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There are not too many restaurants at Disney where I have not dined, and at the top of my ‘need to try’ list was the Flying Fish Cafe located at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, right on the Boardwalk. Since it was my mom’s birthday and the trip to Florida was rather short-notice, I decided that mom would really like this place because she just loves fish. I don’t eat a lot of fish except for when I travel and someone else prepares it but I knew it was going to be good as I had heard very favorable comments. To be honest – the Flying Fish Cafe was actually quite wonderful!
We arrived at 5:30pm for our 5:45pm table and were seated. Our server quickly came and took beverage orders (water as we were going to have dessert and I had to drive so no adult beverages for me) and asked if we needed any additional explanations of the menu. The menu at the Flying Fish changes daily based on what the chefs were able to get that day, but the signature dish is their Potato wrapped Red Snapper and they always have a steak too. While the snapper was an interesting item, we moved on to other things. Mom ordered: Epcot Land Pavilion Sweet Bibb and Aruba Red Leaf Salad with candied walnuts, forelle pears, gorconzola dolce and artisanal walnut oil dressing ($12) to start followed by the Chef’s Special Thunder Entree of Pan roasted North Caroline Ocracoke Island Flounder with wilted greens, wild and cultivated mushrooms, young carrots, radish and varietal squash with a Meyer Lemon, Truffle and Vermont Butter Emulsion ($37). I ordered: Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala with yellow beefsteak, ‘ugli ripe’ and tiny heirloom tomatoes, balsamic glaze, exotic peppercorns and petite basil with sicilian olio verde ($15) and for my entree I selected Oak Grilled Main Diver Scallops with butternut squash, sage, pecorino Romano and Mascarpone-laced Risotto di Carnarolli, with Jamon Serrano Cracklins’ ($34.) I ordered this because I am very fond of the diver scallops served at the Yachtsman Steakhouse and figured that this would be just as good. While we were waiting for our food to start we were presented with some delicious bread and sweet butter. Of course we gobbled this up as it was quite good. We noticed a chef walking around and talking to guests, and I didn’t think anything of it as Disney chefs frequently come out to the dining room to speak with guests who have special requests or special diets. However this guy just seemed to keep going back and forth to different tables and visiting. The first course came and mom’s salad was rather large–surprisingly large. It was also delicious, and the ‘gorgonzola dolce’ were rather large chunks of deliciousness. Normally I don’t like this type of cheese but what was put together with this salad was wonderful. Pears and walnuts are always a good combination and she loved that salad. My tomatoes and mozzarella was also delicious. These are the tomatoes that come out of Epcot’s The Land pavilion, and they were fabulous. I just love this dish and when things are absolutely fresh such as these ingredients, it just adds to the wonderful blending of flavors.
After salads we got our entrees. To her surprise, Mom’s flounder was a rather thick cut and it really was hand floured and quickly seared. (She was expecting thin filets and not a thick piece of fish.) It was nicely presented on top of the vegetables which were perfectly prepared. I had five sweet grilled scallops on risotto with butternut squash in it, and it was quite good. I wouldn’t order it again, but it was good and I was a member of the clean plate club. As we were finishing up with our meal the chef came to our table and asked how we liked the food. I told him that we really enjoyed it and the Flying Fish is one of the few places that I had not dined at in Disney and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed everything so far. We chatted a bit and I learned about how the menus are done each day and that the chef speaking to us was none other than Tim Keating, the Head chef of the Flying Fish. Tim had been the Executive Chef of a rather high end hotel in Houston and had been with Disney for many years and was able to give some back story on that particular restaurant too. He was quite personable to the point that I would be happy to sit at his chef’s table for two hours and eat whatever he put in front of me because I’m sure it would be delicious and he would probably have a story about the item. From Tim I also learned that the Flying Fish will pretty much do what you want for food. For example, I really wanted the grilled tuna on the menu but didn’t want the Asian noodles it was sitting on, which is why I ordered the scallops. Had I known that they would have done what I wanted (or even thought to have asked), I would have ordered that tuna without the noodles but extra vegetables. As a signature restaurant at Disney I shouldn’t have been surprised about the special order, but there were other things on that menu that I would have ordered so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
Tim moved on to the next tables and we moved on to dessert, which was really, really good. Mom ordered the sorbet which was a trio of house made sorbets with fresh berries ($7). Since I absolutely adore the bananas and caramel dessert at the California Grill, I decided to try its little sibling at the Flying Fish, which was a banana napolean ($8). Both of our desserts were a great end to a delicious meal and I would order them again. The banana napolean was very similar to what is served at the California Grill but quite a bit less costly.
To me the Flying Fish Cafe is now a “must do” on my trips, although with sushi at the California Grill. The Flying Fish was a pricey meal at $120.35 for two of us, but with my Tables in Wonderland card (which is available to purchase by annual passholders and Florida residents), the total with the 18% gratuity was $116.62. It was a great birthday dinner for mom and I look forward to seeing Chef Tim again at the Flying Fish Cafe. Click the link here to see the food: Flying Fish Cafe 10092011