The Best Restaurants in Disney Springs

Here are the best places to eat at Disney Springs, the always-festive open-air dining, shopping and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. Bonus: Disney Springs has free parking, no entry fee and plenty of live entertainment as you stroll around. Luckily, loads of the foods are hand-held and many spirited beverages are available to-go.

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The Polite Pig

Get a taste of local food at The Polite Pig, where Orlando chefs James, Julie and Brian Petrakis serve smoked meats plated in modern ways. You’ll order, say, the Southern Pig sandwich at the counter, and wait for the pulled pork meal topped with fennel-apple slaw, mustard barbecue sauce and mayo to be brought to your table. Begin with the oversized hop salt pretzel with beer cheese fondue and IPA mustard, and add on the grilled street corn with chipotle aioli. It’ll be easy to relax because Polite Pig is big on spirits, too. It pours the company’s own Swine Family beers, big-batch cocktails like apple-cider whiskey sours, and dozens of types of bourbon. P.S. Don’t worry about getting back in line to order seconds; servers are happy to take your second and third orders right from your seat.

4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck

Get a taste of real Orlando at Disney Springs by buying lunch or dinner at the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck. One of a bunch of food trucks scattered around Disney Springs, this one is run by the same folks as the über-popular homegrown barbecue chain 4 Rivers Smokehouse — and those folks know how to smoke meats. Here you can get brisket and pulled pork cooked barbacoa-style as it is in Mexico City, then served, in some cases, in taco cones, which are easy to eat without utensils. The plant-based crowd (and everyone else) waxes poetic over the squash-blossom quesadilla, and all other items can be made vegetarian too. Want more? Disney-run food trucks include Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet, Mac & Cheese, and Springs’ Street Tacos. They’re usually parked near Jaleo and the AMC multiplex.

Jaleo by José Andrés

These days, José Andrés may be best known for dishing out hot meals to hurricane survivors as part of his World Central Kitchen, yet the culinary world has celebrated the humanitarian and native Spaniard’s garlicky shrimp, tender chicken croquettes and paella cooked over a wood fire since 1993. Now Disney Springs has the largest Jaleo to date, serving small plates of Iberian specialties in a bold, dramatic, upbeat dining room with high-energy music pulsing in the red-hued background and staffers shouting “¡Arriba!” whenever a drumroll sounds. Diners tend to share their orders along with bottles of imported wines inside and out by the lake. Spend less time — and money — by grabbing hot and cold bocotas sandwiches, chilled gazpacho and sangria (with sangria ice cubes so it stays cold) at the takeaway Pepe by José Andrés, just outside the front door.

D-Luxe Burger

Having “burger” in the name gets hordes of hungry people in the door, but insiders know that the shakes are just as deserving at the counter-service D-Luxe Burger restaurant. As are the fries, really. The burgers are indeed a treat, made from patties of blended brisket and chuck (non-beef alternatives are available), and settled into Parker House-style custom buns baked at nearby Amorette’s Patisserie. The fries, though. Wow. They’re skin-on from russets made right on site via a two-day process. Instead of ketchup, try dipping them in garlic ranch dressing, chipotle mayo, three-mustard honey dip, curry ketchup, horseradish or buffalo blue cheese. And that pales in excitement to the gelato shakes and floats – spirited or kid-friendly. Get your sugar fix with the salted caramel version with Hawaiian black sea salt, or go boozy with the smoked Knob Creek bourbon variety, topped with dark chocolate sauce and a bacon strip. Bonus: You can order and pre-pay using your smartphone.

Ample Hills Creamery

You know those tales of Golden Age movie stars being discovered at Hollywood coffee shops? Ample Hills Creamery’s presence at Disney World is sort of like that. Founder Brian Smith was a monster-movie writer before opening his first scoop shop with his wife, Jackie Cuscuna, in Brooklyn in 2011. End of story, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger found and loved the ice cream, brought it to the Boardwalk resort, and now Ample Hills is opening a 700-square-foot second Orlando store. It offers a location-specific flavor at each shop along with cold and creamy Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Snap Mallow Pop and The King of Mangoes in a cone or cup. Ice creams are made from dairy, sugar and eggs that are carefully sourced and pasteurized by Ample Hills, though vegan options are also plentiful, and mix-ins are made or baked from scratch.

Wine Bar George / The Basket

Trade in those mouse ears for a Malbec, the roller coasters for a Chenin Blanc. Wine Bar George offers 140+ pours by the ounce, glass and bottle, from pocket-friendly on-tap labels to the elusive stuff you’ve been yearning to taste for years. Yes, maybe even Chateau d’Yquem. No wonder why the World of Fine Wine said WBG has the world’s best micro wine list. Food is taken just as seriously at this chef-drive Napa-style wine bar. The Santa Carota short ribs, for example, start with meat from cattle who first graze leisurely amid the grassy lands of Bakersfield, California, then eat mostly carrots. It’s Chef Ron Rupert who prepares that beef with mashed red potatoes and caramelized vegetables. Even grab 'n' go is above par here: The Basket, located outside the front door, impresses with a sandwich of goat cheese, fig, arugula and ficelle, and box of chorizo, manchego, almonds and crackers.

