Sebastian’s Bistro Review
Sebastian’s Bistro is a table service restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort with a tropical vibe and named after the Little Mermaid character. In this WDW dining review, we’ll share food photos from our dinner, weigh the pros and cons of eating here, and whether it’s worth the money or Disney Dining Plan credits.
On the Disney Dining Plan, Sebastian’s Bistro is a 1-credit table service meal. Aside from the skirt steak, prices for most menu items are fairly average by Walt Disney World table service standards, making Sebastian’s Bistro neither a good nor bad value on the Disney Dining Plan. It currently accepts Tables in Wonderland for a 20% discount; for the time being, Annual Passholders can also save 20% here, too.
We dined at Sebastian’s Bistro with some friends for dinner, which is a good thing, as going forward that’s the only meal that will be served here. Perhaps that will change during busy seasons or when Disney’s Riviera Resort opens, but it’s safe to assume that DVC resort will have its own dining options.
Another possibility is that Skyliner traffic from guests en route to Epcot will drive up the popularity of Sebastian’s Bistro. That also seems unlikely given its location relative to those two stations, but Sebastian’s is arguably one of the best World Showcase restaurants outside World Showcase.
Even for our meal during prime dinner hours, Sebastian’s Bistro was maybe one-quarter full. This is concerning, but not surprising. As dining options at Disney Springs have proliferated, resort restaurants have faded in popularity. This makes sense–resort guests staying elsewhere don’t have direct transportation to other hotels, and security at the resorts can be a hassle for locals, even with ADRs.
Thematically, Sebastian’s Bistro isn’t going to overwhelm you with a surplus of details or personality. The design is relatively minimalist, with large windows providing an airy sensibility and views of the water being what’s emphasized during daylight hours.
At night, the only thing you can see outside is the occasional beam of the nearby lighthouse. I suppose that’s moderately entrancing, for some.
Although Sebastian’s Bistro is named after the crab from Little Mermaid, the restaurant is not themed to the film. Sebastian makes an appearance on the restaurant marquee, the menu, and the centerpiece artwork at the back of the restaurant.
And thus concludes our tour of the restaurant’s film connections.
To keep Sebastian’s Bistro from being bland and without visual interest, some attention to detail is paid to finishings and the little things.
The plush chairs are substantial and befitting the location, there are artistic flourishes in the overhead beams, and splashes of color throughout the art and other decor.
Unfortunately, Sebastian’s is largely devoid of character in both a figurative and literal sense. The decor that stands out is fairly humdrum.
The art is all generic, the kind you could find on clearance at a Home Goods store or on display in a mid-tier chained brand hotel 5 miles from the ocean clumsily attempting to convey a “beach but modern” sensibility.
Walt Disney World’s recent hotel design decisions have shown a desire to appear inoffensively chic, paying face to theme without really much of substance to reinforce it. That trend continues with Sebastian’s Bistro. This is unfortunate, as the atmosphere is inviting and the look airy, but it’s just not quite there in terms of being an interesting, themed space.
Moving along to the food…
We started with the Caribbean Pull-apart Rolls with Guava Butter, Mango Chutney, and Jamaican Jerk Oil.
On the one hand, it bugs me a bit that Walt Disney World is turning bread service into a paid affair. On the other hand, the Caribbean Pull-apart Rolls belong in same breath as Sanaa’s Bread Service.
High praise, but deservedly so. The rolls were flaky, buttery, and densely delicious, but the real highlight was the sauces. The guava butter and jerk oil were both addictively good, and perfect counterparts, with each offering depth and richness.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I saved these sauces to finish off on my Yuca, which is probably not the chef’s recommended pairing but I was on cloud nine. (The chutney was fine and would’ve been more memorable were the butter and oil not so good.)
For this meal, we were joined by our friends Natana and Daniel Wanderman of WanderDisney.com. They’re both vegan and there are exactly two vegetarian/vegan dishes on the Sebastian’s Bistro menu, meaning Sarah and I had to order meat. Oh darn.
The first of their dishes is the Caribbean Vegetable Curry with Cilantro Rice, Lime Crèma, and crispy Yuca (above).
The next is Jerk Butternut Squash: “Black Beans and Cilantro Rice, Collards, and Honey-Chili Sauce.”
They enjoyed both of these dishes, remarking that it was nice to have fresh, ‘whole’ foods as opposed to a processed non-meat patty. Flavors on both were robust, and everything had a sense of freshness to it.
