**Full Disclosure: I was generously hosted for most of this meal by the restaurant.
The slate of fantastic restaurants at Disney Springs is very full with lots of options of types of cuisine. At the top of my must try list was Paddlefish. We love seafood, and the distinctive Paddlefish is hard to ignore among the other structures in Disney Springs—it is an actual paddle boat out in the water after all. The boat has been there for years, but the more recent upgrading of the exterior, interior, and menu bring a welcome seafood dining experience not just to Disney Springs but to Walt Disney World in general. I was a little intimidated to bring my youngest son to the restaurant, but I needn’t have worried, the staff, menu, and dining rooms were all well prepared for a rambunctious little boy. We had a delicious meal and I highly recommend choosing Paddlefish among your dining experiences at Walt Disney World, but let me tell you a little more about it.
As soon as you see Paddlefish you get excited. Even though it is permanently docked in Disney Springs, the idea of dining on a boat is just fun. Inside Paddlefish I would describe the décor as simple, modern, and an “elegant” nautical—very fitting for this restaurant, and reflective of the sleek exterior. There are various seating areas throughout the restaurant on multiple levels. If mobility is an issue you should let them know when you arrive (though they normally ask). There are also outdoor seating options by the bar/lounge which would be absolutely lovely to watch the sunset (sans kids for me). The inside dining offers great views from all of the areas (if this is really important you may want to request a window seat if they can accommodate). On our night there was a storm rolling in, so it was neat to watch the lightening in the distance and the dark clouds coming as we sat in a dry, safe location. Being able to see all around Disney Springs and Saratoga Springs Resort made for fun entertainment while we waited for our food. The erupting Rainforest Café volcano was fun to anticipate for my little one.
As a signature dining experience I anticipated the service level here to be high, and I was not disappointed. From the time we were greeted entering the restaurant through paying our bill we were treated to exemplary service—just the right level of being helpful and accommodating but not overbearing. Our server, in particular, did a great job keeping everyone around the table happy through the dinner service. The manager was also making rounds checking on all of the tables which is always good to see.
Now, let’s talk about the star of the show: the food! 3/5 of my family really like seafood and enjoy trying different types of dishes. 2/5 of my family do not eat seafood. I am happy to say that Paddlefish was able to provide all 5 of us with a delicious meal that we all enjoyed.
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We started with the house bread service: freshly baked rolls served with cinnamon butter. The rolls were good, and I love a cinnamon butter, but I was trying to save room for all of the tempting menu items I wanted to sample.
We ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Topped Fries. We did request they be served a bit “deconstructed” with the Louie dressing on the side so that the pickier members of our party could enjoy just the fries. These were very good with the warm fries and the tender lump blue crab. The Louie Dressing was the perfect complement for those of us who put the dish back together to eat.
I also ordered a cocktail with the recommendation of our server (there were too many good choices to select on my own). I ended up with the Admiral’s Punch (A perfectly balanced blend of Smith & Cross Jamaican rum and Santa Teresa Venezuelan rum). This was a great, smooth blend that packed an appropriate punch (see what I did there).
On to the main course! I love a good seafood boil, and crab legs are very hard for me to resist when I find them on a menu, so I ordered the Snow Crab Seafood Boil (10 oz served with Sweet Corn on the Cob, Red Potatoes, and Cornbread). I was slightly concerned about the mess of cracking crab legs in a nicer restaurant, but I was provided with all of the bowls, tools, and warm cloth to make it as neat as possible—even a bib! My server also offered to assist me if needed. The crab legs were perfectly prepared, easy to eat, juicy and sweet. I really enjoyed them. The boil was prepared in a spicy blend of seasoning that flavored the potatoes and the corn, and was presented in a large metal platter/bowl with the bag it was boiled in.
My husband ordered the Shrimp Seafood Boil (½ lb served with Sweet Corn on the Cob, Red Potatoes, and Cornbread) which he said was perfectly seasoned and prepared.
One of my sons chose the Crab Cake BLT (Bacon, Avocado, Cheddar, Lettuce, Beefsteak Tomato, Rémoulade, Ciabatta) with a side salad. I was very impressed by the size and freshness of the salad—it looked delicious. He said the salad was very good, and the combination of the flavors in the Crab Cake BLT worked very well together, he proclaimed it the best he’s had (and he orders crab cakes a lot).
My two landlubbers both went with burgers. “The Burger” is normally prepared with several additions to the 9 ounce proprietary blend (house-made pickles, red onion, and pimento cheese) served on brioche and sounded quite good to me as prepared. But my middle son prefers plain things and they had no problems accommodating our special requests. The proprietary blend of beef for the burger was juicy and flavorful, and he enjoyed it with his cheddar cheese. And my little one chose a cheeseburger from the kids menu which included other kid-friendly favorites, along with some options for those who are more adventurous.
At this point I was well satisfied with my meal, but not feeling overstuffed . . . always a good sign, so a sweet ending with a dessert was in order. We chose the Chocolate Crème Brulee on the recommendation of our server, and I am so glad that we did. The flavor was amazing with just the right amount of sweetness, but not so much that it masked the flavor of the chocolate. The chocolate really shined in this dish, tasting a little like a heritage or Mexican chocolate with a bit of spice to it (not hot spicy, but a depth of flavor). The crunchy top was perfect, and it was a great ending to an excellent meal.
Whether you are traveling with your family including small children, or at Walt Disney World for an adult only get away, I suggest you consider including Paddlefish in your dining itinerary. I will definitely be including it again in one of our future visits. Reservations are highly recommended, and you can make those through My Disney Experience or through Open Table. With many delicious dining experiences in the Disney Springs landscape, Paddlefish shines for its unique atmosphere, top notch service, and superb seafood entrees. I appreciate Paddlefish inviting my family and hosting us for the evening.