We’re taking in lunch at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Disney Springs!
If you’ve visited Disney Springs recently, you know that the area once known as Pleasure Island is practically unrecognizable from what it was two years ago. Construction walls abound, and new restaurants and shops seem to be opening every day.
The good news is that those walls seem to be decreasing every time I visit. And so on a recent research visit, I headed over to Raglan Road to take a peek at some new cocktails and have a bite to eat!
As I’ve said, if you haven’t visited for a while, all the work at Disney Springs is going to shock you. While Raglan Road used to stand front and center, easily viewable from the parking lots, now it’s a bit of a walk to get here from the nearest parking building.
You should budget at least 10 minutes or so if you’re coming from the parking garage.
But once you navigate your way to the entrance, you’ll find familiar surroundings. The podium where you check in is located in the restaurant’s foyer. If the wait is long, plan on standing; there aren’t any seats in the waiting area.
To the right is a gift shop, where you can purchase Guinness and Raglan Road memorabilia, in addition to other souvenirs from Ireland.
The restaurant itself is divided into three rooms. The main room features two large bars, performance stages, and plenty of seating.
The central dancing podium is the platform from an Irish church’s pulpit!
Ceilings soar in the main room, culminating in a cupola trimmed in stained glass.
Because of the hard surfaces and high ceilings, the main room can be extremely loud during the dinner hour, when there is live music and Irish dancing. The entertainment is top-notch, but it can make conversation impossible. We were visiting during lunch, however. So there was no live entertainment happening during our time there.
Things are slightly quieter in the Music room, where seating is comfortable and there’s plenty of natural light.
But the quietest seating of all is located in The Raglan Room. This cozy space offers lower ceilings and a beautiful fireplace as a focal point. I still haven’t ever been seated at that fireplace table, but I’ll keep my hopes up.
While there’s a comfortable feeling of familiarity about Raglan Road and its antique decor — much of it was salvaged from Irish Churches and Pubs and brought to Orlando — the restaurant keeps changing and updating. As they celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2015, they are making changes.
One of the big updates this year will be the dinnerware used in the restaurant. Up to now, the pieces have been a contemporary white. Soon, Raglan Road will change to china that has more of a homespun feel, in keeping with the spot’s antique feel.
(If you’re a Ger’s Bread Pudding fan, that wooden board in the lower left-hand corner — with the teacup and stainless steel sauce servers — will be the new look/feel for that dish.)
All things old are new again, right?
So — that’s your latest tour of Raglan Road! Time for LONCH!!!!
Raglan Road is equal parts pub and restaurant, so you can expect attention to detail when it comes to both drink as well as food. But if you think the beverage menu begins with beer and ends with whiskey, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Earlier this year, the pub debuted a brand new Cocktail Menu, with an emphasis on fresh flavors and trends.
We tried several of the cocktails at an earlier visit, so be sure to check out all of the pictures and impressions here. And don’t worry — there’s still plenty of beer and whiskey to choose from for the purists out there.
This time out, we decided on two drinks that I hadn’t previously tried.
First up was the Blood Orange Bourbon, a combination Bulleit Bourbon, Nollet’s Gin, and San Pellegrino Blood Orange. This one was powerful and fruity. I’m a huge fan of San Pellegrino Blood Orange, and enjoyed the bit of bubbly it gave to the drink.
My friend went with the Strawberry and Cucumber Mojito, which combined Captain Morgan’s White Rum, Strawberry Puree, Muddled Cucumber, Lime Sour, and Ginger Ale. There was a LOT going on here. While I’m not a huge cucumber fan, it lent this drink a distinct freshness, and the Ginger Ale gave the drink that trendy edge Raglan has been working to achieve.
On to the eats. The menu is extensive (and funny — be sure to take the time to read), and we’ve tried and enjoyed several of the Appetizers here. I always recommend the soup — regardless of what it is! I’ve never had a bad soup at Raglan Road. That’s mostly because every soup seems to include copious amounts of cream and butter. The Wild Forest Mushroom Chowder is my favorite even though I don’t like mushrooms. Go figure.
