Monsieur Paul Review
Monsieur Paul is the Signature Restaurant in Epcot’s France pavilion, and is one of our top 5 meals of all time at Walt Disney World. Certainly our best dinner ever in World Showcase, and right up there with great experiences at Yachtsman Steakhouse, Jiko, California Grill, and Flying Fish. The only meal it ranks behind would be Victoria & Albert’s.
The meal blew us away, surpassing our last dinner at Bistro de Paris, which was good enough to rank at the time as the #2 restaurant at Walt Disney World. However, after hearing hit or miss things about Monsieur Paul from friends the last several years, having only an okay experience last time we dined at Chefs de France, and seeing the menu prices, we’ve been putting off a return visit.
When it came to this menu, we were also worried that rather than being a great value, Monsieur Paul’s dinner special would cut corners or otherwise fail to deliver. Fortunately, that was not even remotely the case. It was a superlative experience in literally every single regard…
We arrived at 7:30 p.m., and Monsieur Paul was less than one-quarter full, with guests only being seated at window tables. This is great news for guests, as it’s a comfortable environment and everyone would have a fireworks view.
Although it’s not the greatest view in Epcot, we were really looking forward to watching Epcot’s fireworks from Monsieur Paul. Alas, it was not to be, as the fireworks show was repeatedly postponed. Instead, we were treated to a cool show throughout our meal–some of nature’s fireworks via an epic lightning show.
In terms of atmosphere, Monsieur Paul is similar to its predecessor, and offers a classic and authentic Parisian sensibility (minus the smoking). We previously described that as “restrained elegance” and that description remains apt.
This is one instance of a restaurant modernization being an actual plussing. In comparing my new photos to ones from my archives, the light fixtures have been upgraded, as have the window treatments and some of the seating. There are also some vaguely Art Nouveau flourishes, but it’s all fairly subtle.
What’s great about Monsieur Paul is that it’s opulent and well-appointed without being intimidating or overly stuffy. It’s very obviously a fine dining restaurant, but wall photos of the late Chef Paul Bocuse with giant mice and a rat help to remind that this restaurant is indeed in a Walt Disney World theme park.
In other words, Monsieur Paul is fairly approachable. I’d still recommend avoiding standard theme park attire, as most guests do dress for the occasion and the restaurant has a loosely-enforced dress code. (Monsieur Paul is a good option if you’re staying at a Crescent Lake Area Resort and can walk to your room to shower and get changed.) I would also hesitate to bring children unless they’re well behaved, but the restaurant is unlikely to turn anyone or any attire away.
Our server was attentive and excellent; in fact, our interactions throughout the meal with the entire restaurant staff were great. With that said, don’t be surprised if you’re met with a cold response upon requesting a window table upon arrival, or if your server’s interactions are a bit brusque.
Your mileage may vary with French service; don’t take it personally if you don’t receive warm and bubbly Disney encounters at the France pavilion.
Here are the drinks: Monsieur Paul’s Cocktail, and a non-alcoholic alternative.
The drink is essentially a champagne cocktail while the non-alcoholic version is a fruit cocktail. Nothing particularly noteworthy here.
Next is the amuse bouche.
It doesn’t photograph well, but this is a spectacular tomato and mozzarella dish. It had a zesty and piquant flavor, and was a refreshing start to the meal.
For our first appetizer, we had the Watercress Soup with fish quenelles, vegetables, croutons.
The creamy soup here was poured table-side (I wish I had gotten a photo before that, as there’s an abundance of fish quenelles and vegetables under the sea of green). Sarah described this as a “Tour de France,” as each bite offered something different, and exceptional flavors. A real standout.
For our second appetizer, we had the Smoked Salmon and Ricotta Tart with arugula coulis and marinated vegetables.
The smoked salmon itself here was good, but it was the perfect marriage of literally everything itself that took everything to the next level and made this an interesting and exceptional dish. Still, it wasn’t quite as good as the Watercress Soup.
For our first entree, we had the Roasted Red Snapper with stuffed calamari, grilled shrimp, ratatouille, plus fish and tomato stock.
Another dish that was finished table-side, and another incredible symphony of flavors. The light sweetness of the red snapper contrasted nicely with the punch of the tomato stock; often, I find snapper a bit too mild and dull, but this dish was bold and inventive. The ratatouille was likewise wonderful.
Next, the Peach Glazed Duck Breast with savory savarin, baby turnip, radish puree with brown butter, and duck jus.
