Disney World is home to an amazing array of dining experiences. Steak and seafood. Burgers and beer. Pasta and wine. Dinner shows and buffets. You can design your dining reservations to please your palette. Everyone knows the top tier dining options, but the following is our list of the top 6 underrated dining experiences that we’ve had so far. These are the restaurants that we ate at expecting nothing special or fantastic and were happily proven wrong.
6 – Olivia’s Café (Old Key West Resort) – Olivia’s Café is a table-service restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for moderate prices. On a recent visit, a friend could not stop raving about the shrimp and grits that he ordered and I had fantastic Island Barbecue Pork Ribs, after having a very pronounced internal debate between the fried buttermilk chicken, the Duval Street Burger, and the Cayo Hueso Shrimp Pasta. Since Old Key West was the original DVC resort, pictures of DVC members are showcased in the waiting area outside the restaurant. Reservations are not difficult to come by at Olivia’s and after dinner, you can always walk down to the Gurgling Suitcase for an after-dinner drink.
5 – Boatwright’s Dining Hall (Port Orleans Riverside Resort) – my friend and I walked past Boatwright’s on a visit when we were exploring the resort and decided to try it out. Boatwright’s only serves dinner, but serves a delicious sampling of Southern fare. After having some delicious corn bread, I started my meal with gumbo and moved onto a wonderful catfish. Either before or after your dinner, be sure to stop by the River Roost Lounge and see a song or two from Yeehaw Bob!
4 – Pizzafari (Animal Kingdom) – located on Discovery Island by the newly opened Starbucks. One morning when we had gotten to the park early for Extra Magic Hours, we went in because we were hungry and wanted something quick. The breakfast that was formerly offered at Pizzafari was amazing – there was a great selection of choices to satisfy everybody’s appetite. Additionally, the prices were reasonable and the portions were plentiful. With the recent opening of Starbucks right next door, Pizzafari is no longer serving breakfast, but they do serve lunch and dinner.
3 – Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – this restaurant is located in the back of the park near Muppet Vision 3D. The first time I ate there, I wasn’t expecting anything fancy, but it certainly delivers. Because of its location and its competition with the Hollywood Brown Derby, 50s Prime Time Café, and the Sci-Fi Dine-In, it doesn’t get the crowds that the other restaurants do. The menu is expansive with many options for appetizers, entrées, and desserts. You’ll definitely want to stop in this restaurant soon considering the changes that are coming to the Studios, we do not yet know if it is going to be affected by the additions of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land.
2 – Sunshine Seasons (Epcot) – my family and I stumbled upon this restaurant after doing rope drop at Epcot and riding Soarin’. Much like the breakfast that is offered at Pizzafari, Sunshine Seasons offers a wide array of choices for guests at a reasonable price while offering generous portions. Sunshine Seasons offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the options for all three are outstanding. On a recent trip, I had the spicy fish tacos topped with cabbage slaw and poblano pepper aioli and finished it up with a fantastic red velvet cake! I can’t wait for my next trip back!
1 – The Plaza (Magic Kingdom) – The Plaza serves a variety of traditional dishes at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. It is a table-service restaurant that offers its meals for counter-service prices. It is a small restaurant, so you might want to consider a reservation, especially if you are going for dinner as it offers wonderful views of the fireworks. The best part of this restaurant is that you can get the same ice cream for dessert that is served next door at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. My current favorite here is the Beef Brisket Onion Burger.
My favorite thing to do while at the parks is exploring new dining options and out of the way places to have a snack. What is your favorite underrated place?
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