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Orlando Counter Society

jiko.jpgNab one of eight counter seats facing the kitchen’s giant, twin clay ovens at one of Disney’s most exciting restaurants. Nosh on the off-the-menu sampler platter of appetizers, then move on to the smoky wood-grilled pork tenderloin with sweet potato dumplings and a brothy mushroom ragout, or, my favorite, the chermoula roasted Tanglewood chicken.

California Grill

This may be the most difficult ticket in town, but Disney’s legendary dining mecca located high atop the Contemporary Resort offers two seats at the kitchen counter, four seats in front of Yoshie’s sushi counter, and two facing the pastry counter (YUM!). You can request your preference when reserving a table, but nothing is guaranteed. Try to time your meal to see the MagicKingdom fireworks from the restaurant’s observation deck afterward.


Perched in front of the exhibition kitchen are the eight seats of the Chef’s Food Bar. Pick from the 2,000-bottle wine display, then kibitz with the chefs and catch the up close action of this exciting restaurant. Make your dining reservations up to six months in advance to assure yourself a place.

Tchoup Chop

At this gorgeous restaurant’s ten-seat counter guests may order off the regular menu or choose the $48, 4-course Chef’s Tasting Menu. But those in the know set aside the second Saturday of the month for the 5-course Teppanyaki Dinner where the lightning quick chef provides the show.

Flying Fish

Serious food devotees adore the whimsical surroundings at this Disney Boardwalk restaurant, but a lucky few can observe the creativity center stage at eleven seats around the bustling, open kitchen. Dining choices include some of Disney’s most inspired seafood or even sizzling steaks and chops. Like California Grill, the counter is only by request upon arrival.
Editor’s Note: This is one of Lou’s personal favorites and is VERY highly recommended!

Cala Bella
Rosen Shingle Creek’s signature restaurant serves Italian bistro fare in a lovely Tuscan atmosphere. Three counters seating four allows ringside views of the buzzing presentation kitchen where friendly waiters and a forthcoming chef will keep you entertained for hours.