As far back as I can remember, when my family has wanted to mark a special occasion, we have typically done so by indulging in a multi-course meal at a restaurant specializing in exceptionally prepared and presented fresh seafood. Whether fish or shellfish—from seawater or freshwater—we have enjoyed lingering over meals in order to better appreciate the sumptuous cuisine as well as to extend our time spent together. Over the years, I have learned that when such a meal concludes, only the memories of the delicious food and shared moments remain. Many of those times are ones I will remember and carry with me forever.
That having been conveyed, it probably will surprise you to learn that we have yet to enjoy a seafood dining experience at a premier location at Walt Disney World (WDW). Unfortunately, our vacation itineraries and priorities always bring us to the end of our trip repeating the same phrase, “Maybe next time.” Believe me, it is an often lamented reality that has resulted in my mother and me adding it to our “WDW Bucket List”.
Though my family and I continue to look forward to our special occasion seafood meal in a WDW fine dining or informal table service restaurant, I continue to research the ever-changing options to do so. Here are some options for satisfying a variety of seafood cravings at WDW:
For me, the obvious choice for crab is Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney. In my family’s world, the only true crab legs are Alaskan King Crab Legs. At dinnertime, Fulton’s serves up the succulent, colossal crustaceans in three ways. First, at the Stone Crab Raw Bar, guests can enjoy “Alaska King crab with shrimp cocktail, Ahi tuna, lettuce cups, lump crab and oysters on the half shell” in a menu item known as the Fulton’s Seafood Tower for Two or for Four. Second, the Louis Fulton’s Ultimate Crab and Lobster Experience for Two or for Four treats crab lovers to a trio of “Alaska Snow, Pacific Northwest Dungeness, and Alaska King crab served with red skin potatoes and corn on the cob.” Third, if guests simply want crab all to themselves, they can select the Alaska King which is “1 1/4 pounds served with red potatoes and corn on the cob.” My family and I will take five of the Alaska King, please!
My WDW bucket list has long included a reservation at Narcoossee’s located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; more specifically, a reservation at a table with a view of Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. If that were taking place tonight, I would choose to enjoy dining on the Two-Pound Steamed Maine Lobster with “Fallen Corn Soufflé with Malted Popcorn Sauce and Broccolini.” I have no idea what “Malted Popcorn Sauce” is, but I am very intrigued!
The reincarnation of the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has brought about a menu teeming with seafood options. As one of the few restaurants offering scallops at WDW, Disney’s California Grill makes the right choice by opting for fresh, giant sea scallops over the much smaller bay scallops. Here, the seared Jumbo Scallops are served with “Brentwood Sweet Corn succotash, Pero-Farms Green Beans, Piquillo Pepper Rouille.” The presentation is modern yet understated, which allows the mouthwatering scallops to be the star of the dish. Its refined appearance leads me to believe that it is an entrée with a sophisticated, multi-layering of flavors.
When it comes to seafood, specifically shrimp, it is a popular appetizer—commonly known as shrimp cocktail—that quickly comes to mind. In most instances, it consists of large, shelled, cold, boiled shrimp hooked on the rim of a martini glass filled with a tomato-base dipping sauce that contains prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and a variety of spices. At La Cava del Tequila located inside the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase, the familiar appetizer is prepared Acapulco-style, and is anything but common. While the hotspot might be better known for its extensive list of tequilas, Mexican beers, top-shelf cocktails and wines, it is also appreciated for its flavorful tapas-style or quick tastes menu options. On the limited item menu, it is listed simply as Shrimp Cocktail. The culture-themed dish is, quite literally, served like a cocktail. Here the cooked and chilled shrimp are placed in and not on a stem-less martini glass, then covered with a spicy marinated tomato sauce, and topped off with a variety of garnishes to complete the cocktail. Served with fried corn tortilla chips, this version of the shrimp cocktail is a cultural feast for the eyes, and, no doubt, for the stomach as well.
Though Disney’s California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), The Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Le Cellier Steakhouse (Epcot World Showcase), and several other dining locations across the property offer notably unique salmon dishes, it is the signature dish at Artist Point (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort) that I crave. On our honeymoon, my husband selected the Cedar Plank-roasted King Salmon with Pear and Smoked Pork Belly Hash and Ginger Glaze. It was an extremely enjoyable, memory-making culinary experience for both of us. Over the years, the items paired with the Cedar Plank-roasted King Salmon have changed; nevertheless, the perfectly prepared smoked fish has never left the menu. Currently, it comes with “Fregola Pasta, English Spring Peas, Brentwood Sweet Corn, Peppadew Peppers, Cipollini Onions, Pea Nage, Sun-dried Tomato and Cabernet Aioli”.
Readers, I want to know from you, where can I find the best seafood dishes? Have you tried any of the restaurants or menu items I listed above. Please let me know which location would best satisfy my cravings.
Kendall began visiting Walt Disney World in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband. As a child, she and her family filled vacations with challenges such as “How many times can we ride Splash Mountain during SpectroMagic and the fireworks?” (Answer: 7) Now, after marrying a converted Disney skeptic, she and her husband enjoy challenges such as “How many hours can we eat nonstop at the Food & Wine Festival?” (Answer: 4)