Disney Dining Review Garden Grill
With the vast amount of character dining options, Garden Grill is often overlooked, however the experience here is so unique that you really shouldn’t pass it up. What makes Garden Grill so special is that the whole restaurant rotates! As the restaurant rotates guests are given a special behind the scenes look down at Living with the Land. Garden Grill also gives diners the chance to meet Chip and Dale, the hosts of this harvest feast, Pluto, and farmer Mickey. Additionally, the food here is served family style, which means all you can eat! With all of these elements, Garden Grill is at the very least worth consideration on your next trip to Disney World.
The restaurant is located in The Land pavilion on the upper deck near the stairs and escalators and is only open for dinner. Our reservation was at the very beginning of the dinner service and we got there just before opening at 4pm. After a short wait we were taken to our table where a special set of ears and a herd of buffalo were waiting for us.
Our server explained that it takes about an hour for the restaurant to make a complete revolution, so rest assured that the spinning is slow and most likely won’t be noticeable. However, if you are sensitive to motion you may notice the rotation. The server went on to tell us that some of the food we would be eating was grown downstairs in the Living with the Land greenhouse. Talk about fresh!
We were left with a menu to look at what we would be having, and to look at the wine and beer list. There are a few organic wine options too. And sweet tea lovers rejoice! The delicious beverage is available here, unlike the majority of Disney restaurants!
Soon after our drinks arrived so did the first part of our feast. A basket of rolls and butter accompanied the harvest inspired farmer’s salad. The bread was pretty tasty, but the maple butter was one of the highlights of the night. Sweet ribbons of maple were woven throughout the creamy butter and oozed out the sides. As you can see from the picture below, a small pool of syrup sits at the bottom of the dish, and I highly recommend scooping that up too! My boyfriend ate about five rolls only because he thought the rest of our group wouldn’t appreciate it if he just ate the butter straight out of the dish!
The salad was also delicious, even the non-salad lovers really enjoyed it! As it was dropped off our server told us that everything in it was grown downstairs, and you could tell how fresh all the components were. It came lightly dressed in a buttermilk ranch dressing, which our server told us had a pinch of cayenne pepper in it. This was an ingenious pairing with the naturally peppery arugula! The salad also had crisp bacon and perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg.
At this point in the meal the characters began to arrive. Since we were not dining with any children I was afraid the characters would simply give us a quick wave and be on their way. Thankfully this was not the case as each character stopped and interacted with us; Chip even tried to take me with him! All of the characters spent a good bit of time at our table and even came around for a second time towards the end of the meal.
Our entrees arrived between characters, which meant that some of our food was only a little warm by the time we got to it. This seems to be a problem at most family style restaurants though, even without taking the time to meet characters.
I off started with the filet of beef, which our server said was marinated for tenderness, seasoned with rosemary, and finished off with a red wine demi-glace. The beef we were served ranged in doneness from medium-rare to well done, so there was something for everyone. The meat was tender and flavorful and was served with yummy caramelized onion mashed potatoes.
Next I tried the turkey with lemon caper sauce. The turkey was moist and the sauce was good, but it wasn’t very lemony and I didn’t see a single caper. The menu says the turkey is served with “artisan bread pudding,” so I was interested to give that a try. It looked a lot like stuffing to me, and after a quick bite I found that it was indeed stuffing, just with a fancy name. The stuffing was neither too dry nor too moist and wasn’t strongly seasoned, so children will probably like it.
Personally, I am not a fan of fish so I was skeptical about how I would feel about the sustainable fish, which happened to be tilapia. I had to try it in the name of research, and I’m certainly glad I did! There was none of that fishy taste and it was super moist. The compote of roasted tomatoes and peppers on top kept everything light and refreshing. Under the fish was some broccoli and carrots that were most likely grown downstairs as well.
Despite not having any children in our party we were given the kid’s sides, which were mac n’ cheese topped with a familiar fish shaped cracker, and sweet potato fries. The mac n’ cheese wasn’t my favorite, but it was really cheesy and would probably be a hit with kids. I did enjoy the sweet potato fries. They were crispy on the outside yet fluffy on the inside.
We never had to ask for more of anything; as soon as we were running low on something our server would bring out more and ask if there was anything else we needed. The service we experienced was truly outstanding.
For dessert we received a mixed berry skillet cake with homemade vanilla whipped cream and several of the kid’s desserts, which were cupcakes shaped like ice cream cones. The berries in the cake were blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, all of which were sweet and fresh. The warm berries mixed wonderfully with the yellow cake and melting whipped cream. The cupcakes were just okay; the chocolate frosting was the best part.
We were all so stuffed at this point that we practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant! Garden Grill sits near the top of my list for character dining with its excellent character interaction, fresh, high quality food, and unique views that make it a fun experience for everyone.
Food – With parts of the meal grown right beneath the restaurant, the food can’t get much fresher. It is high quality, especially for a character meal. Picky eaters may not enjoy though since the food is family style and there aren’t many choices.
Atmosphere – A rotating restaurant that looks down on different scenes from Living with the Land and has Disney characters is a recipe for fun! The character interaction here is top notch, with each of them getting to visit the table a second time.
Service – Our server, Andy, was phenomenal. Every desire was met and all of our questions were expertly answered. Andy is a recipient of the very prestigious Legacy Award, which he gladly talked about with us. This is the highest honor a Cast Member can receive and only a small percentage of all Cast Members have achieved this. As you can imagine, our service was impeccable.
Tips – A reservation is recommended, but since a credit card is required to make one, reservations cannot be made on the mobile app. Also, arrive early for your reservation so you can ask to sit on the lower level of the restaurant so that you can get a better view of Living with the Land below you.
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