We’ve been waiting to review Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, the new rooftop restaurant in Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort for a few months now. In this Walt Disney World dining review, we’ll “finally” do that, but with a twist–analyzing all of the steaks on the menu. (If you were worried that we’d “gone to the dark side” after our Vegan & Vegetarian Walt Disney World Dining Guide, this post should provide a definitive answer.)
Naturally, we’ll have food photos (but only the steaks), thoughts on the cuisine (but mostly the steaks), and a look at the themed design and atmosphere (not just the steaks) at Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. If you’re interested in the tapas or seafood part of the restaurant name, it’ll probably be another few months before we do justice to Toledo with a full review.
With that said, our experiences thus far at Toledo and Gran Destino in general have been resoundingly positive. It’s no secret that we aren’t the biggest fans of this big box being plopped in the middle of Coronado Springs, and we think the rooms themselves aren’t for everyone. However, the service, quality, and value for money throughout Gran Destino have been exemplary, and that extends to the non-steak items we’ve had thus far at Toledo, as well…
Let’s start with the ambiance of Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. I may not think Gran Destino hits the high notes thematically, but this restaurant design is pitch-perfect. It’s reminds me of a more elegant and Disney-appropriate version of STK, coupled with the elevation of California Grill (minus the view of Magic Kingdom).
The flooring, columns, chairs, and more have a variety of patterns to provide depth and texture. There’s a lot of this throughout Toledo, but not to the point that it’s visually busy or distracting. The level of detail is just right, and provides a nice contrast to the relatively plain wood tables.
Other highlights include the olive trees in the center of the restaurant, wine case along the wall, and the Gaudi-inspired ceiling overhead. As with the wall at Barcelona Lounge in the lobby, this is absolutely entrancing, with a beautiful design that mesmerizes as the colors change.
Floor to ceiling windows with views of Disney’s Hollywood Studios also impress, but not to the degree you might expect. You can see Tower of Terror, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and some other areas, but we prefer the booths along the wine-wall under the beautiful ceiling. (You can see the fireworks from window tables, but the pyro is so intermittent that this isn’t much of a selling point.)
As much as the two of us would’ve loved to have eaten this trio of all-star steaks by ourselves (well, one of us would’ve loved that), hibernating for a day or two afterwards, we were joined by our friends Ben and Ryan for this difficult task…
We’ll start with the Manhattan Filet with olive oil-potato purée, grilled onions, dates, and sherry vinaigrette.
From the best I can tell, the Manhattan Filet is essentially a new-ish twist on the New York strip steak, cut differently so that it’s leaner and thicker, but otherwise having the same qualities. That seems about apt here, which also puts this ahead of the normal Walt Disney World New York strip steak (a menu fixture for ages) in terms of taste and quality–at a lower price point.
Next, the Hanger Steak with crushed new potatoes, salsa verde, greens, charred peppers, and yellow pepper.
We all agreed that this presented the best bang for buck of the options. The lowest price point of the steaks, but with a sizable portion and tender, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.
Sarah and I opted for the ‘Chuletón’ 28 oz. Bone-In Rib-Eye for two with beef candle, tomato, onions, oregano, and choice of two house sides.
I’ve wanted to do one of these gigantic steaks for two at Walt Disney World for a while (a number of restaurants offer such an option, including Le Cellier and Yachtsman Steakhouse), but the price has never seemed right. At under $100 with two sides (each of which would’ve cost $8 on their own), Toledo’s option felt more reasonable.
I’m a big fan of ribeye steaks. Of normal cuts, it’s right up there with the porterhouse for me. Although in most situations, I’d probably give a slight edge to the porterhouse.
This will go down as one of my favorite steaks I’ve ever had–and not just at Walt Disney World. The Chuletón delivered perfectly in terms of tenderness, ideal marbling, a deeply meaty flavor, and impressive presentation. It perfectly melded meatiness with fattiness, great texture, and a bit of char.
Sarah was probably the worst (or best, depending upon the perspective) person to share this with, as ribeye is too fatty of a cut for her. She did really like the meatier bites she had and agreed with (almost) all of the above, but in general there was too much fat on much of this Chuletón for her.
The upshot to that was I got to enjoy about 20 ounces of the steak as she only had a smaller portion before moving on to the sides. They say marriage is all about compromise, and if that means I “have to” eat more of a shared steak and less of the communal cauliflower…well, I guess that’s only fair.
The beef candle is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Chuletón. So naturally, I forgot to get a picture of just the candle (you can see it in several of the above photos–it looks just like a normal candle).
The idea here is that beef fat is cooked down, strained, and molded into candle. By lighting the wick, you then melt it again and use the ingredients for dipping or pouring. The flavor is exactly what you’d expect–meaty and salty, with a rich indulgence to it.
I preferred dipping other things, like bread (dipped in meat fat is literally the first time I’ve ever uttered the words “delicious cauliflower!”) into the fat candle. For me, it didn’t do much of anything for the Chuletón, which was already fantastic.
We’ve touched upon this with the individual steaks, but value for money at Toledo is very solid. That tends to be less surprising at restaurants in hotels and otherwise outside the Walt Disney World theme parks, but Signature Restaurants often buck that trend. While Toledo isn’t technically a Signature, it’s deserving of that distinction.
In terms of the Disney Dining Plan, Toledo is only a 1-credit table service restaurant, and it’s not an objectively good value as compared to alternatives because of more reasonable price points. That type of analysis sort of misses the point, though. If you’re using 1-credit instead of 2 for cuisine and atmosphere of comparable quality, aren’t you coming out ahead in the end?
Overall, our experiences thus far with Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, and Gran Destino in general, have been superlative. I think I’ve written this elsewhere, but my theory is that Walt Disney World management recognizes convention-goers, its primary demographic at Gran Destino, have more exacting standards. Disney wants to exceed the expectations of this lucrative clientele, rather than disappointing them and running the risk that these groups will take their annual business to Las Vegas or wherever.
That theory could be entirely wrong, the whatever the explanation, Toledo feels a lot more like something you’d find in Disney Springs or even a major metro area than it does at a regular Walt Disney World resort or in the parks. It’s arguably better than most of the Signature Restaurants right now–definitely in the top 10 overall and potentially in the top 5. We intend upon revisiting Toledo in a few months to see if the “new restaurant smell” wears off and quality drops, at which point we’ll publish a full review. For now, we’re highly recommending Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood–and not just for the steaks covered in this review.
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Have you dined at Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood? Which menu items did you like or dislike? What did you think of the atmosphere/ambiance at Toledo? What about the views of Disney’s Hollywood Studios? How do you feel Toledo compares with Signature Restaurants or steakhouses around Walt Disney World? 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!