T-Rex

If you love Disney World’s theme parks, then clearly you’re a fan of immersive experiences. In that case, step into the Earth of 200 million years ago for breakfast, lunch or dinner. T-Rex is unabashedly touristy with its roaring animatronic dinosaurs, dig-for-fossils play area and dramatically decorated rooms. The food’s a good bet, even if your Jurassic adventure involves a glowing outsized jellyfish and periodic meteor showers. Fuel up on the Boneyard Buffet, a dinner entrée of fire-roasted rotisserie chicken, St. Louis-style spareribs, fries and cole slaw. Whiskey-glazed shrimp with blackened salmon is available for seafood fans. Pastas, burgers — beef or Beyond — and other familiar fare constitute a large amount of choices. Four of you can probably make a meal of the Sampler Platter, including cheesy skillet meatballs, Nashville hot boneless wings, chili con queso, caprese flatbread and chicken quesadillas. But, yea, you may need to let the kids do the Build-A-Dino™ by Build-A-Bear Workshop™ fee-based activity after dessert.

Amorette’s Patisserie

Amorette’s Patisserie is Disney’s own creation, and that means you’ll find a dash of theater along with sweet treats. This is the place to have your between-meals pick-me-up, whether that’s a caramel sea salt éclair or a slice of New York-style cheesecake, along with a latte or glass of bubbly. The French-style bakery with seating serves fresh light meals too, including savory crêpes and focaccia sandwiches. The pastries tend to be special looking, whether thanks to artfully sprinkled gold flecks, floral-whittled ganache or a clever character design. What’s more, you’ll see pastry chefs decorating the baked goods along the Show Kitchen counter as you move down the line to order. Oh, and that “character dome cake” that looks like Mickey or another beloved cartoon fave – each a scrumptious layering of fruit jelly, mousse and chiffon cake? Sign up for the Cake Decorating Experience and you’ll spend 90 minutes learning how to animate edibles yourself.

Raglan Road

It may have four ornate imported wooden bars each more than 130 years old, and dozens of beers and whiskeys, yet Raglan Road manages to be as family-friendly as it is appropriate for a rowdy bachelor party. Warm and welcoming despite its 600 seats, this multi-part restaurant is a destination for creative, top-quality seasonal fare — and the country’s biggest pourer of Guinness. The potato gnocchi is housemade for the Gnocchi Sea Gnocchi Do entrée, served with seared Georges Bank scallops, crispy pork belly, kale and tomatoes plus white-wine butter sauce. For a big hearty meal, choose the Lambo. It’s a braised lamb shank over mashed potatoes with honey-glazed carrots and red wine jus. Dancers and musicians perform center stage during dinner and brunch, inviting the wee ones up for a jiggy lesson now and then. Then there’s fast-food-style fish ‘n’ chips and more live music – yes, more beer too – outside.

Frontera Cocina

Seven-time James Beard Award winner Rick Bayless is not just any purveyor of south-of-the-border meals. Instead, he takes classics flavors and transforms them for the Disney Springs crowd dining at his Frontera Cocina, with mixologists on staff and a menu dedicated to the Yucatan Peninsula. Try a plant-based cauliflower-squash casserole with smoky morita chile sauce, or chipotle chicken snuggled within enchiladas under a deep red guajillo chile sauce. Or, for a coastal flavor, maybe achiote-grilled octopus, or spicy herb-covered grilled bass. Margaritas are practically a must — you have seven to choose from — although that mezcal negroni, and the old fashioned made with heritage blue-corn whiskey, also beckon.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

A longtime favorite from the namesake Austrian celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill got a super-spiffy refresh in 2019 to evoke a California farm house. The menu showcases Puck classics, like the once-trendy Chinois chicken salad and the iconic chicken Wienerschnitzel. Newer dishes have a Golden Gate influence, like a heritage pork chop cooked on a wood-burning grill, and enhanced by peach chutney; a flat-iron steak with chimichurri; and a red snapper with mango-corn salsa. The pizza? Excellent, every time. Craft cocktails are front and center. Need more energy for that next trip to the Magic Kingdom? Gulp down the Classic Affogato. It’s vanilla gelato with a double shot of espresso. If all you need is a sweet fix, stroll to the outside gelato bar where you might cool off with a creamy dark cheery chocolate chunk, or butter pecan panna cotta, Italian-style ice cream.

