Laurie is here to give us her Best of 2013 in Dining. See what made her list for last year.
The best food, drink, dish, and restaurant is in the eye of the individual diner. As a food critic I try hard to include my experiences while rating food based what I think about other diners’ possible experiences. Here are what I feel are the best things in WDW dining from last year. My reviews are based on my criteria that include disabled access, lighting, seating, hospitality, service, management, flexibility of chefs with menus, special diets, and a smooth dining experience. 2013 saw many new foods for me. My favorites were white asparagus in the salad at Tutto Italia, brittle at Artist point, Bodies bodacious French fries that are made onsite, gluten free cheesecake at Whispering Canyon Cafe, chili at Whispering Canyon Cafe, Kona Cafe’s cinnamon gelatto, and boniato puree at the Food and Wine Festival. Please let Tabitha, the awesome travel agent, or myself know about any comments you have about my reviews as I hope I gave you some awesome reviews.
Best Restaurant: I have to give Best Restaurant to Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort. The management has to be the nicest folks in WDW and keep the restaurant clean and well maintained. The staff is cheery, well informed about the menu, and provide a smoothly run dining experience. I have had their watermelon soup and the current Maui onion soup. The watermelon soup was full of flavor while remaining fit for summer time. The Maui onion and white bean soup had depth and heartiness that warmed me up. The flavorful chicken, pumpkin, and purple entree would be ideal for the meat and potatoes diner or someone avoiding spicy dishes. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus that can please vegans and those who are on a special diet. I love their sushi, pork chop, side dishes, and coffee most. Their chefs try hard to provide diners with a great meal including substituting ingredients, substituting side dishes, and making dishes off the menu. This is my place to go for a meal when I am away from home.
Best Fine Dining Restaurant: I love Citricos and Artist Point. Both have given me near perfect meals that were sheer joy unspeakable. Artist Point is the Best Fine Dining Restaurant for 2013. Artist Point wins based on theme, service, management, overall experience, and view. Both restaurants give the guest pampered luxurious dining with the finest chefs in the country. Both gave me perfectly cooked pork belly which is one of my favorite appetizers. Citricos is more of a Mediterranean menu while Artist Point offers a Pacific coast menu. Both can handle vegan, meat and taters diners, and special diets Artist point won by a very tiny margin as both restaurants have chefs who go out of their way to accomodate guests.
Best Quick Service Restaurant: I cannot separate the twin sisters of Landscapes of Flavor (Art of Animation) and Everything Pop (Pop Century). The worst thing is the FAKE gelatto, as gelatto is not made with soy at Art of Animation. I fell in love with the Pasta Alfredo after eating it at one of these restaurants. As with any family restaurant these restaurants can get dirty, loud, and busy. They are like family to me since I eat at these restaurants a lot. I love their burgers here which are one of the best in the area. Sunshine Season has to be the best quick service restaurant in the parks with vegan and special diets accommodated.
Best Ice Cream: Crepes de France kiosk in Epcot has a smooth creamy soft serve ice cream. In 2012, I was in love with peppermint ice cream, but even that did not replace the ice cream at Crepes de France. I was happy to see Itzkadoozie ice pops return to the parks.
Best Restaurant Desserts: Dad’s Brownie Sundae at ’50’s Prime Time Cafe is offered with made gluten free brownie. The awesome bodacious sundae is made with hot fudge, caramel sauce, Mickey sprinkles, and a brownie. Portobello gave me heaven in a bowl with its panna cotta while Kona Cafe gave me a soy free cinnamon gelatto with macadamia bacon brittle that melted in my mouth.
Best Appetizers: Raglan Road has gluten free onion rings and scallops that I could eat every day for life. The Tuscan bean soup at Portabello is one of their ever changing soups that finally turned me into a bean soup lover. The Kona Salad at Kona Cafe has bleu cheese, almonds, onions, fresh greens, and a citrus vinaigrette that is a never ending medley of textures and tastes. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue has the best traditional salad by far.
Best Entertainment in a Restaurant: Teppan Edo has chefs that make dining an experience to remember. Hoop Dee Doo Revue and Whispering Canyon Cafe are my other two picks for the best restaurants for an entertaining meal. No winner as each is a unique experience though the latter two are also the most disabled friendly and can easily deal with most dietary requests.
Best Buffet: Some such as Cape May could not give me everything I should have gotten if I was not soy and wheat/gluten free. However, every buffet in WDW has offered me full plates and a full stomach with satisfaction over what I ate. Tusker House is my favorite because of their wide variety of items. They offer meat and potatoes as well and vegan, healthy, and exotic dishes. I recommend them for their ability to fit so many diets including picky eaters.
Did your favorite make the list? If not, why not tell us about it. Thanks for stopping by and thank you Laurie for another wonderful review!