Tuesday, August 21, 2018

REVIEW: My NEW Favorite Brunch!


Hey there, Disney Foodies!

     Are you ready to hear about one of the best kept (newer) dining secrets on Disney property? I am so hesitant to share this, because I love that I can get in whenever I want to right now, and I know once ya’ll try it, you’re gonna snatch up the reservations on me, buuut, I do love my fellow Disney Foodies, so I’ll share. Be cool about it though, ok?



     Disney Springs fans may already be familiar with Patina Group’s new set of dining gems, The Edison restaurant and nightclub, Pizza Ponte counter service pizza shop, Maria and Enzo’s Italian restaurant and Enzo’s Hideaway. Just recently, I reviewed the Sunday Supper option at Enzo’s and I really loved it. (Check out the review HERE!) So here’s another Sunday option for you... Brunch at Maria and Enzo's! Every Sunday, from 10:30am- 3pm, Guests can enjoy an elaborate brunch, featuring Italian meats and cheeses, fresh salads, amazing entrees, a chocolate fountain and even bottomless mimosas and bellinis, if you so choose. The prix fixed brunch is $35 per adult. That includes an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet of appetizers, salads and dessert items, and your choice of one entree. For a $15 up charge, you can add endless mimosas and/or bellinis too! The pricing is super reasonable, and lower than most other Disney buffets. And here's the BEST part.... Kids under age 9 eat FREE* (with the purchase of an adult entree)!!! FREE! Where else on Disney property do you hear that word? Almost nowhere, I can tell you that! (* I am told by the restaurant staff that this is a temporary promotion. It does not have an end date determined, but it may not always be available, FYI. Ask in advance by calling 407-560-8466.)


     So, now that I have your attention, I'm guessing you want to know what it's like, right? Well, I was there for my 4th (yes, 4th!) visit just recently, and grabbed some photos to share, but here's the best way I can describe it: If you have ever been on a Disney Cruise and have eaten at the adults only dining location, Palo...... Well, this is the next best thing! Say hello to Palo, on land! Let me explain why...





     The location itself is really beautiful. Each of the Patina Group locations at Disney Springs has a really detailed and interesting backstory that goes along with it. I highly recommend that you ask a Cast Member to share the story with you. I'm not going to give it away here, but I will tell you that Maria and Enzo's design is that of an old airline terminal. (Think the glamour and glitz of an old Pan Am flight in a bygone era.) Each detail of the restaurant's decor gives a nod to aviation and travel, including a huge globe hanging overhead from the grand 50 foot ceilings. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the water-facing wall give an excellent, (albeit surprising at times), view of the Aerophile hot air balloon, as it goes up and down right behind the building. There are some tables up on the second floor, where you enter from, but most are down on the main floor, at the bottom of a grand staircase. On Sunday mornings, a wonderful harpist plays from the balcony, strumming out everything from Disney tunes to modern pop hits. The gorgeous, sleek architecture and sprawling windows make me feel like I may as well be on a cruise ship, gazing out over the ocean, even though I'm actually only overlooking the waterways of Disney Springs.


     One of my favorite aspects of the restaurant is that, much like the staff of World Showcase in Epcot, and much like the international crew on the cruise ships, most of the servers here are Italian natives, which lends some additional authenticity to the experience. And wow, are they fantastic! We have never had a server here that was not wonderful, in fact, we loved our most recent server so much that we requested her the next time we were onsite. Sadly, bella Jessica has now moved back home to Italy, but I am sure we will be pleased with any other server that we get, as they all seem to be trained wonderfully and they are all fantastic at their jobs, and wait on their guests with passion and enthusiasm. The management team is also outstanding, tending to the buffet with care and precision, and greeting tables with genuine concern for how guests are enjoying their experience. We spent 15 minutes chatting with one of the members of management who is a recent arrival from Europe, and had an amazing story to share of his previous career in national security. He shared with us the incredible places he has lived and where his adventures have taken him. We loved hearing of his history and he was happy to spend the time with us, as well. When we have been concerned about our little guy eating from the buffet, given his allergies, we have gotten fantastic and careful assistance from both Jerry and Justin from the management team, and have every confidence that our kiddo is safe dining there. Again, the only other place I have seen this kind of commitment to the guest experience is onboard Disney's ships.


