Walt Disney World is home to so many amazing restaurants. Whenever we visit WDW, we always try to have 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 nice, relaxing meal before immersing ourselves in the Galaxy Far Far Away. Even better, the day we arrived in Orlando was Zach’s 12th birthday, so we had a reason to celebrate.
We were initially considering booking a reservation for a restaurant in Disney Springs, but after exploring the available dining reservations for Sunday evening, we spotted ADRs for Ohana and Citricos. Since this 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 directly adjacent to Victoria & Albert’s. The restaurant and menu have been recently renovated and rethemed around the movie Mary Poppins Returns.
The interior design is far more subtle and conceptual than you would think and fits in with the luxury dining experience. Guests will see some prints on the wall of the Banks’ London home, and a few fixtures that suggest umbrellas, chimney sweeps, and hat racks.
Chairs and banquettes are made from disparate materials but add interesting visual appeal to the open concept dining room.
Despite the winks, nods, and playful design elements, this is absolutely a classy and serious food destination with an open kitchen and expediting area.
Guests begin their culinary adventure with a bread service that includes couple of different fresh warm breads with regular and salted citrus butter. The breads themselves were not anything terribly 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 the entrees if desired. A kid’s menu is offered with the standard fare (shrimp, chicken, pizza, pasta, and steak as entrée 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 virgin cocktail has pineapple, peach, lemon, and lavender syrups mixed with grenadine and seltzer, and is served in a cute little penguin shaker. So many non-alcoholic drinks tend to be syrupy and overly sweet, but this blend was neither too sweet for adults nor too tart for kids.
Zach’s appetizer choice was the Smoked Duck Breast served with fresh tagliatelle pasta, celeriac puree, and duck confit. This dish got rave reviews from Zach, and the bite I snagged off his plate confirmed his evaluation. The duck was cooked to perfection with a slightly crispy skin (maybe could have been just a tad crispier) and well rendered fat. The confit and puree provided tart and savory 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 gorgeous, and the tender, salty pork belly was perfectly contrasted by the creamy salsa.
I selected the Wild Mushroom Arancini served with truffle aioli, watercress and champagne vinaigrette. These crispy spheres were scrumptious with distinct umami notes. The truffle aioli was excellent, but I would have liked some more on the plate to coat every bite of the arancini.
For Zach’s main course, he selected Domestic Golden Tilefish served with Jupiter rice chorizo “risotto,” Key West pink shrimp, and confit 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, was unable to finish this delicious plate. At first, I thought the amount of seasoning on top of this fish would be too much for Zach, but the spices are pretty subtle (looked to be mostly paprika to create the dazzling red color), allowing the delicate fish to shine. The risotto was oozing with flavor and plenty of shrimp, and the tomatoes added the needed acid to cut the richness of the dish.
Stefany’s entrée choice was Guava Barbequed Short Ribs served with aged cheddar creamy grits, roasted poblano, curtido slaw, and brussels sprouts. The short ribs were fork tender and melted in your mouth. The guava barbeque sauce added a bit of sweetness but was not overpowering or off-putting with the other rich flavors on the plate. The grits were decent, but a bit sparse on the plate compared to the amount of slaw.
For my entrée, I ordered the Roulade of Chicken served with braised kale, corn cake, romesco sauce, and roasted turnips. Zach and Stefany took my top 2 choices off the menu, so I was not expecting much from what was my 3rd choice. Boy, was I wrong, because this dish was delectable. The chicken was moist and tender with a perfectly executed sauce to compliment the protein. The kale had just a touch of crunch, and the corn cake was like the most decadent cornbread ever created. The turnips were probably the only miss on this plate. I understand their role to bring bitterness to the dish, but I felt the kale filled that role just fine.
In addition to my entrée, I ordered an “enhancement” of Truffle Macaroni and Cheese. This diminutive $ 21 bowl of cheesy gnocchetti isn’t for everyone, but for someone like me who loves mushrooms and dishes overflowing with earthy flavors and aromas, this was a big hit in my book. Both Stefany and Zach tried a bite of this, and both noted how strong it was. This dish is on truffle overload with a gooey cheese that lingers in your mouth.
We never had an opportunity to dine in Citricos before this recent renovation, but as currently presented, this is an absolute winner as a fine dining destination at Walt Disney World. The décor is playful with an ambiance befitting a premier restaurant. While Citricos won’t top its next-door neighbor Victoria and Albert’s, it provides an excellent setting for a celebratory meal. For guests wanting an extra-special experience at Citricos, they offer the Sommelier Room where a multi-course tasting menu is paired with boutique wines selected by the restaurant’s sommelier.
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