Disney World is a diners paradise with hundreds of choices when it comes to dining. For those of you who have a more refined palate (or not) you may be looking for the best restaurants in Disney World to make your visit there that much more magical.
Because there are so many choices, there’s a good chance that my list below won’t have many of the ones you’ve heard of or love yourself. That’s okay!
We like to break each restaurant down by “plate power” or the number of plates we’ve tried that are just outstanding vs just okay or not good at all. While restaurant theming is fun, it’s not part of our process here. It all comes down to food likeability and choice.
If there are lots of choices and most of them are top notch, this restaurant is going to rank better than a restaurant who has a lot of choices but they all taste like they should be at a quick service cart in the park.
We’ve visited most of Disney World’s top restaurants over the years and continue to go back as they change their menus and offerings. These rankings are as of January 2021.
As more places open up we will be testing them and, if they are good enough, add them to the list. For now, here’s who made the 2021 cut:
10. Via Napoli – This restaurant used to be lower on our list as it has always offered some of the best Italian dishes in Orlando, or so we thought. We made a trip to NYC and visited a little restaurant called Carmine’s at Times Square. This changed my palate a little bit as they truly serve authentic Italian dishes here. Turns out Via Napoli really serves Americanized Italian dishes which is fine, just not authentic. The reason it stayed on our list however comes down to one thing they do very well: pizza.
We have been to Italy before and had fresh slices of street pizza and they are amazing. Via Napoli is the only restaurant that gets ridiculously close to this experience. The classic pizza is going to be the margarita with fresh mozzarella and basil. Honestly, we’ve tried them all and you can’t go wrong with any pizza made in their coal-burning ovens and outstanding sauce. And since pizza is plentiful here, it remains one of our top restaurants. Via Napoli is located in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot.
9. Le Cellier Steakhouse – They aren’t the best steakhouse at Disney World but they do have some really good cuts. Their staple, Le Cellier Filet Mignon is something to talk about. Soft tender meat with a warm pink center is the preferred way to eat this delicious steak. Before this? Canadian Cheese Soup made with Moosehead Pale Ale and Applewood Smoked Bacon. Even their Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad is delicious with toppings like Toy Box Tomatoes, Edamame, Blue Cheese and Buttermilk Ranch.
Our favorite dish here is the Beef Bourguignon Poutine. If you’ve never had poutine before you’ve been missing out on a Canadian classic. This dish is made up of crispy french fries smothered in Gruyère, Beef Bourguignon Gravy, Garlic Aïoli and Truffle. In layman’s terms it’s french fries covered in gravy and slow-cooked beef. It’s an incredible dish to have with any meal here, one we get everytime we visit. Le Cellier Steakhouse is located in the Canada Pavilion in Epcot.
8. Tiffins Restaurant – Seek and you shall find a treasure trove of mouthwatering delights from far-off places for lunch and dinner. Tiffins offers a culinary expedition of international flavors that you won’t find anywhere else at Walt Disney World. While it may not be located up high with sweeping views nor inside a fancy building of sorts, this down to earth restaurant should not be overlooked. It is a more laid-back service but meets the price demand for such dishes inside a park.
Expect to find dishes that you’ve never heard of before made with spices you’ve never heard of before. We’re a big fan of the Spiced Chickpea Falafel and Charred Octopus for starters. Very different and very tasty. Follow these with their melty Butter Chicken dish or the Tamarind-braised Short Rib. Be sure to add their Lobster Macaroni and Cheese as a side. It’s filled with chunks of lobster, Black Diamond Cheddar, Sherry and Orecchiette Pasta. Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
7. Jiko – The Cooking Place – If you’re looking for some unique food, far from the American Palate you’re use to, this is the place to come. The smell of spices and the glow of wood-burning ovens is very welcoming and majestic. We can never get over the number of delicious smells that come from this restaurant. And if you’re a wine lover, the selection of South African Wines is incredible. We love a restaurant that changes its menu seasonally and Jiko – The Cooking Place does just that. It’s nice to have staples but when you get to try something totally new each time, that’s all part of the experience.
