Guest Blogger Jeff Onorato is back, this time with a photo blog of Narcoossee’s!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would write about one of Walt Disney World’s most romantic restaurants. Narcoossee’s is nestled behind the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and is docked alongside the Seven Seas Lagoon.
This fine dining establishment serves exquisite seafood and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom and neighboring resorts as its’ backdrop. I had the pleasure of dining there during my recent trip to the World in January and was delighted by the experience.
The word Narcoossee is Seminole Indian for “little bear”. With Seafood being a staple of the bear’s diet, the restaurant was fittingly branded with the moniker. There is also a Central Florida town of the same name in Osceola County. While I have never visited Narcoossee, I am told the essence and charm of the small town are captured here.
As I approached the restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice the tantalizing aromas that fill the air of the resort’s surrounding courtyard. As the chefs work hard prepping food and ingredients throughout the day, wonderful scents permeate the air. I would imagine this helps to draw in business from hotel guests hanging out on their balconies.
Narcoossee’s is open for Dinner only, which they begin serving at 5:30. I strongly recommend making reservations if you are planning to dine here. They participate in both the Disney Dining Plan and Tables in Wonderland programs. Participants in the Disney Dining Plan will want to note that 2 table-service credits are required per person.
When I arrived at my allotted time (5:30), there was already a line of couples and families waiting to be sat. The restaurant was about 80% full at that time of the evening. It appears to be equally popular among couples and families. Kids seem to enjoy the ambiance here too, with passing boats outside serving as entertainment. They offer a children’s menu too in an effort to accommodate little ones out for an evening with Mom and Dad.
The motif of the restaurant is that of a traditional Seafood House. As a native Marylander, I am always reminded of seafood restaurants back home when I visit here. Hardwood floors, an open-air kitchen, dark blue linens, and an observation deck overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon help to bring together the mood and elegance.
A beautiful mural depicting underwater scenery and various marine life graces the high walls above the bar area, which is on the upper level of the restaurant. Sunlight pours through the huge skylights in the center of the turreted restaurant.
From across the water, the reflecting lights of the Contemporary resort bounce and twinkle off of the lagoon. The spires of Cinderella’s Castle can be seen towering high above the trees that surround the park. This is a prime location to view the Electrical Water Pageant, and the Wishes fireworks can be seen in the distance as well. I suggest trying for a 7:30 reservation to allow time for a leisurely paced meal before the shows begin. Show times vary depending upon the time of year, but in general both run around 9:00 p.m. They can also be seen from the observation deck which wraps around the back of the restaurant.
On nights when the Magic Kingdom is offering Evening Magic Hours, I love having Dinner at Narcoossee’s as a precursor to a night at the park. The boat launch to the Magic Kingdom is just steps from the doors of the restaurant and the ride is only about 5-8 minutes long.
Service here is professional, friendly, and paced to perfection. I find it to be the optimum place for a relaxed evening of fine food and good company. The wait staff here is also very knowledgeable with regard to the menu. My server offered details on the many ingredients which are used in their offerings. I was quite impressed by the run-through she offered on the various courses.
I started off with the Shrimp and Crab Chowder ($9). While the portion appeared small at first, the bowl was deeper than it looked. It was the perfect way to begin my meal on this chilly January evening. The shrimp and crabmeat were plentiful, as were the chunky white potatoes and onions. Tiny oyster crackers garnished the bowl.
For my second course, I had the Fried Rhode Island Calamari ($12). While this appetizer is fried, it was not at all greasy. It was crispy, hot, lightly salted and served atop a sweet and mild tomato coulis. Pepperoncini Relish and olives were used to top off the dish however I did not find it to be spicy at all. In fact, I was quite surprised that it didn’t have more kick to it. The taste of the Peppers was not at all pronounced.
Crab Crusted Mahi-Mahi ($33) was my entrÃ©e selection. The fish was served atop crushed fingerling potatoes with a sweet Meyer lemon cream sauce on the side. Their signature crab cake mixture was generously piled on the broiled filet and finished off with al dente haricots verts (French for green beans) and pea tendrils. The pea tendrils had a refreshing taste and helped to cleanse the palette of the richly flavored crab meat and cream sauce.
While most of their menu is seafood based, they do offer several meals that are not. Among those are Grilled Filet Mignon ($40), Tanglewood Farms Chicken Breast($29), and the vegetarian offering of Winter Vegetables ($22).
After the meal I was quite full, but the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake ($9) came highly recommended and sounded too good to resist. I caved in and ordered dessert but was happy I indulged. The cake tasted like it had just been taken out of the oven. A rich chocolate sauce poured out of the cake as soon as my fork cut into it. The cake itself tasted like it was made with semi-sweet cocoa. Powdered sugar and orange sauce finished it off. While it may appear to have a poached egg for a garnish, the chefs creatively placed an orange slice inside a dollop of whipped cream. The term Valrhona refers to the French company that manufactures the chocolate.
This was the third time I have dined at Narcoossee’s, and my experience has been splendid on each visit. I can not recommend this restaurant enough. I think it’s the ideal place to celebrate an anniversary, engagement, or birthday. With Disney’s Wedding Pavilion nearby I could see it being popular for rehearsal dinners as well. Children and grown-ups alike will find something to enjoy here.
You don’t have to be celebrating a special occasion or event to appreciate all Narcoossee’s has to offer. Those in search of a magical and memorable romantic evening will want to make this a destination on their vacation itinerary.
About Jeff: I am 33 years old and from Gettysburg, PA. By day I work in the Accounting Department of a Newspaper Publishing Company. My first visit to WDW was at the age of 2, and have been back around 35 times since then. I often travel solo to WDW, as well as with family. I make good use of my Annual Pass, and trek to Orlando about 5 times per year to visit my favorite travel destination. My favorite resort is the Polynesian, but have stayed at all of the WDW resorts at least once. In fact, my favorite aspect of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort is trying out the different Resorts and Restaurants. I also enjoy the many restaurants and sampling different foods that I normally would never try at home! (such as Escargot at the France pavillion).