PHOTOS, REVIEW: Narcoosee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Promises Signature Dining, But Only Delivers Memorable Appetizers and Desserts
As a Signature Dining experience located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Narcoosee’s promises to deliver the very best in fine dining. Wondering if the experience was worth the cost, we decided to return to Narcoosees for its reopening. For me, it would be my first meal here in 19 years.
Located on the waterfront of Seven Seas Lagoon, this restaurant provides a scenic view of the water and Magic Kingdom right across the lake. Narcoosee’s offers coastal American cuisine with traditional combinations of steak and seafood.
Narcoosee’s — Arrival
After arriving at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we followed the path to Narcoosee’s until we arrive at its front door.
Signs met us to inform us about social distancing policies. A QR code was available to virtually check-in.
Narcoosee’s posted an outdoor menu to give us time to think about what we wanted to tasted this evening. Of course, the menu is also available in the My Disney Experience app.
Narcoosee’s — Check-in
Inside, we made our way to the hostess to check in. She wasted no time in leading us to our table.
The stunning view from the dining room oversees the Seven Seas Lagoon. Whenever fireworks or the Electrical Water Pageant might return, it’s worth noting that guests not even dining at the restaurant are allowed to crowd the patio and block the view from inside.
Narcoosee’s — The Menu
Although we already previewed the menu outside, the hostess provided us a scannable QR code for easy access of the dinner menu at our table.
We received a paper drink menu along with a list of specialty cocktails.
Next, a server delivered bread to the table, and asked for our drink order. The bread was dry, requiring a bit of butter to improve its texture.
Narcoosee’s — Cocktails
To start our dining experience, we order three cocktails from the menu.
Pumpkin Spice Martini — $13.00
RumChata Stoli’s Vanilla Vodka, and Pumpkin Spice with a Graham Cracker rim.
The presentation of this drink appeared very attractive. The graham cracker rim fit nicely with the floating pumpkin spice and the creamy martini. The colors and textures definitely puts you in autumn frame of mind.
Those who enjoy the way pumpkin spice takes over the fall season will love this drink, as long as they also like a good martini. The pumpkin spice doesn’t overpower your senses the way it seems to at every coffeehouse this time of year. It’s there but doesn’t dominate the drink, giving it an overall pleasant flavor.
Even if pumpkin spice and autumn flavors aren’t your thing, you may enjoy this cocktail. However, we noticed the rich, creamy texture and flavor of this martini. Lactose intolerant drinkers should probably avoid this one. One almost begs the question, “Do you want vodka with your milk?”
Narcoosee’s Sidecar — $16.00
Remy Martin VSOP, Cointreaur, and Odwalla Lemonade with a Surgared Rim
Just looking at this sidecar, you could feel excited. The deep color and crystalline, sugared rim promises refreshment. However, as far as sidecars go, this barely earns the title. It really isn’t balanced well like a traditional sidecar, likely thrown off by the lemonade. I understand it is supposed to be different from the traditional version, but it doesn’t work.
Grand Martini — $14.00
Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord, and a Splash of Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial
The last cocktail redeemed our trust in the bartenders who mixed the sidecar. This martini delivered a bolt of delicious flavor that was potent, yet balanced. The raspberries themselves were infused with liquor. The smoothness of this drink as it went down tricked us a bit, since it delivered a powerful punch of alcohol to the system. The grand martini definitely stands out as one of the more memorable martinis at any bar at Walt Disney World Resort.
Narcoosee’s — Appetizers
Barbecued Crispy Eggplant — $14.00
Red Quinoa – Cabbage Slaw (Plant-based)
We certainly love a tasty eggplant dish. This appetizer appeared ready to delight us with its crispy outer coating and the thick barbecue sauce coating the eggplant as it sat upon a bed of red quinoa.
Unfortunately, this eggplant turned out to be the worst we ever tried at Walt Disney World. The crispy breading flaked off before we could even place the eggplant on our plates. The breading may have been forgivable if the flavor wasn’t so awful. Though hard to pin down, we agreed that something was off about the flavor. Perhaps it hadn’t been cooked properly.
We wouldn’t recommend the eggplant under any circumstances. The eggplant parmesan at Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs tasted much better than this unappetizing appetizer. Of course, that dish hasn’t earned our stamp of approval, either.
Barbecue-grilled Shrimp and Grits — $19.00
Wild Florida Shrimp with Barbecue Sauce, Low Country Grits, Cherrywood-smoked Bacon, and Pickled Green Tomato Chow-chow
The wonderfully grilled shrimp with charred edges covered with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and flavored with smoky bacon lit up our senses. The aromas combined to entice our taste buds, especially after our disappointing encounter with the eggplant.
Pairing the grilled shrimp with the grits provided flavor that we didn’t expect. The chefs grilled the shrimp perfectly, avoiding overcooking it to dry, rubbery texture. Blending the shrimp with the creamy grits made for a delicious combination that outperformed everything else we ate that night.