North-African Spiced Scallops, Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin and Tibs in Brik should all get you excited right?! If you don’t know what any of these are that’s okay. They are amazing appetizers that one must try at least once in their life. Follow these with an Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon or Peri Peri Chicken and you’re in heaven. There are usually about 8 entrees to choose from that are friendly to meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans alike. Every dish is spiced with something you’ve never heard of but you’ll fall in love with it. Jiko – The Cooking Place is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
6. Yachtsman Steakhouse – Picture this: High-quality, grain-fed beef aged in-house and prepared on an oak-fired grill in an open kitchen. Sound appealing? That’s what the Yachtsman Steakhouse is all about. Beef lovers be prepared for a delicious adventure into fine culinary cuts. It’s a true New England style steakhouse that you don’t want to miss.
Since it is New England, you can expect to see some seafood dishes like their Lobster Bisque which is incredible. Hearty chunks of lobster and fresh creme. Even their Steakhouse Wedge Salad stands out with its Honey-Miso Bacon and Buttermilk Ranch. These are just the starters. The real meal starts with the Butcher Cuts including an 8oz Filet Mignon smothered in truffle butter sauce. It’s one of the tenderest meats you’ll ever eat. The other steak we would highly recommend (though you can’t go wrong with any of them) is the 12 oz New York Strip Steak covered in a peppercorn brandy sauce. Medium rare does this meat just fine.
Lastly, a must-try here is the Truffle Mac and Cheese side dish. This thing has travelled from Disneyland in Anaheim where it made its debut at Club 33 many years ago. It became so popular among members that when the chef left to open Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel, members would go there and request it. Now this amazing dish has made its way across the U.S. to the Yachtsman Steakhouse. And it is a very fine dish. Located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.
5. California Grill – Californian cuisine celebrates fresh, seasonal ingredients and the international, melting-pot culture of the Golden State. And there’s not a better place to do it than at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort with sweeping views of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. One of our favorite things about this restaurant is that it’s truly contemporary with the chefs wanting guests to try new things they are creating while offering seasonal favorites. If they think the sunset is amazing one evening, they will let you know by drawing the shades up and clapping. It’s a very fun yet sophisticated-ish dining experience.
If you love wine, you’ll love the California Grill with a selection of over 300 to choose from. They will pair a glass with any meal you have and it’s superb. Speaking of meals, you can start yours off with authentic hand-rolled sushi filled with crab, shrimp, tuna or all three! Follow this with an Oak-Grilled Filet of Beef and a red wine sweet-onion au jus sauce or a Black Grouper covered in cashew chutney and a kaffir lime-coconut nage. One of my favorite dishes is actually the Pepperoni which is an artisanal hand-formed pizza with house made pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, asiago and parmesan.
No matter what you choose for your appetizers and entrees, you must follow them with the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake. This is a chocolate lover’s dream with milk-chocolate whipped panna cotta, vanilla bean ice cream and pretzel crunch. It’s sweet. It’s salty. It’s amazing. Located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
4. The Flying Fish – It’s a place that has fire-roasted gourmet seafood into fine art. If the Yachtsman Steakhouse is king of meat, the Flying Fish is the king of seafood. Savor a sophisticated interpretation of nostalgic seaside meals as the menu here has everything to offer and more. Bringing along a non-seafood lover? That’s okay. They have plenty of dishes to offer that don’t fall short from their seafood offerings.
Lobster Bisque, Snow Crab Croquettes and Crispy Oysters are a great way to start your meal off. Then move on to entrees like Swordfish, Sardinian Seafood Pasta or their famous Hokkaido Scallops. Add a cold water lobster tail to any of these dishes to enhance your meal. The open seating, open kitchen arrange here is very fun as you watch the chefs create dishes with the freshest ingredients. Located at Disney’s Boardwalk.
3. Toledo – Tapas, Steak and Seafood – This restaurant blew past several on our list when it opened in 2019 and will probably remain low on our list as one of Walt Disney Worlds best. Savor dishes and small plates inspired by the flavors of Spain while feasting your eyes on the sweeping views from this rooftop restaurant.
