*This dining experience took place in April 2015.
Artist Point, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is a signature dining location with Pacific Northwest inspired food and decor. It’s been several years since I’ve been to this restaurant, and after reading Eating WDW’s recent review, I was hoping to go back soon. As luck would have it, my friend Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando had also been hoping to visit Artist Point, especially after reading about the new allergy-friendly dining menus being launched at signature dining locations at Disney in April. So, when she invited me for dinner, I of course said yes!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorite resorts. I adore the theming and the general look and feel of the resort. Each of the restaurants has a distinct theme to them, and Artist Point reflects the Craftsman style of the early 20th century. The decor is simple and understated, which I love given the sprawling window views of the lodge grounds.
After being seated, we were given the new allergy-friendly menu for Artist Point, which includes the top 8 common allergens: gluten/wheat, dairy/milk, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish. Our server noted that we could also order items not on the special diets menu and that the chef could work to create something delicious. Because of the new menu, the chef does not come typically out, unless we requested (which we did, to ask questions).
One interesting thing to note is that our server indicated that some dishes on the regular menu were indeed gluten free or allergy friendly but not listed on the new menu, which seemed a bit strange; however, my guess is the restaurant chose to feature the most allergy-friendly dishes on their new allergy-friendly menu, rather than just gluten free dishes.
I had been eyeing the Pho on the menu, which was not on the allergy-friendly menu. Pho is typically gluten free and dairy free, so I was curious as to why it wasn’t listed. Alexis and I also had some questions about the no sugar added cobbler.
When the chef came out, he mentioned that the Pho was gluten free & dairy free and that he could substitute rice for the rice noodles, if I wanted. I opted to get the pho with the rice noodles, since that is how it is traditionally served and how it was listed on the menu. I debated about getting the salmon but decided the pho sounded delicious (and after ordering the seafood hot pot the last time, I didn’t think I would be disappointed ordering it). Alexis ordered the salmon (which looked delicious) and you can read her full review on Gluten Free in Orlando.
First up, we were brought GNI brand rolls. I really like these rolls when they are properly heated, but on this visit (like the last time I went to Artist Point), they were not. In fact, one of my rolls was still cold in the middle. I was served extra virgin olive oil with my rolls, and I missed the version I had the last time that had turmeric in it.
When my entree arrived, I have to say that I was fairly impressed by the giant prawns in my dish. Like the last time I visited Artist Point, they were served with the heads on, which may be unappealing to some. Pro tip: ask for an extra bowl. Between the mussels and head-on shrimp, I needed all the extra room I could get.
The broth itself was very flavorful and a bit spicy. The broth was red curry based, and I loved that the dish contained fresh ginger and garlic. The seafood was cooked perfectly, and the shrimp were outrageously good. If only I could get those on a regular basis! My only complaint for this dish was the bowl in which it was held. It was a bit too fancy and oddly shaped for the rustic and messy deliciousness that is pho.
For dessert, I decided to order the berry cobbler. I had heard rave reviews of this, and I was excited to try it (though less thrilled that it was sugar free – I’m not personally a fan of sugar free substitutes). The chef said this was made using a product called “one to one” which I’d never heard of & the crust was made with Namaste.
I have to be honest in that I was disappointed with this dessert. It wasn’t very warm and the cobbler crust seemed almost stale to me. It was dry, crumbly, and not particularly tasty. The shining stars in this dessert were the berries (which I love regardless of what dish they are in) and the house-made sorbet that had huge chunks of fresh berries in it. It’s unfortunate that my experience wasn’t so great, but I’ve heard so many great reviews of this, that I’m hoping I just had an off day experience. I’m not sure I’d order it again. At $11, it was pretty steeply priced, and I think that I’d rather go make a trip to Port Orleans French Quarter for gluten free and food-allergy friendly beignets.
I enjoyed my meal at Artist Point, though I can’t say that I’d probably go there again anytime soon. There are loads of places on property, like Sanaa or Boatwright’s that I enjoy more. For signature dining, I would probably choose Jiko, Hollywood Brown Derby, or California Grill over Artist Point. It’s not that it was bad by any means, but my personal taste prefers those other restaurants. I also did just visit Portland, OR for a week where I had amazing Pacific Northwest fare, so my experience may have been a bit shadowed by that.
I will say that if you’re looking for a quiet and romantic signature dining experience, Artist Point fits the bill quite nicely. The new allergy-friendly menu is proof that the menu has a lot of offerings for those with special dietary needs.
Have you been to Artist Point? Will you go now that they have new allergy-friendly menus?