REVIEW: Flying Fish Reopens After Lengthy Rehab

Deb's Digest Blog

Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s BoardWalk was my go-to dining place for the last several years. Whether it was for a relaxing fine dining experience with friends, or for sitting at the bar having an appetizer and wine, I loved the atmosphere, the cast members, the food and beverage. It just felt like “home.”

So I was a bit apprehensive when I learned both the restaurant and menu were going to be totally redone.

Here it is, many, many months later, and the new Flying Fish debuted on August 3. In fact, Linda and I dined on reopening night with our friends Steve and Vickie.

First, let me sum up the look of the new Flying Fish in one word: WOW!

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When I walked through the door. I was immediately transported to a brand new restaurant. The new decor is stunning and classy! Gone is the whimsical Coney Island feel, but there are a few nods to it remaining. The transformed space has an elegance that matches the new menu. I walked around the restaurant several times with my mouth open in awe… I could not believe the transformation.

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The redesigned open kitchen still allows for great views, but with a much classier look and feel.

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The “Chef’s Table” no longer has a “bar feel”, as it is now made up of tables adjacent to the kitchen. This still allows for interaction with the chefs, but guests now face each other, making it easier to converse with your dining partners. There is seating for 12.

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Overall, the restaurant has a more intimate feel, with booths that seat four to eight diners.

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The tables are now draped with tablecloths, and the silverware has a fish theme.

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The former wine room (Cabana Room) with horrible acoustics has been made over into a private dining space with doors that close it off from the main dining area. The problem with the acoustics has been fixed and it looks like it will be a wonderful place in which to have an intimate dining experience.

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There are state-of-the-art wine coolers with space for 250 bottles of red wines and 300 for whites. There are also a few smaller coolers for certain varietals.

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The bar area has the same basic layout as before, but it’s been refurbished with new, upscale decor and seating.

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The bar features the WineEmotionâ„¢ system, with a dual-temperature zone for four whites and four reds. The WineEmotion system allows pours of one, two or three ounces. If you’ve ever wanted to discover what a $200+ bottle of wine tastes like, here is your opportunity.

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Beautiful glass chandeliers combine elegance and whimsy, as sea bubbles and schools of fish float above you.

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There are numerous artistic tributes to the Flying Turns, the Coney Island coaster from which the original restaurant derived its name.

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As you can see, the physical changes to the restaurant completely overwhelmed us. But what about the food and the completely new menu?

The seafood-centric menu features entirely sustainable fish and shellfish.

The bread service now nori bread made of semolina, and arrives hot with a side of butter topped with a delicious sea salt.

Bread Service

For an appetizer I chose the Mesclun Salad with petite lettuces, market vegetables, fines herbes, barrel-aged feta, and torn focaccia for $12. The portion looked on the small side (I had this complaint at Animal Kingdom’s new Tiffins, too — is this the new normal?), however the flavors blew me away. I savored each bite.

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My other dining companions chose the Blue Crab Bisque — jumbo lump crab, melted leeks, aged sherry, tarragon creme fraiche for $15. The Crab Bisque was tasty with a sufficient amount of crab. Normally a bisque has a small clump of meat in the center of the bowl, but this bisque had the clump plus crab meat throughout. Linda also enjoyed the presentation of the sherry drizzled on the bisque tableside.

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Now for our entrees. I selected the Bison Strip Loin with ancient grains, salsify, cipollini onions, haricots verts, sun-dried tomato choron sauce for $49. I am SO disappointed my photos of this dish did not turn out. This was a very, very tender cut of meat that melted in my mouth. The accompaniments perfectly complimented the bison (although I skipped the onions). While it came rare (I prefer medium), one bite of the perfect blend of flavors quickly put me at ease.

Steve ordered the Wild Alaskan Coho Salmon, which came with pancetta-laced ivory lentils, wilted varietal kale, Meyer lemon, and a garden vinaigrette for $41. As a person who frequently orders salmon out, he deemed it one of the best salmon dishes he has ever had.

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Vickie chose the Wagyu Filet Mignon with Okinawan potaotes, chanterelle mushrooms, romanesco and Bordelaise sauce for $55. While flavorful, the dish did not arrive hot so she sent it back. Those kinds of things happen on opening night.

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Linda selected Plancha-Seared Hokkaido Scallops, with Antebellum grits, Brentwood sweet corn and a peppadew emulsion for $46. She said that she enjoyed the dish, which featured four scallops, seared to perfection, nestled on a bed of creamy grits. The only negative she expressed was that perhaps there was a bit too much peppedew sauce.

