Les Chefs de France is a table service restaurant in Epcot’s France pavilion at Walt Disney World. This review covers the dinner menu at Les Chefs de France, and includes photos from one of our meals at the restaurant. Chefs de France participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a one credit table service meal, and accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount for lunch only. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it is an exceptional pick for dinner because of several pricey entrees, making it one of the top restaurants for maximizing your bang for buck on the Dining Plan.
How do you say “meh” in French? Well, my French is a bit rusty, but I’m thinking it’s something along the lines of les chefs de france. We’ve been to Chefs de France a couple of times in recent years, and both times the experience was roughly the same. Overpriced, so-so food and alright ambiance together culminating in a restaurant that is sort of French. It’s not that Chefs de France is a bad restaurant. It’s really not.
Like about half of the World Showcase, it’s just an ‘okay’ experience. You might walk away having had a pretty decent meal, but it’s probably nothing that will knock your socks off, and it’s not the kind of highly authentic experience that will make you ‘lose yourself’ in the theming of the World Showcase. I think Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles and certainly the former Bistro de Paris really succeeded in these regards and are/were two of the gems of not just Epcot, but the entirety of Walt Disney World. Given that, I’m not sure if with Les Chefs de France it’s just my bad luck, or if it just is an okay restaurant.
So what’s the deal with Les Chefs de France? Let’s take a look…
In terms of ambiance, we’ve found that there are two sides to this coin. On the one hand, Chefs de France does feel a lot like a Parisian cafe with an airy design, textures, and rich woods all in a fairly unassuming but nice-looking design. On the other hand, it’s oversized, has no patio seating, and is always obnoxiously loud. Now, Disney can’t do anything about that last one, but it’s still a characteristic of the restaurant. As a result of all of this, the restaurant feels loosely French, but doesn’t fully evoke its namesake country like other restaurants in the World Showcase. Maybe it would be better at an off-hour?
As for the food, it’s not bad. I don’t think it’s great, either. The meal starts with a crusted baguette. Baguettes are a type of bread that I really enjoy, but I find awkward to eat with others. There’s no simple way to divide them up, and I don’t exactly want my table mates touching my food, nor do I want to touch theirs. That’s just a personal thing and not all that relevant. This baguette was pretty good.
On our last visit, I started with the Lobster Bisque soup. It had large chunks of lobster, and the flavor was rich and creamy with just the right amount of buttery flavor. This was definitely the highlight of my meal.
One of our friends who joined us for dinner ordered the Salade Niçoise, which is salad with Ahi tuna, tomato, green beans, bell peppers, potatoes hard boiled eggs, olives, anchovies, vinaigrette. He seemed to really like this, and the greens and tuna both looked fresh, and as if it were a well put together mix. I’d consider this as an appetizer next time (or even a light main course).
In the past, we’ve done the Plateau de fromages de France (Cheese Board), and it was excellent. I love cheeses, and this was a solid mix. The price was a bit difficult to swallow, but overall the breads and various cheeses made for a tasty appetizer to share.
So far, so good, right? For her entree, Sarah ordered the Bouillabaisse de fruits de mer, which is a seafood platter consisting of seared scallops, shrimp and mahi-mahi served in a saffron broth with fennel and potatoes. She described this as being decently prepared, but lacking any complexity or richness in flavor. It was more or less bland and mild. It probably would have rated better if it weren’t a $30+ entree.
I ordered the Plat de côtes de boeuf au Cabernet, which is beef short ribs. I debated back and forth between this and the Duck Breast with Cherries, but I had the duck breast last time, and it was only okay-to-good, so I figured I’d give the beef short ribs a try. I had heard people rave about the beef short ribs, so I figured why not? Unfortunately, there was just something amiss, and the flavor was lacking. Sure, they were tender, but they basically tasted like a mild pot roast. Again, not quite what was expected for a ~$30 entree.
For dessert, I opted for the Puff choux with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. This was pretty good. It had a variety of textures and contrasting tastes, and it wasn’t lacking in the flavor department. It wasn’t the best dessert I’ve had at Walt Disney World, but I have no complaints.
Sarah got the assortment of fresh sorbets with madeleine. She called this her favorite part of the meal, being a delicious assortment with strong flavor. For what seemed (to me) like a simple dessert, she was really impressed with it.
Overall, Les Chefs de France will probably at least deliver you an okay, middle of the road meal, but if our experience is any indication, it won’t leave any sort of lasting impression. We’ve found it to be expensive with entree quality that doesn’t quite match the prices, and food slightly lacking in flavor. Even with all of this said, I’m not giving up on Les Chefs de France. I truly do not think it’s a bad restaurant, or even just a mediocre one. Yes, we have had ‘meh’ experiences here, but I want to believe this place is good. We will be back here, probably in the near future and probably next time for lunch. I just refuse to believe this is only an okay restaurant. Every time I see photos of things I haven’t had here, I salivate. I still want to believe Les Chefs de France is a winner, and we just haven’t had the best of luck. Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe it really just is an okay restaurant. Not every restaurant can be amazing, some restaurants have to be just okay–that’s how things work. I just wish it weren’t a French restaurant that were only okay…
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Overall Score: 7/10
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Have you dined at Les Chefs de France? Did you find it bad, meh, or great? What did you order? What about the ambiance? Share your thoughts in the comments!