Dining Review– California Grill Allergy Friendly
The California Grill is located on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It’s a fine dining, table service restaurant that serves American, seafood, and sushi cuisine. This restaurant consistently ranks at the top of everyone’s favorite places to eat on Disney property. It overlooks Magic Kingdom and arguably has the best damn fireworks viewing/dining experience at Walt Disney World! And the food is damn good, too. California Grill does have a dress code, sometimes you gotta quit being a bum to get a classy meal. Just because we’re NotClub33 doesn’t mean we don’t have class. 180 days prior to your visit you can make necessary reservations, especially if you want the incredible fireworks experience. We recommend spending $14.95 and using touringplans.com for making reservations.
When my wife and I visited Disney World this July for our 10 year wedding anniversary, I used touringplans to book a 9pm table. Talk about a lucky SOB. Not only did we get that highly coveted timeslot, but our table was positioned near a window that allowed us to also see the nighttime shows for Hollywood Studios AND Epcot!
Once we got to the Contemporary via monorail we proceeded to the 2nd floor where you check in and they confirmed our gluten allergies. (Check out our thoughts on dining with allergies at Disney). From there they whisk you into a private elevator to the 15th floor. The door opens to a wall made of wine coolers filled with over 300 hand picked bottles of wine. It’s badass.
The restaurant opens to a big dining room with panoramic views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom. The noise level was busy, but not unbearable. Most of the noise was coming from the onstage kitchen. While waiting for our table, we had the option of sitting at the bar (which was crowded) or find a couple chairs in the lounge (also crowded). We luckily found a couple chairs to sit on in the lounge area facing Cinderella’s castle. This ended up being the best place to sit for the fireworks since the balcony was closed because of weather. The cast members also didn’t allow other guests to crowd the view from the lounge which made our experience of the fireworks first class. After Magic Kingdom’s fireworks display, our table was ready.
While being seated, the waiter again confirmed our gluten allergies. He handed us menus that had everything that was available, which was essentially the whole damn menu. My wife ordered Pork Two Ways with Grilled Tenderloin, Goat Cheese Polenta, Mushrooms, and Lacquered Pork Belly. I ordered an Oak-Fired Angus filet of beef with Black Truffle Risotto and broccolini.
My medium rare filet was cooked perfectly, like cutting butter. I embarrassed my wife with a “What About Bob” moment. That shit was mouthwatering. The black truffle risotto was out of bounds good. It was an excellent complement to the filet. Overall, this meal was a 10. My wife says her Pork Two Ways was awesome, as well. Pork on pork on pork. The lacquered pork belly was the best little bite, the tenderloin was cooked perfectly, and the goat cheese polenta was a delicious balance. She tried to recreate the polenta at home with no luck. She also says her meal was 10/10.
Overall, I highly recommend the California Grill. The food is excellent, service was on pointe, and if your’re lucky enough to get a reservation around the time Magic Kingdom has fireworks, it only enhances the experience. The California Grill lives up to its reputation of one of the best signature restaurants on Disney property.