Flying Fish Cafe Review
Flying Fish Cafe is a high-end seafood restaurant on the Boardwalk in Walt Disney World. Flying Fish Cafe recently had a top-to-bottom refurbishment that re-imagined the restaurant thematically. We have more details below about this re-imaging that will introduce a (partially) new menu, and an airier design, with more room for the popular Chef’s Counter and wine dinners.
Once Flying Fish Cafe reopens, most of the main details are expected to remain the same. It participates in the Disney Dining Plan and also accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount. It’s one of Disney’s “Signature Restaurants” meaning it’s a bit pricier than a normal table service restaurant and also requires 2 table service credits if using the Disney Dining Plan. None of that will change.
The cuisine is also of a higher caliber, as is the decor, which Disney describes as “Coney Island inspired.” While the influence is visible, Coney Island is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when dining at Flying Fish Cafe. In fact, it’s beauty is a stark contrast to Coney Island. This is expected to change. What else will change? Let’s take a look (including some concept art!)…
The entire interior, including the on-stage kitchen, has been redesigned with a sophisticated style paying homage to the golden era of seaside boardwalks. The new-look interior will include aquatic motifs, whimsical architectural accents, and a lavish chandelier (that reminds me of jellyfish!).
Along with this, there’s an all-new menu by Chef Tim Majoras, a veteran of the Flying Fish kitchen. The new menu remains seafood-centric, and features sustainable fish and shellfish. This includes Chef Majoras’ creations, such as corn-crusted shrimp, Alaskan king salmon, and Hokkaido scallops–all wild caught. Sommelier Stig Jacobsen has crafted a new wine list with nearly 80 selections by the glass.
We’ll be revisiting Flying Fish soon to refresh this review based on the menu and ambiance changes, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s our review based on prior experiences–much of which should still hold true post-refresh…
Some Disney restaurants offer exceptional ambiance. Some Disney restaurants offer delicious and beautifully presented cuisine. Some Disney restaurants offer wonderful entertainment. Some Disney restaurants offer exquisite service. Very few Disney restaurants excel in ambiance, cuisine, entertainment, and service. It seems like there’s usually a trade-off. If you want great ambiance and entertainment, such as that offered at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, you sacrifice high-quality cuisine.
Flying Fish Cafe is a rare breed of Disney restaurant. It’s a Signature Restaurant that offers some of the best food on property, but it also excels in ambiance and entertainment. Plus, the location, right in the heart of Disney’s BoardWalk, is second-to-none.
As soon as you’re handed a Flying Fish menu, you know you’re probably going to be in for a treat. The options are mouthwatering and varied, and you’ll probably find yourself asking your waiter or waitress for “just a few more minutes” as you deliberate between the menu choices. Or, you’ll do what we often do, and turn the table on the waiter/waitress, and ask what they recommend! The servers there are all knowledgeable about the menu, polite, and have made great recommendations based upon our “variables,” in our experience.
The questions are plentiful when determining what to order. Should you start with the Crispy Maine Lobster Eggroll or the Floribbean Wild Gulf Shrimp Cocktail? Oak-grilled Loch Duart Scottis Salmon or Char-crusted Certified Black Angus New York Strip Steak for your entree? Just what exactly type of fish flies and why don’t they serve those “fish of the air”?! Okay, maybe instead of the last question, it’s more practical to ask something about dessert, but you get the idea.
Once you finally decide what to order, and await the arrival of your royal feast, you are free to soak in the wonderful details of the restaurant while you converse with your party in the perfectly lit restaurant. The ambiance is much better if you eat late–make a 9:45 Advance Dining Reservation and watch Illuminations before your meal! There’s a beautiful mural above the open-air grill and bar area. Little “flying fish” circle overhead on parachutes.
Similarly, you can get up and head over to the open-air kitchen, where you can watch the preparation of dishes (maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s reassuring when a kitchen is open air; I’m less concerned about the kitchen’s cleanliness, as I can see it myself), which I think is entertainment unto itself! Or, if you’re me, you can had to deserted areas of the restaurant and take photos of the interior’s brilliant design!
When you return from the open-air kitchen viewing area, stop by the bar! It’s one of a handful of signature bars at Walt Disney World where there are unique drinks rather than the standard Disney-Parks menu, and these drinks don’t disappoint. Plus, they have Unibroue beer, which is a favorite amongst authors of this post named Tom.
