Saturday, December 6, 2014

Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Last night, my daughters and I dined at the Grand Floridian Cafe with my parents.  I was really excited for this meal, because we had never dined there before, and I had heard great things from my blog readers about this table service restaurant.  

The Grand Floridian Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and features moderately priced American cuisine.  

I decided to try the Grand Floridian Burger, which I first learned about on Instagram.  I couldn't pass up an Angus chuck burger with butter-poached lobster, red onion marmalade and arugula, with house-made chips.

I wasn't sure about the red onion marmalade, but the chef I spoke to assured me that it was sweet, and didn't have a strong onion taste.  For me, it ended up being the element that made this burger one of the best I have ever had.  I wouldn't have known the marmalade contained onion at all if I hadn't read it on the menu.  My burger was cooked to perfection, and covered with just the right amount of lobster underneath all of the arugula.  The GNI bun was nice and soft, and heated well.  

The chips, which were a mix of potato, taro, and boniato, were served with a side of mango ketchup.  They were all crispy and nicely salted, and the ketchup had a hint of sweetness from the mango.  

Gluten free dessert options include ice cream, sorbet, espresso creme brulee, or chocolate fondue.  I ended up ordering the espresso creme brulee, which I really enjoyed, but I was surprised it was called a creme brulee, because it lacked hard caramelized sugar on top.  It reminded me more of a pot de creme.  (2015 update - this dessert has now been renamed Mocha Pot de Creme, and is described as a coffee-flavored custard with whipped cream).  

My daughters ordered the chocolate fondue with fruit, brownie bites, and campfire marshmallows.  I was told that gluten free brownies are available for this dish, but my daughters didn't order them, because they do not need to eat gluten free.  

The chef that I spoke to said that all the dinner entrees at the Grand Floridian Cafe are naturally gluten free, or can be modified to be gluten free.  My mom said that the pork chop she ordered was the best she has ever had in a restaurant, and my dad raved about his salmon.  My only complaint was that it took almost 15 minutes for a chef to come to our table, which was surprising, because we were seated right after the restaurant opened.

When I asked for recommendations in my private Facebook group Gluten Free in Orlando, I was amazed at how many people responded with glowing reviews and pictures of their meals at the Grand Floridian Cafe.

March 18, 2015 Update

Last weekend, we dined at the Grand Floridian Cafe with my parents again.  This time, a chef arrived at our table just a couple of minutes after we were seated. 

There was no way I was passing up the Grand Floridian Burger, and my husband ordered it too.  In my newer photo, you can see the huge chunks of lobster on this amazing burger.  Both my husband and my daughter Katie, who ate half of his burger, loved it as much as I do. This time, I was served house made potato chips, but there were no boniato or taro chips like my husband had.  

For dessert, I wanted something light, so I ordered the pineapple sorbet, which was good, but a little sweet for my taste.  I think it would have been amazing with half pineapple sorbet and half vanilla ice cream.

November 7, 2015 Update

The Grand Floridian Cafe has allergy-friendly menus that list options for people with gluten/wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.

Gluten free appetizers include the Caesar salad, caramelized onion soup gratinee, Autumn heirloom apple salad, and chilled jumbo shrimp cocktail.  The sustainable miso glazed Verlasso salmon, New York strip steak, pan-roasted chicken breast, surf and turf burger, corn-rice pasta, and the shrimp and grits  are entrees that can be prepared gluten free.  When we had dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe last weekend, they did not have an allergy-friendly dessert menu, but the last time we dined there, options that are safe for people with gluten/wheat allergies include the seasonal sorbet, vanilla frozen dessert, assorted cookies, brownie, chocolate fondue, and the berry pyramid with mango sauce.

Kids ages 9 and under who cannot eat gluten can order the sliced apples, fruit salad, carrot and celery sticks, grilled chicken, fresh fillet of salmon, meaty macaroni, cheese pizza, chicken tenders, and worms in dirt.

My aunt and I split an Autumn heirloom apple salad and two entrees last weekend.  I really enjoyed the dried cranberries and apple cider vinaigrette on the salad.

I usually order the Surf and Turf Burger (formerly known as the Grand Floridian Burger), but I decided to try something different.  Our New York strip steak was served with roasted fingerling potatoes, which are hiding underneath the steak, and haricot verts.  I loved the herb mixture on the top of the steak, which was cooked to temperature, and my aunt and I enjoyed the vegetables.

For our second entree, we chose the sustainable miso glazed Verlasso salmon.  The salmon itself did not taste miso glazed, but I definitely tasted an Asian sauce on the green beans.  Overall, we thought both entrees were very good, and I would order them again, though next time we eat at the Grand Floridian Cafe, I think I will try the shrimp and grits.

Our server could not find an allergy-friendly dessert menu, so I had to speak to a chef, who took at least 15 to 20 minutes to arrive at our table.  I considered splitting a gluten free version of the chocolate fondue with my daughter Emma, but when the chef told me they use Hershey's syrup for gluten free diners, I decided to order a bowl of pineapple sorbet instead.  It was a little icy, and not the best sorbet I have had a Disney, but it was a nice palate cleanser, and I was in the mood for some fruit, which I requested with my sorbet.

I posted pictures of the Grand Floridian Cafe's allergy-friendly breakfast and lunch menus in my breakfast and lunch reviews.

You can read more about the Grand Floridian Cafe, view their hours and menus, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at the Grand Floridian Cafe?  


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