Morimoto Asia

If you’re from a big city, you’ll think of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s foods as artful presentations served in subdued minimalistic environments. At Disney Springs, his food is served in a grand, indulgent space that makes meals feel equally grand and indulgent. At Morimoto Asia, the chefs within the glass-walled kitchen or at the second-floor sushi bar will be simmering the stock for a lobster Singapore laksa soup, stir-frying lo mein noodles with steak; rolling eel and avocado with rice and seaweed wrappers; or stacking chilled lobster with sashimi, raw oysters and shrimp cocktail into a tower. You can go full-on Pan-Asian with a soft-shell-crab bao, and cater to the less adventurous in your group with a Chinese Caesar salad. Everyone will smile with a platterful of spareribs, doused in a sweet hoisin-chile glaze.

AristoCrêpes

Between its food trucks, take-out windows and quick-service restaurants, Disney Springs has, if anything, a merry abundance of quick yet delicious meals. Still AristoCrêpes stands out. It fills delicate crêpes with smoked ham and cheese plus a Dijon spread, or maybe the makings of s’mores. It also wraps bubble waffles around strawberries, strawberry pearls, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Each handheld meal or treat is shaped into a cone, inserted into a sturdy holder and handed off for eating. Sit at the nearby tables or nibble while you window shop. If you’re thirsty, pair your cone with a frozen lava colada, a seasonal draft beer or a spiked lemonade slushy.

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar feels like a ramshackle New Orleans watering hole, with a menu that’s strong on specialties from throughout the South. Take a table near some accent pieces created by Bayou-area artists, and dig into the NOLA flavors. That might be viagumbo with andouille sauce, spicy voodoo shrimp, or maybe shrimp ‘n’ grits or country-fried steak. One Beast of Bourbon (maple syrup, chocolate bitters) or Electric Rodeo (vodka, habanero hot sauce, orange Red Bull) and you won’t care a whit about the calories. Or skip the whole dining experience and grab a pulled-pork sandwich or half-rack of ribs at The Smokehouse by the front door. Yes, there’s beer.

Paddlefish

Lobster is all but absent from Orlando menus, which is why the lobster frenzy at Paddlefish is such a hit. You’ll find Maine lobster in the guacamole, which is made right at your table then served with housemade chile-lime-flavored tortilla chips. You’ll love it inside a corndog-like batter, served with sweet chile aioli. It’s also at the heart of a sherry-laced bisque, and offered by the pound – the old-fashioned way, or as part of an abundant seafood boil. At lunch, you can have your lobster swathed in lemony mayo along with celery and served on a soft roll, aka a lobster roll. Fish, clams and steaks are all available, but lobster is the star. Whatever you choose, ask to be seated in the rooftop water-view dining area. It’s a coveted Disney Springs knife-and-fork venue.

Vivoli il Gelato

Orlando’s blistering summer heat has an upside: more excuses to eat gelato. And this being Disney Springs, the gelato has a whole story behind it. The petite Vivoli il Gelato is housed within a brick façade that looks like the original in Florence, opened in 1930. Like the first, and the only other unit (it’s in NYC), the shop uses fourth-generation recipes featuring whole Italian milk and cream, barn eggs and seasonal fresh fruit, with no dyes or other additives. Flavors range from familiar to sooo Italian, like cannoli, rice pudding and hazelnut. Want more? Have your tiramisu gelato built into a shake, or maybe the almond variety sandwiched between two cookies, or served with a waffle or an Italian warm donut wrapped around it. A foamy coffee or hot chocolate affogato pairs magically.

Pizza Ponte

Los Angeles’ Patina Group is practically taking over Disney Springs with highly themed upscale restaurants. Its by-the-slice Pizza Ponte restaurant is one spot that savvy locals seek out repeatedly. At the counter, guests choose from Sicilian-style square or thinner-crust triangular pizza, then down their hand-helds from barstools in the bright and simple dining room. Made-to-order sandwiches are on offer too, with Italian fillings like tomato, mozzarella and arugula. Italian desserts, specialty espresso drinks, and wine and beer round out the experience.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse stands out for its serious devotion to all things fresh and finny or shelly - well, that and rides in the vintage "amphicars" (amphibious cars) waiting right outside. The raw bar has as many as 14 varieties of oysters at a time, ensuring the right amount of brine for any seafood fan. During stone crab season, the crew creates a dramatic-looking platter to order that turns heads of envious diners. Swordfish steak, coconut-fried shrimp and New England lobster rolls are among the from-the-sea options. For a finale, order the signature S’mores Baked Alaska for the table.

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

The palm trees may scream, but Florida is, indeed, a Southern state, so who better to craft signature Southern fare than Art Smith. The celebrity chef is a sixth-generation Floridian with ample respect for locally raised foods and a gift for modern twists. Weekend brunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ best shows off his bounty. The farm-to-fork menu touts housemade sugar donuts with buttermilk-brined fried chicken, and enhances an egg platter with pimento cheese. Start with a blueberry mimosa or a Southern Mary with pecan-smoked bacon and fried green tomato. Lunch and dinner involve daring takes on Dixie too. That begins with high-class moonshine and progresses to chicken-and-dumpling soup, Church Lady deviled eggs and hummingbird cake. There’s even a back porch, which is the ideal dining spot.

Go to: Homecoming Kitchen

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