Dining at Disney World isn’t what it used to be—and we mean that in the absolute best way possible. From quick-service restaurants to sit-down dining, from the theme parks to the hotels and Disney Springs, guests can choose from a buffet of tasty eats that are a cut above what you’ll find at typical theme parks. They’ve even recruited a crew of James Beard Award winners, Michelin-starred chefs and other celebrity chefs to helm some of the best Disney World restaurants.
So, if you’re a foodie heading to The Most Magical Place on Earth sometime in the future, this Walt Disney World restaurant guide is for you. Now, grab a napkin and bring your appetite as we dig into the twelve restaurants at Disney World with celebrity chefs.
12 Restaurants with James Beard Award Winners or Michelin-Starred Celebrity Chefs at Disney World
No matter where you are going, one of the best parts of any vacation is all the delicious food you eat along the way, and that definitely includes a trip to Walt Disney World. Dining at Disney World, however, gets an undeserved bad rap. Many folks assume (incorrectly, we might add) that the Walt Disney World Resort is a land filled with mediocre theme park food like bland hamburgers, cardboard-like pizza and rubbery hot dogs, all under-seasoned and overpriced. Fortunately for all the foodies out there, that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. (Ok, the overpriced bit is still pretty spot on.)
Disney World restaurants have really stepped up their game in recent years. Today, guests can dine on dishes like vibrant noodle bowls topped with tuna, mango and rainbow carrots at the quick-service Satu’li Canteen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park or elegant French cuisine like a center-cut filet mignon with potato puree and a smoked tomato béarnaise sauce at the table-service Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park. And we haven’t even mentioned the many incredible eateries at the Disney World hotels, several of which have earned Michelin recognition.
In other words, this certainly isn’t the theme-park dining you’re used to. But the delicious eats don’t stop there. Disney World has even tapped a team of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners to elevate the dining game around Central Florida resort. And, best of all, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for sushi and ramen masterminded by an Iron Chef, a parade of Spanish tapas created by a Michelin-starred chef or a plate of Floridian comfort food by Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef. Sign us up!
Without any further ado, let’s take a delicious look at each of the Walt Disney World restaurants led by celebrity chefs, James Beard Award winners and Michelin-rated chefs. We hope you’re hungry!
No list hailing incredible chef-driven dining outlets at Disney World is complete without mentioning Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando. Helmed by Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi and James Beard Award semi-finalist Executive Pastry Chef Rabii Saber, Capa is the only Michelin-starred restaurant at Walt Disney World, earning its coveted first star in the summer of 2022. (Since we’re just wrapping up Women’s History Month, let’s pause for a quick girl-power moment. Capa’s Restaurant Chef, Malyna Si, also happens to be the only woman leading a Michelin-starred eatery in the entire state of Florida. You go, girl!)
Appropriately nestled on Four Seasons Orlando’s 17th floor, this rooftop restaurant specializing in Spanish-inspired steakhouse cuisine is the resort’s crowning achievement. To quote the anonymous Michelin inspector who had the pleasure of dining there, “calling Capa a steakhouse is like saying flamenco is just a dance.” Aside from expertly grilled steaks and classic tapas like patatas bravas and pan con tomate, the setting is simply sublime and features sophisticated design touches as well as stunning views of Disney’s evening fireworks shows.
Also located at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Ravello may not have a Michelin star (it was, however, awarded the Michelin Plate for its high-quality food), but it is led once more by Executive Chef Fabrizio Schenardi. At Ravello, the resort’s modern Italian eatery, Executive Chef Schenardi is completely in his element. Born and raised in Torino, Italy above his grandparents’ bakery, Italian cuisine is baked into the chef’s DNA.
Recognized for his industry contributions with the Paolo Bertani Award by the Italian Food Style Education (IFSE) Culinary School and the Italian Academy of Cuisine, Schenardi has even competed on the Food Network during Beat Bobby Flay. (And no, unfortunately, he did not actually beat Bobby Flay.) Ravello is open for breakfast (including a character breakfast with Goofy, Mickey and Minnie), lunch and dinner. His signature dish, however, is Veal Ravioli, so be sure to order that when you go.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
Tucked along the water in The Landing at Disney Springs, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is hailed as a Florida kitchen with Southern shine. Moonshine, that is. Guided by, you guessed it, Chef Art Smith, Homecomin’ cooks up comfort-food favorites inspired by the Sunshine State for brunch, lunch and dinner, from Hush Puppy Benedict and Church Lady Deviled Eggs to a Miami-ready Cuban Sandwich and Art’s Famous Fried Chicken.