Flying Fish is one of those restaurants in which the time flies from the time you order your food until it arrives. We’ve never sat there tapping our feet, counting the minutes, there because the restaurant itself holds our interest.
When our food does arrive, it’s definitely the star of the night, no matter how great the ambiance and service may be. I love seafood, and at seafood restaurants, that’s always what I order. The appetizers here are wonderful, although in typical seafood restaurant fashion, they’re on the small side and somewhat pricey.
They are, however, delicious. This is especially true of the crab cakes and the sushi rolls. We haven’t tried the calamari yet, but after hearing many positive things about it, and a few of the other appetizers, it’s definitely on our list for next time!
I’ve never eaten anything but a wonderfully prepared entree here. While the fish usually tastes great, and is never too dry or lacking in flavor, I think what truly makes these dishes unique is the sauces used to accompany the entrees. A good dill or cream sauce can make a good entree great, as can the fish’s crusting or its accompanying sides and garnishes, and this is something that I think many seafood restaurants overlook.
Not Flying Fish Cafe. Here, the sauces, crustings, and sides are not merely an afterthought. Rather, they accompany the fish perfectly. My favorite entrees here have been the salmon and the bass, although just about everything I’ve sampled has been good, and the menu regularly changes, so don’t go in with your heart set on any one item you might have seen online.
Flying Fish Cafe has some of the best desserts at Walt Disney World, and the accompanying presentation is equally amazing. I don’t even know where to begin with these. If you look at the dessert list and find yourself salivating over each and every choice, know that you’re in good company and that those that came before you were in a similar situation.
Just make sure of one thing: that you do save room for dessert. In our opinion, although the appetizers are good, the desserts are better. If you really want a suggestion, you can’t go wrong with the “A Trio Sinful Chocolate Indulgences,” but honestly, you could close your eyes and randomly point to a spot on the dessert menu and you will, without question, strike a good choice.
Overall, Flying Fish Cafe is right up there with Jiko in the Signature Dining category. It’s not as good as good as Victoria & Albert’s, but it’s not as expensive, either. Our next meal there will probably be at the Chef’s Table, which overlooks the open-air kitchen. If you’re childless, we’d highly recommend visiting Flying Fish late at night. We’ve never gone early (for the exact reason of avoiding children), but given its location on the BoardWalk, this is something to keep in mind. Flying Fish Cafe is the perfect date night restaurant: delicious, romantic, and an ambiance that is second-to-none at Walt Disney World. Plus, afterward you can stroll the BoardWalk or head to Jellyrolls. Flying Fish is an easy top pick for us!
If you’ve been to Flying Fish Cafe, what did you think of it? Do you think it’s the one of the best Walt Disney World restaurants? Planning on going? Share your thoughts in the comments!
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner on March 20 at the Flying Fish Restaurant. My husband’s martini was prepared perfectly. I enjoyed my margarita. The lobster bisque actually had bits of lobster. Because everyone raves about the pork belly, I ordered it – not my favorite, but I am glad that I tried it. My husband ate every bit of his filet mignon (yes, a great steak at a fish restaurant) and I found the potato-wrapped red snapper quite tasty. The sauces that accompanied both entrees were similar (steak had truffle sauce and fish had cassis-red wine reduction) but sufficiently different that they enhanced each dish. Husband ordered the chocolate dessert which he liked. We had a great seat with a view of the open air kitchen and the flying fish chandelier. BTW, the next day we ran into the couple who sat at the table next to us. They also raved about the martini. One of our two favorite meals at WDW (the other being Tiffins in Animal Kingdom), and definitely my husband’s favorite by a landslide. We certainly plan to return. After dinner we partook of the entertainment on the Boardwalk (acrobatic jugglers, a capella singing group, dance hall).
One of the worst restaurants at Disney!
Horrible service, longer than normal waits and the food at best was just ok.
We Prefer California Grill, Yachtmans or Narcoossee!
Last time we were there we waited to long for a server to come that we left and walked out to Tutta Italia who fit us in and graciously seated us immediately!
