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Monsieur Paul Review

Monsieur Paul Review

Approaching Epcot’s French pavilion, one can’t help but smile as strains of the melodious 
“La Vie en Rose” waft into the evening air and fountain waters seem to waltz to the familiar tune. As artists sketch and guests sip bubbling champagne, we strolled past quaint provincial shops displaying their wares – fragrant perfumes and decadent pastries – on our way to the recently opened Monsieur Paul, a new addition to the pavilion which raises the bar for all World Showcase restaurants.

Monsieur Paul replaces the former Bistro de Paris and occupies the second floor above Chefs de France. Being led up the winding staircase by a most amiable hostess, we immediately felt welcome. The dining room is pure Old World elegance, decorated tastefully in deep purple and burgundy hues. Lavish but in a a most unpretentious way. The room is aglow with soft lighting from the glass chandeliers. The tall, ample windows and mirrors make the room appear attractive and warm, the perfect place for a romantic rendezvous. And if the cozy yet classic atmosphere does not encourage romance, then for certain it lends itself to a kind of quiet joie de vivre. One thing I learned quickly upon my visit – there is a lot to love about this new upscale bistro.

Named for renowned chef Paul Bocuse, who is known for his use of the freshest ingredients and an innovative approach to the classic cuisine of his homeland, Monsieur Paul is exceptional on all levels.

Seated at a quiet table with a magnificent window view of World Showcase lagoon, we sighed, enjoying the sights of lampposts now alive with their luminescence and boats sailing along toward Spaceship Earth. But despite the relaxing ambiance, I don’t think I was prepared for the culinary excellence that is Monsieur Paul.

Our waiter Edouard (assisted by the equally charming Chris, who was in training) greeted us warmly. His service was unerringly precise and never wavered, as fine a server as I have encountered in any Disney restaurant and one who is surely up to par with the extraordinary servers at the 5-star, award-winning Victoria and Albert’s. He invited us to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne as we studied the menu. I willingly accepted the invitation and ordered a glass of Kir Royal, a cocktail of champagne mixed with black current liqueur. It was light and delicious with the most subtle of fruit flavor. A delightful, elegant and refreshing way to begin our dining experience.

The choices all seemed tantalizing – classic French dishes but with a contemporary flair.

One can order from the fixed price menu (Prix Fixe) for $89 per person or a la carte. We chose the latter.

Before we placed our order, Edouard returned with a gift from the chef: warm miniature rolls laced with Gruyere cheese. Hot and flaky, the cheese flavor was zesty and absolutely wonderful. I already had a strong feeling this meal would rank very high in my books and memory.

After placing our order and eagerly awaiting our meal, Edouard returned with a slight smile, bearing yet another gift from the chef: Amuse-Bouche. Meaning “amuse the mouth”, the amuse-bouche consisted of a potato galette with a celery-based garnish and a rather ample sample of salmon. The potato was inventive and modern, the celery “stuffing” a delight. The salmon was fresh and tasty. Along with a large, crusty, French baguette, we had definitely begun our meal on a high note.

Edouard was extremely attentive throughout the entire meal, paying many visits to our table to ensure we were enjoying our dining experience and wanting to seemingly share his pride in the menu. Albeit there may be another restaurant on property where they lay claim to the line that a “dinner here is never second best” at Monsieur Paul, that certainly applies. Even the manager, the very affable Philippe, paid careful attention to each table to take extra care that his guests were indeed top priority. The attention to service and detail was dually certainly appreciated and acknowledged,

For starters, we were served the Raviole d’escargots, crème au persile, escargot-filled ravioli with a parsley cream and the Soupe aux Truffes, a beef broth soup with oxtail, vegetables and black truffles topped with a pastry puff dome. Where do I begin? The delicious aroma alone was almost enough to satisfy. Upon the first taste of the escargot ravioli, I felt like I had found a culinary utopia. Unbelievably delicious and absolutely outstanding. Not only was it perfectly prepared, but the parsley cream was extraordinary. When Edouard returned to ascertain if I was happy with my selection, I told him it was probably one of the best appetizers I had ever had the pleasure of enjoying. He beamed and asked if he could convey my compliments to the chef. Of course, I was only too happy to do so. I doubted the soup could compare to the ravioli. I’ve been known to be wrong. The soup was meaty and rich with the plentiful truffles giving a quite pleasant aroma and accent. The vegetables were cooked just enough to develop a gorgeous flavor but not enough to turn them mushy. Stunning.

