*This gluten free dining experience took place in May 2019. It includes information about dairy free modifications and peanut/tree nut and sesame free options.
Dinner at Frontera Cocina
Frontera Cocina is a table service restaurant located in Disney Springs. Not owned and operated by Disney, this is a restaurant owned by James Beard Award Winning Chef Rick Bayless. I am a huge fan of Frontera Cocina and Chef Rick Bayless, and I really appreciate that the restaurant can accommodate a variety of special dietary needs. Recently, I had dinner at Frontera Cocina with my friend Kate who was passing through Orlando on her way to Miami. She also has special dietary needs, so a dinner at Disney was definitely in order!
I have to apologize that I forgot to take photos during our dinner of the restaurant. I do have some photos on some older reviews that I’ve written about dining at Frontera Cocina.
Overall, the theme in Frontera Cocina is modern and clean. There are pops of bright colors, like orange and blue, along with Mexican-inspired decor that’s very inviting.
My biggest complaint on this visit was that the restaurant was fairly crowded, which made the seating and volume a bit challenging. We were seated so close to the table next to us, that it actually was difficult getting out of the booth area. We also dined at happy hour, so the bar located in the middle of the restaurant was very crowded and quite loud. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, I would recommend dining at lunch or during off-hours.
Of course, my main reason for dining at Frontera Cocina is always the excellent food. I love Mexican food, and Frontera Cocina does an excellent job with authentic offerings.
When you dine there, you won’t get an allergy-friendly menu. But, you’ll find that the regular menu actually notes common allergens on it. For instance, if a dish contains gluten, it will note that or if it has milk it will too. You can also discuss options with your server too. I’ve found the servers at Frontera Cocina to be quite helpful at navigating special dietary needs options. On this visit, we did ask several questions as Kate is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame.
The first priority on our must-order list was getting chips and guacamole. It’s my hands down favorite appetizer at Frontera Cocina. Our server did let us know that since we were dining during happy hour, we could get the Verde Guacamole half off. Talk about a bargain!
The Verde Guacamole includes roasted poblanos, roasted tomatillo, toasted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), cilantro and onions. The chips are made in a dedicated fryer, so if you have celiac disease like me, you can actually enjoy safe tortilla chips. The chips and guacamole were gluten free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, and sesame free. It’s also very likely that it’s vegan too — though I did not ask. We both agreed the chips and guacamole were outstanding and would not hesitate to order them again.
For my entree, I ordered the Pork Belly Tacos with crispy pork belly, smoky bacon, grilled knob onions, black beans refritos with queso fresco, guacamole, red onion, cilantro, and three chile agave sale. This dish is gluten free but does contain dairy. Dairy free guests should check with their server, as I was told the only dairy free modification would be the queso fresco.
These tacos were so good! The pork belly was super crispy and had great flavor. I admit that I was not expecting the tomato based sauce that the pork belly was cooked in. But, it was really delicious. You do get warmed corn tortillas served on the side to make your own tacos, and the tortillas do help soak up some of the sauce. Overall, I would definitely get these again.
Kate ordered the Grilled Chipotle Chicken Tacos with grilled chicken in a tangy chipotle sauce, caramelized red onions, black beans refritos with queso fresco, guacamole, and chipotle salsa. Her tacos were gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free, and sesame free. Like the pork belly tacos, these contained dairy. But, I believe the only modification is the cheese on the beans.
Our server did let Kate know that these tacos might be a little spicy. But, Kate said that overall they weren’t that bad. The looked delicious and both of us agreed that the tacos were excellent choices.
Frontera Cocina is a great restaurant if you’re craving Mexican food while you’re at Disney World. I especially love that I have lots of options and that items, like tortilla chips, that are often off-limits to me at Mexican restaurants are safe options for me at Frontera Cocina. And, now that I know they have half off guacamole during happy hour, I just might have to go back again soon!
Have you been to Frontera Cocina? What did you order when you dined there?