Yachtsman Steakhouse Review: Disney World’s Most Magnificent Meats?
For the last decade, Yachtsman Steakhouse has been a staple of our Top 10 Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World. We’ve praised it as a carnivore’s paradise for glorious cuts of meat and the most approachable Signature Dining for guests who want something straightforward, delicious, and unfussy.
Yachtsman Steakhouse once ranked inside the top 5 on that list, and although it never hit #1, it has been a personal and sentimental favorite for years. With that said, nothing has quite lived up to our first couple of meals at Yachtsman Steakhouse during the heydey of the Disney Dining Plan, when the Porterhouse was served for one and was the size of my head.
It’s been a few years since we last revisited Yachtsman Steakhouse, and some of the recent reader reviews have not exactly instilled confidence. Nevertheless, we had ADRs here in late March until the closure nixed those plans. Since then, I’ve been “patiently” waiting for the last 527 days to devour a gigantic steak from Yachtsman–not that I’ve been counting or anything!
In terms of basic background info, Yachtsman Steakhouse is located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and is easily accessible from there, Beach Club, BoardWalk, Swan & Dolphin, any Skyliner Resort, or even Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No bus transportation is needed from any of those locations.
Once the Disney Dining Plan returns, Yachtsman Steakhouse is a 2-credit table service restaurant. As with all Signature Restaurants, it’s a poor use of DDP credits unless you’re on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan. For now, DVC members or Annual Passholders receive a 10% discount.
Thematically, Yachtsman Steakhouse has a distinct New England nautical style. The dining room is light and airy, but punctuated with rich woods, knotty-pine beams, warm lighting, and nautical touches.
The restaurant is by no means loud, but it’s definitely unpretentious. You’ll see a range of patrons here, from families to well-dressed convention guests to older locals who have been dining at Yachtsman for years.
The last Signature Restaurant we did at Walt Disney World prior to Yachtsman Steakhouse was Citricos, and the two strike clearly different tones. Yachtsman is more like a supper or country club, whereas Citricos is akin to a haute cuisine establishment.
I’d hesitate to take kids to Citricos, whereas I’d have no such issue with Yachtsman. (That’s just me, though–it’s Walt Disney World, so children are to be expected pretty much anywhere.)
Both are fine dining, but they have very different “goals” and approaches. The difference is that you go to somewhere like Citricos to sample inventive cuisine and creative flavors, and may drop over $100 while not leaving full.
By contrast, Yachtsman Steakhouse isn’t pushing the envelope and is likewise expensive, but you might need to be wheeled out of there. Each have their place, and appeal to different guests–or even moods of the same guests.
One of the things we truly appreciate about Yachtsman Steakhouse is that it’s still allowed to be itself, free of any totally unnecessary “modernization.”
Some might see the photos here, particularly the carpet and woods, and think this looks dated. We fiercely disagree–this is completely on theme, and has a delightfully personable and warm atmosphere.
Before sunset, light pours in through the restaurant’s many windows, making it bright and fitting of Yachtsman Steakhouse’s more jovial atmosphere.
At night, the dining room is darker and moodier with the warm and low lighting providing a romantic environment. Or at least as romantic as aggressively eating a huge hunk of meat and garlic-laden sides can be. On second thought, perhaps “subdued setting” is the more apt term.
As always, dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse began with bread service.
The iconic onion pull-apart roll was predictably fantastic. It’s substantial but flaky, and you can peel off its layers, like an onion! It pairs perfectly with either the pink Himalayan salt butter or the roasted garlic…or both.
If you’re looking for something a bit healthier (?), there’s the multigrain cherry roll. This is dense and semi-sweet, but ultimately doesn’t hold a candle to the onion rolls.
No one is going to Yachtsman Steakhouse for multigrain rolls–it’s just not that type of establishment.
We were joined by friends for the meal, and they ordered the Lobster Bisque: Lobster Biscuits, Crème Fraîche and Espelette Oil.
Both of them enjoyed this twist on the New England staple, which appeared to have a hearty amount of lobster biscuits.
For one of their entrees, they ordered the 8-oz Filet Mignon served with Cognac-Truffle Butter and Truffle Fries.
While I believe that a good cut of meat should be able to speak for itself and not need to be bathed in butter for flavor, it’s hard to argue with Yachtsman’s use of that addictively delicious Cognac-Truffle Butter.
For the other entree, they opted for the 16-oz Prime Rib-Eye Steak served with Blue Cheese-Shallot Butter and Truffle Fries.
After stuffing myself on steak, I didn’t do a good job of requesting extensive tasting notes, but both of our friends enjoyed their steaks. No rave reviews or overly-enthusiastic accolades, but general satisfaction seemed to be the meal’s mood.
For our entree, Sarah and I ordered the Chef’s Signature Offering: 28-oz Porterhouse for Two served with Cognac-Truffle Butter and Choice of two Steakhouse Sides.
