*This gluten free dining experience took place in June 2019. It includes information about dairy free options.
Dinner at Cape May Cafe
Cape May Cafe, located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, is a table service restaurant that’s a seafood lover’s delight. Serving up a variety of seafood options in an all-you-care-to-enjoy setting, you won’t have to worry about leaving Cape May Cafe hungry. Recently, I had dinner at Cape May Cafe with my good friend Ron while he was in Orlando visiting. Having dinner here has become a tradition whenever he visits, so it was great to enjoy a meal and good company. I also realized that I haven’t eaten at Cape May Cafe for two years and was super excited to eat crab legs to my heart’s content.
When it comes to theming, Cape May Cafe is inspired by the New England seaside. I will admit that I think the interior has become a little dated — it’s definitely got a 1990s color scheme going on. But, there’s something charming about the retro seaside vibe combined with restaurant nostalgia that I truly love.
There’s not a lot to look at — because let’s face it, when you’re at Cape May Cafe, it’s all about the seafood feast. But, you’ll find a few charming interior designs to appreciate.
I spied this adorable hidden Mickey as we entered the restaurant too!
As you can see from this photo, the 1990s pastels abound. I think the restaurant could use a bit of a refurbishment, but it could be worse in terms of dated theming (I’m looking at you, Electric Umbrella!).
The centerpiece of the restaurant is the large buffet. It has an impressive amount of options for guests who enjoy seafood, or who aren’t allergic to fish and shellfish like Brandon.
When you arrive at Cape May Cafe, you’ll be given an allergen guide, which walks you through the buffet options and lets you know if a dish is safe for your special dietary need. I always recommend that you use this guide as a starting point and speak to a chef directly about options.
On this visit, we asked to speak with a chef who both walked us through the buffet line and also offered to bring us items directly from the kitchen. On this visit, I chose to get most of my items directly from the buffet, as they do a pretty good job of separating the gluten-filled items.
For those who are looking for Chef T.J. — who recently transferred to Cape May Cafe from Trail’s End — as of this post, our server said that his schedule hadn’t been settled on yet. So, we did not get an epic Chef T.J. meal on this visit. Just an excuse to go back, right?!
First up, I got a plate “appetizers.” This included my favorite marinated olives and peel and eat shrimp with cocktail sauce. Both of these along with the Jonah crab claws on the plate were gluten free and dairy free. These are all delicious and a great way to start your meal. I also may or may not have eaten my weight in peel and eat shrimp on this visit too. They’re so good!
I was super sad to learn that my favorite citrus salad from Cape May is no longer being served. In its place is a cherry chocolate salad. It sounded pretty odd to me (who puts chocolate in a salad?!). But, I was willing to try it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised, and the chocolate brittle in the salad was my favorite part. I can’t say it’s number one on my list of things to get at Cape May Cafe. But, it wasn’t bad by any means. For those who are dairy free, this dish contains dairy with the chocolate. The cheese on my plate also contained dairy.
Next, it was onto the main course — crab legs. The steamed crab legs, clams, and mussels are all gluten free and dairy free. Do, keep an eye out on the mussels though, if you’re not able to have dairy because one version on the buffet had dairy and one did not.
I also enjoyed the seasonal fish, which was a baked salmon that was also gluten free and dairy free. This was really nice and was a good balance with all of the shellfish.
Another tops for me was the paella, which is gluten free but does contain dairy (in the form of butter). I had seconds of this, and I loved the spicy chorizo in the paella even more than the seafood in it.
As you can see, I had pretty hearty portions of seafood and sides. I have to admit that I went up for seconds, but boy did both Ron and I leave this restaurant stuffed.
For dessert, the chef pointed out several gluten free items on the dessert buffet. I really liked that they were mostly in individual containers. This helped a lot with potential cross-contamination. We actually grabbed desserts at the beginning of the meal to avoid any issues, since the desserts were virtually untouched at that point.
The chef also noted that he had other items in the back too. On previous visits to Cape May Cafe, they have served a variety of Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC items for guests with special dietary needs. I didn’t ask on this visit, but I’m guessing they probably still have these on hand.
Both Ron and I were so full at this point, that we really just picked at the desserts. Both of us agreed that none of them were very good. The flan was odd tasting. The lemon curd was really sour, and the flourless Mickey chocolate cakes were essentially frosting. So, that being said, I would ask for whatever other special dietary needs options they had from the kitchen next time I visit. Still, I rarely get much for dessert at Cape May Cafe, so it wasn’t too much of a loss.
Cape May Cafe never disappoints if you’re a seafood lover. With a variety of options in a buffet setting, you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. I always end up full and satisfied from the options — with plenty to choose from as a special dietary needs guest. It’s definitely a great option if you love seafood and continues to be a must-do for me.
Have you been to Cape May Cafe? Which do you prefer? Breakfast or Dinner?