Currently, alternative and ‘healthy-living’ diets are an incredibly hot topic in the blogosphere. Same goes for the Walt Disney World fan community, where discussions of how Walt Disney World restaurants can accommodate all sorts of health preferences, food allergies, and special dietary restrictions are prevalent. It’s truly great that people are concerned with their diets and that Walt Disney World does everything it can to provide a great experience to everyone. However, there seems to be a lot less buzz about delicious meats at Walt Disney World. The fact is, Walt Disney World can also “accommodate” those of us who love a good steak.
Whenever we’re dining at Walt Disney World, my eyes instantly lock-in on whatever steak is on the menu, and often times, that’s what I order. It’s almost like a sixth sense (or perhaps my super power involves some sort of “steak sensing ability”). Of course, we haven’t had every steak on Walt Disney World property (now that would be a good entry for the Bucket List!), but we have had our fair share. Based on those meals, here’s our list of the top steaks at Walt Disney World.
#5 – Hollywood Brown Derby Charred-glazed Filet of Beef – This one makes the list at Sarah’s insistence. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a top notch steak, but my favorite entree at the Brown Derby is actually the Duck Two Ways. Unpatriotic, I know, but it’s just so good. As for this steak, not only is it tender and succulent, but it also is served on a bed of White Truffle Forest Mushroom Whipped Potatoes that are absolutely to die for, and are easily the best potatoes at Walt Disney World.
#4 – Kona Cafe Teriyaki-Style New York Strip Steak – I’ll bet not many of you saw this coming. I mean Kona Cafe…a Polynesian restaurant?! Not exactly what you think of when you think of great steaks. However, not only is the Kona Cafe strip steak a perfect cut cooked to perfection, but with its inventive pineapple teriyaki glaze, it’s a steak that tastes a bit different than what you’ll find elsewhere on property. Throw in a side of Yukon Mashed Potatoes (although the current menu looks like rice is the side–yuck!) and you have one of the best meals at Walt Disney World for steak lovers.
#3 – Monsieur Paul Grilled Beef Tenderloin – When Bistro de Paris became Monsieur Paul, one of my biggest concerns was that this mushroom crusted tenderloin would disappear. Fortunately, it did not, and it looks as good as ever. The tenderloin itself is everything you’d expect from a great tenderloin, and the Bordelaise sauce was a nice compliment, and there was no overpowering seasoning or over-salting, which is an issue with some Disney steaks. The real star of the show here is the mushroom crust, which ties the whole entree together and makes it a standout. Overall, the tenderloin has a great flavor with a certain richness that gave each bite a wonderfully complex mix of flavor. The only disappointment here is the mashed potatoes, which are basically a throw-away side.
#2 – Jiko Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Mac & Cheese – Confession: I’m not a big filet mignon guy. Don’t get me wrong, any steak that’s put in front of me is going to quickly disappear, but filet mignon is just not my preference. Because of that, it takes a pretty special filet mignon to rank highly for me. Well, the Jiko Filet is that special steak. A big part of the appeal is the interesting South African Red Wine reduction, which gives it a distinct flavor. The bed of mac & cheese doesn’t hurt either, and melds the entree together with an oddly perfect mix of flavors. You’ll have to go off-menu to order the filet with the mac & cheese, but this is such a popular order (it used to be on the menu and was a fan favorite for years) that it will typically be no issue. Not your most adventurous meal at Jiko, but an amazing steak that cannot be missed.
#1 – Yachtsman Steakhouse Porterhouse – Since I prefer something larger and with a bit more marbling, this Porterhouse is right in my wheelhouse. While strip steaks are great, my all-time favorite cut of is a porterhouse. From the moment you walk in the door and see the in-restaurant butcher, you know that Yachtsman Steakhouse is going to be a paradise for carnivores. Yachtsman Steakhouse truly delivers with its Porterhouse, a no-nonsense cut the size your head. It’s so juicy and delicious that it would make Ron Swanson shed a single tear. Yachtsman Steakhouse really ought to offer a “clean plate” sticker for any guest who finishes this–as those folks are true heroes.
So, what didn’t make the list? The most notable “omission” is probably a steak from Le Cellier Steakhouse, such as the eponymous Le Cellier Filet. However, these steaks didn’t make the list for good reason: they’re not better than what’s on there. We’ve been to Le Cellier many times (but won’t be back again anytime in the near future), and I would describe it as a fading star. Its over-salted steaks aren’t bad, it’s just that they are overpriced and none of them are top 5 material.
Another conspicuous absence from the list is the Oak-Fired Filet of Beef at California Grill. This is (was?) one of my favorite steaks at Walt Disney World before California Grill closed for its extensive refurbishment earlier in 2013. Disney has confirmed that several favorites are returning on the new menu, and our fingers are crossed that this is one of those favorites. If it does return, pencil it in as #3 on this list!
Unsurprisingly, no counter service steaks made the cut either. The words “counter service” and “great steak” are not normally found in the same sentence, although there are a couple of counter service steak options that are shockingly good–for what they are. The best of these is the 6 oz New York Strip Steak at Liberty Inn (American Adventure, Epcot). Once one of the worst restaurants in all of Walt Disney World (and still a huge disappointment when presented to “the world” as what American cuisine can offer), this steak is one of the menu items that has started a turn-around for the restaurant. Just go in with appropriate expectations. It is a $10 steak, after all.
Also absent from the list are the steaks served at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin restaurants. Namely, Shula’s Steak House. We’ve heard that these are some of the best steaks at Walt Disney World, but we have yet to dine there. As mentioned, this is a list based on what we have tried, and we haven’t consumed every cut of beef at Walt Disney World. Yet.
In the end, Walt Disney World is a very carnivore-friendly place, so you don’t need to feel left out if you’re not a vegan, gluten-hater, etc. In fact, some sort of steak is served at just about every table service restaurant in Walt Disney World, so you can have a good time sampling steaks at Walt Disney World. As we point out in our Disney Dining Plan “Value Maximization” article, steaks are typically the most expensive menu items, so you might want to consider the Disney Dining Plan (or a second mortgage) if you plan on undertaking the noble goal of “Steaking Around the World” at Walt Disney World. Just remember, not all steaks were cooked equally, so make sure to try some of these top picks on your tour!
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Which steak is your favorite at Walt Disney World? Do you agree with our picks? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!