Category Archives: Good Eats
Patina Restaurant Group has opened a new casual pizzeria, called Via Napoli, adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, its restaurant in the Italy pavilion in Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This becomes the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park.
Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of “La Vera Pizza Napoletana.” While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.
“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti says. “It’s a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”
Via Napoli features a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo serves as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he crafts the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.
“We’re excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”
A unique feature at Via Napoli is the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven is sculpted with the “face of the volcano” — reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano’s history.
The architecture and design of the new pizzeria is based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it.
Local cuisine includes a fusion of flavors from around the world. Using the finest local ingredients, the chefs at Aulani have created a variety of dining options for you and your family. Whether it’s an intimate sit-down dinner, a fast mid-afternoon snack, or a cozy breakfast in your hotel room, you can find the perfect meal at this Resort like no other.
- Dine beside the sparkling Pacific at this signature dining restaurant that serves local favorites.
From meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a nostalgic ’50s-inspired eatery to a private table for two in a Grand Floridian kitchen, Walt Disney World restaurants are taking “eatertainment” to new heights.
Looking for more than a meal? Following are some of the unique dining spots in the Vacation Kingdom.
Boma-Flavors of Africa. Wood-burning grills create sensational aromas from morning until night in this “marketplace” restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, with a half-dozen side-by-side cooking stations where curries, chutneys and other Indian and Asian influences add fabulous flavors to grilled fish, meats and vegetables on the African-inspired menu. Diners will find authentic soups, stews, tossed-to-order salads and other market-fresh fare, with cultural representatives from Africa serving as hosts and hostesses.
50′s Prime Time Cafe. The waiters holler for you to take your seat, and ask if you’ve washed your hands in this Disney’s Hollywood Studios restaurant. You’ll feel like you’re in a ’50s sitcom with Formica tables, pull-down lamps and knickknacks like grandma used to collect. Pot roast, chicken pot pie and meatloaf with mushroom gravy are standouts. And while the s’mores aren’t made over a campfire, they’ll take you back, nonetheless.
Victoria & Albert’s. With just 50 seats, this intimate dining room is the creme de la creme of Disney dining, located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. From the harpist playing near the front door to the Chef’s Table at the back of the kitchen, there’s no question that this is a special place. Menus change daily, but you’ll always find the heavenly dessert soufflés. Whatever you want, just ask. Chef Scott Hunnel will make it happen.
California Grill. You’ll think you’re in San Francisco or L.A. in this upscale hot spot high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The view is stupendous, the cuisine is extraordinary and the wines are outstanding. It’s hard to decide which is more fun: watching the energetic chefs in the open kitchen, or a sunset over Magic Kingdom.
ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk. The ultimate gathering spot for serious sports fans includes an interactive multimedia entertainment center, TV and radio broadcast facility, an arcade of interactive sporting games, and all-American favorites like burgers, wings, chili and barbecued pork. More than 90 TVs are in place throughout the restaurant — even the restrooms are equipped with TVs so you won’t miss out on your favorite sports action.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Flashy, 1950s-era cars, 1950s-era drive-in movies. This 250-seat restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios makes you believe it’s dark outside — fiber-optic stars twinkle overhead and the cars are lined up to face the giant drive-in movie screen. Outrageous sci-fi movie clips run continuously. Entrees include sandwiches, barbecued pork ribs and chef’s salad.
Cinderella’s Royal Table. There’s something really special about breakfast and lunch in Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, with Cinderella and friends making the rounds to greet guests. And look for the Disney family coat of arms hanging over the lobby fireplace. (Dinner does not include princess characters, only Fairy Godmother.)
Coral Reef Restaurant. Located in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot, this is the only dining room in the world next to a 5.7-million-gallon aquarium. Diners are entertained by 5,000 inhabitants of the saltwater tank — barracuda, angelfish, sharks, dolphins, rays and even humans diving to feed the fish. The menu features fresh fish and shellfish — but none of the pavilion’s undersea inhabitants are on the menu.
Kouzzina by Cat Cora. This family-friendly restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk offers Mediterranean cuisine, including favorite dishes that pay tribute to celebrity chef Cat Cora’s Greek roots. Kouzzina features “time-honored recipes passed down from my ancestors, as well as my favorite Greek and Mediterranean dishes that my family loves,” said Cora.
Magic Kingdom is best known for its classic attractions and favorite Disney characters, but the park also has its share of great family meals.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table. One of the most coveted dining reservations is for breakfast or lunch with the Disney princesses at this enchanting restaurant in Cinderella Castle. (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother greets dinner guests.) The majestic dining room is a magical experience for little ones, with leaded windows, coats of arms and medieval flags – and a visit to each table by Disney “royalty.” The signature dish is Major Domo’s Favorite Pie, with shredded beef simmered in cabernet sauce with mashed potatoes and topped with pastry. For little ones, there’s a minor Domo version of the popular entrée.
- Liberty Tree Tavern. In Liberty Square opposite the riverboat landing, Liberty Tree Tavern offers all-American fare. For lunch, pot roast in cabernet sauce, roast turkey with herb dressing, or a favorite cheeseburger. Dinner is all-you-care-to-eat roast turkey, carved beef, pork loin, herb stuffing, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. The restaurant is a re-creation of an 18th century American inn, with six small dining rooms with Colonial artifacts.
- Crystal Palace. Winnie the Pooh and his pals are the stars at this venerable Magic Kingdom restaurant inspired by San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers. A generous buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner includes favorites such as prime rib, salmon, clam chowder, dozens of salads and sweets. Little ones get their own buffet with chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and pizza.
- Plaza Restaurant. Tucked on the side street on Main Street, U.S.A., around the corner from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, this eatery is a respite from the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom – no Disney characters, no entertainment, just a quiet, Art Nouveau-inspired spot. The grilled reuben is a longtime favorite, as well as the chicken strawberry salad. But the biggest sellers are sundaes, floats and hand-dipped milkshakes.
- Tony’s Town Square. Inspired by the Disney classic “Lady and the Tramp,” Tony’s features spaghetti, chicken Parmesan, flatbreads and other Italian specialties. The best seats are on the airy patio with a view of Town Square.
- Land to Land in Magic Kingdom, quick-service has a variety of great tastes to please every guest. On Main Street, U.S.A., Casey’s Corner is the spot for giant hot dogs and corn dog nuggets and fries, with tables on the sidewalk where a pianist entertains with old-fashioned tunes. In Adventureland, El Pirata Y El Perico (the Pirate and the Parrot) offers beef and vegetarian tacos and taco salad. Nearby in Frontierland, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café serves burgers (including vegetarian), a chicken wrap and chicken salad – with a terrific toppings bar.
- Next is Liberty Square, where Columbia Harbour House is the only place in Magic Kingdom for fried fish, but you also can get tuna on a toasted multigrain bun and a hummus sandwich with tomato and broccoli slaw with a side of vegetarian chili or New England clam chowder. In Fantasyland, Pinocchio Village Haus is a kid favorite with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and salads for mom and dad.
- In Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a great spot for picky eaters, with three counters: one with rotisserie chicken, barbecued ribs and salad; one with burgers and hot dogs; one with Caesar salads, wraps and barbecue sandwiches. Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station has an Asian flair with noodle bowls, beef and broccoli with steamed rice and sushi.
- Throughout the park there are walk-up windows for everything from the legendary Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Adventureland to ice cream at Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard in Fantasyland and funnel cakes at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.