I was so excited to dine at the California Grill last week while we were in Disney World, I had heard so many good things, and couldn’t wait to see what the restaurant had in store!
It’s located on the 14th floor of the Contemporary Resort, which means it offers great views of the Magic Kingdom, and it’s nightly fireworks show. There are a few observation decks that you can go out on and take in the views and the fireworks, which is a huge perk in my opinion!
The restaurant itself is nice, it’s bigger than I was expecting, but upscale in it’s decor, and I loved the open kitchen and getting to watch the food being prepared. However….it does have its drawbacks, one being size (it is so big that it feels less intimate), and another being the noise level – it was super loud in there! Another negative, I am sad to have to say, was the number of children at the restaurant. I wasn’t expecting NO children (after all it IS Disney World, and they are everywhere!), but there were a TON of families with children dining at this restaurant, which only increased the noise and chaos levels
As for the food, I honestly was slightly disappointed by the selection. Since we were on the Disney Dining Plan, we were each allotted a drink (non alcoholic, I chose a Shirley Temple!), an entree, and a dessert. California Grill is a Signature Restaurant, meaning that it takes 2 Table Service credits for 1 meal (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it basically boils down to it costing more, it’s one of the ‘fancier’ restaurants at Disney World, so the cost is much higher than that of other sit down restaurants). The entree selections were sparse, only like 8 choices, and 2 were fish and 1 was pork so those were out for me (nota big fish or pork fan), so I ended up ordering the Oak Fired Filet Mignon, which came served on potatoes and Asparagus (which I don’t care much for so I had green beans instead). I didn’t much care for the filet, it tasted slightly burned on the outside, but the inside was cooked a perfect medium as requested. Overall the taste just didn’t stack up for me (which stinks because I DO love a good steak!)
My father also had the Filet, which he enjoyed, and my mother had the Halibut, while my husband opted for the Pork Tenderloin (which came with some AMAZING goat cheese/garlic polenta, it was awesome!). Everyone seemed to enjoy their food, but no one was going nuts over how amazing it was, which is how I wanted to feel about it
The dessert is another story though – it was AMAZING – I had one of those molten chocolate cakes, and it was so rich and delicious….I know that will happily dance in my dreams for many months to come! My husband had a chocolate croissant bread pudding, and my parents opted for a creme brulee. Dessert was definitely the bright spot to the meal!
There was a large wine and drinks menu, which my parents thoroughly enjoyed, so if you’re a wine lover, this might be a perfect spot for you, as they also have a bar/lounge area where you can enjoy some drinks
Overall, California Grill did NOT live up to the hype, and I probably won’t go back. Maybe I expected too much, but the food seemed overpriced, and the restaurant which I perceived to be “exclusive” felt the exact opposite – crowded, loud, and too big.
That being said, people love it here, so if you are unsure, you just might have to try it youself next time you’re in Walt Disney World!