A few days ago, Hubby and I had to change our plans from a park day to a monorail hop day due to the unpredictable Florida weather. Had we been on vacation, we would have certainly made the best of the rainy day in the parks, but being locals now, we decided to shop and eat at one of the three stops on the resort monorail route. After some debate, we chose the Grand Floridian Café, mainly because we both had not eaten there before and that is very rare for us! Boy, am I glad we did because this little spot is a real treat!
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the nicest of all the amenities at Walt Disney World Resort, in my opinion. Others may like other hotels, even I prefer staying in different places for different reasons, but there is no arguing that the Grand Floridian is the top in fancy schmancy! A winner of the AAA four diamond award, the Grand Floridian boasts a spa, shopping, 5 table service dining locations, a 24 hour snack bar, a monorail stop, 2 pools, a private beach, recreational activities and a marina. The Grand Floridian is also the newest member of the Disney Vacation Club, offering vacation villas to members. Opened in 1998, the grand Floridian has 867 rooms, 147 villas and is designated as a Deluxe resort, the highest category a resort can be named at Walt Disney World Resort.
With 2 Signature restaurants, Citricos and Narcoosee’s, character buffet dining at 1900 Park Fare, and upscale Victoria and Albert’s, The Grand Floridian Café is the only one credit table service offering at the Grand Floridian. With the more upscale places to enjoy, the Grand Floridian Café might be easy to overlook, but you should definitely stop in! Decorated in muted tones of pastel pinks and greens, the interior makes you feel like you are in a doll’s house. There is a collection of weather vanes with different animals on top, see how many you can find! The star of this restaurant is the clean service and delicious food.
Start with options like Shrimp Cocktail (Fragrantly-poached Shrimp served with Locally-sourced Tomato-Avocado and fresh Verde Sauce $12.99), Carmelized Onion Appetizers Au Gratin (Quattro Formaggio and Provolone $7.49) or the soup of the day, which was a cream of mushroom ($5.99). We shared the Seasonal Salad (Seasonal Greens, Local Strawberries, Toasted Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette $6.49) and the Pan-seared Scallops (Bacon-laced Arugula, Spinach, and Fennel Meyer Lemon Butter Emulsion $11.49). The salad was super fresh and the balsamic vinaigrette was one of the best I have ever tasted. The pairing of all of the ingredients was perfect, though I feel bad for my strawberry allergic husband because I think the super sweet berries made the salad! The scallops were mouthwatering and were definitely among the tastiest appetizers I have had at Walt Disney World. My only complaint? We were served 2 scallops. I think $11.49 is steep for 2 scallops, even if we were at Disney. Once we each had our scallop, we wanted more and I think for the price, we were justified in wanting 4 scallops on the plate. The fennel meyer lemon butter emulsion was so tasty, I wish I could have slathered it all over everything I ate that day!
For lunch, we had some serious contenders to decide between. Some choices include: Tuna Nicoise Salad (Prepared Medium-rare with Mixed Greens, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans, Kalamata Olives, and Tomatoes served with Black Olive Bread $18.49), Char-Crusted New York Strip Steak (Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes and Brandy-Green Peppercorn Sauce with Seasonal Vegetables $26.99), Cobb Salad (Diced Fresh-roasted Turkey, Bacon, Avocado, Blue Cheese, Eggs, Chives, and Tomatoes on a bed of Shredded Lettuce $15.49) or Falafel Burger (Chipotle Hummus on a Brioche bun served with your choice of cucumber salad or seasonal fruit plate. $12.49). There are also many more choices! We decided on the signature favorites Grand Floridian Burger (Angus Chuck Burger, Butter-poached Lobster, Red Onion Marmalade, and Arugula on a Brioche Bun with Chips $18.49) and The Grand Sandwich (Open-faced hot Ham, Fresh-roasted Turkey, Bacon, and Tomato with a rich Boursin Cheese Sauce and Fried Onion Straws $14.49). The burger was very tasty, cooked to my liking medium-rare. I did not know what to expect with this burger as I have never paired a burger with lobster before, but it was good.
I wish I could say great and life altering, but I felt that the onion marmalade was very overpowering to the flavor of the lobster, so much so that I actually removed the lobster and ate it separately. It was served with a trio of freshly made chips, one of them being plantain chips. Even if the burger was not the best I have ever tasted, I did clear my plate. Hubby really enjoyed the grand sandwich and the boursin cheese sauce was excellent! I know he really likes something when he rolls his eyes when I ask to taste and responds with, “I guess, so you can review.” I took an extra-large bite, followed by another…you know, for the review. The ham was more of a Canadian bacon consistency and there was also bacon. Any sandwich that has two types of pork is definitely a must eat for me! While the sandwich had onion straws on top, it surprised me that it was not served with a side. Throw some fries on the plate and we would have been wildly happy, but I didn’t see French fries anywhere. That is simply madness!
For dessert, there was really no competition. You can order chocolate fondue (served with fruit $6.99) or sorbet (seasonal flavor $4.99) or just do what the cool kids do and order the Dessert Sampler (Fresh Berry Tart, Boston Cream Pie, Key Lime Tart, and Lemon Cheesecake $10.99) You can also order each of the desserts on the sampler independently for $3.49 each, but why would you? The berry tart had a nice almond finish; the Boston cream pie was light and tasty. The lemon cheesecake was very nice, leaving me wishing we had been served a larger piece and the Key Lime Pie was caramelized! The crust was chocolate! I think this was the best of the platter, but the star of the show was a 3 inch solid dark chocolate Mickey Mouse! Awesome!
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During the meal, we were very happy with the service we received. Our drinks were kept full and our server was personable, quick and anticipated our needs before we had to ask. I always ask other guests how their service was and The Grand Floridian Café was having a good day because their comments were just like mine. Our server shared that breakfast has been pretty slow and I am very excited to figure out my next trip over to the Café! With choices like a lobster eggs benedict and a key lime hollandaise, I am so excited I might be waiting for that tomorrow!
4 ½ stars out of 5, prices were relatively high, considering appetizers were small and sandwich was not served with a side.
Food- Lots and lots to choose from, generally American fare. Breakfast has anything from eggs, salmon with bagel, eggs benedict or frittata. Lunch has fresh salads, the grand sandwich and lobster burger. For dinner, indulge in a NY strip, pasta, shrimp and grits or pork chop. Just a brief idea of what they offer, but most are really delicious!
Atmosphere- Toned down and muted colors allow for the food to be the real star. Check out the many different pictures and weather vanes. There are a lot of tables and large parties can be accommodated with notice. The most casual of the Grand Floridian table service restaurants, you can come as you are to enjoy!
Service- Many servers have been working here since it opened! Our service was efficient and she anticipated our needs before we had to ask for items.
Tips- You may be lucky if you just show up to the Grand Floridian Café without a reservation, as it is not as well-known as other places. However, you should make a reservation that will require a credit card guarantee. Disney Dining Plan will require 1 table service credit for your meal. Definitely indulge in the dessert platter, your taste buds will thank you!