From my perspective, it appeared that actual care was taken to make dishes that were actually appealing, rather than just phoned in vegan options to check that box. Sarah and I have done a few of the vegetarian options at Centertown Market and found them to be similarly ambitious.
For her entree, Sarah ordered the Sustainable Fish (which was Mahi this evening) served with Mash Plantain and Escovitch Sauce.
Her Mahi was excellent, flaky and flavorful, and the plantain below and escovitch sauce gave it an interesting flavor. I’ve had escovitch sauce before, and was under the impression that it (generally) brings the heat. Could be wrong about that, but either way, it’s not the case here. Still an exceptional fish dish that evoked a sense of the Caribbean.
I took one for the team and ordered the Grilled Skirt Steak “Chimichurri” with crispy Yuca.
This was fantastic. The steak was tender and flavorful; a good cut of meat that was not over-seasoned. The chimichurri added some interesting flavor and was not a mask for subpar beef. The yuca was also a very pleasant surprise; like french fry nuggets with a crisp outer giving way to a warm and airy center.
Our server informed us that this was by far the most popular dish, which is why I ordered it. Not that I need an excuse to go for the steak or anything, but what I actually wanted here was the Caribbean Goat Curry.
Not only have I heard good things about that dish, but I’ve had goat curry several times in the (real) Caribbean and absolutely love it. Obviously, I can’t recommend something I haven’t tried, but if you’re looking for an authentic dish from the islands that’s different, consider giving it a go. That’s what I’ll be having next time.
We had heard almost nothing positive about dessert at Sebastian’s Bistro, but we decided to give it a shot, anyway. Our friends had the Message in the Bottle: “Coconut-Rice Panna Cotta, Pineapple, and Mango-Lime Sorbet.”
After what was described as a dessert with cool presentation, it was a bit disappointing to receive this. As for taste, they found the panna cotta mixed with sorbet to be intriguing and generally good.
We also ordered the Mile Marker Zero: “Iced Key Lime Pops with Sea Salt and a Tropical Fruit Sauce.” This is the one dessert about which we had heard good things.
I’d be far less charitable with my assessment of this. The contrasts of bitter, sweet, and tart didn’t really work together. While it was fun and different, at the end we both were left wishing we just had regular key lime pie. In retrospect, the approach struck us as a gimmick or crutch for subpar flavor, rather than an inventive approach done for an actual reason.
In hindsight, I wish we had skipped dessert and done more appetizers, several of which looked good.
Overall, Sebastian’s Bistro is an exceptional restaurant that we predict will slowly join Sanaa as one of Walt Disney World’s unheralded dining gems–so long as they don’t dumb down the menu. That might’ve gotten lost in our criticism of the design (which is definitely not on par with Sanaa) and desserts, but the entrees here were fantastic, as was the one appetizer we tried. I’m already trying to think of an excuse to go back (I’m hopeful but not optimistic that this review will be incredibly popular and the people will demand a sequel), as there are 4 other appetizers and 3 other entrees that I’d really like to try.
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Have you dined at Sebastian’s Bistro? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Thoughts on the look of the interior of the restaurant, or on the menu? 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 demand a sequel review, please! Mostly so you can go back, but I just switched our reservation in late August from All Star Music to Caribbean Beach Resort because 1) it was “only” about $100 more a night and keeps our free dining package and 2) I’m optimistic that the Skyliner will be transporting people by then and it will make our Epcot/Hollywood Studio days much easier. But I also decided the extra space/better pools/resort ambiance will probably be worth it even on the days the skyliner doesn’t help us out, partly based on your updated review of the resort and dining options. (I would have changed to Pop Century were it available, but it’s not, and switching to Caribbean Beach was actually cheaper than switching to Art of Animation would be — I didn’t click to confirm but I’m assuming only suites are available there for our just-before-Galaxy-Edge-opens dates.)
This will be a first-ever Disney trip for my two boys (ages 7 and 11) and my husband’s and my first time visiting a Disney resort that’s not Disneyland. The last time we were at Disneyland we’d only been dating for a year or so and was more than 15 years ago, and I’ve found your blog particularly helpful in coming up with a plan for our 5 nights/5 days at WDW.