Edouard and Chris were diligent in providing fresh cutlery and utensils for each course and keeping watch that glasses were never close to being empty.

Our entrees approached. St. Jacques Parfum d’Hiver, émulsion de crème au rhum (seared scallops, black truffle spaghettini, romanesco cabbage in a rum cream emulsion) and the Filet de bœuf grillé forestier, purée de pomme de terre, sauce Bordelaise (grilled beef tenderloin in Bordelaise sauce with mushroom crust and mashed potatoes). Ooh la la. I was searching for the French word for heaven.

The scallops were ethereal in presentation and flavor. Seared to perfection and resting on a delectable cloud of creamy pasta, this dish could make any chef envious of its execution and flavor. The tenderloin was beautifully cooked. So flavorful it did not need the incredibly scrumptious Bordelaise but what a pairing. Incredible enough for the most sophisticated palette but delicious enough for any patron, no matter what experience one has had with French gourmet cuisine. Even the potatoes were bursting with pure flavor despite the fact they were delicately foamy and light. Tre, tre bien!

As Edouard said as he handed us the dessert menus. “This is the best part.” No visit to a gourmet French restaurant would be complete without partaking of dessert. And dinner ends sweetly here at Monsieur Paul. Despite much deliberation, we opted for the Entremets aux trois chocolat, glace au chocolat (triple chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream) and the Souffle’ chaud au Grand Marnier, an orange souffle with Grand Marnier sauce. One can probably already guess how brilliant these selections were. I spooned up some of the chocolate ice cream served with the stunningly executed chocolate cake, and my knees went weak. Scrumptious, decadent, sweet and indulgent. I will be dreaming of this dessert all season and beyond. The orange souffle was a marvel. Warm and light, the souffle was incredible in both taste and presentation. It was accented and made aromatic by the grand marnier sauce. Absolutely delightful.

While an evening at Monsieur Paul does not come cheaply, neither do restaurants of this caliber. Splurge and indulge. A theme park restaurant this grand does not come along often. And you won’t even remember (except for the view of the tree-lined promenade below) that you are not in the finest Parisian bistro on the Champs-Élysées. It was my honor to sample the wonderful food and service that is Monsieur Paul. C’est Magnifique!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Food: Best gourmet French food in Orlando. Fresh ingredients plus a seasonal menu coupled with classical French style gives rise to food worthy of wholehearted and enthusiastic praise. Incredible.

Atmosphere: Romantic elegance meets Old World charm. Gorgeous.

Service: None finer in all of Disney. Edouard, Philippe and Chris never wavered in their pride or dedication to presenting a world-class meal in five-star style. Splendid.

TIPS: Both the fixed price (Prix Fixe) and the a la carte menu offer a wine pairing option. As you would expect, there is an extensive wine list with many fine vintages. There is a dress code (basically no tank tops, swimwear coverups, ripped clothing/jeans, hats on men or flip flops). Try to secure a table by a window for great views of the promenade and lagoon. Please note this restaurant is open for dinner only. Lunch is not available.

About ChristineD

Christine is a former Magic Kingdom entertainment cast member. Hailing originally from New Jersey, she has called Florida home since college graduation. Her passions are animals (especially dolphins, horses and dogs) cinema and the performing arts. Currently working as an Orlando real estate agent, she devotes much of her time to raising funds/awareness for Children's Hospice.