When I'm asked to recommend a *special occasion* restaurant at Disney World, one of my top choices is California Grill. The *make you feel special* experience, happens before you enter the restaurant! The check-in desk is located on the second floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort. Once checked in, you are guided to an elevator, specific for California Grill patrons and taken to the 15th floor of the resort, where you are met by a host/hostess and lead to your table.
We were lucky enough to get a table that offered a perfect view of Magic Kingdom. Just a side note: when booking your reservations, request a table overlooking Magic Kingdom, but remember, they will do their best to accommodate you, but there is no guarantee.
California Grill is one of Disney World's Signature restaurants, so proper attire is required.
We started our meal with a couple of cocktails
"Chopin Vodka, Limoncello and cucumber water with a splash of Sprite"
This was so good. I swore I tasted Midori Liqueur in it, but no, just so refreshing, smooth and delightful!
They made this for my son. He may or may not have had another one during dinner, but he just loved this.
On to appetizers!
"Coffee brined pork shoulder, apple butter, Queso Fresco, coffee BBQ sauce"
This was SO good, and a good sized portion. One thing that impresses me, is how Disney Chefs balance out flavors. Everything about this was on point. If you order this, you will definitely want to share!
"Roasted garlic dressing, boquerones, sun dried tomatoes, Brioche croutons"
Don't know what Boquerones are? Well, neither did I, so I asked, and was told they're anchovies. Ummmm gotta give ya a back fat no on that one, so they served this minus the Bouquerones, but... you DO know Caesar Dressing has anchovies in it, right? They're VERY subtle, but, I'll be honest, knowing me, I wouldn't eat it, so... no anchovies, although I have been told they're delicious.
My husband did get the Crispy Rock Shrimp Salad, (Spicy baby greens, Subarashii Pear, Red Onions, Soy reduction, Wasabi Cream) but I had gotten up from the table to say hello to another patron, came back, and bam.... gone. He LOVED it! However, neglected to take a pic. Nice, right??
Our dinners did not disappoint...
"Lollipop Kale, local wax beans, mushrooms, celerial puree, cabernet-chicken demi glace"
My husband said this was just fabulous. Perfectly cooked, tender, juicy.
"Heirloom Tomato Risotto, baby vine tomatoes, tiny basil, tomato butter"
This was really good! Cooked perfectly, I asked for mine cooked medium well, it was definitely done to my asking.
Now my son isn't much of a tomato fan, so asked for this dish without tomatoes. Ask, and you shall receive...
His was served with butter risotto and baby carrots. I believe he had a couple of stalks of asparagus as well, but said it was cooked perfectly.
As we ordered our desserts, the restaurant lights dimmed, music piped in to the restaurant and Wishes started. Yes, I cried, there I said it. (C'mon, admit it, EVERYONE cries once or twice during a Disney visit!) Our server gave me a hug and asked if this was my first time visiting Disney. All I could say was Ummm, No, as my husband and son just looked away! Smart men! Talk about an incredible experience. Just, so, well... magical!
After I dried my eyes and got hugs from all around.. it was on to dessert
"Banana stuffed, cinnamon dusted fritters, complimented with a trio of dipping sauces"
To the best of my recollection, the sauces were chocolate ganache, cream and strawberry. OMG Good! Imagine little fluffs of the best funnel cake you've ever had, stuffed with banana and rolled in sugar.. there ya go! Will definitely be getting these little angels again!
"Rich vanilla custard, carmelized Turbinado sugar, and California Strawberries"
Boy oh boy, can Disney do Creme Brulee right! This was wonderful!
"Luscious chocolate cake with Nutella filling, merinque kisses and Chantilly Cream"
I know, it looks small, but WOW was this rich and GOOD! I definitely recommend this for all you chocolate lovers!
I cannot stress enough, this is the perfect date night, ask your-best-friend-to-be-your-wife restaurant. Yes, this restaurant is a tad pricey, but the experience just can't be beat.
Located Disney's Contemporary Resort - 15th floor
Dinner: 5:00 - 10:00pm