Specific question re. Sebastian’s: would we (especially the kids) be missing a lot if we had dinner here instead of at ‘Ohana? I have reservations at ‘Ohana for 4pm on a day we’re planning to rope drop Hollywood Studios with Extra Magic Hours, finish at the park by noon or 1, hang out at the hotel pool for the afternoon and then head to Magic Kingdom after our early dinner to enjoy the Haunted Mansion/Jungle Cruise/Tomorowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Astro Orbiter in the evening. I’m not sure if we’ll stay for the fireworks because we’ll be up early the next morning to rope drop EMH and spend a full day at Animal Kingdom. Logistically it might be slightly easier to eat at the hotel, but since we’re heading to Magic Kingdom after anyway the Polynesian isn’t a big hassle.
We’d already decided to pay for the upgrade to the regular instead of quick service dining plan, and along with ‘Ohana have reservations for:
– dinner at Boma (evening of arrival, I want to explore Animal Kingdom Lodge and see the animals before/after dinner)
– Hollywood & Vine with Fantasmic package (different day from rope-dropping HS)
– breakfast at Garden Grill before Epcot opens so we don’t need a Soarin’ fast pass
– Tusker House with Rivers of Light package (right at the end of the breakfast time frame so we can have a mix of breakfast and lunch items, plus have an efficient morning from 8-10:30am)
– breakfast at Be Our Guest before park open (and there’s Early Morning Magic so EMH won’t get added) for easy access to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on our last day at Magic Kingdom.
So I feel like we’ve got a good mix of dining experiences with decent food and some non-princess characters that will also mean shorter waits for a few rides/evening shows, but we also have a lot of all-you-care-to-eat happening so losing the buffet at ‘Ohana doesn’t seem like a big loss. And Sebastian’s food sounds good and it looks like there’s food my semi-picky kids will like too, so maybe it makes as much sense as ‘Ohana. Unless I’m wrong, which is quite possible and hard to guess since I haven’t been to any of these places yet. Any thoughts? Probably you need to try those 4 other appetizers and 3 other entrees before you can opine.
Just an FYI – ‘Ohana is not a buffet- it is served family style, and they come around to the tables with the meats & shrimp on skewers & serve you as much as you want….love ‘Ohana’s! At Sebastian’s – my granddaughter only eats chicken nuggets, which was not on the kids menu, but if you ask, they will get them for you! It was wonderful! Also if there is some sauce that you are not crazy about- just tell them, & they will either delete it, or put it on the side….they are very accommodating ! Their drinks are great too!
Have a wonderful time. Mixing it up is good BOG was a bit disappointing for us. We ate dinnner there. Acceptable but no better. Ambience is the beast’s castle but the crowds and noise level are cafeteria level. Tusker House is a good choice but Bomas is fantastic. Dinner or breakfast there is really good. Jiko’s and Sanaa (AKL) are excellent choices too. You will fall in love with AKL. Amazing! The animals are beautiful. Don’t forget to enjoy the marshmallow roasting outside in the animal viewing area. And they have an African Cast Member gathering around the fire pit in the early evening. Very nice. For the park, Tiffins at AK is amazing. Two dining credits but worth it. For counter service you cannot beat Flame Tree BBQ.
Have a wonderful time !!
The wings were hands down the best I have ever had. Grantes we ordered them through the bar, but I was floored.
Can’t wait to go back!
I demand that you go back and get the goat curry as soon as humanly possible – purely for research purposes, of course.
We are looking forward to trying Sebastian’s Bistro, and the entire resort with all of the changes. We actually enjoyed our experience when it was Shutters, and have high hopes for Sebastians! 🙂
We have stayed at the Caribbean Beach many times. We like the peacefulness of Aruba very much and the best time for us is in November, seems more peaceful after a day park hopping.
We ordered apps from Sebastian’s to go from Banana Cabana after a night of swimming when we stayed an extra night on our last trip and booked at CBR for one night. It was my favorite food that we had our entire trip (or even our last several trips) and I can’t wait to go back. We had the grilled jerk wings, the Jamaican meat pies and the conch fritters, they were all amazing! Huge bonus was the amazing Guava Margarita I had at Banana Cabana while I was waiting and Mike the bartender is absolutely the best!
Wow, sounds amazing! Very happy to hear that the vegan dish is special – will make the vegan in our family happy. I, too, adore goat curry and get it any chance I can so I will be trying that dish. I’ve never stayed at the caribbean Beach but I have considered it. Your review is making me consider a stay there more seriously, as we can take a resort day and dine at Sebastians!