Braving tropical storm Debby, my mom and I made our way to Downtown Disney for lunch at Fulton’s Crab House. The iconic riverboat, named the Empress Lilly after Walt’s wife, was once was the home of four different restaurants as well as a popular character breakfast. In 1996, it became Fulton’s Crab House and has been popular among seafood loving guests ever since.
We arrived about ten minutes before the lunch service started without a reservation. After a short wait we were seated on the first floor of the boat by a window, which would have had a nice view had it not been pouring.
Looking over the menu my mom and I were debating having the crab cake or lobster corn dog as an appetizer. Our server recommended the corndog assuring us that it wasn’t as corndogy as you would think. So we went with the lobster corndog, which is served with salsa verde and sweet chili aioli for dipping.
For me, these were the highlight of the meal. Each piece of lobster meat was fried in a light, fritter-like batter and then put on a wooden skewer like a corndog. The lobster itself was tender and delicious, but what really made the dish was the aioli. The lobster took on the sweet yet slightly spicy flavor very well. I was less impressed with the salsa as an accompaniment but enjoyed it on its own merit.
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For the entrees our server highly recommended the crab cake BLT. After his excellent appetizer suggestion my mom decided he knew what he was talking about and ordered it. Being less of a seafood fan, I went for the herb grilled chicken.
Unfortunately, the chicken fell a little flat. It came with balsamic red skin potatoes and an heirloom tomato relish on top of the grilled chicken breast, which all looked fantastic when set before me. The potatoes were not what I was expecting as they were served cold. The balsamic on them was enjoyable but the cold potatoes were not for me. Overall the chicken was moist and tender, but the ends were a little tough. The tomato relish paired nicely with the chicken giving it an acidic edge that made the dish more interesting.
So while the chicken wasn’t bad, it wasn’t as great as the menu made it sound either. I personally would have preferred another order of lobster corndogs, which is saying a lot as I generally don’t care for seafood.
My mom, on the other hand, absolutely loved her crab cake BLT. She chose house made chips rather than French fries, as our server said they had more flavor to him. The jumbo lump blue crab made up the majority of the crab cake. It had very little filler but still managed to stay together on the sandwich. My mom declared it to be the best crab cake she has ever had. The sandwich also had avocado, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a mustard sauce on a ciabatta roll.
While we did not get any food from the raw bar I would like to point out that Fulton’s has a large raw bar of fresh seafood options that range from oysters to tuna tartar. Not far from our table was a glass case of some of the days’ seafood options such as Florida grouper and shrimp. Everyday the restaurant gets seafood from around the world to ensure that guests are eating the freshest seafood possible.
If you are a seafood fan then Fulton’s is the place for you, with its plethora of fresh options and unique dishes. If you aren’t, there are still several options for you. But remember, this is a signature dining restaurant, so to get the best food for your money I would suggest getting seafood.
Food: The seafood is to die for, but the other options may be less than stellar. There are combo platters that allow you to get a taste of the various fresh seafood options available.
Atmosphere: The restaurant is located in a riverboat and the large windows give a great view of Downtown Disney and nearby hotels. It can be a very popular option for dinner but for lunch it was quiet and calm.
Service: Our server Tony was one of the best waiters I have ever had. His suggestions were superb and he was incredibly friendly, sharing stories about Disney and his life.
Tips: Make a reservation if you plan on dining during peak times. If you want a quieter meal, I suggest going for lunch when the restaurant opens at 11:30.