     Now, let's get to the good stuff! THE FOOD! Your server will come to the table and take your drink order, (be aware, unlike many Disney buffets, beverages are included for the kids only), as well as give you the option to order off the regular, a la carte menu, instead of doing the prix fixed brunch option, if that's what you prefer. The regular menu includes salads and appetizers, as well as entrees like chicken parmigiana and swordfish. I can't tell you how any of that is though, because I have never been able to resist the prix fixed menu, since it includes the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet as part of it. Here's a look at that menu:





If you select that option, you'll be sent up to the buffet first, where your eyes will feast on an amazingly colorful and delightful spread of cured Italian meats and cheeses, freshly baked breads, multiple kinds of salad, peel and eat shrimp, smoked salmon, muffins, yogurt parfaits, cannolis, cheesecake and a chocolate fountain. Everything from the buffet is GREAT! The Hubs and my little guy love the meats and cheeses. I prefer the breads, the Caesar salad, and of course the desserts. (Oh man, the cannoli is to die for and those tiny almond cookies? Heavenly, with a huge almond punch! Mmmmm.... so good with tea or coffee!)















     Your server will return to the table after you have your buffet items, and take you entree order. Your choices will include french toast, steak and eggs, a veggie frittata, an egg and quinoa kale salad, and spaghetti carbonara. For the kids, they can select chicken fingers, french toast, eggs and bacon or sausage, or grilled cheese and tomato. (They also get to enjoy the buffet, as well.) On your table, the server will leave a basket of freshly made croissants, including plain, chocolate and jam filled. They are flaky, buttery and SO yummy!


     The meal is well-paced, so you don't feel like you're being rushed, or stuffed, too quickly. After you've had time to go up to the buffet a couple of times, the entrees will arrive, hot, fresh and delectable. The Hubs and I usually favor the NY Strip Steak and Eggs. The steak is cooked to your preferred temp, the eggs are scrambled and fluffy, and the potatoes are crispy, garlicy and oh-so-good. But you must not let the french toast fool you. A lot of people think, 'eh, french toast is french toast'. Not here. This is, hands down, the best french toast I have ever had! It's made from thick slices of soft and fluffy bread, and topped with berries and a lightly sweetened mascarpone cheese. You won't even need the syrup! It is SO good. The Hubs doesn't even like fruit and he gets this one with the berries, because it's just. So. Good.



     The kid's food is also spectacular. On this visit, our group got chicken fingers, (crispy, lightly-breaded, and juicy white meat), grilled cheese and tomato, (cheesy and flavorful), and they let my son order spaghetti with the Parmesan cream sauce, even though it's not on the menu for kids, due to his allergies and his demand for "long noodles that he can slurp, and a cheesy sauce". (We never said we were not high maintenance.) All of the kids loved their food, but I think their tummies were also pretty full of crispy rice treats, marshmallows, and strawberries from the chocolate fountain. It's hard to deny your kid dessert before entrees when it's just sitting out there! Of course, they had no problem also squeezing in the orange sorbet that Jessica brought out for my son, due to his egg allergy and inability to eat most of what was on the dessert table. This was so kind of Jessica and considerate of her to bring one for each kid, even though it was only my son who needed an alternate dessert. The kids all got up and hugged her, they were so excited!





     As you can see, between the incredible food, the fantastic service, the live entertainment and the international flare of the cuisine and the servers, it's pretty darn close to being on a Disney Cruise. Maybe that's why I love it so very much. I am constantly in a state of PDCD (Post Disney Cruise Depression), and this gem of a restaurant fulfills my cruise needs on land, as best as possible. AND did I mention kids eat free??? I mean, come ON. You can't beat that! (Maria and Enzo's management, if you are reading this, please don't end that offer, like ever.)

     If I haven't convinced you that you must add brunch at Maria and Enzo's to your next Disney dining itinerary, then I have not done my job here and I am so sorry to have let you down. Nah, I know that's not the case! As you read this, you're emailing your agent at Kingdom Konsultant Travel and having them shift some stuff around so you can fit it in. I know you are! Well, enjoy and let me know how much you love it too!

     Until next time, Disney Foodies, have a magical week!


                                            Jenn


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