Spend the evening enjoying delicious tapas, sublime steaks and succulent seafood under a large pair of olive trees and shimmering vaulted ceilings. While the atmosphere is amazing, the menu is something to talk about. Their starter list of Tapas and small plates is large which makes it hard to choose from. No matter what you go with, whether it’s Charred Octopus, Garlic Shrimp ‘Pil Pil” or Rioja-braised Chorizo, you’ll absolutely enjoy it.
Move on to Spanish-made Scallops, a Manhattan Steak, Red wine-braised chicken or a Marinated Hanger Steak for your entree. I think one of the things that really impresses me about Toledo – Tapas, Steak and Seafood is that they have not inflated their pricing on anything. It all matches plus you get great service, an amazing atmosphere and great views of Walt Disney World. It’s sophisticated yet anyone who wants to enjoy a fantastic meal that’s not absurdly priced can. Located at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Tower.
2. Monsieur Paul – This is French dining at its best. Delight in the culture and flavors of France that renowned chef Paul Bocuse has shared with the world for decades. Indulge your senses in sophisticated offerings, prepared with the finest of French culinary technique. The current menu was created by Chef Nicolas Lemoyne, who previously practiced his craft at l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, the 3-star restaurant from Paul Bocuse.
Prepare for an evening of exquisite service and dishes fit for a king (or anyone willing to pay) by Walt Disney World’s top chefs. Chef Bocuse first opened Les Chefs de France (located downstairs from Monsieur Paul) at Epcot in 1982. Later, Monsieur Paul was opened and is currently managed by his son Jerome Bocuse.
Considering Chef Bocuse’s history on French cuisine and the fact that he managed a 3 star Michelin restaurant for 48 years should help you understand the type of dining you’re getting into here.
The menu is full of amazing appetizers and entrees and the only reason we don’t list any is to keep you from favoring one over the other. We can guarantee you, anything you get here is going to be superb and take your palate to a whole new level. Located in the France Pavilion at Epcot.
1. Takumi-Tei – At Takumi-Tei, the beauty of Japan is also in its cuisine, providing guests with one of the most immersive, personal dining experiences ever. Japanese-inspired dishes like braised wagyu beef, roasted duck, maki sushi and yuzu cheesecake fill the menu. While we are over the top about the Japanese Culture, anyone who dines here will feel the authenticity of the Japanese service and cuisine.
Dining here is almost ceremonial in its presentation and service. Each room is designed with a natural element: earth, wind, water, fire and wood. Every area features beautiful, handcrafted works of art honoring the element that brought it to life. While this type of dining experience may sound a little out of the average diners comfort zone, we can promise that you’ll feel very welcomed and enjoy a peaceful, tasteful culinary experience. Located in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot theme park.
0. Victoria & Alberts – For those of you wondering why we left off Orlando’s only AAA 5-Diamond Award-winning restaurant Victoria & Alberts, we have not! It’s in a class all its own and will probably always remain there. The reason we separate it is Victoria and Alberts requires some serious planning and is certainly not a place that park goers would just “drop in” and decide to try.
While many of the above restaurants do require advance reservations and a dress code, it’s not unusual to be able to grab a reservation within 24-48 hrs before. Victoria & Alberts is completely different, something you do need to prepare for and make reservations well in advance. Victoria & Albert’s features modern American cuisine with exquisite products sourced from around the world—truffles from Italy, fresh herbs from Ohio, beef from Japan, poulet rouge from North Carolina, and the finest caviar from around the world.
The talented culinary team’s approach is imaginative and the food is an art form, featuring aromatic flavors, vivid colors, exciting textures and exquisite wine pairings with each course. Each season has its own flavors and colors, and each day the kitchen selects the freshest ingredients at the market to create menus for the Dining Room. Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Need we say more?
So there’s 2021’s Best Restaurants in Disney World for all the enjoy. There are plenty to choose from and none to disappoint. I recommend making advance dining reservations to most of these, if not all to be safe.