REVIEW: Sebastian’s Bistro Goes From Forgettable Misstep To Hidden Gem Thanks To New Menu at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

When Sebastian’s Bistro opened at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort back in October 2018, we tried everything at lunch and even published a somewhat positive review, but by the time we went back for dinner that same night, it was all so forgettable that we didn’t really feel motivated enough to write a review.

In the interest of fairness to the restaurant, we finally decided to go back since the dinner menu had changed. In recent years, Disney has turned to developing many of their menus at an on-site flavor lab. Since this flavor lab was implemented, we’ve found that very few Disney-owned and operated restaurants lack consistent quality in their menus. A number of recent restaurants offer lineups that are half delicious and half terrible, leading to confusion as to how they could all come out of the same kitchen (i.e. Toledo Tapas, Steak & Seafood and Toppolino’s Terrace). The main issue stems from the creation of said menus, as chefs at these locations are merely given menus to abide by in most cases, instead of letting each restaurant’s individual culinary team taste and develop menus for themselves.

Sebastian’s Bistro experienced a bit of a renaissance, as chefs were allowed to eliminate certain menu items dictated by the flavor lab that they didn’t feel were working and instead develop menu items they thought could be well-executed and cater better to guest tastes. This is ultimately what has led them to become one of the better table service restaurants on property, in my opinion. Ever since the chefs turned this menu around, it has become a restaurant I want to go back to all the time.

Sebastian’s Bistro features prominent artwork highlighting the namesake crab from The Little Mermaid. Like the rest of the revamped Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the restaurant features a classy, upscale take on breezy Caribbean design. Dinner, and only dinner, is served from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Lunch service at the restaurant ended in January 2019.

Sebastian’s Bistro Dinner Menu

You may remember the fancy wood-engraved, magnetic-close menus that were a part of the restaurant’s grand opening. Well, they’re gone now; replaced by just the bare paper menu. Servers said that they will return though, once menus that fit in them are acquired.

Gold Medallion – $11.50

Cruzan Disney Select Single Barrel Rum, Beefeater Gin, Bols Apricot Brandy, and Orgeat (Almond), with Orange and Lime Juices topped with Soda Water

My personal favorite, it’s exactly the kind of drink I expect to have at a tropical bar. I like fruity drinks and I’ve had a lot around Walt Disney World, but this is one of the best. You can check out our thoughts on the rest of the specialty cocktail menu from Sebastian’s Bistro in our review here.

Caribbean Pull-Apart Rolls – $12.00

Guava Butter, Onion Jam, and Jamaican Jerk Oil

These pull-apart rolls were the only thing we really liked on our first trips to Sebastian’s Bistro, and they were just as good this time around. Soft and tearable into perfectly buttery layers, these are a mighty contender to the fan-favorite Parker House Rolls at Ale & Compass. However, with those rolls, you can only break them into so many pieces. Here, one piece offers you plenty of slices to share and try all of the sauces, even more than once.

These are incredibly well-made, so don’t skip out on them. Do note that these used to come with mango chutney during the “flavor lab” days, and while it was thematically correct, it just wasn’t very good. The onion jam is so delicious, we’re okay with it being not overly tropical.

Coconut Shrimp and Grits – $26.00

Hand-breaded Jumbo Shrimp, Cheesy Grits, Charred Corn, and Roasted Pepper Coulis

If you’re in the mood for crispy, crunchy, coconut fried shrimp, this is the dish for you. Between the cheesy grits and slightly charred corn, all of the flavors work really well. The shrimp are quite sizeable, ready-to-eat with their tails removed, and not entirely just breading, either. There’s a pleasant coconut flavor, a nice crunch to every bite, and plenty of shrimp inside.

Taste of the Caribbean – $32.00

Served with Black Beans and Cilantro Rice. Choose any three: Jerk Chicken, Slow-cooked Pork, Coconut Shrimp, Goat Curry, or Plant-based Curry

Here, we went with the aforementioned Coconut Shrimp, plus some Jerk Chicken and Slow-cooked Pork. This is definitely the dish to get if you’re super hungry, as it’s piled high with hearty servings of each protein of choice. It also feels like more than enough for the price-point. You get an entire section of perfectly grilled chicken that’s glazed with an addictive rum glaze. Plus, it’s perfectly tender and well-seasoned. The pork was a little dry in spots, but overall, it was also very good. The rice and beans at the base of the dish were great, especially when paired with the rum glaze. In fact, I’d even recommend you asked for more glaze on the side to mix it all together.

Grilled Skirt Steak – $28.00

Crispy Yuca, Baby Bell Peppers, and Chimichurri

This steak is perfectly cooked, and a giant portion for the price. Two of us at the table went with the steak, and we were all very happy with it. It was tender and full of flavor, and paired with the yuca bites.

The steak was also cooked to a perfect temperature, with no gristly pieces in sight. The arugula, roasted peppers, and pickled onions make for a nice vegetable mix on the side as well.

Overall

As you can see, there wasn’t a cocktail, appetizer, or entree that fell short from our expectations during this meal. Walt Disney World has some truly talented chefs and culinary teams, and when you let them do their thing without the pressure of data-driven formulaic dining experiences, you get honestly good food on property. If you haven’t been to Sebastian’s Bistro because of the middling reviews, you should give it another chance. It’s a nice escape from the hustle-and-bustle of the theme parks and the food is far better than most in-park eateries.

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