Dinner at California Grill

We had a great dinner last night at California Grill here in the Contemporary. It was closed for renovations when we were here last year so it was on my must-do list for this trip. It’s on the top floor of the hotel but you have to check in on the 2nd floor; then they take you up using a special key in the elevator.

The elevator doors open to a pretty stunning foyer of floor to ceiling wine refrigerators filled with all kinds of expensive looking vintages. The dining room is done in a sunny yellow and white with a large completely open kitchen. The view of the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s castle is amazing, and a lot of people try to time their reservation to the Wishes fireworks display that starts around 10 p.m. Our server told us as long as we brought our receipt we could come back and watch from the observation deck. It WAS a great view.

The best part though was the food. Eating here will cost you two table services but it was worth it.

Barrak was into an IPA called Jai Alai. I had a passionfruit margarita that was tart and fruity and delish.

We split a cheese board; a hearty kale salad of peaches, goat cheese, Marcona almonds and black cherries; a sushi roll; and seared halibut with roasted purple and golden beets and a parsnip puree. The halibut was snow-white and thick as a square of birthday cake. Amazingly fresh and flaky. Mag had a kid’s steak. Greta didn’t like her cheese pizza and our server let her switch out for a penne with marinara, at no charge. She gobbled that up. The kids’ dinners came with 3 ooey-gooey homemade chocolate chip cookies served with scoops of vanilla ice cream. The server was impressive, too. We loved him. Knew his stuff, made great recommendations, cut us a few breaks (he let us swap the cheese plate, which is on the dessert menu, as a starter). He was a real server, a young guy from Pittsburgh, not a Disney cast member.

This restaurant isn’t just good for Disney. It’s good in the real world. People who live in Orlando drive here for dinner. It was voted Best View in the city. There’s not much chance of walking in without a reservation so be sure to make one if you want to check it out.

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On the viewing deck. That electric blue is Cinderella’s castle.

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