This is a behemoth, but also is priced at $139. If I recall correctly, it’s a 2-credit upgrade on the Disney Dining Plan, meaning that doing Yachtsman Steakhouse and ordering this Porterhouse will set you back 4 credits.
I hate to be one of those curmudgeonly old men who shouts, “back in my day, Coca Cola cost a nickel at the corner soda stand!” when seeing fountain drinks for $5 at a restaurant. However, it wasn’t too long ago when this Porterhouse was for one and only 2 credits or under $60 out of pocket. (In fact, when we dined here in 2012, the 24-ounce Porterhouse cost $46.)
Of course, times and prices change–that much is to be expected–but the cost has more than tripled in less than a decade. On the plus side, it’s 4 ounces larger and comes with one additional side now. Still, it’s a steep price even when compared to other options here–or the superlative Chuletón Bone-In Rib-Eye at Toledo Steakhouse.
The Chef’s Signature 28-oz Porterhouse for Two at Yachtsman Steakhouse was very good, but fell a little short of greatness.
It delivered in terms of tenderness, marbling, a robustly meaty flavor, and impressive presentation. If I weren’t paying for this and didn’t know how much it cost, I’d have no complaints. A satisfactory steak through and through, just not one that blew us away.
Perhaps we’re being unrealistic, but at this price point, we simply expected more. To each their own, but I’d say it’s about $40 overpriced at $139.
We’ve done a number of porterhouse or ribeye steaks (both for one and for two) over the years. This was above average, but still middle of the pack. I’d put it behind the aforementioned counterpart at Toledo (which is now served as a 4-course dinner for two, priced at $129) and also other options at third party hotels in both the Crescent Lake and Bonnet Creek areas at Walt Disney World.
Now let’s turn to the sides. For our first option, we chose the Truffle Macaroni & Cheese. An unsurprising pick given that we’re suckers for this dish.
I’ve previously remarked that there’s “no such thing” as bad truffle mac & cheese, only varying degrees of good or great. Assuming that’s true, this was the “least good” truffle mac & cheese we’ve had in years. It was surprisingly dry and lacking in flavor. None of the richness or cheesiness we’d expect.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Roasted Seasonal Mushrooms were absolutely phenomenal.
Consisting of four varieties of mushrooms, these had a deeply rich flavor and were prepared in a way that let the mushrooms stand on their own while enhancing them. These mushrooms were an unexpected standout from our meal.
We finished with Yacthsman’s Chocolate Cake: Dark Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Decadence Cake, Mixed Berry Curd, Peanut Butter Crunch and Mousse.
Like our Porterhouse, this signature dessert also serves two and has an impressive presentation.
We had very different opinions about this. For me, this wholly embodied Yachtsman Steakhouse–a pretty but straightforward and indulgent dessert. Big and totally unpretentious, with bold but crowd-pleasing flavors.
Sarah though it was all “too much,” with over-the-top decadence, plus flavors and textures that didn’t come together particularly well. I can’t totally disagree with her–this certainly isn’t among my top 10 desserts at Walt Disney World–but the presentation coupled with the chocolate, peanut butter, and berry flavors worked well enough for me.
Ultimately, Yachtsman Steakhouse has a sense of comfort and familiarity that you won’t find at many Walt Disney World restaurants anymore. Many of the Cast Members have been there for years and offer professional but personable service. The atmosphere and style are warm and welcoming. The menu is full of magnificent meats and other steakhouse favorites. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why or how, but it’s the kind of place that would make Ron Swanson shed a single tear–and that’s something special.
However, Yachtsman Steakhouse no longer feels like the unparalleled Walt Disney World spot for steaks that it once was. Many other Signature Restaurants serve up similarly great cuts of meat, but with their own ambitious twists or more competitive pricing. Two recent additions–Toledo and Topolino’s Terrace–come to mind here, but so too do a wide range of restaurants at Disney Springs and in flagship restaurants at third party hotels that are on-site. To be sure, Yachtsman Steakhouse is still a restaurant we’ll revisit down the road, but between an improved “steak scene” elsewhere at Walt Disney World and higher prices at Yachtsman, it’s no longer the clear-cut chophouse champion.
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Have you dined at Yachtsman Steakhouse recently? What did you order? Did you find the pricing commensurate with the quality? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Would you consider it one of the best (or the best) steakhouses at Walt Disney World? If you haven’t dined here, does this sound appealing to you or not? 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!
Just found this new review via Google search, so please ignore my comment asking for a new review posted to your old review, which the site took me to yesterday. Love your Blog and perspectives!
Nothing touches the Yachtsman in my book. I’m blessed to have eaten in several steak houses across the country and this beats them all. I’ve also dined at the other signatures at WDW and the Yachtsman beats them all in my book, for a great steak dinner. When I eat at the Yachtsman, it’s an evening long experience shared with people I love, and we know how to live! Can’t wait to go back next month!