Le Cellier Without Breaking the Bank
I’ve been a vocal critic of Le Cellier, but honestly, I’ve missed it. Back in the good ole days of the Disney Dining Plan, we used to dine at Le Cellier regularly, and were big fans. Unfortunately, that was a decade ago and a lot has changed since then.
Menu prices, Dining Plan credit allocations, and quality have all changed, with the former two going up while the last item paradoxically declined. It had been a while since we had gone to Le Cellier, being disappointed with our last couple of meals there (and what we paid for them).
In our Le Cellier Review, I’ve shared how I think Le Cellier was a victim of its own popularity, and how it’s a place that has earned “avoid” status for us. However, nostalgia is a powerful and sometimes puzzling thing. Despite our own warnings about Le Cellier, I really wanted to go back…
So, I began scheming. I had already been stalking the new(ish) poutine offerings at Le Cellier, and when I revisited Le Cellier’s menu, I noticed that a prix fixe menu was being offered for lunch, I realized that was my opening. Suddenly, there was a way to dine at Le Cellier without breaking the bank.
The poutine was inexpensive enough, costing only $10. Still pricey for fries, but reasonable as a major component of a meal at a nice Walt Disney World restaurant. The prix fixe menu was a larger part of the equation, as I figured we could order one of those in addition to the poutine, and be out the door without breaking the bank. Not exactly “Le Cellier on a dime,” but not bad.
Of course, Le Cellier’s menu does not list the price for the prix fixe menu, but I had done some online research and found that in May 2017, the Disney Mom’s Panel informed someone it cost $28.99. At that price-point, we began thinking maybe two prix fixe meals were in order.
So, we made an ADR for lunch at Le Cellier during our recent visit to Walt Disney World, hoping less expensive meal coupled with (perhaps?) the passage of time could improve our opinion of the fall great. After all, everyone loves a good redemption story.
Once upon a time, Le Cellier was one of the most difficult ADRs to score in all of Walt Disney World. If you didn’t book it 6 months in advance, you didn’t eat there. It’s still quite popular, but on this particular day, we were able to score a same-day ADR.
Perhaps that reputation that was cemented years ago–a reputation Le Cellier has been coasting on for at least 8 years since–is finally starting to erode? Given the prices and a wealth of other options in World Showcase, it’s actually surprising that Le Cellier has not seen a more precipitous decline in popularity. (It’s probably buoyed by recent mainstream articles like this one that proclaim Le Cellier is the best restaurant at Walt Disney World.)
Once we stepped back inside “da cellar” (as the kids undoubtedly call it), the memories came flooding back. We reminisced about dining here for our first (and second!) time back in 2007, our honeymoon meal here, and other visits over the years. At this point, even if the food was only okay, it probably would’ve been “worth it” for the fun trip down memory lane.
This was a good thing, as the visit went downhill as soon as we were handed the menus. Come to find out, the actual cost of the prix fixe menu was $50. Unless the cost nearly doubled over the course of a week, that Mom’s Panel answer was inaccurate when published. At that pace, the current cost is actually $279. (I joke, but I was actually quite pissed off. There’s literally only one official Disney page with the price, and it’s wrong?!)
Oh well, we figured. It seemed too good to be true from the beginning. We could still make the most of the experience. Sarah decided to go ahead and order the prix fixe menu anyway, while I ordered the poutine. Even with the (surprise!) $30 surcharge over what was advertised, we could still get out the door for ~$75 after AP discount, tax and tip, which is pretty good by Signature Restaurant standards.
Things picked back up once the bread service was brought out to us, and we tasted that delicious pretzel bread and that addictively good butter.
Too often, the bread service at a Walt Disney World meal is pointless filler. At Le Cellier, you could make the case that the glorious pretzel bread is the highlight of the meal. Fortunately, in this case, it was not the highlight…
For our prix fixe appetizer, we started with the Poached Forelle Pears, with blue cheese cream, candied walnuts, micro lettuce, and pear agrodolce. This was surprisingly good. The sweet flavors of the pears and candied walnuts were lightly contrasted by the blue cheese cream, in what amounted to a refreshing and complex dish.
I would not necessarily recommend it to a first-timer over Le Cellier’s excellent Cheddar Cheese Soup (also included in the prix fixe menu), but we’ve had that before and this was an incredibly hot summer day, so hot soup didn’t quite seem right.
For my “entree,” I had the Le Cellier Signature Poutine. This traditional Canadian dish consists of French fries, Canadian cheddar, truffles, and red wine reduction. This was a large portion size, and was really good.
The cheddar was plentiful and the truffles gave it a certain richness, with the fries and wine reduction providing a heartiness to the dish. I could see someone with a smaller appetite doing the poutine as an entree. Highly, highly recommended.
