Saturday, February 14, 2015

My Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Disney - 2015

Last year, I wrote a blog post called My Disney Top 10 - Table Service about my favorite table service restaurants at Disney World.  Instead of revising it, I have decided to create a 2015 version.  I am going to start with our favorite restaurants in the theme parks and Downtown Disney, then list the best restaurants for gluten free dining at the Disney Resorts.  Click on the links in this post to read full reviews of each restaurant.

1.  The Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom (lunch/dinner)

If I had to choose just one table service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, I have to give a slight edge to the Crystal Palace over my second favorite, The Plaza Restaurant.  Yes, The Plaza has Chef Ken and those amazing milkshakes, but the Crystal Palace has so many dishes that I love, and I get to enjoy them all, because it's an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet.  Their fire roasted corn spoonbread is one of my favorite gluten free dishes at Disney, and the chefs make a delicious house made brownie.  At the Crystal Palace, Winnie the Pooh and friends will stop by your table as you dine.

2.  Coral Reef Restaurant - Epcot

Before last July, we had never dined at Coral Reef Restaurant.  After dining there twice, it has achieved a spot on this list for a couple of reasons.  Their seared rainbow trout with a warm salad of white beans, arugula, tomatoes, crispy bacon, aged balsamic vinegar, and brown butter is one of the best fish dishes I have ever had in a restaurant.  They also have a delicious chocolate lava cake, and every table has a view of The Seas with Nemo & Friends aquarium, so you get to watch turtles, sharks, stingrays, a variety of fish, and even some humans swim by as you dine.  

At La Hacienda de San Angel, almost everything on the menu is naturally gluten free, or can be made gluten free, and their food is consistently amazing.  Some of my personal favorites are the beef short ribs, grilled tilapia, Pollo al Pastor (achiote marinated chicken), and the corn ice cream and chocolate mousse for dessert.  My only complaint about La Hacienda de San Angel is that they are only open for dinner.  Thankfully, if we are craving Mexican food for lunch, we can head inside the Mexico Pavilion to eat at San Angel Inn, our second favorite Mexican restaurant in Orlando.

Tusker House Restaurant is one of my favorite character meals at Disney World, and they have delicious gluten free options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  They even have a gluten free station at breakfast, where you can order Mickey Waffles made with Namaste Waffle & Pancake Mix.  Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, dressed in safari gear, will visit your table while you enjoy a variety of different gluten free dishes from the buffet, that features African and American cuisine.  We like to make reservations for the last breakfast seating, so we can eat beef bobotie, Mickey waffles, and other breakfast favorites, then stay until all the lunch dishes are out.  

Raglan Road is my top pick for Downtown Disney, because they do such an amazing job with special diets, plus how many restaurants do you know of that offer gluten free dishes like fish & chips, fried shrimp, garlic parmesan & truffle oil skinny chips (fries), onion rings, Shepherd's Pie, and strawberry apple crumble.  You can find brunch, lunch, and dinner reviews for Raglan Road on my blog.  

Sanaa is one of the best restaurants at Disney World for special diets, and features African cooking with Indian flavors.  They have gluten free and dairy free menus, and an incredible team of chefs who make gluten free naan  (the best gluten free bread in Orlando), lamb shank, and slow-cooked dishes like beef short ribs and butter chicken.  Sanaa, which might be my favorite restaurant at Disney World, is open for lunch and dinner.

Boma - Flavors of Africa has been a family favorite of ours for over a decade.  Boma features African dishes at an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet at both breakfast and dinner.  I love their wide selection of gluten free meats, vegetables, soups, salads, and desserts at dinner.  Boma is one of my favorite Disney restaurants for breakfast, mainly because of their incredible Mickey waffles with sides of bananas foster and pecan praline sauce.

8.  Trattoria al Forno - Disney's BoardWalk

Trattoria al Forno opened in December on Disney's BoardWalk, and after eating there twice, I am happy to say that I love their breakfast options as much as I loved the food at Kouzzina, the restaurant they replaced.   Our favorites include gluten free Mickey waffles with espresso mascarpone cream, which taste like tiramisu, and the scrambled eggs with tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella, served with breakfast potatoes, bacon, and Udi's gluten free toast.  Trattoria al Forno also has a wide variety of gluten free options for dinner, including fried calamari, chicken parmesan, pasta, and gelato.  They only use gluten free breadcrumbs in the restaurant, so all of their fried items and meatballs are safe for gluten free diners.

In the last year, Kona Cafe has become one of my family's favorite restaurants at Disney.  My daughters love to go to Kona for lunch and dinner, because of their Pan-Asian noodles, and the banana and chocolate creme brulee.  I prefer to go for lunch, when they serve their amazing grilled teriyaki steak with pineapple salsa.  Kona also happens to have the best chocolate lava cake at Disney World.  For breakfastlunch, and dinner, Kona Cafe has gluten free menus with plenty of great options, though we prefer to eat there for lunch and dinner.  For a table service breakfast, I recommend Boma, Trattoria al Forno, or Tusker House.  