In our opinion this appetizer stood out as the outlier on a menu of rather unappealing dishes. We recommend that you order the barbecued-grilled shrimp and grits, if you happen to dine at Narcoosee’s. Perhaps this should be all you order from the appetizer and entrée menus, if you want to avoid disappointment.
Narcoosee’s — Entrees
Surf & Turf with Pan-seared Scallops — $54.00
6-oz Sirloin Steak with Pan-Seared Scallops, Yukon Gold Mash, Roasted Carrots, and Cipollini Onions.
How could we go wrong with a tender steak, scallops, and mash potatoes? This mixture of land and sea has often filled a delicious dish for fine dining restaurants. The coloring of the steak and scallops promised tenderness and flavor. We even upgraded to the filet mignon to ensure that we tasted a great cut of beef.
However, disappointment crouched around the corner. We cut into the steak immediately, hoping to see a nice, pink, tender center. We did, but it was still one of the tougher filets we have tasted. In fact, we would recommend a host of other restaurants at Walt Disney World to provide a better steak, and many at lower prices. Despite coming from a Signature Dining restaurant, this steak wouldn’t even make the top ten list of delicious steaks.
The scallops didn’t fare much better. Though wonderfully pan-seared to a nice golden brown color, the flavors remained inconsistent. With only three scallops, we tasted varying degrees of fishiness. The overall experience felt mediocre at best, which is unacceptable for this price point.
Mashed potatoes don’t usually present culinary challenges in the kitchen, but we were surprised to find that ours did. We didn’t expect such low quality potatoes from a Signature Dining restaurant, let alone restaurants much lower on the dining scale. These potatoes flowed in a liquid mush and tasted like instant mashed potatoes.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi – $34.00
Poma Rosa Tomato ‘Meat’ Ragu and Micro Sage (Plant-based)
A relatively small portion, but it’s gnocchi, so it’s on the heavier side. It’s a rich and creamy dish, surprisingly so since it is vegan-friendly. It’s a comforting dish that might be challenging to raise to the signature dining level, but its at least a good attempt.
The soy bits may be off-putting to some, but we think most with dietary restrictions prompting the order of such a dish will be satisfied.
Pan-seared Line Caught Swordfish — $48.00
Toy Box Tomatoes, Marble Potatoes, Basil Aïoli
The presentation of this dish really engaged our senses. The tomatoes and potatoes surrounded by the basil aïoli created a wonderful palette of color. The golden, seared swordfish would certainly deliver flavor that dazzled our culinary imaginations. We hoped that our experience with the surf & turf dish would not be repeated.
The swordfish did not disappoint us. In fact, we labeled it the best entrée of the evening. Though we still preferred the shrimp and dish appetizer, this dish outperformed the steak, scallops, and sweet potato gnocchi by a large margin.
The size of the swordfish fillet satisfied our hunger, and the seasoning delighted our tastes. We felt that this was a flavorful meal that anyone who loves seafood should order. In fact, this entrée drove home the message of the evening:
Stick to the seafood! Don’t mess with anything else.
Narcoosee’s — Dessert
After our meal, we perused the dessert menu to see what delectable treats would be offered.
Banana Cream Tart — $13.00
With Salted Caramel and Whipped Cream
Though the presentation isn’t bad, we weren’t impressed. The banana cream tart surprised us, because we felt it only rose to the quality of a counter service dessert. Gasparilla Island Grill, a quick service restaurant, serves desserts similar to this.
It didn’t taste horrible. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all. However, paying $13.00 at a Signature Dining restaurant seemed a bit much for the level of quality.
S’mores Tart — $8.00 (Kid’s Menu)
At the suggestion of our server, we ordered a dessert off of the kid’s menu. Rather than using a standard pie crust for creating this tart, this dessert uses actual graham cracker. Of course, what would s’mores be without graham cracker? The blend of the cracker, rich chocolate and marshmallow really conjured up images of campfire deliciousness.
Digging into the s’mores tart, we experienced the blend of the three essential ingredients, and our mouths nearly moaned with delight. The chocolate tasted super rich, but it was so fantastic that we didn’t mind. The marshmallow might actually be marshmallow fluff, it was so light. Nevertheless, the mixing of fluffy marshmallow and rich chocolate in this dessert tasted divine.
We recommend avoiding the other desserts. Maybe even throw out the dessert menu. Just order the s’mores tart, and you won’t be disappointed. Of course, you should probably share this one with three or four people, as the richness of the chocolate is powerful.
We enjoyed some good and suffered some awful experiences while dining at Narcoosee’s this time around. Again, I hadn’t been to Narcooseee’s in 19 years, but this meal reminded me of why. Nothing has changed in over two decades at this restaurant.
The inconsistency and low quality of the cuisine didn’t quite meet expectations for a Signature Dining restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort. We would recommend many other great restaurants at Walt Disney World over this waterside spot, many of which will cost you way less while providing so much more.