Steakhouse 71 Dinner Review: Disney World’s Best Budget Steaks

This dinner review of Steakhouse 71, a new table service restaurant that opened as part of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, takes a look mostly at the menu’s many meats. We’ll share food photos, recommendations, whether it’s worth the money, and more.

As background, Steakhouse 71 is located on the first floor in the A-Frame Tower of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, replacing the Wave of American Flavors. It’s part of a reimagining that has imbued the lobby with old school Vacation Kingdom charm thanks to Mary Blair-inspired art and vintage behind-the-scenes photos of Walt Disney World’s construction.

From a practical perspective, Steakhouse 71 is easily accessible from Magic Kingdom. The fastest option is simply walking–it’ll take you about 10 minutes to get to the Contemporary from the front gate of the park, but you can also take the monorail if you’d like a leisurely voyage. Proximity to the park is of particular relevance here, as Magic Kingdom’s dining scene is relatively limited and Steakhouse 71 is often easier to book.

Currently, Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders both receive 10% off at Steakhouse 71, which is somewhat surprising since it’s brand new. It’ll presumably accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount if/when that ever returns.

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but once the Disney Dining Plan comes back, Steakhouse 71 should be a 1-credit table service restaurant. If you’re already planning ahead for that, dinner will be your better bet, as most of Steakhouse 71’s pricier cuts of meat are only served in the evening hours.

Steakhouse 71 harkens back to the design style of the 1970s, reimagined in a contemporary, comfortable and sleek way. There are 1970s design flourishes, particularly in the furniture and light fixtures. You’ll notice some Florida flair–such as Orange Bird and citrus groves–mixed in with the décor at Steakhouse 71.

There’s also a general sense of modernity everywhere from the bar & lounge to the seating area. The refreshed style nails the contemporary look better than the Wave, which was growing a bit tired. We aren’t going to fixate on the interior here as we shared a full photo tour and thoughts in our Steakhouse 71 Lunch Review.

Now let’s turn to the food, starting with a quick look at appetizers…

First up, the Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad: House-made Blue Cheese Dressing, Toy Box Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions, Bacon, Hard-cooked Egg.

Both of the salads served at Steakhouse 71 are best enjoyed by people who want a bit of green to go with their dressing. I’m not complaining–I love blue cheese–but it’s definitely not a light salad.

Next, we have the Lump Crab Cakes: Old Bay Rémoulade, Corn Hash, House-made Saltine Crackers.

These are very similar–perhaps identical–to the crab sliders served at lunch. Personally, I think they work better as sliders, as there’s a lot going on here and the crab flavor doesn’t quite stand on its own. They’re still decently meaty and there isn’t too much filler, but there is some. The Old Bay Rémoulade adds a slight kick and unique twist.

In judging by nearby tables during our meals at Steakhouse 71, the most popular appetizer is the Sea Salt-dusted Potato Brioche: Butter, Roasted Garlic-Tomato Spread.

Not with us. We given it two chances and it’s just fine–nothing that wows like paid bread should. A bit too dense, dry, and lacking in flavor. Nothing that a little butter or tomato spread can’t fix, but there are so many better bread options at Walt Disney World. These are not good or unique enough to justify the added cost, in our view.

We’ll conclude our look at the appetizers on a high note, with the Bacon & Eggs: Maple-lacquered Pork Belly, Smoked Cheese Grits, Perfect Egg.

This was a fan-favorite dish from the Wave that has made its way onto the Steakhouse 71 menu, and for good reason–it’s absolutely fantastic. Tender and fatty pork belly with a light and sweet maple flavor that dials the decadence up to 11. The ‘perfect’ egg is exactly that–a cooking method that gives the yolk a creamy consistency. While we liked other appetizers we tried well enough at Steakhouse 71, this is the only one that we highly recommend.

We’ll start our review of the dinner entrees with the “non-steak stuff.” First, the Florida Sustainable Fish en Papillote:
Shrimp, Fried Potatoes, Asparagus, Baby Carrots, Lemon Beurre Blanc.

This was awful. If someone told me this mystery fish were microwaved, I would’ve believed them. “Rubbery” was its prevailing quality, with most of its flavor coming from the accompaniments and the lemon beurre blanc, which was actually good, but not good enough to recommend this dish. To the contrary, it should be avoided.

Next, the Plant-Based Vegetable “Wellington” – Mushroom Duxelles and Fire-roasted Artichokes wrapped in Puff Pastry, Romesco, Brussels Sprouts.

A great dish by plant-based standards, with the vegetables bringing to life the puff pastry in one tasty dish. This has a natural flavor that is robust and creamy. It’s also not particularly light–the artichoke, mushroom, and pastry give it some substance (despite no fake meat). A fantastic option for vegetarians that’s head and shoulders above the microwaved mystery fish, but I wouldn’t voluntarily chose it over the meats below.

Our final non-steak item is the 14-oz Dry-aged Pork Bone-In Rib Chop.

While it might be anticlimactic, this is the best thing on the dinner menu at Steakhouse 71–and a good bang for buck entree. This pork rib chop is sizable, tender, has a nice exterior char, and is exceptionally flavorful. I’m not one to normally favor pork over beef–and there are still several sensational steaks I’d happily order again–but this is my go-to dinner entree at Steakhouse 71. It’s Signature quality and steakhouse-sized. Highly recommended.

Let’s start our reviews of the steakhouse options with the 12-oz Roasted Prime Rib & Classic Yorkshire Pudding, because that’s what Walt would’ve wanted.

