*This dining experience took place in October 2014.
As a first time Disney Cruise Line vacationer, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the adult dining experiences available to guests on board the ship. These include Palo (which I also dined at) and Remy. Both adults only dining experiences are available for guests to book in advance (which we did) or while on the cruise (if still available). Each restaurant comes with an “upcharge” per person — Palo is $25 per person and Remy is an extravagant $75.
Because it was my first cruise, and I’m a foodie, I knew I wanted to dine at Remy. I had read amazing reviews of Remy from my friend Sarah at Eating WDW and Dawn from Mouse Chow. I also knew that Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando had dined there and said it was one of the best meals she’s ever had. Well, that sold me right there!
Remy is French inspired – taking it’s name from the Pixar film Ratatouille. It’s fine dining at its best with luxurious courses and decadent cuisine. Essentially, this is the Disney Cruise Line’s version of Victoria & Albert’s. Our meal took a full 3 hours, and this review will be pretty lengthy! If you’re the drinking sort, now’s the time to pour yourself a glass of wine for this review read!
We ended up dining at Remy on our embarkation day. With a reservation at 6 p.m., my mom and I packed our dress clothes in our carry on’s just in case our luggage arrived in our stateroom late. Remy’s dress code is fairly fancy (cocktail dresses and pantsuits), and in hindsight we would have been better off dining there on day two or three of our cruise so that we felt less rushed on day one.
After we gussied up, we made our way to Remy, located on deck 12 (and a bit of a challenge to find the first time!). The lobby area of Remy is shared with the other adult dining, along with the Meridian Lounge. While we waited for our table, we sat in the lounge (meeting up with our friends who were dining at Palo that evening), taking in all the views and ambiance.
The head server of Remy, David, came to seat us. We were both blown away by the elegant decor and refined look of the restaurant. The touches from Ratatouille were subtle and charming. We had an amazing view of the ocean from our table.
The restaurant knew of my special dietary needs ahead of time and were well prepared for me, noting right away that they knew I was gluten free and dairy free and not to worry as they had lots of options available for my meal. This was one of those touches that both Remy and Palo had and that I really appreciated about the adult dining experiences.
Our server Andre came to our table to prepare the cocktail “Collette” table-side. It’s Remy’s signature cocktail and is brought complimentary to your table as a welcome to the restaurant. Made with Taittinger Champagne and pear vodka, then garnished with fresh raspberry, dried apricot, and mint leaf, it looks and sounds sumptuous.
Andre said that they would make me a safe version (interestingly, the dried apricot contains gluten). Essentially, I had champagne with a few garnishes. It was delicious!
As we enjoyed our cocktail, Andre went over the menu at Remy. Remy’s menu was created by Chef Arnaud Lallement, a Michelin 3-star chef whose famed restaurant is located outside of Reims, France, and Chef Scott Hunnel from award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort. So when I say it’s decadent, I’m definitely not kidding.
The menu features a la carte options and two tasting menus created by both chefs – Saveur created by Chef Arnaud and Gout created by Chef Scott. You are able to mix and match, creating your own menu or choosing the prix fixe menus as is.
Andre suggested that they combine both of these menus for me, with most of my options coming from Saveur with a few chosen from Gout. All of Andre’s suggestions sounded great to me, except the duck. I’m not a huge duck fan, so I was skeptical. However, I told him I would give it a try, being adventurous. My mom also chose to mix and match tastings.
Before our first course, we were treated to an amuse-bouche (bite-size hors d’œuvre). Remy is famous for their tomato soup cube amuse-bouche. I figured as a gluten free and dairy free diner that this one would be off-limits for me. And when our server brought out two of them to our table, I assumed this was a mistake. However, I was beyond thrilled when they told me that the restaurant had a special version for me using gluten free breadcrumbs.
The server suggested we let it cool for 1-2 minutes, then place it in our mouth allowing it to melt without chewing (and FYI, don’t bite down on it; you will have tomato soup explosion in your mouth – most unpleasant!).
Dawn from Mouse Chow likened this to a Willy Wonka-esque experience and that is the perfect way to describe it. It literally exploded tomato soup in your mouth. Such a crazy and delicious experience. Starting the meal off with this certainly put our meal on a high note (bonus points to Remy for using gluten free breadcrumbs)
Next up was our bread course. My mom enjoyed a variety of delicious breads, while I was served an Ener-G roll. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t do anything to this, except heat it up, as Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando had an amazing version of the bread when she dined there. I will give the team bonus points for providing me with non-dairy butter. Adding coarse sea salt to the non-dairy butter made the Ener-G roll more palatable.
Before our traditional tasting courses began, we were also treated to Remy’s version of Ratatouille. My mom’s version came with olive oil gelato which looked amazing. Mine came with a cherry tomato and some additional garnishes. This dish was light and fresh and the seasonings were perfectly balanced.