Flying Fish is tied with California Grill for our favorite Disney restaurant. Everything is fantastic, including their desserts, and it is somewhere we would want to go any time we are able to go to Disney World. It’s an easy walk from Epcot and is definitely worth leaving the park for. We made reservations for an early dinner and then headed over to Hollywood Studios right after.
Flying Fish, at least for us, remains one of the best restaurants on site. Excellent service, nice atmosphere where they do not crowd into the adjoining table, and a menu that features superb choices. You can never go wrong with the sea bass or the steak. We do not dine there every trip but it has consistently been enjoyable when we do.
Interested to hear your thoughts after your most recent visit!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new menu! Having a tough time deciding between going here for the first time, or returning to Yachtsman.
As.locals we ate ate the great flying fish two times a week and we’re waiting for the re opening being it was our favorite restaurant
I have never been more disappointed in my life. Every perfect dish created by the old chef is GONE. Why in the world would any manager allow a new chef to destroy something so successful. Tuna,steak,all of the apps. The chaser was even cut.
Flying Fish! What a restaurant! A must see/a must taste……one of the best restaurants anywhere!
We just returned from a visit to Disney World and Flying Fish Café is closed down for renovations.
We’re planning a trip back to WDW August 2016. It’s been 15 years since our last trip (gasp!) where we eloped at the Yacht Club Resort in the Rose Garden Gazebo. We ended our night with dinner and Wishes at California Grill. (Needless to say, we were quite overdressed!) 😀
We were planning to go back to California Grill, but Flying Fish Cafe (and several others) sound equally good. We’ll be san kids for this outing. What would be your pick besides (V&A)?
Oh bummer, turns out FF is closed for remodeling at least until Oct 2016. California Grill it is.
The accident of finding this post has brgteihned my day
We have always made a point of going to Flying Fish, with and without the dining plan incentive. However, when we last went in October 2015, we walked away so disappointed. Our service was indifferent and we were seating under the “tent” in the back and started to realize how dark it was. We did not ask to be reseated as the restaurant was crowded that night. It was so lowly lit that everything we ordered just looked dark. I even took a picture! It became apparent that a lack of good visuals definitely can diminish the flavor of a dish. We’ve heard they will be remodeling and that may be a good thing!
Just back from WDW trip; we eat at the “Fish” on every visit and it never disappoints. Every aspect of the original post is on target and if you can make it to WDW only once in your life this restaurant should be on your list for dinner.
I am eating here for the first time in less than two weeks. I am ready. I am excited. I am also nervous. I am PUMPED to try the Steak and Potato Wrapped Fish. I am nervous because I am a little picky on fish. I am sure it will be great though. Man, the crab cake looks tempting. Even at $17! lol
Flying fish is so awesome. I’d say its in my top 3 along with california grill and yachtsman.
“Plus, they have Unibroue beer, which is a favorite amongst authors of this post named Tom.”
It’s a favorite amongst authors of this comment named Kevin as well! My wife and I will be eating here at the end of the month…celebrating our first anniversary 🙂 if it’s better than Cali. Grill (according to the Brick-o-meter)then we are in for a treat!
This Kevin guy sounds like a smart dude! 😉
On our first — and so far only — visit to WDW we stood on the Boardwalk the first night wondering where to eat. Being new to the World we had no idea, no recommendations, no opinions on which to base our decision. We chose Flying Fish almost by accident, and were very pleased with our choice. It was a wonderful meal and a great way to start our WDW vacation!
Sounds like a very happy accident! We love Flying Fish.
Flying Fish is our favorite restaurant anywhere (not just WDW). The ambiance, service, and most of all the food are all spectacular. I love the tempura sushi roll topped with tuna tartar for an appetizer. But the best is their signature potato wrapped red snapper. All I can say is WOW! If you don’t have room for a big dessert, the sorbets are really good. Just make sure that the mango sorbet is included since they change seasonally. It’s the best!!
Your fine review has me salivating with delight and trembling with pleasure. Your photographs are food porn at its best! Here we have all good things: high-class seafood, a delightful atmosphere, child-free timing, the future prospect of calamari, and a dessert that is not afraid to openly associate itself with sin.
We so love the Flying Fish Cafe. It is number one in our book.
The picture at the bar, that is Lorna!! we love her. And we love Rugerio.
Love, love, love it!!