Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Narcoossee’s
BY MIKE WARING – JUNE 2012
We last ate at Narcoossee’s the very first time we visited Disney World, in 1997. Of all the restaurants we visited during that trip, Narcoossee’s was by far the least impressive — so unimpressive that we’d never been back. Oh sure, over the years, I’ve had it on the list and made reservations, but when plans change and needs must, Narcoossee’s was always the first on the chopping block. This time, though, we finally made it. And I’m not unhappy we did.
The decor reminds me a bit of the Captain’s Grille in the Yacht Club resort. It’s pretty much a mish-mash of aspects of New England, the shore, and nautical stuff, in a kind-of sort-of way. The restaurant itself is set off it its own separate building in the Grand Floridian resort, along the banks of Seven Seas Lagoon. It is a fine location to have a meal and enjoy the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom, if that’s your thing.
Overall the food is quite improved over what we experienced all those many years ago. I think. It was a long time ago and back then I wasn’t making notes, since MouseSavers wasn’t even the slightest glint in Mary’s steel trap of a mind. Still, we vividly remembered not enjoying our last meal at Narcoossee’s, but this time we did, so thumbs up all around.
As expected, the menu slants pretty heavily to the piscatorial. Meaning lots of fishies. There is, of course, something for those that find fish stinky or yucky. I haven’t a clue what that stuff tasted like, since we try not to pass up any opportunity to have fish when we’re travelling. I had a soft shell crab starter for my entrée, even though it’s listed as an appetizer, because a) I wanted something a little lighter; b) it’s soft shell crab and there’s a rule in the Waring household that one never passes up an opportunity for soft shell crab; and c) it wasn’t purple (see California Grill). I know, the reasoning is torturous and screwy, but just imagine living in my head day after day.
However, just changing the order of things doesn’t mean that they’re actually going to be better for you, so I had a salad to start. While my salad was good, Mary’s verged on great. It was a summer peach salad, of which she approved highly, and only permitted me one bite.
Mary’s entree was a whole red snapper that had been battered, deep fried, and then splashed with a nicely spicy Asian-inspired sauce. It was then placed upright on the plate so it could stare at you as you flaked off luscious morsels of flesh. Fortunately, we sold our souls some time ago, it being a seller’s market during the Nineties, so we can eat a fish even while it glares at us accusingly, with nary a qualm. The fish was immense, and did I mention, deep-fried? I would strongly suggest that you only order this if you have a significant other available to share with. Otherwise you stand a strong chance of suffering from an possibly fatal overdose of batter, oil and/or fish. Seriously, order the fish to share. It really is too much for one person, at least one person who still wants to fit into his or her coach class airline seat by the end of the trip.
Wine selections at Narcoossee’s were a bit of a surprise, especially the wines-by-the-glass category. There was a very extensive list with some nice selections available. I availed myself of an opportunity to try a Riesling flight, something I’ve seen only seen once before, and it was at a very secluded monastery deep in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, rarely visited by outsiders, at least on Mondays in April. Even though I’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to convince Mary that there are other white wines, even drinkable white wines, that are not sauvignon blancs from New Zealand, she ordered (unsurprisingly) a Kiwi sauvignon blanc. Also unsurprisingly, she enjoyed it.
Overall, the long delayed visit to Narcoossee’s was considerably better than our original outing. It is expensive, much as the other Signature restaurants in the Grand Floridian are, but this time it wasn’t as painful as the food was certainly above average.
I still think the prices at Narcoossee’s are kind of ridiculous and can’t help comparing it with Citricos, which is also located in the Grand Floridian. Citricos’ starters range from $10 to $16. Soup is $9, while salads are $13-$15. Main courses start at $28 and top out at $50. At Narcoossee’s, on the other hand, we find one appetizer at $13, while all the rest are $16 and $17. Soup is $12, and salads are $10 and $13. Main courses start out expensively, but competitively, at $28 but then zoom out to an astronomical $68. Frankly, I don’t see the point. Citricos has better prices over pretty much the entire gamut, the ambiance is better, and you have a perfectly good view of the fireworks. And it’s in the main building, not on the edge of the resort property.
When you look at the whole gamut of offerings at the Grand Floridian, it’s difficult to figure out the niche for Narcoossee’s. 1900 Park Faire fulfills the character dining/buffet slot. Grand Floridian Café is the casual dining option. Gasparilla’s takes care of people who don’t like to spend time ordering or eating their meals. Citricos meets the criteria for an upscale dining experience, while Victoria and Albert’s is for foodies, people on expense accounts, guys who want to propose to their girlfriends, and guys who need to make up to their wives for some bone-headed stunt. So where does Narcoossee’s fit in?
For something more upscale than the Grand Floridian Café, I would pick Citricos over Narcoossee’s, unless you have a deep-seated aversion to Mediterranean style food, in which case, I’d still go to Citricos, because they have the Tasting of Gelato, and that will make your wife very, very happy, without spending the big bucks for V&A’s.