I already did a post on why you’d want to go to Walt Disney World without kids, and in it I mentioned dining. I wanted to expand on this and list the Top 10 locations for dining sans kids. Most of these places are either overtly not child friendly, such as Victoria and Albert, or just not as fun with Kids as without. All of them boast sophisticated menus and excellent wine lists as well as a more grown up atmosphere.
Victoria and Alberts
As the only AAA 5 Star restaurant in Florida this is one of those can’t miss gastronomic experiences at Walt Disney World for anyone who loves fine dining. There are three different experiences to chose from, a 7 course meal in the Main Dining Room, a more exclusive 10 course meal in the Queen Victoria Room or the ultimate experience, the Chef’s table with up to 13 courses and overlooking the kitchen. With only one seating per night, this is a meal meant to be savored and enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The menu changes with the season but it’s heavy on the caviar and truffles.
High atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort sits the California Grill. This restaurant, in one guise or another, has been a part of the fine dining scene at Walt Disney World since before there was a fine dining scene. What started as a dinner show has turned into one of the best signature dining experiences you can have at Walt Disney World. With it’s new redesign the menu has also been brought up to date and now features amazing dishes. My favorites are the charcuterie board with Duck Liver Pate and Pork Belly Rillettes, Seafood Ramen, Dragon Roll and Seared Jumbo Scallops. They have one of the most extensive wine lists I’ve seen anywhere and a slew of excellent signature cocktails. The best part of the experience, however, is watching Wishes with the music piped in from the comfort of your table. If you’d like to experience this, make a reservation for 90 minutes before wishes is scheduled to start and when you check-in, ask for a table next to the window. I’ve always been able to get one and it’s the absolute best way to see wishes in my opinion.
With exotic menu items such as Inguday Tibs in Brik, Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Ribs and Avocado Custard Cake, this is a not to miss restaurant for the more adventurous gourmet. They also feature an impressive menu of exclusively South African wines and a list of tasty cocktails.
Steak, dry aged and cooked to perfection, served with a good red wine and some truffle mac and cheese. If this is your idea of heaven, and I can’t say it isn’t mine, then you need to make a reservation at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. The ambiance is exactly what you’d expect from an old school steakhouse, dark and romantic. The desserts, especially the chocolate peanut cake, most certainly don’t disappoint either.
Named after and paying tribute to the legendary Paul Bocuse this restaurant is as fine as you’d imagine given it’s name sake. Sitting atop the France pavilion at Epcot and featuring items such as truffle soup and cassolette d’escargots, the menu is decidedly grown up in it’s offerings. The wine list and cocktails are also exceptional featuring a long list of French wines and my favorite, cocktails made with St. Germain.
Headed by chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame, this restaurant is a truly can’t miss experience. The spare ribs are as good as the hype and the sushi actually lives up to the great chef’s reputation. Don’t forget to sample a sake or three from the extensive sake menu, he has his own line of sake and everything.
Flying Fish Cafe
Located at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Flying Fish Cafe serves up some of the best seafood on property. The potato wrapped red snapper is their most famous dish and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Myself, I’m a fan of the Hokkaido Scallops and the blood orange margarita. Don’t feel like fish? Don’t worry, they’ve got you covered with one of the best pork chops I’ve ever had.
Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian
There are two teas at the Grand Floridian. One if the princess tea for little girls and their parents. Super fun, but not what I’m talking about here. The other one is Afternoon Tea in the Garden Room and it’s a real, honest to goodness, afternoon tea service. They even have clotted cream. The ambiance is quiet and refined, the experience takes a long time and you’re encouraged to linger over lots of little bites. One thing to note, they do not do a lot of customizations, you pick one of the standard menus and that’s what you get. They will however make special arrangements if you have dietary needs.
Dine on regional favorites from the Pacific Northwest in the rustic elegance of it’s Arts and Crafts inspired dining room. Amongst the many delicious dishes there are a few which have always been stand outs for me, the Wild Striped Bass Cioppino, which is a unique and dang tasty take on this classic dish. And the Chinook Cedar Plan Salmon, which is one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever had, and considering I lived in Seattle for over 6 years, that’s really saying something. They also have a fantastic wine list featuring some of the best and more unique wines from Washington and Oregon.
Sitting high atop the Four Seasons Orlando is a new and slightly unknown Spanish restaurant. Here you can start your meal off with a few tapas to share, split a bottle of one of their excellent Riojas, enjoy a nice paella and then top it off with a delicious olive oil cake. Add to that views of both Wishes and Illuminations and you’ve got an incredibly refined dining experience at one of the finest resorts on property.