REVIEW: Lunch at New Primo Piatto in Disney’s Riviera Resort is Affordable Fast Casual Dining at its Freshest and Finest
If you’ve been following along with our coverage of Disney’s Riviera Resort, you’ve probably noticed that a large part of that coverage is essentially eating everything the newly opened resort has to offer, from Signature Dining to Character Breakfast and everything in between. While reviews from Topolino’s Terrace were night and day, there’s one spot on property that never failed to impress, and that’s Primo Piatto. From the effortless ordering process, to the Coke Freestyle machines, to the fabulous plates and silverware, the fast casual counter service is a surefire hit, if not one of the best at Walt Disney World. Let’s take a quick tour of the space before digging into all of the afternoon lunch offerings at the restaurant.
Primo Piatto – Entrance and Registers
You can access Primo Piatto on the first floor of the resort, just off the pool gates and adjacent to the Bocce Ball lawn. If you’re on the West Wing, it’s a bit of a trek across the resort, but if you’re staying in the East Wing, you’re just an elevator ride away. (I recommend that if yours is a park-centric stay, to request the West Wing for easy access to the Skyliner. If you’re just planning an all-day resort trip, request the East Wing.)
Some cheese plates, charcuterie, and pre-made sandwiches are also available.
Primo Piatto – Bakery Case and Coffee Bar
A heated case features pastries, and some savory items like a Potato Gratin.
In the corner you have a full-service espresso and coffee bar for specialty drinks. You can also pay for any of your To-Go items here.
Primo Piatto – Condiment Station
The condiment station is fairly well equipped with all the sauces you’d imagine, plus some tiny jams by Smuckers, Heinz Honey Mustard, Twinings teas, Coffee Mate, and Nestle Hot Chocolate. Assorted sugar packets are also available.
Best of all, dining here is a silverware affair, with navy blue napkins rolled up with forks and knives by the counter. Make sure you grab a set before heading over to your table.
Hot tea and coffee stations sit in between the Coke Freestyle machines. The plain coffee here was surprisingly good, and they had a carafe of Almond Milk for non-dairy drinkers. The Freestyle machines were kept constantly stocked with assorted syrups. If you happen to visit during the holidays, I suggest trying out the special Holiday Mix sodas available in the upper right corner of the menu.
Primo Piatto – Seating
Since this is a fast casual concept, you’re given a tracker so your food can find you. Do note that since dishes are apparently made to order here, it does take a solid 15-20 minutes to receive your food, but rest assured it will arrive fresh and piping hot each and every time.
There’s lots of different seating available, from high-top tables to classic four-tops, two-tops, and a wall of benches with vintage Walt Disney photos at the top.
One thing we loved was all of these built-in USB ports and electrical sockets, so you can always stay connected.
You can watch your dishes come out in this open expo kitchen, where chefs are hard at work making your meals.
Much like quick service restaurants at Disneyland Resort, Cast Members promptly swoop in to clean up your table once you’re finished eating. (It feels indulgent, but they insist!) There are also these elaborate trash stations where you can dispose of any garbage, recycle any plastics or paper, and leave your trays and dishes.
Lunch at Primo Piatto – Sandwiches, Salads, Sides, and Pasta
For our first round, we decided to try a variety of items spanning from sandwiches, to pasta, to soup.
It all came plated beautifully, with all the proper garnishes, and piping hot (before we took a hundred photos, that is.)
Croque Monsieur – $12.99
Classic French Ham and Swiss served with choice of Side
While I’m partial to the Be Our Guest version, this one is just as tasty. You have two thick slices of white country bread holding together copious amounts of cured French ham, all topped with Swiss cheese and chopped chives.
You will need a knife and fork for this endeavor due to the solid cheese top and fluffy bread. This sandwich isn’t pressed, so it’s thick and cumbersome. See that Tomato Soup in the back? We got that as our side, and highly recommend dipping forkfuls of sandwich in for an added tasty tang.
At $13, it’s somewhat expensive for a sandwich, but fans of the cheesy French creation will be happy to have the option available outside of a park, and with the right side, you can really turn this into a cozy, filling meal.
Tomato Soup – $4.59
The tomato soup as a separate side is expensive, as it isn’t much soup for $5, but as an accompaniment to a sandwich, it’s a great value. The tomato soup here is extra zippy with just a hint of cream and herbs, plus some hearty herbed croutons. For a rainy resort day, paired with a hot sandwich, it can’t be beat.
Shrimp Pasta – $15.99
Linguini tossed with Sautéed Shrimp, Fennel, Capers, and Roasted Garlic in a White Wine Lemon Sauce finished with Fresh Parsley
If you’ve read our Topolino’s Terrace dinner review, you probably know how disappointed I was at their much-hyped, yet poorly executed Shrimp Linguine. I hesitated to order this the very next day, afraid of more watery shrimp and overcooked pasta, but the lovely Cast Member assured me that it was her favorite dish there, and was so sure I’d like it, she even offered to swap in a different meal if I ended up not liking it… which thankfully was not the case here.
