we were served were richly colored (a sign of good fish) and odorless and flavorless (not at all fishy). So far, so good! The one thing that surprised me about the fish was the lack of white stripes, especially in the salmon.
All other high-quality salmon sashimi I’ve eaten has had its fair share of white fat stripes marbled throughout, but this one didn’t. I couldn’t believe this fat-free fish packed the flavor punch without any of the fat! Overall, the fish in the sampler were the standouts. The tuna poke was good and the California Roll was standard at best. But if you’re a fresh fish fan, you won’t be disappointed here.
Come for the atmosphere, stay for the seafood! Paddlefish- better known as the giant floating boat/restaurant at Disney Springs- is my top pick for a seafood dish when I’m eating dinner at Disney Springs. To say I’ve visited Paddlefish once would be a severe understatement, but one thing I cannot say for this restaurant is that I’ve sampled plenty of dishes from their menu.
I’ve only ever had just one…because it’s been so darn good every time I can’t bring myself to order anything else! I always order the salmon and cous cous after that first borderline religious experience with the dish! The perfectly-grilled piece of the pinkest salmon I’ve ever seen was served with a side of crunchy-yet-soft roasted veggies. It was accompanied by a portion of buttery, flavor-packed cous cous that tied the trio together perfectly. Pair that plate with a drink and a rooftop view of the Springs, and you’ve got yourself a dinner you won’t soon forget!
I know, I know…I really love The Boathouse. For a relaxing drink after a long day in the Parks, their dockside bar gets my recommendation. For a lunch spot with a view, nowhere beats the waterside deck seating featuring an active waterway with tons of eclectic watercraft. And for entertaining a band of adventure-seeking kids in between shopping stops, a quick stop off at the Amphicar launch is exactly what the doctor ordered.
So yes, The Boathouse is one of my favorite spots at Disney Springs…and their fantastic seafood options only add to the lure! My favorite way to ‘do’ The Boathouse is as follows: Order a drink, check out whatever catches have been reeled in within the last 24 hours on their daily menu, and pick whatever floats your boat(house)!
PRO TIP: They also dish out a mean basket of clam strips and fries from that kitchen; don’t let anyone tell you fried seafood doesn’t count! Try not to drool…
The fish dishes are plentiful, but practically every dish pales in comparison to the floor-to-ceiling glass aquariums that inject life into the restaurant’s décor…literally! Watch in awe as your kids’ favorite sea creatures leisurely swim by to greet them while you contemplate which of the tantalizing seafood options fits your mood!
If you time it correctly and hit the dimly lit restaurant at just the right moment, you might catch one a marine biologist scuba diving into the aquarium, and, if you’re really lucky, a feeding too! This is terrific seafood at Disney!
Yes, I am sending you to a quick-serve restaurant and claiming that they serve some very, very good seafood. If you or someone in your group is like me and likes to stick to a healthy eating regime on vacation- or if you’re just looking for a quick and delicious spot to grab lunch- Satu’li Canteen is the place to go. Featuring Mobile Order, the quick-serve restaurant in Pandora (Animal Kingdom) is one of the newest additions to the dining scene, and they are responsible for single-handedly making fast food service healthy and delicious.
If you aren’t famillar, Satu’li Canteen features a menu of bowl options that let you build your meal with a choice of base, protein, and sauce. I’ve tried every option on the menu, and honesty, they have all been served hot, grease-free, and absolutely delicious. Opt for the fish on your next visit- you won’t be disappointed!
Honestly, I wouldn’t judge you if you visited California Grill and didn’t order a single thing. The first time I ascended the elevators to the very top of the Contemporary and stepped out into the restaurant (and after I had marveled at row after row of fantastically aged bottles of wine in the display cases in front of me), I was stunned.
As the flame-red ball of fire began to sink below the Central Florida horizon, I walked, with mouth ajar, to the window side table overlooking the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen: Cinderella Castle, at sunset, from atop the Contemporary Resort.
If that reasoning alone didn’t send you to Disney’s website to book your reservation, perhaps this will: raw or cooked, the chefs at the Contemporary’s California Grill are masters when it comes to preparing unbelievable seafood dishes. On my fist visit, I ordered a spicy, crunchy sushi special complete with salmon, tuna, avocado, tempura, and sauces that succeeded in forever changing the way I view sushi.
I wasn’t sure which was responsible for more of an emotionally explosive experience: the flavors coming from the sushi, or the eye-level view of Happily Ever After fireworks bursting outside as I chewed. I’ll let you decide! Have you ever eaten at California Grill in the past, or do you prefer one of the other seafood spots on the list? Either way, the seafood at Disney is great! Let us know in the comments below!
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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!