It’s been way way WAY too long since I last took in a meal at Narcoossee’s, one of the signature restaurants at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. (With three signature restaurants at that resort, it’s hard to get to all of them on a regular basis! So much rich, wonderful food — SO expensive!)
The restaurant has topped our list of Disney Food News for a couple of brand new offerings lately. You can now enjoy Sunday Waterfront Brunch here. And soon, you’ll be able to take in an evening Wishes Dessert Party from the dock nearby.
But during a recent (extremely quick!) visit to Walt Disney World, I decided it was time to enjoy dinner here once again.
The fairly small restaurant, perched on the edge of the resort where water meets land, boasts stunning views, a relaxed atmosphere, and a seafood-inspired menu. But it tends to be overshadowed by other signature spots, like the nearby California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. And so it largely flies under the radar.
My question is always this: in a resort that has two other signature restaurants, is there room for a third?
Read on to learn more about our evening here.
If you’re heading to Narcoossee’s, be prepared for a walk. This is that circular building on stilts that juts out into Seven Seas Lagoon next to the dock at Grand Floridian, so it’s far far away from the entrance to the resort (but a quick walk from the boat dock if you’re coming from Magic Kingdom).
Once inside, there’s a small waiting area. You’ll also see the exhibition kitchen to your left, where the staff is busily prepping for the evening’s meals.
The restaurant is octagonally-shaped, presumably to maximize waterfront real estate. The dining area occupies the outside edge closest to the water, while the sunken center is given over to a bar area. An atrium bathes murals and the rest of the area in natural light during the early hours of the evening.
Around the front, you’ll see comfortable seating, and every table has a water view. Chairs have patterned seatcovers, and tables are covered elegantly — not in white, but in deep blue. It makes for a striking contrast with the white trim and light wood, and makes it a bit more casual.
The seating and the shape of the restaurant all lend themselves to taking in the view of Seven Seas Lagoon and the other Disney Resorts surrounding it.
While there is seating on both the inside and outside of the main aisle through the restaurant, the second level is raised, so that it still offers a good view.
The view here also affords a decent view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks — albeit from the side. That little purple dot at the lower right hand corner of the picture is the castle ;-D
During our visit, we also watched as a Disney chef consulted with a guest about the menu, most likely regarding food allergies or intolerance. This is standard practice at Disney World. If you have a special diet of any kind, the chef will gladly come out to discuss with you.
While seafood and fish figure prominently on the menu of Narcoossee’s, there’s also an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.
I also noticed that the menu included not just wine pairings, but beer pairings for every dish and course.
Something else I’ve recently noticed — some signature restaurants are offering Enhancements. These seem to be a combination of a la carte add ons, like Crab Legs, and dressed up sides, like Lobster Mac and Cheese.
My friend and I decided to start our meals with a glass of wine. We both chose the 2014 A to Z Oregon Riesling.
We enjoyed sipping the off dry wine as we began our meal. (Please excuse the camera lens!! Ha ha!)
With our wine, our server brought fresh, warm Bread accompanied by Butter sprinkled with Sea Salt. (And, can I just say, I genuinely feel that it should be protocol to bring a little individual butter dish for everyone at the table. How luxurious to have your own sea salted butter to indulge in during the evening. I’m sure they’d comply if I asked.)
While we skipped salads and soups, we couldn’t quite resist the draw of Narcoossee’s Artisanal Cheese Platter. Selections included, from left to right, Caceria Valdeón, a creamy blue cheese from Spain; Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, an artful combination of ripened goat cheese and black truffle; Petit Agour, a raw sheep’s milk cheese crafted in the French Pyrenees; Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Truckle, a muslin-wrapped cheddar, rubbed in butter and aged for up to one year; and Fromage d’Affinois de Brebis, a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese with an edible, bloomy rind.
This was, as always, wonderful. The sizes of the cheese offered one or two bites each for both of us. And don’t forget that you can also order this for dessert if you’re so inclined.
Since I’m not a big fan of fish or seafood, I went with the Black Angus New York Strip for my entree. I usually get the filet here, but I wanted to mix it up a little bit! The perfectly-grilled steak was accompanied by Boniato Potato Mash and Organic Green Beans. It was finished with a Red Wine Oxtail Reduction and Herb Butter.
As you can see — it was done to the perfect medium rare temperature, and it came plated cut in two this way, which was interesting. The boniato mash is becoming a staple on more and more menus at Disney World, and had a silky texture. The beans were crunchy and buttery. I didn’t waste any time digging in with this one.
My friend opted for the Key West Shrimp and Garganelli Pasta. The dish combined Wild Florida Shrimp, Spinach, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, Basil Pistou, Comté Cheese, and Chardonnay-Garlic Cream Sauce.
There was so much flavor in the dish that my friend couldn’t stop raving. The tanginess from the tomatoes and bright flavors of the Chardonnay reduction balanced well against the rich sauce, and the cheese offered a complexity that made this more than just another creamy pasta dish. Besides, the spinach totally made it healthy. Right? And extra points for local, wild shrimp!
We made sure to save a little room for dessert, though! I usually enjoy their Almond-Crusted Cheesecake, but this time, I decided to change things up a bit again.
Anything lemon usually piques my interest. So I went for the Lemon Custard, which was served as a tart on top of a little shortbread cookie and accompanied by Lychee Sorbet and a Raspberry-Mandarin Foam. The tart was a lemon custard, but it was topped with a dollop of Lemon Curd. And I love me some lemon curd.
This was fine, but not something I’d need to order again.
We also tried the Honey-Pecan Tart with Pumpkin Butter. Although we were dining during Winter, I thought it was interesting that a pumpkin dessert was still on the menu (it’s still there as of press time in fact). While this was good, we didn’t feel that there was anything particularly special about it except that it looked like they made the garnish by pressing white chocolate onto bubble wrap?!
And with that, we wrapped up our dinner and we were off to enjoy the Main Street Electrical Parade!
Narcoossee’s is a charming place to dine and I think it definitely has a place in your Disney Restaurant Playbook.
For starters, we dined early in the evening to take advantage of the light (for photos, of course), but also so we could make it to Magic Kingdom for the evening. I had absolutely no problem scoring a very last minute advance dining reservation there. I’ve also enjoyed later reservations here. Watching Wishes from the outdoor deck, or even from the dining room, is always something special. Also, I have never had a bad meal here. And consistency is always a good thing.
If you’re looking for good food, serene surroundings, and lovely views, check out Narcoossee’s. I think you’ll be pleased.
Is Narcoossee’s on your list of Disney Dining Favorites? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts below!