Hey, another food post! Also, I’ve found a way to sneak in my favorite place on Earth, Walt Disney World. In true podcaster/Disney blogger wannabe fashion, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to my personal top five list of restaurants within the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. I’ll get down to business pretty quickly and then provide some dining tips for WDW at the end.
This will come to the chagrin of many a Disney food fan, but I’ll hold to it. Keep in mind that I have never been to the Yachtsman Steakhouse that is in this same resort just around the corner (quite literally). Perhaps my list would change if I ever get a chance to go to the Yachtsman, but until then, I’ll keep Captain’s Grill in my top five.
After reading the reviews of this restaurant on many Disney fan sites, I was a bit nervous. The average rating is somewhere between a 5 and a 7. It certainly isn’t one of those restaurants you often hear touted as a “must do,” but let me tell you, the food is is quite spectacular.
Like most of the restaurants at WDW, a basket of warm bread is provided as an pre-appetizer and at Captain’s Grill, the bread was served with real butter topped with some Himalayan rock salt (this reminded me of Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort… a good thing).
The main event here is the New York Strip. I’ve seen the menu offer varied types of this dish, some with a bourbon glaze and other additions, but I’ve only ever had the regular New York strip that always seems to be on the menu. Now, the Yachtsman Steakhouse is right around the corner from Captain’s Grill and is a WDW signature restaurant (more expensive and uses two points on the Disney Dining Plan). I’ve heard that these two restaurants use the same kitchen and share a chef for cooking the steaks. I’m sure there are some quality variations between the steaks at the different restaurants, but then again, maybe not. This steak is juicy, perfectly seared on the outside, and well seasoned without being overly salty or herbaceous. I’m usually a ribeye kind of guy, but this delicious steak rivals any excellent ribeye I’ve ever had (even from Le Cellier’ “shhhhhh”). The steak is served with seasonal vegetables and some cheesy bacon mashed potatoes. All of this is probably (can’t speak with certainty) at least close to the quality of the food you’d find at the Yachtsman; but you’ll save a lot of money (or one dining point) sticking to the Captain’s Grill.
For dessert, I had the chocolate cheesecake topped with fresh berries. It was about as decent a cheesecake as you might find anywhere; nothing too special, but delicious nonetheless.
Atmosphere and Location:
This is a biggie for me. If the location is not convenient and the atmosphere is lacking a certain charm, it won’t make it onto my list regardless of how good the food is. This doesn’t mean it has to be overly nice. Captain’s Grill is a case in point. The Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are themed to a sort of New England, Martha’s Vineyard style beach resort and marina. As such, the theming for the entire resort is nautical and beachy in a collared shirt and Sperrys kind of way, not a tropical t-shirt and flip flops kind of way. This theme carries over into the Captain’s Grill with lots of high, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams of hardwood, massive windows, and light colored walls to keep everything bright and airy. It genuinely feels as if you’ve discovered a great seaside restaurant on the northeast coast. It’s elegant without feeling stuffy and has a generally comforting feel to it. It may come across as a bit smarmy to some with enough burgundy and navy stripes to raise the 1990s from the dead, but it delivers on that feeling of being at a quaint seaside village cafe with portholes, helms, and nautical lanterns; nothing over the top, just charming, light, and comfortable.
You can’t beat the location either! Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, along with Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, are literally a few steps away from the back entrance to EPCOT between France and the UK in World Showcase (the best half of EPCOT anyway). If I’m not spending my evening at the Magic Kingdom, I’d be at World Showcase enjoying the sights and sounds and just taking my time to stroll around for the evening. This is a great place to book a 6-7:00 reservation for dinner before taking a short walk to EPCOT to catch the 9:00 show of Illuminations, EPCOT’s nightly firework, light, water, and laser show. Captain’s Grill is also walking distance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though this walk is a bit longer (maybe 15 minutes or so). If heading to the Studios, I’d hop on the boat for a more relaxing trip over to ride the Tower of Terror or catch Fantasmic!
All in all, I’d give Captain’s Grill a good 8 out of 10.
Check out Captain’s Grill here.
As with all Walt Disney World table service (sit-down) restaurants, reservations, while not required, are certainly strongly advised if you wish to eat where you want, when you want.
Stay tuned for number 4 of my top 5 restaurants at Walt Disney World this week!