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.
Photo By: Joe Brooks
Photo By: 4R Cantina Barbacoa
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Photo By: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group; Skyler June
Photo By: Patina Restaurant Group; Aaron Van Swearingen
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The Polite Pig
4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck
Jaleo by José Andrés
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-driven 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.
Seven-time James Beard Award winner Rick Bayless is not just any purveyor of south-of-the-border meals. Instead, he takes classic 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 cherry chocolate chunk, or butter pecan panna cotta, Italian-style ice cream.
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.
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 via gumbo 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.
Vivoli il Gelato
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 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’
Despite the iconic palm trees, 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