Monday, September 17, 2018

California Grill Dinner Review

California Grill is a signature restaurant located at the top of the Contemporary Resort overlooking the Magic Kingdom. For on-site resort guests, take your Disney transportation to the Magic Kingdom and either hop on the monorail to the Contemporary at the next stop, or take the walkway over which takes a few minutes. 

California Grill is 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. 

Check in for California Grill is the floor down from the monorail stop. Take the escalator and walk over to the right to find the check in desk. A Cast Member will check you in and direct you to a series of elevators. Another Cast Member is permanently in one of the elevators which takes you directly to the entrance of California Grill. I felt very posh! 

The first thing I noticed here is the view. It is breathtaking. The whole restaurant overlooks the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. There is pretty much no bad view. 

There is an incredibly clear view of Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. You also have a side view of Main Street USA and the tents of Storybook Circus. 

As we were early for our table, we loitered around the bar for a while and watched the bartenders whip up some pretty impressive looking drinks. Although I am almost 25, I didn't want to carry around my passport for ID, so I just stared longingly! 

Once our table was ready, we were taken over by a Cast Member. Each table is beautifully set with branded napkins, wine glasses, water glasses and side plates. 

A dedicated Cast Member comes round and fills your water glass with triple filtered water and tells you about that specific water. I never had any idea there were so many different types of water! 

The menu is amazing. I was determined that I would have something that wasn't chicken as I had pretty much eaten chicken every day at this point. 

Once we had ordered, the server brought over a complimentary bread service with a sun-dried tomato olive oil for dipping. The bread was lovely and served warm. I am not a fan of olive oil so I just had it on its own and it was so good! 

We had a 19:30 reservation so by the time we had ordered, it was almost time for Happily Ever After. Due to the fact that the chefs stop cooking during that time, we were told our food wouldn't be out until the fireworks had finished. Luckily, we were going to ask to wait anyway! You can stay inside the restaurant to watch the fireworks as they pipe in the music. Alternatively, you can go outside onto the balcony and watch it from the rooftop of the Contemporary. 

The view of Magic Kingdom from outside the restaurant is absolutely incredible. Everything is lit up and every now and again you can see the flash of the camera on Splash Mountain as it goes down the drop. 

The view of Happily Ever After from up here is incredible and second to none. We were stood directly in front of the speaker so could hear the music perfectly. The castle is still close enough that you can see the projections very clearly. It really gives sense of how far behind the castle the fireworks are launched from. 

Coming back into the restaurant when it has gotten properly dark really shows up the lighting of the restaurant so well.

When we got back our food came out about 10 minutes after we sat down. I ordered the beef filet which came with a BBQ style sauce, slices potatoes, green beans and caramalised onions. I don't normally like a steak or onion but wow. The filet was seasoned to perfection and the onion sweetened the flavour of the beef. I had mine cooked medium-well which was so good. The filet melted in my mouth and wasn't tough. I would highly recommend it. 

For dessert I ordered the chocolate cake. It came with a milk chocolate whipped panna cotta, a chocolate twirl, vanilla bean ice cream and the cake itself. The cake was served hot and the middle was molten with small pecans chopped inside it. The cake was rich, but was complimented so nicely with the ice cream. The whipped panna cotta tasted like a really light chocolate mousse, it was lovely! I would definitely recommend this as a dessert as a nice sweet ending to your meal, and especially if you are a chocolate lover! 

I am already looking forward to going back to California Grill. We were in the restaurant for a good 3 hours, including watching the fireworks. There is no sense of rush like you can get with some other table service restaurants, the servers all take their time with you and everything is down to your timings and how you like things. 

Overall, this is one dining experience that I will never forget. The food was incredible and the view was worth it on its own. California Grill is not just aimed at adults as a signature dining experience, but it is also very family friendly; there were children at most of the tables in the restaurant. 

California Grill is an ideal romantic dinner location or fun for the whole family. It is definitely worth the evening reservation just to watch the fireworks. I would recommend getting there an hour before the fireworks are due to start to make sure you are ready to go outside to watch them.

Have you been to California Grill? What is your opinion? 

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