Again, we have another dish where presentation was meticulous and exquisite, but that’s not the only thing here. The duck breast was phenomenal, on par with what I’ve had at a Michelin-rated restaurant in Paris. The meat itself was perfectly prepared–tender with a slight fattiness for flavor layered below the crispy-glazed skin. That peach glaze provided a nice sweetness without overwhelming the natural flavor of the duck.
Desserts are variants of items you’ll find on the regular Monsieur Paul menu. First, the Meringue with vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet, vanilla chantilly, raspberry coulis.
This is actually like a mash-up of two regular desserts: the Meringue and Vacherin Glace Vanille. It was exceptional, with the variety of textures and mix of sweet and tart flavors making for a playful and delicious dessert.
Our other pick was the Warm Chocolate Almond Cake with raspberry coulis in the center, hazelnut crust, and hazelnut ice cream.
This is one of the highlights from the regular dessert menu, and is a holdover from Bistro de Paris. Sarah likened this to the Chocolate Soufflé we had ages ago at Victoria & Albert’s (that she still talks about!), which is about the highest praise possible. Rich, dense, and offset perfectly by the creamy hazelnut ice cream.
Oh, and as for the fireworks, although it was a disappointment to not see it out the window at Monsieur Paul, it did end up running after the lightning ‘show’ was over, starting just after 10 p.m. We ended up having the best of both worlds there, enjoying the lightning from Monsieur Paul (and audibly reacting to it with frequent wows like we’d never seen lightning before!), and then being able to stroll into what’s normally a reserved waterfront viewing area for Epcot’s fireworks after dinner.
Overall, this review probably undersells just how phenomenal our experience was at Monsieur Paul. Despite more exposure to haute cuisine and fine dining, I still often find myself at a loss when it comes to describing the cuisine. My palate knows nuanced and superlative cuisine when I taste it, but my brain is lacking in the whole “words for that” department. Suffice to say, this was one of our best meals of all-time at Walt Disney World, and that is not hyperbole in the slightest. We highly recommend Monsieur Paul–it’s well worth the splurge!
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Have you dined at Monsieur Paul lately? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Does this prix fixe menu at Monsieur Paul strike you as a good deal, or is it still too much to spend on food at Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I can tell you that yachtsman’s is far superior than Canada. The atmosphere is much better And the last steak I’ve had in Canada wasn’t that great. the worn down rooms with all the kiddos in Epcot in Canada is not an anniversary atmosphere. Canada dining rooms are dated. That is why I hear a renovation is planned. The steaks are good or better at yachtsman’s and I love walking around the yacht and Beach club at night it’s beautiful. I would say the best place for anniversary dinner Is Monsieur Paul’s. In Epcot. It is not only the closest place to France you will ever get but the food is extraordinary The lamb and steak are great. however if you want a traditional steak this is how it ranks. Yachtsman’s, California Grill, then go to Canada. Or dare I say “off” property to the Palm. There is also the wonderful steakhouse rarely mentioned at the bonnet creek right at Disney Bull and Bear. That’s really good. Not sure why it’s not mentioned more
I think this $60 menu has gone now. Since cracking and investing in TiW, I can no longer justify dining here even though the food is incredible. It’s a great restaurant, but it’s not 20% better than other restaurants in WDW.
I’ve noticed the France pavilion is a little “special” – in that all the cast members are French, and with it they deliver French service. Simply remember the golden rule of French people – which is that they can be buttered up by simply speaking a few words of French to them – and you’ll see a whole other side!
I think.if you are kind and polite you can win over anyone and maybe make an effort to make a new friend Is the best way. I also believe Monsieur Paul is the best restaurant in Disney and I will happily pay to keep the quality and staff .
Had this last night to celebrate our engagement. It was AMAZING and for $60 a person….you’re really not going to beat it anywhere. If you’re planning a trip on the next week or so, run to MP. The food was terrific. I loved the watercrest soup, the red snapper was so flavorful and the chocolate cake had me closing my eyes to savor the flavors. Our server was warm and lovely. We loved the ambiance, the relative quiet and the break from the food & wind crowds. We’ve been to other Disney fine dining meals but we found this to be much much quieter and more intimate.
Just a word of wisdom, remember this is a fine dining restaurant. Dress and act accordingly. I felt most of the restaurant “got it” but some strolled in (drunk?) from food &wine. If you wouldn’t wear it or act a certain way at a fancy restaurant in real life, don’t wear it or act like it at a fine dining restaurant at Disney. They won’t turn you away but you will be slightly judged by other patrons.
