It’s an out-of-the-way restaurant that you might have overlooked, so join guest author Rebecca Dolan with a review of Maya Grill at the Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World!
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Maya Grill has never been high on my priority list. Even after all these years of Disney trips, I always figured why go to Maya Grill when I can get my Mexican fix at Epcot’s San Angel Inn? Well, I finally broke down and took the plunge, and San Angel is still the way to go.
As the signature restaurant of the Spanish-colonial inspired Coronado Springs Resort, Maya Grill evokes the cities of the ancient Maya. You’ll find it towards the back of the main building – just head left off the entryway and continue past the Pepper Market.
The restaurant is centered on a stylized Maya pyramid, under which bubbles a fountain.
The walls are decorated with artistic representations of Maya life. Try to get a table near one of the large windows overlooking the hotel’s central lagoon.
I was surprised to encounter a wait when I arrived at the hostess desk, as Maya Grill isn’t exactly one of Disney World’s most in-demand restaurants. Luckily, I’d made a reservation, despite assuming I wouldn’t need one. So, you might find it worthwhile to make one just in case.
Once seated, my companions and I found the restaurant too loud for our taste. The live entertainment, a gentleman singing and playing the guitar with other canned instruments, was deafening and we strained to hear our conversation. So, this is not the place to go for a quiet evening.
As was expected, the meal started with a basket of chips and salsa. The chips were thick and sturdy, perfect for getting a big scoop of dip without any breakage.
The menu consists of pretty typical Mexican fare, like nachos, tacos, chimichangas, and fajitas. There’s a small but clearly marked vegetarian section, and the abundant gluten free options were interspersed but highlighted throughout the whole menu. My non-spicy-food-eating grandmother appreciated the “North of the Border” section of the menu, which offered simpler fare.
First up was the queso fundido appetizer, served with flour tortillas for scooping. Unlike the liquid-y chile con queso you’re probably used to, queso fundido is more like the middle of a mozzarella stick: stringy, gooey and most easily eaten with a fork or plucked with a bit of tortilla. Though a bit salty, it’s hard to go wrong with a big bowl of cheese.
Next were orders of steak fajitas, a chicken chimichanga, and enchiladas suizas, each served with rice, beans, and sweet corn soufflé.
The presentation of the fajitas was a little different from what’s usually expected. Instead of arriving sizzling on a skillet, the meat was scooped into a more decorative serving skillet, sans sizzle. The meat got points for being fork tender (though one of my companions noted that it seemed boiled rather than seared on the griddle.) Either way, the meat lost a lot due to the pool of grease it was resting in and an overdose of salt that made it hard to swallow. Unfortunately, it was also cold.
If you’ve never had a chimichanga, picture a deep fried burrito. This one was filled with shredded chicken, though not much else. There wasn’t much going on in the flavor department, either, and it left much to be desired. Like the fajitas, the chimi was also not hot, which is odd considering it was deep-fried.
The enchiladas suizas, a dish distinctive for its creamy cheese sauce, were stuffed with the same seasoned chicken as the chimichangas. No complaints here about the flavor, which was enjoyable, but they would have been much better if they’d arrived hot. This was probably the best dish of the three.
Maya Grill has hopped on the mini-dessert bandwagon, offering five shot glass-sized sweet bites. Available flavors included key lime, cappuccino dulce de leche, chocolate mud pie, peanut butter parfait, and Grand Marnier berries and cream.
On the full-sized end of the spectrum, there’s also coconut flan, fried ice cream, or fruit sorbet to share (or not.) In case you can’t choose, they’re all conveniently brought out on a dessert tray so you can get a good view before you decide.
Fried ice cream was my party’s sweet of choice, and it was pretty much like what you’d find at any Mexican chain restaurant. This version was given a boost though by the three churros on the side, which, as far as I’m concerned, are a welcome addition to any dessert.
For a Mexican fix without having to go into a park, Maya Grill is certainly convenient. But, given the cold, mediocre food, and the slow service we experienced on top of that, it unfortunately does not get high marks from me.
Of course, there’s a chance that I visited on an off night, so you might fare better. But with all the other restaurant options, and San Angel Inn already being one of my favorite Disney dining spots, I doubt I’ll be revisiting soon.
What’s your favorite place for Mexican at a Disney park or resort? We want to hear your experiences in the comments below!