*This dining experience took place in May 2017.
Dinner at Grand Floridian Cafe
The Grand Floridian Cafe, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a table service restaurant that offers sandwiches, steaks, pasta, and other entrees for dinner. Admittedly, I’ve only ever dined at the Grand Floridian Cafe for breakfast, so Brandon and I decided recently to check it out for dinner. We were both craving something substantial but not something too fancy or pricey, so off to the Grand Floridian Cafe we went.
The Grand Floridian Cafe is located inside the 1st floor of the Grand Floridian Resort. It’s tucked away in a small corner and, like the resort, has a turn of the century Victorian theme to it.
You’ll notice the theme quickly, with the floral wallpaper and paintings to the ruffled curtains and elaborate tables and chairs.
I prefer to be seated tucked away in one of the restaurant corners, but we were seated in the middle of the restaurant when we visited.
Thankfully, it wasn’t too crowded, so we didn’t feel like we were stuck in the hustle and bustle of it all. I’ve been there for breakfast when it’s been swamped, but I’ve also enjoyed a leisurely quiet breakfast too, so I think it really depends on the time you go.
Since I had never been for dinner before, I made sure to check out the Allergy Friendly Dinner Menu on my site before we went along with the updated one when we arrived. I will say that the menu was sorely lacking in options (especially dairy free ones, if you are dairy free), but I always recommend speaking to a chef whenever you dine at a restaurant to talk about options and customization. I always find that dairy free is usually an easy modification when you ask.
First up, we were brought bread service. Brandon got regular bread, while I got the Deanna’s Gluten Free rolls, which I love. I have had a hard time finding these lately, so it was a welcome treat to have these. These rolls are gluten free, dairy free, and cover many other special dietary needs too.
I’m not gonna lie, I gobbled these up quickly.
Pro Tip: If you ask, Grand Floridian Cafe does carry Earth Balance vegan buttery spread for a dairy free alternative.
Brandon is always a huge fan of cheese plates, and now that I’m including dairy back into my diet, I am a fan of them too. Brandon ordered a Cheese Plate (which can be made gluten free upon request), and I have to admit, this was our least favorite cheese plate we’ve ever tried at Disney.
The cheese plate consisted of a wedge of Brie and 3 cheddar cheeses. The cheddar cheeses were not that different from each other, making it a very poorly balanced cheese plate. One actually reminded me of Kraft processed cheese. The accompaniments were nice, but nothing fancy.
There was also a huge gap missing on the plate, from what we figured was bread. I was surprised that they didn’t offer to bring Brandon bread on the side (which they usually do) so that he can have that part of the cheese plate. Overall, we found this cheese plate to be just…meh. It was good, so far as cheese is always good, but just boring and not that amazing. We’d skip this one on the next visit.
Alexis from Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures has raved about the lobster burger at the Grand Floridian Cafe. And, with this in mind, I was hoping to try it out. Sadly, when I asked about it, I was told it was no longer gluten free. They would not bring the chef out, but I was relayed that they could make me burger with a plain piece of lobster on it. I decided to pass. I like lobster and burgers as much as the next, but I couldn’t justify getting charged for the full lobster burger and getting a very poor version of it.
I opted to order the Artisanal Burger with bacon and cheddar on it. This was made gluten free by serving it on a gluten free bun. It can also be made dairy free by removing the cheese.
I did have to request condiments, which were brought to be after a fairly lengthy wait (even though I asked for them when I ordered the burger).
Overall, I thought the burger was fine, but really nothing special. They actually over-cooked the burger, and it was pretty dry. If I hadn’t had cheese on it, I think it would have been pretty unappetizing. Thankfully, condiments and extra toppings can help salvage a poorly cooked burger.
The French Fries were really good, but they are the same basic fries you can get pretty much everywhere — including many quick service locations.
After our dining experience, we actually will skip Grand Floridian Cafe for a while. We were both underwhelmed by the food quality and the service at the restaurant was very poor. The restaurant wasn’t busy, but we waited a very long time between courses. Add in that the chef would not come out to speak to me (a Disney rarity), and it’s just not someplace we’d make a special visit to go to. It’s a shame because I think it has a lot of great potential — it’s just not well executed. Brandon also found that his non-gluten free meal was equally underwhelming too. If we go again, it would probably be for breakfast instead.
Have you been to the Grand Floridian Cafe? What did you think of the options there?