Chef Art Smith’s list of plaudits is as long as his tempting menus. Not only has he cooked for two of Florida’s governors and served as Oprah’s personal chef for ten years (yes, that Oprah), but he’s also won a James Beard Foundation Award twice, has promoted American cuisine abroad as part of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership and has been featured on Top Chef Masters and the Today show. Especially poignant, however, is where Chef Art got his start: at the Walt Disney World College Program in 1981.
Jaleo by José Andrés
Part of Disney Springs’ West Side, Jaleo by José Andrés is one of two eateries created by the humanitarian and celebrity chef in Disney Springs. A clone of other Jaleo outposts in Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington, DC and Dubai, Jaleo showcases the vibrant flavors and dishes of Chef José Andrés’ native Spain. Here, dishes are meant to be shared, with plates arriving in an expertly choreographed dance. But be forewarned, the chicken croquetas and saffron-infused paella are so good that you may want to keep them all to yourself.
As a chef, José Andrés is a culinary force to be reckoned with. The only chef in the world to tout four Bib Gourmands, Michelin’s award for great-value dining establishments, and a two-starred Michelin restaurant (minibar in Washington, DC), he was also named the Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic in 2003 by the James Beard Foundation. Aside from being a restauranteur, Chef José Andrés is also renowned for his humanitarian work. His foundation, World Central Kitchen, has served meals in disaster-struck places like Ukraine, Haiti and Puerto Rico, earning him such recognition as 2018’s Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, 100 Most Influential People by TIME Magazine and even a National Humanities Medal in by President Barrack Obama.
Pepe by José Andrés
Don’t have time for a drawn-out (though incredibly delicious) meal at Jaleo? Just head next door to Pepe by José Andrés instead. Based on his Washington, DC food truck of the same name, Pepe dishes up quick-service, Spanish-style classics with high-quality ingredients, just like what you’d find in Chef José Andrés’ homeland. Think flute-like flauta sandwiches with savory serrano ham and Manchego cheese on delightfully crusty bread. And remember those croquetas we just mentioned? Well, they’re also available here, too. (You’re welcome.)
Are there any millennials in the audience who were as addicted to Food Network’s Iron Chef America as I was? Then Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs’s The Landing should definitely be on your to-eat list. Open for lunch and dinner, Morimoto Asia is Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant, serving up his unique spin on Korean, Chinese and, of course, Japanese cuisine. This three-story restaurant is as elegant as his dishes, which include everything from Japanese classics like sushi and ramen to Peking duck and bibimbap.
Chef Masaharu Morimoto is arguably Japanese cuisine’s most recognizable celebrity chef. First appearing on the original Iron Chef in Japan in 1998, he then went on to compete in Iron Chef America in 1999, where he won the hearts of viewers and judges with his boundless creativity and flawless technique. However, his accolades don’t stop there. He’s also been recognized for his cookbooks with the Julia Child Award for Best First Book and two International Association of Culinary Professionals awards.
His impeccable aesthetic has also translated over to his restaurants, earning him such awards as Top 100 Restaurants in the World and Outstanding Restaurant Design by the James Beard Foundation. Even Disney Springs’ Morimoto Asia itself has been honored, winning a Silver Award from the New York Design Awards and the Design Build Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects Orlando.
Morimoto Asia Street Food
Similar to Pepe by José Andrés, Morimoto Asia also has an attached counter-service outlet. Offering a considerably smaller menu at wallet-friendly prices, Morimoto Asia Street Food cooks up steaming bowls of ramen, as well as portable bites like takoyaki (octopus fritters—don’t knock them ‘til you’ve tried them) and hoisin and sweet chili-glazed ribs. The seating here is entirely outdoors, so keep this in mind if it’s an especially sticky day or it looks like it might rain soon.
Guided by one of the winningest celebrity chefs on our list, Chef Rick Bayless, Frontera Cocina is a lively Mexican restaurant in Town Center at Disney Springs. Frontera Cocina cooks up approachable Mexican favorites like carne asada and chicken tinga tacos, as well as authentic regional dishes such as Oaxacan-style chicken with red mole and slow-roasted pork marinated in achiote, making it a great choice for folks looking for a mix of approachable yet adventurous dishes.
Chef Rick Bayless is a culinary tour de force. Not only does he star in a celebrated cooking show, Mexico—One Plate at a Time, for which he has received numerous Emmy nominations for Best Culinary Host (his cookbook of the same name was named the Best International Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation), he also emerged victorious from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.