There are some hearty Entree Salads available as well.
Finally, an extensive offering of Entrees rounds out the menu.
Meals at Raglan Road always start with complimentary bread service, featuring Irish Brown Bread and a Bread Dipping Sauce of Guinness Reduction and Olive Oil. This is usually a favorite part of the meal for any guests I bring to Raglan. The Guinness Reduction is very sweet, so it gives the dipping sauce a bit of a honey flavor. Pretty delicious. You can buy the stuff in the gift shop and my mom always has to get, like, three bottles on her way out. 😉
Post-bread, we chose a dish I hadn’t tried before to start — Kiss Before Shrimp. The name refers to the presence of a LOT of Garlic.
The Pan Seared Shrimp also features flavors of Chili and Butter, and is served with a sliced Baguette for enjoying the leftovers.
There’s a reason this dish has been on the menu forever; it’s pretty outstanding. It’s savory more than salty, and slightly spicy — but still light. This would be a great, simple entree if you’re a shrimp fan; but as a shareable appetizer, there’s plenty for everyone. That said, definitely request more bread for dipping!
We both chose to go the route of sandwiches for our entrees. I spotted the Three Times a Boxty on the menu and wondered why I’d never had it before. Um…ham, cheddar, pan-seared potato cakes, and a fried egg? Wha?!? Why have I not eaten this?
For those, like me, who have never heard the term “Boxty” before — it’s a unique type of potato pancake, as they smoosh together both mashed and grated potatoes.
Here’s a close up of that pretty fried egg. Love those brown, seared edges.
The dish comes with a choice of side, and I went for the Colcannon Potatoes for two reasons: 1) I was clearly in the potato mindset with that whole “boxty” thing, and 2) The Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage combo here is pretty delicious and I’d never given it the attention (read: stomach space) I’ve wanted to in the past.
Super pretty, right? And so much flavor. This is the side dish that you’re going to have to have someone personally remove from your presence in order for you to stop stuffing your face with it. Oh, wait, maybe that’s just me?
My friend went with a sandwich that is relatively new to the menu — the Lobster Club. For a side, she went with Roasted Vegetables.
The sandwich features a Lobster and Avocado Salad paired with Watercress and Crispy Pancetta. She was a big fan of this flavor and texture combo.
Citrus Herb Mayonnaise ties all of the flavors together.
The roasted veggies didn’t seem like anything to write home about, which just goes to show that you should always order the potatoes. ;-D
Finally, we indulged completely by ordering one of my favorite things ever — the Irish Vintage Cheese and Bacon Dip, pictured here with a side of Chips. It’s on the menu at Cookes of Dublin, Raglan Road’s counter service/takeaway option around the corner from the main restaurant. But since they share a kitchen, you can score it here as well. There’s your DFB Tip for Today.
Having enjoyed a thoroughly filling meal, we decided to skip dessert this time around. But here’s the Dessert Menu so that you can get an idea of what they offer.
We can highly recommend the aforementioned Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding, served with Butterscotch and Custard Sauces. #AlwaysGetMoreSauce
The Trifle Sinful features fresh flavors of Jam-laced Swiss Rolls, Berries, Custard, Fresh Cream, and Almonds. And Fluffy Lemon Clouds combines Lemon Curd and Meringue in a classic Tart. You can’t go wrong with any of these classic flavors.
Raglan Road continues to impress.
If you go to Raglan Road expecting only traditional Irish fare, you may come away perplexed. You will find nods to classic dishes, like Shepherd’s Pie and Fish and Chips. But you also find something equally interesting to the open-minded: a glimpse of what’s happening in the Irish Food Scene currently.
Right now, Ireland is a hot bed of activity when it comes to the Slow Food, Farm to Table Movement. It’s a natural fit, since there is so much rich agriculture in the country. But it’s interesting to see that Raglan Road continues not to showcase only the classics, but to attempt to convey a picture of what’s happening from a food perspective in Ireland currently.
But when it comes to a straight-up recommendation, I’ve honestly not had a bad meal here, and that’s saying something.
Will you be dining at Raglan Road on your next Disney World trip? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!