Tag: review

Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion serves tender steaks, fresh seafood, cheesy poutine fries and other regional cuisine inspired by the provinces of Canada. From Disney:

Under sweeping stone arches and flickering candle sconces, this sizzling steakhouse recalls the wine cellars of grand château-style hotels like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac and Fairmont Château Laurier. Enjoy such signature dishes as the Canadian cheddar cheese soup and the “Le Cellier” mushroom filet mignon—or, for a lunch-time exclusive option, design your own 3-course feast from a selection of luscious prix fixe menu choices. And for a sweet ending to any meal, save room for maple crème brûlée or one of our other decadent desserts!

le cellier

I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Le Cellier twice and enjoyed both experiences greatly. The first time was during the Christmas holidays; the restaurant was decorated in a festive but understated way with garland and white lights. We had a wonderful time.

When we had the chance to return last month, we were worried that our meal, and our impression of Le Cellier, wouldn’t live up to the first impression it gave. Luckily, it very much did.

le cellier

My husband and I both started with the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup. Made with Moosewood Beer and Applewood Smoked Bacon, this is unbelievably tasty. I thought it would be fun to dip Le Cellier’s famous pretzel bread in the soup, but in all honesty that made for too salty of a bite. As an aside, when we tried the “same” soup at Biergarten last year, we found it overall too salty, as well. But the soup offered up at Le Cellier is perfect.

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We tried the poutine on our previous visit and… we’re not fans. I love a good french fry and my husband does as well. But we like fries that are crisp, on the outside at least, and drowning fries in gravy or cheese creates a texture we’re not fond of. You know, my mother used to make what was, I’m told, a fantastic pork roast. I don’t like pork roast, though. So even the best pork roast in the world, which for all I know hers might have been, wasn’t ever going to be my favorite thing to eat. It’s the same thing with poutine. Le Cellier’s might be fantastic, if you like that kind of thing. We found it soggy. But it might be just what you’re looking at on a plate of smothered fries.

For the main course, I can never resist filet mignon. Le Cellier’s is served on a bed of mushroom risotto and with an asparagus relish (which I omitted) and truffle butter sauce. The risotto is creamy and rich; I didn’t quite finish all of it as a result. If I had one complaint it might be that the flavor is a little too strong and could overwhelm the flavor of the filet.

le cellier

The beef itself was cooked to an absolutely perfect medium rare, as requested. It had a nice char, but truly could be eaten with a butter knife, it was so tender. And delicious — drenched in the truffle butter, this might have been the most wonderful steak I’ve ever had. Is it buttery and rich? Yes. If you don’t like your beef that way, you might want to ask them to omit the sauce. I personally couldn’t resist ever bit just as it was.

Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Disney World's Epcot lived up to expectations & then some. Click To Tweet

le cellier

My husband enjoyed the Angus New York Strip, and he felt just as I did about the beef — perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. As per the menu it is normally served with a potato turnip gratin and crispy onions. This didn’t appeal to him (personally, I love turnips) so he asked if he could substitute the sides for those which normally accompany the Rib-Eye instead. Of course his request was accommodated, and so instead he enjoyed Crisp Fingerling Potatoes and Frisée salad with Bacon Viniagrette and Heirloom Carrots. He wasn’t excited about any of them; the salad was okay and the rest unmemorable.

Another disappointment was the side of Smoked Macaroni & Cheese that we ordered to share. We were debating between that and the Loaded Mashed Potatoes, and I think we should have gone the other way (next time!). The dish was creamy and the bacon crumble added nice texture, but when they say “Smoked”, they mean smoked. I found the flavor way too smoky. The portion size was very generous, though, and this was easily shared.

On our previous visit, my husband ordered the creamed spinach and enjoyed it very much. Our waitress also recommended the aforementioned Loaded Mashed Potatoes (and I ignored her, more fool I) so those are two sides you might want to give a try if smoky cheese isn’t your thing either.

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Finally, we arrived at dessert — who can resist? And neither of us could resist ordering the house specialty, the Maple Crème Brûlée. I can very highly recommend it, especially if you don’t have too much room left for dessert. The served dish wasn’t skimpy, but the creamy brûlée was light and airy, and didn’t feel overwhelming. The whipped cream tasted fresh, and the crisp, crunchy maple tasted wonderful. We were both very glad of our choice.

le cellier

Overall, we had a wonderful time at Le Cellier. You have to want steak, and you have to want it buttery and seasoned.  If you’re a fan of poutine, as well, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. The service was excellent and we enjoyed our experience there, both times. Give it a try and see if you agree that Le Cellier is not to be missed.

Review: Tiana’s Riverboat Party and Festival of Fantasy parade viewing

I recently had the chance to attend Tiana’s Riverboat Party – Ice Cream Social at Walt Disney World, complete with a VIP viewing location of the Festival of Fantasy parade. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and special experience on a Magic Kingdom afternoon.

Riverboat paradeThe party begins with check-in at the Liberty Riverboat dock, 45 minutes before the parade begins. However, as with most things of this nature at Disney, we were allowed in 15 minutes before that, at 2 PM, instead of 2:15.

At the boat dock you’re greeted by a plethora of Cast Members and a variety of treats. The desserts and ice cream are pre-plated for you, with ice cream fixings on a side table.

riverboat paradeThere is almost no seating on the dock — just one bench right at the door — just tables scattered around for standing. You are welcome to go on the boat at any time, where there are seats to be found, but if you want to meet Tiana right away, you need to stay on the dock. Having said that, there’s plenty of time to go back and forth, and more meet & greet opportunities later.

Tiana leaves for the parade and the Liberty Belle Riverboat pulls away from the dock, just slightly moving closer to the street and parade path. This map shows the parade route (yellow line) and where the boat parks for the duration of the parade (orange).

riverboat parade

The big question is, is the view any good from there? I would answer yes and no. It was better than I was worried it would be, and yet there were still some issues. There’s plenty of room to line up along the railing of the boat to watch; we were on the upper level, where I would assume the angel is best. And you can see rather well, considering:

riverboat parade

But unless you stand in the exact right spot at the railing, there are a lot of trees in the way. Also, you’re not up close and personal, to be sure. Lastly, you miss out on seeing the front of the floats, since they go by you, not towards you, if that makes sense. It’s not a bad view, and if you’ve seen Festival of Fantasy before, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just fine. But if you haven’t, or if you have little ones who enjoy the characters waving to them and interacting, you might be disappointed.

riverboat paradeAfter the parade, Tiana and Naveen rejoin the party and the Liberty Belle takes a cruise around the Rivers of America, circling Tom Sawyer Island. You can relax, meet & greet, and enjoy more snacks. Drinks and popcorn were available in ample supply.

One thing I hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere was the fact that a PhotoPass photographer was available during both the party and the cruise. I assume he took meet & greet photos, but he also was happy & willing to take any number of shots of visitors at the railing, watching the parade, or any other pose your heart might desire. It was nice — we love getting all the poses we can.

riverboat paradeOverall, we had a very nice time at the party. Cast members were above and beyond in regards to helpfulness and customer service. Treats and snacks were plentiful. The riverboat ride was relaxing, and it was nice to have a place to watch the parade from. But it wasn’t an ideal place. I can’t help thinking this special event would work better if, when it was time for the parade, guests were escorted off the boat and to a reserved viewing area on the street, much as they do for other parades, and then back onto the boat for the cruise. I still recommend the party the way it is, but think Disney should consider this small adjustment and improve the experience further.

Tiana’s Riverboat Party & Ice Cream Social tickets are available for $49 per adult and $29 for children ages 9 and under (tax included). For reservations, you can book online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463.