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After such filling entrees, we didn’t have much room for dessert, but wanted to at least sample them… so we ordered ALL of them. While beautifully presented, the desserts were our one disappointment of the evening. They just didn’t live up to the quality of our appetizers and entrees. Among the five sweets we tried, we agreed that the Florida Reef was our favorite.

Under the Sea – Valrhona Manjari chocolate, chocolate coral sponge, pistachio sand, dehydrated milk foam, tasting of three sea salts $12

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Cherries, Peaches, and Sea Shells – mascarpone cream, Georgia peaches, cherries, hibiscus meringue, rye bourbon caramel $9

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Panna “Carpa” – buttermilk panna cotta, rhubarb, strawberry-lime consomme, basil sugar; no sugar added, sugar-free and gluten-friendly $10

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Florida Reef – lemon tart, toasted meringue, Florida citrus salad, ruby red grapefruit sorbet $9

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Chocolate-Banana Napoleon – banana-raspberry mousse, slow-cooked vanilla rum caramel sauce $10

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The Bottom Line:

Linda’s overall thoughts:

When I stepped into the restaurant I was wowed. The decor is beautiful and gives the Flying Fish a more upscale feel. While dining I noticed that the noise level was not as loud as it used to be — but then again the restaurant was not full. I was pleased with the food quality and presentation. I miss some of my favorites from the previous menu, like the tomato and mozzarella salad, but with time I am sure I will find a few favorites on Chef Tim Majoras’ menu.

While I enjoy all types of seafood, several of my dining companions do not or are allergic to seafood. One of the nice features in the past was that those folks were able to dine at the Flying Fish because of the alternatives available. With the current menu, that is difficult to do. I hope this will change sooner rather than later. It was wonderful to dine once again in one of my favorite restaurants on property. I always enjoyed the warm, welcoming family atmosphere that the entire staff brought forth. I hope that feeling continues and that, with all the changes, I will still be able to call this one of my favorite “go-to places.”

Deb’s overall thoughts:

The new Flying Fish has certainly met the raised bar that has been set by several of the newer restaurants around Walt Disney World property in both decor, quality of food and, yes, also price. As I said earlier, the place is just stunning. It is hard to imagine there are two theme parks within walking distance.

I do miss my favorites from the old menu, as most of us will, but I realize there are new favorites to be discovered and savored. My biggest concern is that as a non-seafood lover with a picky palate, my options are more limited. In the past there were several appetizers for me to choose from. Now I have two choices (three if I include the dessert menu’s cheese selection), the Mesclun Salad and the Peaches and Prosciutto. I’m not a fan of pork belly, which is the other non-seafood option. On the other hand, the bison strip loin was so amazing that I quickly forgot my old favorite the char-crusted New York Strip.

The staff tells us that the Flying Fish menu will change often depending on the availability of sustainable products. I look forward to the creativity of the kitchen team. Creative Imagineers and Chef Tim Majoras have brought us a wonderful new upscale signature dining location at Walt Disney World and I look forward to a return visit.

Full Dinner Menu
Child’s menu

Questions? Leave them in the comment section below. Once you’ve dined at the new Flying Fish, head to our Rate and Review section and enter your review!

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15 Replies to “REVIEW: Flying Fish Reopens After Lengthy Rehab”

  1. Thanks ladies for the review. My daughter and I chose the Boardwalk hotel this Junr for our visit in main because of the Flying Fish…. Only to find it was closed. A person can only do so much research before a trip, so we were VERY disappointed, both of us being huge seafood lovers. Your review also made us sad, we have wanted to try this place for years because of what looked like the Coney Island feel, but now I think we will skip. Too schmancy and expensive. Any suggestions on where to find a real fish shack type place at WDW? Capt. Jacks is gone now too.

  2. The Flying Fish has been our favorite restaurant in DW for years . We usually go every year on our anniversary in October . Understand changing things up . In this case I feel like: if it’s not broken ….. But , they did and I am sure it looks beautiful . One thing for sure , if you have dishes that a truly great dishes they should stay as part of the menu . I think the char crusted strip was one of the best I ever had . Sometimes change for the sake of change isn’t necessary . We will be back to give it a try . Hopefully we won’t be disappointed .
    In general terms , Disney is becoming a contradiction in terms of the food choices . The upscale venues seem to be taking it a little too far . When you compare it to everyday meals at the parks which are almost uneatable . It’s getting harder to simply find a good meal in DW. My affinity to Disney is wavering . Makes me sad . Love the place …

  3. Do they really not have a vegetarian option anymore? That’s so disappointing. I was surprised by how good the veggie option was here a few years ago. :/

    Deb: Just talk with your server to learn the vegetarian options for the night you dine.

