Although Walt Disney World is best known for family-friendly character dining options like Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Crystal Palace, Walt Disney World actually has a lot of great romantic fine-dining options. Here are our top 5 most romantic restaurants at Walt Disney World. With the exception of the #1 restaurant on the list, all participate in the Disney Dining Plan as two-credit Signature Restaurants (in Le Cellier’s case, only Signature for dinner). All of them also accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.
Below is a brief synopsis why each restaurant is a great pick for your next romantic meal at Walt Disney World. Click the restaurant name for our full review of each restaurant:
5. Le Cellier – The ambiance at Le Cellier is great, with night mood lighting and a fun feel to the restaurant. The design of the restaurant is a nice cross between standard Disney theming and elegance. It’s not exactly what you’d see outside of the parks in Orlando, but it doesn’t just look like a simple Moose Lodge. (As much as it may surprise some Americans, not every building in Canada is a log cabin with taxidermy lining the walls.) Add to that servers who are always pleasant and very knowledgeable about the menus.
The menu is great (although slightly overrated, I think) with all of the dining options you’d except of a fine dining steakhouse. The pretzel bread and cheddar soup are downright addictive, the NY strip steak and filet are excellent, and the Maple Créme Brulée and Mount Blanc Semifreddo are the perfect ways to conclude any meal. The drink list is also good for a Walt Disney World restaurant, especially for beer drinkers, as it serves Unibroue beers. About the only thing that leaves a bit to be desired is the seating; sometimes the tables are a little too close together.
Alternatives: Le Cellier is often busy, and since it’s a two credit restaurant, you may not be able to, or want to book a meal here. If you’re unable to get a reservation here, two great Epcot alternatives are Via Napoli (review) and Coral Reef (review). Neither are quite as romantic in ambiance since they often have more families at them, but Coral Reef offers dim aquarium lighting and a great seafood menu, and Via Napoli offers the best pizza at Walt Disney World with great appetizers in a fairly sophisticated-looking setting.
4. Jiko – The Cooking Place – The ambiance in Jiko, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is impeccable with appropriate lighting and properly spaced tables for a Signature Walt Disney World restaurant. In our full review I compare Jiko’s ambiance to The Lion King, but it’s really much more complex than that. The color palette of the restaurant changes to mimic an African sunset as the night progresses. The service is also excellent, with servers who are knowledgeable about the menu and the extensive drink list.
If you’re an adventurous eater, you can have that here. You can also get something more conventional. There are great flatbread starters as well as less-conventional choices. The entree menu has plenty of choices, but my favorite by far (off-menu now) is the filet with mac & cheese. Other great choices include the Grilled-marinated Lamb Loin and Braised Beef Short Rib. Dessert choices are equally varied.
Alternatives: Sanaa (review) is the definitive romantic alternative to Jiko. In fact, it almost made this list, but I thought two romantic restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge might be a bit excessive. The menu is a bit more adventurous, but there are “normal” items like steak. Request a window table at sunset for a great view of the safari.
3. California Grill – California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a sentimental favorite for us. It’s the first place we went, after checking into our room, on our first “serious” trip together to Walt Disney World. We were so excited for the meal that we even dressed up for it! Our personal sentiment aside, California Grill offers the perfect ambiance. Sophisticated decor with a view from the top of the world, a window table here is almost a must. Make ADRs for about an hour before Wishes! and be willing to wait for a window table.
As far as the menu goes, it’s the only reason California Grill is #3 instead of #2. It isn’t quite perfect. The sushi is great and the flatbreads are decent, but many of the entrees are a bit overpriced for what they are. Our favorite is the Oak-fired Filet of Beef, which is expensive, but very good. Generally, California Grill entrees are great, but for the prices, they should always be exquisite. Desserts and cocktails here are also great, so only the occasional misstep on entrees prevents Cali Grill from attaining greatness.
Alternatives: The Wave… of American Flavors (review) is another great option in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, with much cheaper prices and a pretty varied menu. We have been very pleased with The Wave and recommend it in an instant. The ambiance is not nearly as good, but it rarely is busy and makes a great alternative. Another great option, also on the monorail loop, is Kona Cafe (review). The NY strip steak there is a personal favorite, and this is one of my favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World, although it does not offer a very romantic ambiance with its “open air” seating that puts some patrons next to the hustle and bustle of the second-story lobby of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
2. Monsieur Paul – Formerly Bistro de Paris, Monsieur Paul is a substantial departure from most in-park dining. Located upstairs in Epcot’s France pavilion, it features an opulent dining area. The general ambiance of the restaurant give the place a really classy feel, and although most patrons don’t dress the part since it’s in Epcot, it could easily be a “dressed-up, date night” type restaurant for you, especially if you’re walking over from one of the Epcot area resorts. The romantic ambiance is second only to Victoria & Albert’s.
The Prix Fixe menu is great. The first course of Serrano Ham with celery root remoulade and green asparagus or the Butternut Squash soup with chestnuts and shrimp are both excellent choices. Of the main courses, everything pales in comparison to the the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with mushroom crust, mashed potato, and Bordelaise sauce, which is the best entree I’ve had at Walt Disney World at a “normal” restaurant. While it is a Signature Restaurant, it’s actually a reasonably priced (relatively speaking) option if paying out of pocket and ordering from the Prix Fixe menu.
Alternative: Since Bistro de Paris is another World Showcase restaurant, the alternatives are the same here as they are at Le Cellier (above). If you’re willing to walk a bit or take a Friendship Boat, head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby (review) if you can’t get into Bistro de Paris. Bistro isn’t normally too busy, so this generally shouldn’t be an issue.
1. Victoria & Albert’s – This is a no-brainer. Not only is Victoria & Albert’s, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the absolute best restaurant at Walt Disney World, but it’s also the most romantic. It’s the only AAA 5-Diamond restaurant in Walt Disney World (or central Florida, for that matter) and children under 10 aren’t welcome in the main dining room (which is a nice change of pain for a couple like us). The restaurant is quiet, well-appointed, and the service is exquisite. Yet somehow, it’s not stuffy or intimidating (we’re young, and we often receive condescending or “snooty” service at nice restaurants in Indianapolis–doesn’t happen at Victoria & Albert’s). If you’re a real foodie, you can also book the Chef’s Table for a unique, albeit less romantic, dining option.
Victoria & Albert’s offers a prix fixe six-course meal (we won’t fixate on each “best” menu item) consisting of gourmet and specialty fine dining options, along with other “premium” items that can be ordered for an additional charge. The one reservation most people have when considering Victoria & Albert’s is the price (fixed-price cost for the regular dining room is $125 per person; wine pairings are $60 per person). My advice, unequivocally, no matter what degree of splurging it may be, would be to find a special occasion to celebrate there, and go. I don’t say the ‘special occasion’ bit so you have a nice “in” to get a freebie, but rather because I think it provides a nice reason to be there, and something to “embrace” while you’re dining. The meal is absolutely amazing, as is the service; really, I can’t say enough good things about the experience. In terms of value, even at its high cost, I would rate Victoria & Albert’s very highly. In my mind, it’s one of the few restaurants that is not overpriced for the food and service it offers. That’s high praise for a meal that cost us over $300!
Wild-Card Bonus Sleeper Pick: Beaches & Cream – all of the romantic picks on this list are “nice” restaurants that are fairly expensive. Beaches & Cream is an out-of-left-field choice for a list like this in that it doesn’t fit that mold at all, but it’s actually quite romantic in a 50s, play the jukebox while having a soda and ice cream with your gal before heading to the drive-in or roller-rink, sort of way. It’s romantic in a different way. A fun, light-hearted way!