I sit here looking at a picture of myself from Sophomore year of high school, 20 years ago. In this picture I stand on the observation deck of Disney’s California Grill, dressed in a beautiful homecoming gown with my hair in an updo gazing out upon the Seven Seas Lagoon. I look so innocent without a care in the world. My friends and I did this every year so I have many similar photos. I’m pleased to announce that Disney’s California Grill has been re-imagined, with a new mid-century modern California design, and re-opened at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
The reason I love California Grill is the observation deck. It really gives you an extra special perk during your dining experience. From the deck you can see both the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can stand and watch fireworks if you time your dinner properly and the music is loud enough so you don’t miss a beat. Otherwise the view is still magical in that you can see the castle and all the rides as if the Magic Kingdom were a doll house theme park meant for your personal enjoyment.
The food is also the best I’ve had while on Disney property and I’ve eaten at plenty of restaurants. The California Grill reopened with a brand new menu which features a bit of a lighter touch and seasonal ingredients. I’m a huge sushi fan and the list of sushi they serve is about 6 rolls long but each roll offers up a lot of goodness. For example my favorite roll, the Dragon Roll includes Spicy and Tataki tuna with shrimp tempura, bell pepper, avocado, and chili soy glaze and runs for $29 per roll. I forgot to mention the California Grill is an upscale dining choice. Another delicious roll that I enjoyed and is always popular amongst sushi lovers is the California Combination Roll which contains jumbo lump crab with avocado and cucumber and shrimp tempura and costs $24.00
If you aren’t a raw fish lover like myself give the meat entrees a try. The 24 hour Short Rib Filet includes Caramelized Root Vegetables, Olive Oil Potato Puree and Red Wine Butter for $40.00. It’s also softer than soft and melts in your mouth. I didn’t personally try the Bell and Evans Chicken with Teriyaki Barbecue Glaze, Truffle Macaroni & Cheese, Glazed Vegetables and Chicken Sausage but none of that sounds bad if you ask me. I actually think I’ll order it next time I visit, which will be soon. Truffle anything always catches my attention and I am usually a chicken eating girl. This dish will cost $35.
Finally if you prefer the vegetarian route I tried the Roasted Squash Ravioli with Root Spinach, Parsnips, Petite Herb Salad, Sage Brown Butter and 12-year Balsamic for $32.00 and thought they were going to start cutting me off at the sampling table. It was honestly that good. It’s one of my “craving” items now. I will remember it always. Yep, that good.
Last but not least is the desserts. You all know that I’m not a dessert person so I am not good at selling these things, but check this out, they have warm homemade fritters which are Banana-stuffed, Cinnamon-dusted Fritters with Toasted Caramel Marshmallows complemented with a Trio of Dipping Sauces for only $12. The other dessert I would recommend just because it is just so stinkin’ cute would be the Sundae Sampler because you get a mini coke bottle. Check it out: Unique and playful Sundaes with a nostalgic twist: Caramel Corn, Coke Float, and Strawberry and Basil for $12. But what they don’t tell you is that it is a teeny tiny coke bottle. Such a great little souvenir to remember your meal. Oh and one last dessert that was not a favorite of mine but everyone else drooled over it. The Chocolate Pudding Cake with Nutella filling, housemade meringue kisses and marshmallows with mint Chantilly cream for $13. To me this tasted like really dark bakers chocolate, but I’m not a chocolate fan. All my friends ooh’d and aah’d over it.
If you enjoy wine the restaurant is proud to offer about 250 bottles, there is bound to be at least one you’ll enjoy. They also have numerous saki’s and craft beers, ciders and something called a staff mixologist which translates into “someone who makes great girlie drinks”. This all sounds like a great night to me!
Honestly this restaurant just has so much to offer and is a great choice for a date night. Children are of course welcome but I’d recommend it more for adults who want to dress up and have a nice night out. The kitchen is big and open and it’s really a sight to be seen. Once you’ve eaten well and had some spirits of your choosing, do what I did and make a memory on the observation deck. Maybe you can repeat yours 20 years down the line.
*I received invitation to a media event at California Grill and media samples. All opinions are my own.