Walt Disney World is home to many amazing restaurants. Whenever we visit WDW, we always try to grab a sit-down meal at a restaurant we’ve never visited before, and because we arrived a day before our Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser experience, we had a perfect opportunity to have a pleasant, relaxing meal before we immerse ourselves in the Galaxy Far Far Away. Best of all, the day we arrived in Orlando was Zach’s 12th birthday, so we had a reason to celebrate.
We were originally considering booking a restaurant reservation at Disney Springs, but after exploring the restaurant reservations available for Sunday night, we spotted ADRs for Ohana and Citricos. Since it was Zach’s birthday dinner, we let him choose between the two and selected Citricos.
Citricos is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, right next to Victoria & Albert’s. The restaurant and menu have been recently renovated and redesigned around the movie Mary Poppins Returns.
The interior design is much more subtle and conceptual than you might think and fits perfectly into the luxury dining experience. Guests will see carvings on the wall of the Banks’ London home and a few light fixtures suggesting umbrellas, chimney sweeps and hat racks.
Chairs and banquettes are made from disparate materials, but add interesting visual appeal to the open concept dining area.
Despite the winks, nods, and playful design elements, this is an absolutely chic and serious dining destination with an open kitchen and shipping space.
Guests begin their culinary adventure with a bread service that includes two different fresh hot breads with regular and salted citrus butter. The breads themselves weren’t exactly remarkable, but the citrus butter was a nice change of pace.
The menu is separated into 3 courses with “enhancements” that can be added to starters if desired. A kids’ menu is offered with the standard fare (shrimp, chicken, pizza, pasta, and steak as entree choices), but Zach, as he usually does, was going to explore the main menu.
Before our orders arrived, Zach ordered a special drink called the Purple Penguin. This pristine cocktail features pineapple, peach, lemon, and lavender syrups mixed with grenadine and seltzer water, and is served in a cute little penguin shaker. So many soft drinks tend to be syrupy and overly sweet, but this mix was neither too sweet for adults nor too tart for kids.
Zach’s choice of appetizer was smoked duck breast served with fresh tagliatelle pasta, celeriac puree and duck confit. This dish received rave reviews from Zach, and the bite I grabbed from his plate confirmed his rating. The duck was cooked to perfection with slightly crispy skin (perhaps it could have been just a little crispier) and nicely melted fat. The confit and mashed potatoes brought tangy and salty notes to the rich dish. You could tell the pasta was freshly made as advertised and was al dente.
Stefany chose the Berkshire Pork Belly served with a boniato and plantain croquette, salsa verde and jicama. The presentation of this dish was beautiful and the tender and salty pork belly contrasted perfectly with the creamy salsa.
I chose the wild mushroom arancini served with truffle aioli, watercress and champagne vinaigrette. These crispy spheres were delicious with distinct umami notes. The truffle aioli was excellent, but I would have liked more on the plate to coat each bite of the arancini.
For Zach’s main course, he chose the Domestic Golden Tilefish served with Chorizo and Jupiter Rice “Risotto,” Key West Prawns, and Sundried Tomatoes. Zach really enjoyed this dish, but because of all the food we had at Sea World earlier in the day along with the bread and appetizers here, he couldn’t finish this delicious plate. At first I thought the amount of seasoning on this fish would be too much for Zach, but the spices are quite subtle (seemed to be mostly paprika to create the dazzling red color), allowing the delicate fish to shine. The risotto was bursting with flavor and lots of shrimp, and the tomatoes added the acid needed to cut down on the richness of the dish.
Stefany’s entree choice was grilled guava ribs served with creamy aged cheddar oatmeal, roasted poblano, curtido slaw and Brussels sprouts. The short ribs were fork tender and melt in your mouth. The guava barbecue sauce added a bit of sweetness but wasn’t overwhelming or off-putting with the other rich flavors on the plate. The oatmeal was okay, but a little sparse on the plate compared to the amount of coleslaw.
For my entree, I ordered the Chicken Roulade served with braised kale, corn cake, romesco sauce and roasted turnips. Zach and Stefany took my top 2 choices off the menu so I wasn’t expecting much from what was my 3rd choice. Boy, was I wrong, because this dish was delicious. The chicken was moist and tender with a perfectly executed sauce to complement the protein. The kale had just a hint of crunch and the corn cake looked like the most decadent cornbread ever. The turnips were probably the only failures on this plate. I understand their role in bringing bitterness to the dish, but I felt that the cabbage fulfilled this role very well.
Along with my entree, I ordered a truffle mac and cheese ‘upgrade’. This $21 little bowl of cheesy gnocchetti isn’t for everyone, but for someone like me who loves mushrooms and dishes bursting with earthy flavors and aromas, it was a big hit in my book. . Stefany and Zach both tried a bite of this, and both noted how strong it was. This dish is overloaded with truffles with a gooey cheese that lingers in your mouth.
We never had the opportunity to dine at Citricos before this recent renovation, but as currently presented, it’s an absolute winner as a dining destination at Walt Disney World. The decor is playful with an ambience worthy of a top notch restaurant. Although Citricos is no bigger than its neighbor Victoria and Albert’s, it offers an excellent setting for a celebratory meal. For guests wanting a very special experience at Citricos, they offer the Sommelier’s Room where a multi-course tasting menu is paired with boutique wines selected by the restaurant’s sommelier.
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