This Shrimp Pasta is excellent. Not only did it have more shrimp than at the signature dining restaurant upstairs, they were all seared and cooked to perfection, with a few massive shrimp mixed in for good measure.
The linguine here was cooked perfectly al dente, and with a light, savory sauce that coated every thread of pasta. Even the garnish here worked well, with slivers of fennel adding some extra crunch. I’d definitely order this again, and at $16, you have a dish that could easily cost $30 at any table service restaurant in the parks.
Riviera Burger – $14.49
1/3 lb Grilled Signature-blend Burger with Brisket and Chuck topped with Provolone, Grilled Portobello, Caramelized Onions, Tomato, and Garlic-Mayonnaise on a Toasted Brioche Bun served with choice of Side
We all kind of fought over who’d get to review the signature Riviera Burger, although ultimately it was in vain, because the burger wasn’t really a stand-out.
While these are cooked to order, our requested medium burger was decidedly well-done, and the dried-out patty really brought down the sandwich as a whole.
Despite the copious savory toppings and quality cheese, there just wasn’t much flavor to the burger. We’d be willing to give it a second try in hopes that it’s cooked to a juicy medium, but for being the namesake burger of the resort, we were somewhat disappointed. While the bun certainly looked fresh, the bottom half was also very hard.
Romano & Herb Fries – $4.49
The fries here suffered from a similar issue. We imagined something akin to truffle fries, where each fry is coated with sharp romano cheese and plenty of specks of green herbs, but we found ourselves picking out the more seasoned-looking ones, which at best had two specks of cheese and herbs.
Granted, these were still really good fries (certainly McDonald’s-like, which I consider a positive), we just wished that they came packed with more flavor.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich – $12.49
Balsamic-marinated Grilled Chicken with a Sun-dried Tomato Relish, Spinach-Artichoke Spread, and Mozzarella on Toasted Focaccia served with a choice of Side
No one expected the lowly Chicken Sandwich to be as good as it was, but we were all pretty much blown away. A thick, perfectly blackened grilled chicken breast rests on savory-soft Focaccia bread and is topped with herbs, mozzarella slices, and roasted tomatoes. The Spinach-Artichoke spread ties it all together.
Served with fries (or your choice of side), this is an incredibly filling sandwich that can be halved and shared as a snack between two people. At $13, it’s a way better value than the Croque Monsieur, and arguably tastier than the burger.
Tuna Niçoise Salad – $13.99
Seared Rare Tuna on Crispy Greens tossed with Potatoes, Hard-boiled Egg, and a Dijon Vinaigrette
We were excited to see the Tuna Nicoise salad on the menu since it’s a fresh, filling option that’s a real treat for those of us who enjoy seared tuna. All of the components here are delicious, with quartered boiled eggs, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and black olives studding the fresh field greens. The Dijon dressing is also delicious. My only complaint is that the tuna was definitely on the too-fishy side, but that wouldn’t stop me from giving it a second try, and at $14, it’s very accessible.
Fresh Plant-based Artisan Hearth-baked Pizza topped with Carrot-top Pesto, Plant-based Mozzarella, Eggplant, Red Onion, Roasted Tomato, and Arugula
Yes, you’ll be made fun of by others at the table for essentially ordering salad-topped pizza, but in this case, it’s worth the hassle. This pizza won’t change your life, but it certainly is unique and piled high with surprisingly fresh, and not mushy roasted veggies.
Instead of making this “Pizza––but with vegan cheese!”, they went for a full-on innovative twist on the usual veggie pizza. The smokey bits of slightly burnt dough mixed with the in-depth flavors of the veggies makes for a really good bite, and the Carrot-top Pesto almost reminds me of the classic Lebanese flatbread, za’atar man’ouche.
Margherita – $11.99
Fresh Artisan Hearth-baked Pizza topped with Tomato Sauce, Heirloom Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Grated Romano finished with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fresh-cut Basil
Another good option, but I think this one was direly lacking in cheese. The heirloom tomatoes are distinctly juicy and not gritty or sandy, and the basil adds an authentic twist of flavor, but if you get any of these flatbreads, make it the Sausage and Pepperoni, or the Farm-Fresh.
Sausage and Pepperoni – $11.99
Fresh Artisan Hearth-baked Pizza topped with Tomato Sauce, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Provolone, and Grated Romano
I’m not usually a meat lovers pizza type of person, but this was delicious. For the price, you get an even layer of sausage slices and pepperoni dotting each segment. I would’ve liked to see those extra savory tiny pepperoni slices they use at Via Napoli here, but for $12, you get a well-balanced pie.
Overall, Primo Piatto shines as the newest counter-service restaurant at Walt Disney World, and if you’re at either EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (especially the latter) and are looking for an excellent lunch, plan on catching a Disney Skyliner gondola over to relax, recharge, and enjoy some high-quality food served on real plates.