Located at the front of the France Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase, Les Chefs de France opens a portal to Paris, allowing its guests to walk through and experience authentic French dining. Gastronomy sits at the heart of French culture, so leaving the France Pavilion without tasting its cuisine is like visiting the City of Love without ever seeing the Eiffel Tower. Dining at Les Chefs de France transports you into French culture so well that you may forget that you haven’t crossed the Atlantic.
This restaurant is named for the three renowned French chefs (Paul Bocuse, Gaston LeNotre, and Roger Verge) that inspired its menu. Paul Bocuse’s son, Jérôme, has been leading the Les Chefs de France team since 1996, so you can be sure that the restaurant endeavors to protect the legacy of its namesakes by offering its guests upper scale dining. Though we can think of many reasons why you’ll love this restaurant, here are the top five.
5. View of the Promenade
Every table at Les Chefs de France is a good table, but those located in the sunroom at the front of the building offer a stunning view of the promenade through a wall of windows. The flurry of pedestrians shuffling along the promenade almost gives you the feeling that you’re in the heart of Paris, sitting in a waterfront restaurant along the Seine. Of course, the host of Mickey ears, Kidcot Duffy crafts, and Walt Disney World t-shirts will eventually remind you that “Paris” is actually EPCOT and “the Seine” is really the World Showcase Lagoon. But no matter what your imagination may tell you while you’re here, you can still enjoy a bit of people-watching while waiting for your meal.
4. Brasserie Setting
The décor is reminiscent of Parisian brasseries similar to those established by Paul Bocuse. A brasserie is simply a French restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere, so no dressing up is necessary. Approaching from the outside, you’ll notice the distinctively Parisian architecture. Disney excels in embracing the fine details that transport you into the “story” of the restaurant. Once you pass through the front doors, you’ll see that this brasserie draws you in, using mirrors, stylish accents, golden lighting, and earthy colors to convey the elegance that is expected from the French. Photographs of the founding chefs hang from the walls, paying homage to their inspiration.
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A quick glance at either the lunch or dinner menu may discourage diners with tight budgets from visiting Les Chefs de France. Purchasing appetizers, entrées, and desserts à la carte can prove to be too expensive for some. Don’t worry, because you can still enjoy French dining at affordable prices. This restaurant offers prixe-fixe deals that permit guests to experience a three course meal for a set price. The selection is limited to only a few items from each course, but don’t worry, because the prixe-fixe menu includes some of the most popular dishes.
The cuisine includes many classics, like quiche lorraine, French onion soup, and crème brulee, but you can still find a hamburger on the lunch menu, only it’s prepared French-style. The lunch menu includes a few sandwiches to satisfy your hunger, but the dinner menu really excites the taste buds with seafood, beef, duck, and chicken that the chefs roast, grill, or broil to perfection. At the beginning of your meal, the server brings you fresh demi-baguettes, but ordering a cheese board will accent the bread with samplings from all over France. Another popular appetizer is the creamy lobster bisque, which goes wonderfully with your bread and cheese.
The second course presents a difficult dilemma since all the entrées are time-tested, world-class dishes. Many delight in the beef short ribs, the roasted chicken, and the baked macaroni, but the seafood platter also provides a satisfying meal. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a steak that’s grilled to order. Also, the chefs bake a delicious vegetable lasagna for those who don’t eat meat or just want to try something new. For dessert, you can order from a sweet selection of French classics; many consider the puff choux with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce to be a good choice.
1. Les Vins (Wine)
Let’s face it… the French love their wine. They believe that wine enhances a meal, interacting with all the complex flavors to create a truly pleasurable experience. Les Chefs de France maintains an extensive wine list, serving a varied selection from every region of France. However, you don’t have to know anything about which varieties should be paired with your chosen meal. Simply ask your server for suggestions if you’re not sure what to order; they are always happy to make recommendations.
Even if you don’t drink wine, you can still enjoy a thoroughly French experience at Chefs de France. The key to truly enjoying this brasserie lies in simply trying new foods and immersing yourself in Disney imagination. And yes, this may include feasting on their delicious escargot (snails).