10.  California Grill - Contemporary Resort

California Grill and Flying Fish Cafe are my two favorite signature dining restaurants at Disney World, and round out this list, tied at #10. My husband and I loved the oak-fired filet of beef with Zellwood sweet corn risotto, tomato butter, grilled corn relish, and popcorn shoots we had there on our 13th anniversary.  California Grill, at the top of the Contemporary Resort, is the best fireworks dining experience at Disney World, and the food is amazing.  If you have been craving sushi, be sure to check out their special diets sushi menu.

The Flying Fish Cafe on Disney's BoardWalk has long been one of my parents' favorite restaurants, so I was excited to hear that they had introduced a gluten free menu last year.  Their crispy calamari and rock shrimp appetizer is reason alone to pay the Flying Fish Cafe a visit, but there are plenty of other great options on their gluten free menu.

You may have noticed that there are no restaurants on this list at Hollywood Studios.  We have had good meals at The Hollywood Brown Derby, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, 50's Prime Time Cafe, and Mama Melrose's (my family's favorite), but I prefer the restaurants I chose for this list for gluten free dining.

What are your favorite table-service restaurants at Disney World?  


  1. Thank you so much for writing this!! My husband and daughter both have Celiac Disease, and we love going to WDW. Now we have a few new options to try out! Currently, our favorite table service & quick service are . . .

    Table Service:

    1) BOMA - our favorite Chef, Dave, is no longer there, but Jerry keeps it happening! Dave, if you read this, we miss you!!!

    2) Sanaa (The tomato soup and Naan bread service are our FAVORITE, but you have to ask for the "Vitoria process" which brings the bread on a ceramic plate which is on top of the wooden platter. The wooden serving trays are cross contaminated because that is what they bring regular bread on & people cut into - - we found that out the hard way!)

    3) Be Our Guest (We've enjoyed breakfast & lunch there many times with no problems!)

    4) Grand Floridian Cafe (They are so wonderful about creating off menu items to make sure those with allergies . . . However our last visit there was NOT good and we were told there was a new head chef, so I hope this is not a permanent change.)

    5) Akershus (SO GOOD! This one even fills up my husband - which is rare!)

    6) Spice Road Table (This is a hidden GEM! They will even make a GF appetizer to go for you if you stop at the bar - my husband is a huge fan of their spicy shrimp!)

    7) Jiko (This one is really, really good - it should maybe be toward the top of our list. The wild boar appetizer is our favorite appetizer on property. Jiko also makes my husband's favorite coffee - ask for the African blend from the French press. As for the entree's - we have not had a bad one there yet. We do prefer the service toward the end of the evening when it is a bit less crowded.)

    8) Tokyo Dining (I was nervous here because we tried it without have a recommendation first, but we were VERY pleasantly surprised. The tea tree soft serve ice cream is wonderful!! Be careful with the children's meals though - the plastic monorail dishes they serve the meals on pose a cross contamination hazard, so we didn't risk it.)

    Quick Service:

    1) Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom)
    2) Toy Story Pizza Planet (Hollywood Studios)
    3) Columbia Harbor House (Magic Kingdom)
    4) Sunshine Seasons (EPCOT)
    5) La Cantina San Angel (EPCOT)
    6) Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Magic Kingdom)
    7) ABC Commissary (Hollywood Studios)
    8) Flame Tree Barbecue (Animal Kingdom)

    And, there you have it! I truly look forward to trying some of your suggestions! I would like to know if you have tried 'Ohana since going gluten free? That was our absolute favorite restaurant prior to their diagnosis, but we've been afraid to try it because of a few really bad reviews we read. The best review out of those said that people needing gluten free food would be brought a separate meal all together - which spoils the whole experience if none of that delicious meat is edible. ;-)

    Thanks again!!

    1. I love your lists! Thanks for sharing. :-)
      I have breakfast and dinner reviews of 'Ohana on my blog. We enjoy eating there, especially for dinner. You can find them on the Disney page of my blog.
      Sanaa is consistently serving their GF naan on a separate plate now. :-)

    2. What do you order at Yak & Yeti quick service?

  2. Yak & Yeti quick service actually has one or two meals right off the menu that are 100% gluten free - which is SO nice not to have the long wait like usual. I am wanting to say that it is a chicken/rice/vegetable plate & then once in awhile one of the daily specials is also totally gluten free - I think the last one was a curry dish. The only other quick service that we have found that has gluten free food ready to go is Sunshine Seasons in EPCOT.

  3. Just found your blog! Thanks for all your work!! My daughter is 7 and has Celiac. Yours is the best blog yet!! I can't wait to try the naan bread. Thanks again,