The right start to a meal can really make the difference to your overall satisfaction with a restaurant. I like to choose an appetizer that is a totally different flavor, meat or texture from my main course so that I can sample the best there may be to offer. If you are feeling adventurous, the price of two appetizers will usually add up to about what an entrée costs, so if you have a hard time picking, pick two! While I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl and usually relish in my main course, the appetizer can be the best part of your meal! I think that Disney has some of the best and creative appetizers offered and here is my list of my favorite 10!
10. Chefs de France, Epcot’s French Pavilion
Cassolette d’escargots de Bourgogne au beurre persille – casserole of escargots (snails) baked in parsley and garlic butter. At first I was very wary about trying snails, but so many people love this classic that I had to try, and what better place than in the French pavilion! The garlic butter will win you over! If it creeps you out, just close your eyes!
9. Liberty Tree Tavern, Magic Kingdom (Lunch only)
Crab and Lobster Dip for Two – I have had a lot of dips in my life and something that really stands out with this is the huge pieces of lobster and crab. Most dips are just creamy, but this one is definitely heavy with a chunky texture. That doesn’t sound delicious, but that is exactly how a dip should be described! My step Mom declares it as her favorite appetizer on property!
8. Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village
Indian Style Bread Service – Choice of 3 breads and 3 accompaniments (you can pay extra to get all 9 accompaniments)
Breads – Naan, Garlic Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha, Papadum
Accompaniments – Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Spicy Jalapeno-lime pickle, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind Chutney. I highly suggest that you spend the extra couple of bucks and try all of the accompaniments. This experience is a lot of fun because the flavors are extremely complex and some of them are very different from what many restaurants typically serve. You may not like them all, but I know you will find one that makes your mouth very happy!
7. The Wave of American Flavors, Contemporary Resort
Pan Seared Scallops with roasted corn, applewood smoked bacon and Tillamook cheddar risotto If you are a fan of scallops, you’ll love the perfectly seared scallops, but the star of the show is the cheddar risotto. The flavor is so delicious…I bet you’ll have someone licking the plate clean!
6. Raglan Road, Disney Marketplace
Calamari City -Salt ‘n’ Pepper calamari and mixed tempora vegetables served with a spicy remoulade There is a lot of calamari found in Disney restaurants, but I think Raglan Road has the best! The fry on the calamari is a little heavier than other places and you will also find other tempura veggies mixed in. In my opinion, the spicy remoulade is much preferred over the traditional tomato sauce. Its calamari, just kicked up a notch.
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5. Citrico’s, The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Tamarind-glazed Berkshire Pork Belly with Hominy-cheddar-potato puree – I can assure you that you have never tasted pork belly like this! The pairing with the cheddar potato puree is right on, but the pork belly is just ridiculous. Isn’t that the only way you can describe the best pork belly you have ever tasted? The portion is not huge, so if you are on the deluxe dining plan I suggest ordering one for every person in your party. Otherwise, the price tag might hold me back.
4. Artist Point, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Smokey Portobello Soup with Roasted Shiitakes, Chive Oil, and Sourdough Croutons – I know this is a soup and may not be on your list of what qualifies as an appetizer, but this should be what you order before you main course at Artist Point. I think this is hands down the best soup at Disney World! It is so delicious that the servers have recipe cards due to the high number of requests for it! My husband absolutely hates mushrooms and he tasted this and has even ordered it for himself. I assure you this will become a favorite!
3. Jiko, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge-Jambo House
Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin with Mealie Pap, Chakalaka, White Truffle Oil and Micro Cilantro – I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what half of the items are in this dish, but I can tell you that it really doesn’t matter. My husband always orders the weirdest thing on the menu and for one glorious meal, he ordered this. After my first bite, I had to sit back in my chair and chew slowly because I never wanted to swallow! The flavor profile is matched perfectly to the perfectly grilled boar. In no way did I ever think that I would ever like this dish, but my husband keeps proving my taste expectations wrong!
2. Narcoossee’s , The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Barbecue Shrimp and Grits- grilled Jumbo Shrimp with Budgie’s Barbecue Sauce, Low Country Grits, Uncured Cherrywood-smoked Bacon, and Green Tomato Chow-Chow – It is astonishing to me how a classic, comfort food like this could be done in such an upscale and sophisticated way. The BBQ is not overwhelming, which allows for the shrimp to be the star. The green tomato chow-chow adds the acidity needed and is perfectly presented and paired in this dish making this one of the best offerings I have had at Narcoossee’s.
1. Kona Café, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Wok-seared Pork and Vegetable Dumplings with a creamy Soy-Ginger Sauce – I honestly don’t know how the Kona Café does it, but the pot stickers that they serve are so tasty that it is almost impossible to believe. Not only are they the absolute best pot stickers that I have ever had, they rank among the absolute best food I have ever had at Disney. The next time you go to Disney, stop in for this most delicious treat. A bonus at Kona Café is a window side bar where you can order a quick appetizer or some sushi, so you don’t even have to stay for a full dinner. Sounds like you may be due for your next visit, right?