Walt Disney World has some of the most extravagant dining locations in the world. By sheer volume alone it probably rivals destinations like Paris and Italy. It can be daunting trying to pick restaurants from the vast options Walt Disney World has to offer. The key is knowing what food you like and what kind of dining experience you want. When it comes to ‘signature’ or fine dining, no one does it better than Disney. Personal favorites include their numerous steakhouses, and with so many amazing options to choose from, it took many visits to narrow down the list. After many years of comparison, when I visit Walt Disney World now, one stop is non-negotiable: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort’s Yachtsman Steakhouse.
If you’re lucky enough to get a seat near a window, it will truly elevate your experience at The Yachtsman to the next level. When looking out the window, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on an east coast shoreline. The elegant, colonial architecture is carefully chosen to resemble that of the New England coast. The pool, one of the most beautiful on property, beckons invitingly, and you may even catch a glimpse of a pirate ship or pier in the distance. The idyllic view is a beautiful addition to the already stunningly picturesque interior: the nautical theme is clean and classy, creating the perfect ambience for the exquisite meal to come.
Space can be at a premium in popular restaurants, and no one wants to feel like they’re sitting in the laps of the people at the next table. This is not a problem at the Yachtsman. You always have more than enough room, and feel relaxed despite the many diners around you. It’s hard to get that feel at a fine dining establishment, but they really do capture it here. The décor is elegant without being stuffy, as coastal accents create a sense of playfulness. Because of its proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Boardwalk, there will be diners dressed to the nines sitting next to families dressed for a day in the park; you will feel as comfortable and welcome in cargo shorts and running shoes as you will in a suit and tie or dress and heels.
When you first enter the restaurant, you will see a glass room where the meat is aged and trimmed; cuts of beef are displayed, and may even see a butcher making cuts for future entrees. If you have to wait for your table to be ready, you can spend that time examining the meat and choosing carefully exactly what you want your cut of beef to be. That’s not the most important part of your culinary experience for the evening, though. When you see the menu you will notice that each cut of beef is paired with a side and a topping. Mixing and matching is the key concept here. Everyone has preferences; let your taste buds guide you. Find the cut of beef that you want first. Once you’ve selected that, peruse the options that top each of the steaks and choose the one you like, then move on to the sides beside each dish and choose the one that jumps out at you. This is actually the recommended practice by each of the servers at the restaurants, and will ensure a mouth-watering meal that is tailor-made for you.
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You can taste the difference when food is fresh, and is of the highest quality. Sometimes at a restaurant that fancies itself a steakhouse you might get amazing quality beef, but then find that your sides or salads are somewhat lacking. Not so with the Yachtsman. I have heard vegetarians refer to the salads here (the ingredients for which are actually grown on site at Epcot) as an indescribable piece of heaven. The sides are so scrumptious that the pasta dishes rival a high end Italian restaurant. Then there are the steaks themselves: tender, moist and exploding with flavour. Each one is aged and prepared by a chef who knows how to cook a steak to perfection. Anyone who is a steak connoisseur will know that having good cut of beef doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up with a great steak – it is an art, one that has been mastered by the chefs at the Yachtsman.
If a restaurant is busy it’s very easy to feel forgotten about. If you have any issues with your meal or need your drink refilled, you may have to wait until the next time your waiter or waitress is available. So how do you solve that problem? Easy: at the Yachtsman, each table has its own serving team. They ask questions to get to know you and your likes and dislikes, and they’re great at making recommendations based on your answers. You will feel like you are the only diners in the restaurant, even if there’s scarcely a free table. If you have an allergy, dietary restriction or food preference, no need to order off menu – a chef can come straight to your table to help you create the menu of your choice. Not sure what the cut of beef will actually look like? Come right over to the counter where they can show you the actual cut of beef that you will be getting. This is service done right.