*This is a guest post from writer Emily Clay. Make sure to check out her bio at the bottom of the article and leave her a comment.
My trips to Disney World are just as much about eating as they are about rides, attractions, and relaxation. I book my reservations as soon as I’m able to, at 180 days out, and I spend the following 6 months changing and rearranging them.
Among my must-do restaurants is Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Narcoossee’s is detached from the main building and next to the back dock. The walk between the entrance of the Grand Floridian and the restaurant is a pleasant, short one, and gives you a peak of the pool and the grounds. Narcoossee’s is set on Bay Lake, giving spectacular views of the Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower, and bits of the Magic Kingdom. Most importantly, at night, diners can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks, Electrical Water Pageant, and step out onto the verandah near the entrance for a view of the Epcot fireworks. Music is piped in for the different Wishes fireworks shows. Viewing the Electrical Water Pageant from the verandah means you will hear the music it is set to playing through the Grand Floridian property. There is no way to hear the narration or music for the Epcot fireworks, but it is a nice way to get in two nightly fireworks shows while sipping on a glass of wine and enjoying the Florida weather.
Inside, Narcoossee’s is on the smaller side. During peak periods, tables are usually booked up well in advance. Guests without reservations can sit at the bar for full service meals. I have done this several times and it’s always fun thanks to two bartenders in particular, Scott and Charlie. They are very engaging without disrupting your meal, and their service is top-notch. Charlie is the restaurant’s sommelier too, so if you’re looking for a wine choice, he has you covered. Scott has an excellent memory, welcoming me back on this trip after not seeing me for a few months.
On my most recent trip to Disney World, I dined at Narcoosee’s twice, once at the beginning of my trip and then again on my last night. Once I find something I like to eat, I tend to order it each time I return to a restaurant.
At Narcoossee’s, this means I always order the surf and turf. Choices for this combination include either filet mignon or New York strip steak, and either butter-poached or steamed Maine lobster tail. I have tried both steaks and typically go for the butter-poached lobster, as I like my lobster meat to be more tender (and, really, who can say no to butter?). My dessert is always the signature almond-crusted cheesecake. As for appetizers, I started with the Maine lobster bisque for one meal and chose the beet salad for my second.
My expectations for the lobster bisque were high, being that Narcoossee’s is known for their seafood and I can’t dine here without ordering some kind of lobster as part of my entrée. I was hesitant about ordering this because I was would be having lobster tail soon after, but it was delicious. The bisque was creamy and had generous bites of lobster. I like my bisques on the thicker side and this was the perfect consistency. The lobster flavor was not overwhelming. It was my first time ordering this starter and I was very pleased with it. If not for my love of beet salads, this would be my go-to appetizer here.
As I just mentioned, no matter where I am, if beet salad is on the menu, I will order it. I absolutely love beets and the beet salad at Narcoossee’s is quite good.
The online menu states that the greens and other ingredients include arugula, goat’s milk feta cheese, petite greens, candied walnuts, and maple-mustard vinaigrette. This is a large salad, and I do mean the salad part. The three beets pictured are the entirety of the beet part. I would have preferred more beets, less greens, and a better cheese and walnut to greens ratio. Still, the flavors were spot-on and I could have happily eaten a few more of these and called it my meal. Everything is very fresh and the reason I would have liked more walnuts and cheese is because they were so flavorful. The combination of beets, nuts, and cheese is undeniably tasty. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys beet salad, but be prepared to divide up your beets and to create bites of food with your preferred ratio of each component. I tend to have greens leftover, but if you like green salads as much as you like beet salads, this will not be a problem for you.
The photo shows my New York strip and butter-poached lobster tail halves, which my server kindly pulled out of the shell for me. I learned this trip that Narcoossee’s prepares your lobster tails in way that allows you to pull the meat out of the shell with ease. It turns out I had been making my life much more difficult by trying to cut the meat out of the shell with my fork and knife. Now I know, and I’ll happily apply this knowledge to future dinners.
The lobster is tender, slightly sweet, and melts in your mouth, especially when dipped into the butter served with it. I try to switch between bites of steak and lobster to keep the taste alive as long as possible, but it always runs out too fast. I ordered the New York strip cooked medium-well and it comes with red wine-oxtail on top. The meat could easily stand alone and still be very tasty. The reduction adds some complexity, but isn’t necessary. It is cooked perfectly and the portion is big.
The broccoli is fresh and simple and breaks up the forkfuls of meat nicely. The Boniato-Idaho mashed potatoes might be my favorite mashed potatoes of all time. I like sweets and these potatoes are naturally sweetened. They complement the steak and lobster nicely. When I finish with my lobster, I pour the remaining butter onto the potatoes and make them even more decadent than before. Wasting any part of what’s on this plate should be considered a crime.
I would rank this cheesecake in my top 5 desserts at Disney World. Let’s start with the whipped cream. I am not normally a whipped cream fan, which is strange considering my love of all things cream, but this whipped cream got completely eaten. I didn’t put it on my cheesecake; I ate it straight from my fork. It was light, fluffy, and just sweet enough. The almond flavor comes from, obviously, the toasted almonds on top of the cheesecake but mostly from the layer of what I want to call some kind of sauce in between the crust and the soft cheesecake inside. The flavor is certainly concentrated there, so be sure to take even forkfuls of each layer.
I never want my portion of cheesecake to end and I eat this slowly, letting each bite sit in my mouth for a few seconds before chewing. I could eat this every day for dessert and not get tired of it. I order a French-press pot of Joffrey’s coffee to go along with my sweet treat, and it is a good cup of coffee. Coffee has been hit or miss in the history of Disney parks and the introduction of Joffrey’s was one of the best choices made. The pairing of coffee and almond is hard to beat.
Overall, Narcoossee’s is one of my favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World and I will continue to dine there for the ambiance, fantastic fireworks viewing, and the wonderful food.
Have you ever dined at Narcoossee’s? Let me know about your experience in the comments.
Emily escapes the craziness of New York with her trips to Disney World. She always keeps some part of the magic with her by carrying a Disney bag or wearing a stack of Disney Alex and Ani bracelets. She travels to Disney World for at least two weeks every year and hopes to make it over to Disneyland and the international locations sometime soon. She is currently facing the challenge of finding a new favorite Disney snack, which were the sweet cream cheese-filled pretzel at Lunching Pad and the chocolate-covered pretzel rods from Goofy’s Candy Co.