Grand Floridian
Restaurant Review

by Debra Martin Koma

Feature Article

This article appeared in the May 16, 2000 Issue #29 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.

Debra Martin Koma, or DCDeb as she is known by many, is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is also a huge Disney fan! Debbie and her husband, Brian, recently visited WDW and dined for the first time at Narcoosee's in the Grand Floridian.

My husband had swept me away for a weekend in Walt Disney World and we were looking for a special place to have dinner.

My first thought was to make a Priority Seating at the California Grill in the Contemporary Resort -- Brian had never been there before. Unfortunately since this was a spur of the moment trip and I was making plans at the last minute, the restaurant was booked -- seems a lot of people had had the same idea of watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks while they dined.

I knew that the Grand Floridian's very fancy Victoria & Albert's was far too formal for us on this getaway weekend, even though I'd been dying to try it. After much consideration, I finally decided on another Grand Floridian eating establishment. Narcoosee's it was.

We arrived at the Grand Floridian by monorail, and saw that several restaurants were located on the monorail entrance level. As we walked around, though, we soon discovered that Narcoosee's was not one of them. After wandering for several minutes and nearly crashing a wedding reception at Victoria & Albert's, we finally asked for directions at the front desk. When the CM pulled out the map, we realized we were going to be a little late for our PS at 8:40 p.m.

Narcoosee's is housed in a separate building, past Building #7 in fact, on the lagoon -- about a 5-minute walk from Guest Services and the main building.

The restaurant's decor is airy and contemporary, with hardwood floors, high ceilings and a wall of windows overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon. The atmosphere is a bit more formal than many restaurants at Disney World, but not at all stuffy. Most patrons, in fact, were dressed in shorts and t-shirts --I'd call the dress code, for the most part, beach dress casual.

In addition, despite the upscale reputation of the Grand Floridian, Narcoosee's does accommodate families and has a special children's menu, which features grilled fish, a petite filet, or the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly and chicken fingers. Children may not think this as relaxed a place to dine as other WDW restaurants, but would certainly find it a great spot for watching the Magic Kingdom's fireworks or the Electric Water Pageant, if the meal time was planned accordingly.

We waited at the well-stocked bar, which is up a ramp to your left after you walk in, for about 20 minutes, enjoying the view of the lagoon and watching the Magic Kingdom castle, which dominates the horizon, change colors. In the end, it was worth the wait -- we were given a window table.

Unfortunately, we were seated too late to see the fireworks, but obviously this spot would make a fine viewing area. We did, however, manage to catch the Electric Water Pageant as it cruised by at 9:20 p.m. In fact, we saw the EWP three times as it made its way around the lagoon, but we never saw the King Triton segment -- either it's been eliminated or we just happened to be looking away each time it was lit... odd.

I'd heard that the chef at Narcoosee's was formerly at another highly regarded WDW restaurant, the Artist Point over in the Wilderness Lodge. I was hoping that this was true, since the one and only time I've eaten at Artist Point was *after* this chef had left, and I was sorely disappointed in the meal.

I was eager to try the food here, hoping it reflected the high praise the AP had formerly received. Our server Carol was neither too attentive nor too aloof. She made several menu suggestions to us, promptly saw that we were supplied with water and warm bread, then brought our perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc while we pondered our selections.

The menu at Narcoosee's has been called "New Floridian" in nature, and I noticed that many of the appetizers and entrees were seafood-inspired. Although the shrimp and crab stack tempted me, I splurged instead on the Maine lobster salad, which came with a crisp potato pancake and light champagne vinaigrette and featured large strips of the succulent crustacean. My husband started his meal with oysters breaded in a rough cornmeal, accompanied by bacon and leeks, and deemed the appetizer the one of the best he's ever had.

For an entree, I opted for the porcini risotto, which came with a generous assortment of grilled veggies, including asparagus, zucchini, orange bell pepper and onions. The risotto was as close to perfect as could be -- tender and creamy, not undercooked as so often happens. Brian's entree, the ahi tuna, was seared, coated with coriander, and served with a small salad in an Asian-inspired ginger dressing. Though too rare for my taste, Brian felt the tuna was done just right and ate every morsel.

Although fairly well-stuffed after our entrees, we both splurged on dessert -- I tried the tiramisu, which was very good, lightly coffee-flavored and creamy. My husband's was the better of the two desserts we sampled, however -- the key lime creme brulee, which surprised me with the fresh, clean taste of key lime. Even I found myself wanting another taste of it -- and I don't especially care for lime flavor.

Total for the meal, including wine and tax, topped $120 (before gratuity), so this wasn't a budget meal. But it was exactly what it was supposed to be: a very special meal for two in a very special place.

We waddled out of Narcoosee's and caught the last monorail of the night back to our room at the Polynesian, knowing that some day we'd be back, perhaps the next time with our son -- but then again, maybe not.

More Dining Reviews


Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.