On top of that, he’s also won seven James Beard Awards, including Chef of the Year, Midwest Chef of the Year, Who’s Who of American Food and Drink, Humanitarian of the Year and Best Podcast, as well as received the prestigious Julia Child Foundation Award. And while Rick isn’t from Mexico, the Mexican government certainly approves of his work, bestowing him with the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle for his contributions to Mexico as a foreigner.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has been a Disney Springs mainstay ever since the popular entertainment district was known as Downtown Disney. His restaurants have moved around a bit over the years, but you’ll currently find Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill over in Town Center across from the decidedly more pedestrian Planet Hollywood.
From his former show on the Food Network to a one-appearance stint on Iron Chef America (he beat out fellow Iron Chef and Disney Springs restauranteur Chef Masaharu Morimoto), Wolfgang Puck has become synonymous with the term “celebrity chef.” Along with a James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994, he’s also earned the distinction of being the only chef to win the foundation’s coveted Outstanding Chef of the Year Award more than once. In fact, he won twice, in 1991 and again in 1998.
A prolific restauranteur, Puck has over 100 eateries located around the world, as well as four Michelin stars. Though Austrian-born, Chef Wolfgang Puck has been a driving force behind the rise of California-style cuisine, and you’ll find its influence at many of his restaurants, including Disney Springs’ Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, it’s a great place to unwind with a glass of wine and a delicious meal.
Terralina Crafted Italian
Although you have to dig a bit to find his name attached to the restaurant, Michelin-starred chef and James Beard Award winner Tony Mantuano has been guiding Terralina Crafted Italian at The Landing in Disney Springs ever since it was known as Portobello in what was then called Pleasure Island. Inspired by the cuisine of Italy’s Lake Cuomo region, with waterfront views to boot, Terralina Crafted Italian dishes up authentic Italian flavors that were introduced to Chef Mantuano by his grandma during his childhood, like handmade pastas and his Nonna’s Pork Ragu over house-rolled gnocchi.
Through the years, Chef Mantuano, who also competed on Top Chef Masters, has earned 12 James Beard Foundation nominations (he won Best Chef in the Midwest in 2005). He was also awarded a Michelin star for his beloved Italian restaurant, Spiaggia, in Chicago, which sadly closed its doors in 2021. Before its departure, however, the Michelin star was maintained for an impressive 12 years. If that isn’t enough of an endorsement, President Barrack Obama even called him his favorite chef.
Todd English’s bluezoo
Located at the Walt Disney World Dolphin at the Swan and Dolphin complex, Todd English’s bluezoo whips up fresh coastal cuisine like simply prepared fish and seafood-studded pastas in an elegantly whimsical setting. The restaurant’s name is an adorable ode to Chef English’s son, who, after seeing a movie that took place under the ocean, quipped that the setting looked like a “blue zoo.” The name stuck.
While not part of an official Disney World hotel, Todd English’s bluezoo is conveniently situated in the Epcot Resort Area, making for an easy dinner choice for those exploring World Showcase or taking the Disney Skyliner over from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Given Chef English’s numerous recognitions, such as Bon Appetit’s Restauranteur of the Year and several awards from the James Beard Foundation, including National Rising Star Chef, Best Chef in the Northeast and Who’s Who in Food and Beverage, it’s sure to be well worth the trip.
Guy Fieri is renowned for his bleached blonde hair, big personality and Food Network shows like the Emmy-nominated Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Now, he’s taking Disney Springs visitors to Flavortown with Chicken Guy!, a quick-service restaurant in Town Center specializing in all things poultry, from chicken tenders to chicken sandwiches to salads topped with, of course, chicken. Whatever you decide on, you’re able to customize it with your own Flavortown flair by choosing from a sprawling selection of signature sauces.
Guy Fieri’s journey to culinary stardom began after he won Food Network’s Next Food Network Star in 2006, and the rest is history. Today, he owns 17 different restaurant brands, with hundreds of restaurants located across the globe. He was even honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, fully cementing his title as a celebrity chef.
Well, folks, that brings our food tour of the many celebrity chef-driven restaurants at Disney World to a close. Have you had a chance to eat at one of the dining outlets on our list? Which one is your favorite? Which celebrity chef would you like to see with a restaurant at Disney World? Let us know in the comments! Hungry for savings? Learn how you can keep a little extra cash in your pocket (and save room for a meal at one of these Disney World restaurants) with our discount Disney tickets.