Okay, in actuality, the only food that I know he enjoyed is canned chili, but the Tam O’Shanter was Walt Disney’s Favorite Restaurant so he presumably enjoyed prime rib. The prime rib at Steakhouse 71 isn’t quite as good as it is at the Tam, but it’s close. Steakhouse 71’s prime rib is moist, juicy, and flavorful. It also isn’t overly fatty, tastes great on its own, and is surprisingly tender.

Next, we have the 10-oz New York Strip.

This steak had a good balance of lean meat and fat while also being reasonably tender for the cut. I’m a sucker for a good NY strip steak; I assume many Walt Disney World guests are as well, because NY strip steaks are practically ubiquitous on mid-tier restaurant menus. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t enthusiastically recommend this–nor would I order it again. Viewed in a vacuum, it was pretty good.

Here’s the 6-oz Filet Mignon.

Filet mignon is also really common on menus, but usually Signature Restaurants or higher-end steakhouses. As compared to its counterparts, the filet mignon at Steakhouse 71 is about $20 less expensive. It’s still very good–tender and robustly flavored–but not quite a Signature quality cut. Still, a great option for the price that we’d both order again.

Finally, the 8-oz Beef Tenderloin Medallions.

Very similar story here, as these beef tenderloin medallions are a great cut that’s tender, savory, and full of flavor. Probably a matter of personal preference, but I’d opt for these over the New York Strip Steak or the Filet Mignon. Hits something of a sweet spot between the two in terms of cut, tenderness, and size. (Also, only a few dollars more.)

It seems like Steakhouse 71 is trying to make its sauce menu “a thing.” Each steak comes with your choice of one sauce, or you can order this flight for $6.

While most of the options were good, this sauce flight didn’t do anything for us; but also, we didn’t find it necessary to use sauce as a “crutch” for the meat (thankfully). The one standout here is the whipped horseradish cream, which is appropriate because it’s the only one that serves a potential purpose with the prime rib. Even there, it’s not strictly necessary.

When it comes to sides, you really can’t go wrong with a number of these, including the garlic mashed potatoes and red-wine glazed mushrooms. Not a huge surprise, as Walt Disney World does both accompaniments well.

However, we were underwhelmed by the mac & cheese, which was a bit on the dry side. Conversely, the au gratin potatoes wowed, far surpassing our expectations. I’m always tempted to order Disney mashed potatoes, but the au gratin potatoes would be my #1 pick. They’re dense and cheesy, with the creamy garlic sauce on top being addictively good.

For desserts, let’s start with the best of the bunch. That’s right, the Ambrosia featuring a Coconut Chiffon Cake, Mandarin Curd, and Compressed Pineapple.

When I first heard that this very-70s dessert would be on the menu at Steakhouse 71, I was skeptical. However, it defied expectations while still offering familiar flavors fitting of a fruit salad. You could call it a reconstructed ambrosia (that doesn’t make complete sense, but whatever) as it evokes that dish, but with texture, presentation, and everything else that are so much more appetizing. Highly recommended.

The dessert that’s garnered the most Walt Disney World fan attention is the Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake: Layers of Whiskey infused Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse, Raspberries.

We didn’t think this was anything special. It’s competent enough as a thick and heavy chocolate cake, but that’s about it. The richness of the chocolate overpowers everything else, making for a one-note dessert. (Also, unless you somehow managed to have a light meal here, it’s a lot after heavy appetizers and entrees.)

Next, the Crème Brûlée: Vanilla and Chocolate-layered Crème Brûlée, Fresh Berries, Chantilly Cream.

Much like NY strip steak, Walt Disney World restaurants tend to do a good job with crème brûlée. Accordingly, this is a strong dessert but not exactly a novel one. Not something I’d go out of my way to order again, but perhaps I’d feel differently if I didn’t regularly get my crème brûlée fix at WDW.

Finally, the plant-based Apple Tart Tatin: Caramelized Granny Smith Apples, Puff Pastry, Blackberry Gelato.

This is a symphony of flavors and textures, with the caramelized apples having a semi-sweet, tart flavor and the blackberry gelato offering a similar mix (albeit very different flavor profile). The pastry was flaky and fantastic, melding perfectly with the apple slices. It didn’t knock our socks off, but it was still good enough to recommend if you’re going to be ordering dessert at Steakhouse 71.

Ultimately, we are huge fans of dinner at Steakhouse 71. While it’s not a Signature Steakhouse, it’s also not priced as one. Having 6 different quality cuts of meat all in the $30 price range is impressive and uncommon for a Walt Disney World restaurant, especially with the quality that a few of those offer. In particular, the 14-oz Dry-aged Pork Bone-In Rib Chop, 8-oz Beef Tenderloin Medallions, and 12-oz Roasted Prime Rib are excellent entrees that we love.

When it comes to lunch, Steakhouse 71 might be the closest thing Walt Disney World has to a high-quality “greasy spoon.” For dinner, Steakhouse 71 is the closest thing Walt Disney World has to a “budget” steakhouse. Both meals are heavy on the indulgences and guilty pleasures, sure to please guests wanting straightforward but delicious cuisine at reasonable (by Disney standards) prices. Not everything on the menu is a winner, but there are more than enough hits to elevate Steakhouse 71 to one of the best restaurants in or around Magic Kingdom. We highly recommend checking it out on your next Walt Disney World vacation!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you done dinner at Steakhouse 71? Have a favorite cut of meat served at dinner, or do you prefer ordering a non-steak option? Thoughts on the menu, new retro-inspired decor, how it compares to the Wave, or anything else addressed in this review? Will you be attempting to book this Advance Dining Reservation? Do you agree or disagree with our review? 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!

13 Responses to “Steakhouse 71 Dinner Review: Disney World’s Best Budget Steaks”
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