My first dish was the tomato tarte. At first glance, it’s beautiful but doesn’t look like anything particularly special; however, it’s the accompaniment that really brings the dish to a magical (and another Willy Wonka-esque) experience.
Served with a glass of “essence,” this cold broth was the key to unlocking this dish’s unique flavors. I was instructed to take a sip of this cold broth first, then take a bit of the tomato dish presented to me. Repeating these steps would create a unique tasting and bring all of the components together.
Now, I have to say the broth was out of this world. The amount of rich flavor in this was beyond compare. Adding the bites of tomato and tomato puree created another dimension and a taste I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Andre said most people say it reminds them of deconstructed gazpacho, and I immediately recognized that familiar taste as soon as he mentioned this. This dish and the amuse-bouche were my most memorable dishes of the meal, creativity and taste.
Up next came the lobster with chermoula. My mother had this as her first course, and she raved about it, so I was glad this came as a second course for me. The lobster was light and sweet and the chermoula was spicy and robust. Combined together, it made for a really flavorful course.
Both my mother and I both had black cod as our next course. My mom is not a fish eater but she likes cod, so this seemed a good fit for her. I adore all fish, so I was happy to have a very seafood heavy tasting. Served with parsnips and a clam jus (mine made dairy free), this dish was excellent. It had a lot of earthy, umami flavors to it, particularly from the clam jus. The parsnips were divine. The cod itself was like butter, falling apart very easily.
Now, this is where our meal took a slight turn. My mom found something in her fish that was both unpleasant and unappetizing (not a bone). While I won’t go into too many specifics (suffice it to say, it was not particularly pleasant), the restaurant did take both of our plates away, bringing us a substitute course for the cod. It’s a shame because the cod was delicious, though on the upside I was given what turned out to be my favorite course of the night.
My substitute course was halibut served with a pea puree and a pea sauce. The halibut itself was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The pea puree and the pea sauce were the stars of this dish filled with intense pea flavor and containing a touch of brightness from lemon juice. The radish was a nice accompaniment, but for me, this dish was all about the peas. This dish was perfection.
My last meat course was the duck. Served with fennel, oranges and sweet potatoes; it was reminiscent of duck a l’Orange. I’m not a huge fennel fan, but this was very subtle. The orange sauce and orange segments were delicious and paired well with the duck. The duck itself was well cooked and didn’t taste as gamey as I often find duck. The sweet potatoes were bananas good, and I wished there would have been more on my plate.
While I would say this was probably my least favorite dish of the meal, it was still expertly prepared and quite delicious. I’m just not a duck person.
The next course was a cheese course. Sadly, I was not able to enjoy this one. I was surprised the restaurant didn’t bring me something else as a palate cleanser to enjoy while my mom ate her cheese course (which she said was amazing). It’s a bit of a bummer to be served an empty plate! Not that I was hungry, but it would have been nice to see that added touch.
For my dessert course, I was served a fresh fruit salad. It was beautifully garnished with edible gold leaf and flowers. However, I didn’t find this to be anything spectacular. The diced fruit was dressed with a bit of juice and black pepper. It was pleasant and a nice palate cleanser but I would have loved to have been given something decadent like my mom’s chocolate dessert.
The next evening we dined at Palo, and they made me a spectacular dessert that wasn’t as pretty as this one but blew it away with taste.
Next up was a candy course. My mom was served a huge platter of chocolates and other candies. Because of not being able to have dairy, I was brought 2 homemade marshmallows and 2 homemade lollypops. I was glad to see that I had these as options, though I would have loved to have been given a few more marshmallows to make up for the fact that I couldn’t eat the chocolates. The marshmallows were delicious, and I could have eaten about a dozen of them, easy.
During this course, I also ordered tea. They had several loose-leaf teas to choose from including the Monkey Picked Oolong which is what I chose. It was fresh and earthy and the perfect accompaniment to the sweet marshmallows. My mom chose coffee and said it was the best coffee she had on the ship.
As our 3 hour meal came to a close, we were presented with roses and a box of chocolates for my mom. This is another one of those touches that I’d love to see Remy extend to those who have special dietary needs. It would have been lovely to take a box of marshmallows back to my stateroom with me.
Overall, despite one hiccup in the meal, we found Remy to be an outstanding restaurant and an amazing experience. The food was beyond compare and the service was exemplary. I was impressed by how they handled my special diets and found the meal to be a once in a lifetime experience spent with my mom. I wouldn’t say that I would dine at Remy on every cruise (certainly not at $75 a person) but it’s a wonderful spot for a special occasion.
For adult dining at a more reasonable price, I highly recommend Palo, and will be reviewing it here on the site, as well.
I’m so glad I went to Remy and look forward to going back there again. I’d love to try the brunch sometime, as I’ve heard it’s amazing.
Have you been to Remy on the Disney Dream? What did you think of your experience there?