  4. I agree with many of the commentors that the prices are getting out of hand. It seems Disney is “covering their backs” by inflating prices to justify the Dining plan 2 entitlement for a table service. I mean 4 scallops for $46?
    My biggest gripe however is with the menu. A place with it’s theme and being called “Flying Fish” with just 3 main courses that are fish based?
    I get there is an app but no tuna?

  5. It appears that the restaurant lost it’s personality. Sad. Also, enjoyed their signature dish of potato crusted red snapper and thought their NY strip was one of the best. This just looks boring. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  6. Great review! Love the pictures!

    I’ve only eaten at Flying Fish once, many years ago. Is the “Chef’s Table” a location description, or with special benefits besides being close to converse with the chefs? I’m guessing it’s not like Victoria & Alberts? Additional cost? Is it just luck being seated there, or something you reserve? Shared seating, or one party? TIA

    DEB: The Chef’s table area has seating for 12. The tables are very close to the open kitchen so you can talk with the chefs. It is not a private room like Victoria and Alberts. It is a special price with it’s own menu and wine pairing. You would reserve the Chef’s experience.

  7. Looks fancy, we have reservations there in Oct after some time in Epcot. What would you say would be appropriate to wear going straight from the park?

    Deb: As with most Disney signature restaurants, you’ll find a wide variety of attire. I would suggest resort casual.

  8. My disappointment is that the name of the restaurant is Flying Fish and it is in Florida. Salmon is from Alaska and scallops are shellfish. Where is the Florida Fish? That is what we want in a Florida restaurant. If I wanted another steak I could go to Shula’s or any of the other 4 or 5 steak places. We haven’t been to Flying Fish in several years and this has been the reason. Serve local fish!

  9. The new theming looks lovely, but, sadly, the prices are too expensive for me. At roughly £40 (UK) per entrée, it’s a price I cannot justify. A real shame as the food selection does look interesting.

  10. We decided to visit Flying Fish Friday night after opening. We also had a party of 4, My Mom, her friend Cathy, my Husband, and myself. The ladies all decided to have the crab bisque and appetizers as our entrees, hubby went with the Bisque and the Wagu beef filet. We all very much enjoyed the Bisque. Cathy had the crusted Shrimp, which were 4 quite large shrimp. Mom had the seared yellowfin tuna, it was a nice sized portion, we were all curious about the compressed watermelon- it almost looked like a rectangle of sushi. The avocado was a puree, just a dot. I had the “Tour of the Coast”. It was clams, mussels, small shrimp, and a large bite of grouper served in a bowl like a stew. Also very good, the largest portion of all the appetizers. John’s Wagu appeared a bit rarer than what he would normally eat, but he tried a bite and said it tasted perfectly cooked. I will post photos on the FB page…Debra Koma may use them for menu photos if they are sharp enough.

  11. I was looking forward to the re-opening but after seeing how much they are charging for what they offer, I am going to pass. Sad day. Where is the potato wrapped snapper? I can get hokkaido scallops at our local restaurants for a much lower price. Flying Fish has become another overpriced restaurant at Disney.

  12. Looks great.. but another new restaurant opening/re-opening with no vegetarian option on the menu..

    Disney used to be so good about these things.

    Deb: Flying Fish has always been good about dietary needs. I did not get a photo of the “allergy” menu but I am fairly certain it had a couple vegetarian options.

  13. Thank you for the review and photos. Had friends who tried it the other night and enjoyed it as well. Only 1 out of the four is a seafood eater. She enjoyed the scallops. The others had the free range chicken, bison, and the Wagyu filet giving the nod to the Wagyu filet saying it was wonderful. They mentioned that there are some very interesting cocktails as well. Looking forward to trying it.

  14. Thank you, Deb and Linda, for taking one for the team! I can vouch for the fact that you stop by the Flying Fish quite often–given the number of times I have seen you both there!

    I’m very glad they have re-opened and are continuing with creative fine cuisine! I’m looking forward to the seasonal menu, and appreciate a sustainable focus.

    Looking forward to enjoying the new iteration of the Flying Fish, and excited to hear from you that Lorna and Craig are back!