We had dinner at MP’s last night. You understated the quality. Pricey, but I felt that I had cheated them when I paid the bill. Our waiter was warm and wonderful;he addressed us formally by name the enitre evening. There were a couple of “surprise” items that were courses between ccourses! All in all, a perfect meal and a fantastic dining experience. We will go back next trip, hopefully to bring friends along that love good food as much as we do. Thanks for the tip! But I’m afraid the secret is getting out, probably 3/4 full when we were there.
We have an Anniversary trip coming up February 2020 and I am wondering what you can tell me about the Yachtsman Steakhouse? Price wise it seems comparable to Le Cellier in Canada but I have heard complaints about Le Cellier? My husband definitely wants a good steak. We have done Victoria and Albert and it was beautiful and a wonderful experience but truthfully we were not that crazy about the food. Hoping you have good things to say about Yachtsman Steakhouse. We are getting very close to the l80 day booking window. I always enjoy your posts so thank you for all the information you give us!!! Also for character meals we stay at the Polynesian so we always have one at O’hana and we Love Chef Mickey’s Character breakfast. Is there another character breakfast you would recommend over Chef Mickey’s. We have done the Grand Floridian a lot too so we want Chef Mickey’s or something else. Thanks for your help.
Yachtsman is a good steak nice sides and at dinner time it can be noisy so if you want romance the California Grill has a very good filet. And the view can’t be beat
Now if you want something crazy special. I know it’s not Disney but google Berns steakhouse in Tampa. It’s simply the best steak and wine ever. I mean ever. There is Shulas and STK but the yachtsman is I think the better one.
For characters beach and yacht are fun too
Thank you so much for your information Tammy! That will certainly help us in planning! I love the character meals so I will see about the beach and yacht club too! I am worried about hearing the crowds are so much worse now. It seems people are really complaining about everything being so crowded. We used to go every year but now our last trip was December 2017 the week before Christmas which was crowded but not outrageously so and I feel all the comments I read really complain about the crowds!
Yes it’s crowded and I’ve been reading Toms blog as he gives great insight. however I live in Florida and yes I’ve done Christmas at Disney. It is wonderful but avoid the days before and to New Years. If you only do one trip a year go early December not thanksgiving when all the folks go and attend things during the week. That might help.
The steak at Flying Fish and Citricos are significantly better than Yachtsman or Le Cellier. You will also get the well deserved personal attention that an incredible meal deserves. We felt like Le Cellier had the decor of a 70’s Burger King and were taken in for dinner an hour after our reservation and completely rushed through our entire meal. Our waiter was disinterested at best.
I have had chefs come out to talk to our children EVERY time we eat at Flying Fish. They are very well trained for restaurants but I feel that is above and beyond. They were genuinely HAPPY to have young people willing to explore their food options.
Yachtsman was very good but was missing the special personalized flair that the others always have.
Moses and Omar are absolutely fabulous waiters at Citricos’s! Request them!
Just booked this for our anniversary dinner based on your recommendation! Can’t wait to try it!!!
I’m thoroughly enjoying my Disney therapy as I plan for a trip in January for my birthday. Really appreciate your insight and thank you for sharing it with all of us!
So… how late do the parks stay open in the 2nd half of January? And approximately when do the fireworks and other such spectacles begin? I’d like to plan our dinner reservations with this info in mind. Thanks!
I’ve just recently found your blog and I’m loving the info. Can you recommend any Disney restaurants that provide gluten free menus? It’s not a choice, but a medical necessity. Thanks.
Are you aware of any other restaurants that have a Summer Discovery Menu? While I totally respect your opinion, we are just not fans of French cuisine. Looking for a special dinner while we are on a 2 day trip from NJ for the Star Wars AP preview.
Thank you so much for that wonderful review!
The food photos alone have convinced me to book reservations for this September.
We love French food and are so looking forward to this experience! I’ll let you know for sure what we think.
Sounds like a great deal! Are there any vegetarian options on this “secret” menu?
sorry,but no. Very few choices and no substitutions, although each choice is fantastic. I THINK there may be vegetarian choices on the regular menu.
Hey Tom and Sarah, great article as always! Perhaps I missed it but how were you aware of the “special menu?” We booked for Sep and are looking forward to it.
James is still bitter that Disney California Adventure closed ABC Soap Opera Bistro