Anyone who’s been to Walt Disney World knows there’s way more than rides, parades and Mickey Mouse meet-and-greets. Perhaps most notable are the incredible dining options all over the resort, both in the parks and at the on-property hotels. As expected, almost all Disney dining experiences are kid-friendly, but many restaurants offer fine dining with unique menus ideal for date nights or adults-only outings.
Here are a few of the best restaurants in Disney World for adults.
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Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
You could easily walk past the Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios and not even realize it. This replica of the old Hollywood restaurant is generally reservation-only, but the lounge offers walk-up service and is an excellent place to sit and relax while the more ambitious members of your party wait an hour or more in line for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance rides.
The lounge serves the restaurant’s classic cobb salad, which lives up to the hype, and classic cocktails, including the grapefruit cake martini, a Brown Derby original invented in the 1940s.
On the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill has the most romantic setting possible, with huge windows overlooking Magic Kingdom. Disney pros know that the best time to book a reservation at this AAA Three Diamond-Designated restaurant is during the park’s fireworks, when they lower the lights and pipe in the show music from the park.
Menu favorites include California Grill sushi and fresh Florida fish.
There are many excellent dining options at Epcot – simply strolling and snacking around the World Showcase is an extremely pleasant way to spend an evening – but Monsieur Paul is something special.
Perched above the more casual Chefs de France bistro in the France pavilion, this restaurant was opened in 1982 by the beloved and influential chef Paul Bocuse, who had a three-Michelin star restaurant in Lyon, France, for five decades.
Monsieur Paul is the closest you can get to Paris in Florida – maybe even the whole country. Devoted to the French art of eating and drinking, the five-course gastronomic meal includes two cocktails, an hors d’oeuvre, fish course, palate cleanser of sorbet and brandy, meat course, cheese course and dessert.
Be prepared to take your time (the restaurant has a great view of the Epcot nighttime show), and soak in every moment of the $195-per-person experience.
Toledo – Tapas, Steak and Seafood
On the rooftop of the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Toledo serves Spanish-inspired fine dining. The interior is one enormous, gorgeous art installation, but there’s also an outdoor dining area with views of the resort.
Start your date night at this AAA Three Diamond-Designated restaurant with the flight of four pinxtos (small bites), then try the Rioja-braised chicken with roasted tomato bomba rice or the chuleton bone-in ribeye for two.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Blink and you’ll miss this “Lady and the Tramp”-themed restaurant in Magic Kingdom. While definitely kid-friendly, there’s a serenity here you won’t find anywhere else in the park.
Tony’s is one of the few places in Magic Kingdom that serves alcohol, and it has a private porch where you can sit and sip wine while the parades pass by on Main Street. Don’t skip the garlic bread for the table, which comes with roasted garlic butter and Parmesan fonduta.
Don’t let the breakfast character dining fool you, Topolino’s Terrace is all fine dining at night. And its location on the top floor of Disney’s Riviera Resort provides a perfect vantage point for the nighttime shows at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Topolino’s serves a Riviera-inspired menu of French and Italian cuisine. Its take on escargot, served with buttery French gougeres, is a winner even for people who aren’t fans of snails. Handmade pastas like the lobster linguine with sauce Americaine and squid ink tuille are unforgettable, as is the filet mignon with Bordelaise sauce, broccolini and shallot vinaigrette.
Reservations are hard to come by, but it’s usually easy to snag a seat at the bar, which has full dinner service.
Victoria and Albert’s
Located within Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Dining Room at Victoria and Albert’s is the ultimate Disney World dining experience. It also happens to be the most expensive restaurant on property. The prix fixe dinner starts at $295 per person for seven courses or $375 for 10 courses, with optional wine (+$150) and zero-proof (+$110) beverage pairings.
However, a truly remarkable, AAA Five Diamond-Designated experience comes with the price tag. The courses are nothing short of gastronomic wizardry. There’s even a water sommelier to ensure you’ve got the optimal water pairing with each course.
Wine Bar George
This Disney Springs restaurant is a wine-lover’s paradise. Owned by master sommelier George Miliotes, Wine Bar George pours more than 140 wines by the glass and ounce. So, if you’re looking for something special, they can recommend great pairings, but you also have the option to taste a lot of different wines without having to commit to a big price tag.
Everything on the menu is excellent, but standouts include the saganaki appetizer (Greek cheese torched tableside), and the skirt steak for two, served with roasted potatoes, grilled bok choy, mushrooms and a generous garnish of chimichurri on top.
Wine Bar George also serves a killer brunch and a house-infused espresso martini that’s easily the best at Walt Disney World.
Want to save some money on your next Disney vacation? Good news, the beloved Disney Dining Plan is coming back in 2024, offering the easiest way to budget for your theme park meals and snacks. Learn more from a AAA Travel advisor.
What are your favorite restaurants in Disney World? Share your top picks in the comments.
Featured image: Snapper in potato scales. A signature dish at Monsieur Paul’s. (Julie Tremaine)