For her entree, Sarah had ordered the Wagyu Beef Burger ‘Oscar’ with Truffle Fries. Our original “script” here called for ordering the Beef Tenderloin because that seemed like a better move from the perspective of value maximization, but we saw a table nearby with that burger (and our server recommended it) so we called an audible.
After a couple of bites, Sarah proclaimed this the best burger at Walt Disney World. I’m inclined to agree. I cannot say whether this is actual Wagyu beef or “Wagyu” (air quotes) beef, but it was incredibly high-quality. Slightly fatty and flavorful, it was great. Ditto the crab and hollandaise on top.
The truffle fries were likewise delicious. I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about the cost of this burger going into the meal (once you subtract the known cost of the appetizer and dessert we ordered, this entree is $27.
Ultimately, I think it was actually worth it. I say this with full knowledge that a similarly delicious–but cheaper–burger is only a short walk away at Crew’s Cup Lounge.
For dessert, we had the Maple Crème BrÃ»lée. This is one of Le Cellier’s signature dishes, and we’ve had it many times. It did not disappointment. There’s a reason it has been a mainstay of the menu for decades–it’s incredible.
All things considered, we had an excellent meal at Le Cellier. We’re definitely stretching the definition of “without breaking the bank” by ordering a $27 burger, but I think the whole meal still works out to be a good value by Walt Disney World Signature Restaurant standards. Granted, it would’ve been better from an objective perspective had the prix fixe menu actually cost $29, had we only ordered poutine dishes, or if we chose the Beef Tenderloin for our prix fixe entree, but we nonetheless left happy.
Actually, I think what we should have done once we heard the actual price of the prix fixe menu would’ve been to order both styles of poutine, the loaded mac & cheese, plus perhaps the soup and creme brulee. We could’ve done these 5 items had a very filling meal, and spent only ~$50.
It’s wholly inappropriate to call this a tale of redemption or to say the old Le Cellier is back given that we didn’t order a single steak, but this experience made us cautiously optimistic. We are still not sure whether we are prepared to go all-in on a full meal at Le Cellier, but we’re contemplating doing the Deluxe Dining Plan this fall for the sake of research, and if we do that, Le Cellier will definitely be on our short list of restaurant options. Not exactly the most “illuminating” Walt Disney World restaurant review, but hopefully this was at least an interesting read!
Want more dining tips? Check out our 101 Delicious Walt Disney World Dining Tips. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of Le Cellier? If you’ve dined at Le Cellier in the last couple of years, what did you think of the experience (namely, the steak)? If you dined at Le Cellier during its “glory days” have you revisited it recently? Do you think Le Cellier is still overrated, or has its once-sterling reputation been tarnished by years of price increases and menu changes? Where does it rank in terms of dining at Walt Disney World for you? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your Le Cellier experiences or questions in the comments below!
We used to love Le Cellier and made it a go to spot every vacation when we could get reservations…….until it became a signature restaurant.
The two times we’ve been there since, we have found the quality (and in some cases quantity) of the meals to be lacking, but the prices took an decidedly upward jump. The first disappointing meal we thought might just be a fluke….an off day.
The second time we decided to try again, we found the steaks to be less than ideal. I didn’t know it was possible to make a tough filet. The risotto was good, but there was probably two tablespoons surrounding the steak. Risotto is cheap to make….why be stingy with it? I do agree with you that the bread service is stellar. We always look forward to it. In the past, there were lighter and more inexpensive choices for lunch, but that’s not the case anymore.
We don’t do the dining plan, so a lunch or dinner for a family of 4 here can really add up quickly.
One day in the future, we may take a stroll down memory lane and go back…..but it won’t be our go to restaurant experience in the years to come.
We’ve been going here for years ever since they changed the restaurant from a cafeteria style way back when. We don’t go every trip because the prices are quite high for what you get but I do love the filet….that being said, we made another reservation for our next trip and we are going this time just for their poutine which we will share along with a salad each. I love the poutine but way too much food if you are also having an entree. Maybe we will get dessert too? 🙂
Had a very disappointing dinner steak very mediocre . Not worth the wait! Carolyn Witt
For essentially fries and a burger, it does seems like indulging in a fantasy that it is actually a good value. I had waygu (kobe) burger elsewhere for under $20. The Disney premium is indeed a real phenomenon.
If it is adversities as Wagyu beef then it has to be Wagyu beef. Truth in menu, if it is advertised as Wagyu beef and is proven to not be just that them they could be in a lot of trouble.
Now that I think about it, I was thinking of Kobe beef that has this ‘issue.’