Wolfgang Puck Cafe
Friday, February 11, 2005
by Sue Holland, staff writer
Photo by Sue Holland.
Anyone who enjoys eating has probably heard the name Wolfgang
Puck. Besides being a world-famous chef, the man owns restaurants, has
a line of cookware and has cooked for the rich and famous. Ordinary people
can enjoy his food, as well, and at Walt Disney World (WDW) we have four
locations in which to do that.
All four eateries are located at Downtown Disney, with one at the Marketplace
and three at the West Side. In the Marketplace there is a Wolfgang Puck
Express located next to the Disney's Days of Christmas store. Food is
prepared fresh at this counter service location and the menu is terrific.
When guests order their food and are given a beeper. As they continue
along the line picking up beverages, they might find their food ready
by the time they get to the end. If not, the beeper will light up soon.
Seating is mostly outdoors, with a few tables inside.
At the West Side there is another Wolfgang Puck Express location, with
a more limited menu. From my experiences, the Marketplace location is
superior and well worth the extra steps. Also at the West Side are two
full-service restaurantsWolfgang Puck Café downstairs and
the Bistro upstairs. This article will focus on the Café, which
is the more moderately priced of the two.
Sushi bar in Wolfgang Puck Café. Photo by Sue Holland.
Wolfgang Puck Café is open for lunch and dinner, and does not
close at all between those two meals. People seeking sushi have the option
of a sushi bar located just inside the restaurant. Sushi can also be ordered
at any table, which makes it nice for parties where not everyone might
want to eat it. The sushi is on a separate menu, so be sure to ask for
it if the host does not leave one at your table.
The kitchen is on display. Photo by Sue Holland.
A popular feature in recent years is having the kitchen open to customers'
view. At Wolfgang Puck Café everyone walking to their table passes
the kitchen, and a limited number of seats are available at the counter.
These are especially nice for solo diners, or anyone who enjoys watching
food being prepared. It's certainly a great way to see what the different
menu items look like when served!
The menu is the same at both lunch and dinner, and it has been quite
a while since they made any changes to it. In fact, changes almost seem
overdue; given the frequency they have changed the menu in the past. Some
of the signature items Puck is famous for remain constant throughout the
years, while other items disappear to make room for new choices. Everything
is prepared fresh, and the quality of ingredients is high. The food is
presented beautifully, as well.
The décor is bright and attractive. Photo by Sue Holland.
The décor is vibrant but not overbearing. This is not a subtle
dining room, but rather gives a sense of fun. Appetizers can be a meal,
particularly for lighter appetites, and there are many excellent items
to choose from. The Crispy Calamari ($11.99) was the best my party had
tasted anywherelightly fried, with delicious marinated English cucumbers
and a sweet curry aioli. Even I thought it was excellent, and I normally
do not like seafood items. The portion was plenty for three people to
share as an appetizer, and could easily be a meal for a single person.
The Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla ($10.95) was also very good, and came
with pico de gallo, chili sauce, and cilantro aioli.
Other appetizer choices are as follows.
- Blue Lump Crab Cakes with sweet corn relish and roasted red pepper
- Asian Style Hoisin BBQ Ribs with crisp Asian slaw and spicy honey
mustard dressing $8.95
- Steamed Mussels with white wine lemon garlic broth (1/2 pound)
- Spinach and Five Cheese Dip served with Parmesan flatbread
- Asian Style Vegetable Spring Rolls with plum and Japanese mustard
dipping sauce $8.95.
In addition to the appetizers, there are a number of soups and salads
available. The most popular choice is the Butternut Squash Soup ($6.95),
which has been on the menu as long as I can remember. It comes with a
roasted red pepper swirl and comes in a fairly large portion. A number
of people who do not necessarily like squash swear by this soup, saying
it is wonderful. My personal favorite Puck soup is the Tortilla Soup,
which currently can only be purchased at the express location in the Marketplace.
Each day at the Café there is another soup du jour, which is also
Salads are generally large and are a meal by themselves. The smallest
salad is the Field Greens Salad ($7.95), which comes with a sherry vinaigrette
and goat cheese crostini. I order this salad quite often, and it is always
delicious. There is a Caesar Salad ($9.95), a Cobb Salad for ($10.95)
and two more unusual salads. The most popular is the Chinois Chicken Salad
($12.95), served with spicy honey mustard dressing and crispy wontons.
This can also be had at either express location at a lower price. The
Young Spinach Salad ($11.95) is another excellent choice and contains
spinach, radicchio, blue cheese, apples and caramelized pecans. A party
of two could easily share one of these salads and, if paired with a bowl
of soup, makes a very satisfying meal.
Puck is also famous for his pizzas, which are also sold in the frozen
food section of many grocery stores. The pizzas can also be had at both
express locations (for a lower price) and all are made fresh when ordered.
If a particular pizza is wanted but is not on the menu, simply ask your
server and the kitchen will most likely create one to your specifications.
The two “signature” pizzas on the menu (each $12.95) are the BBQ Chicken
Pizza (with tomatoes and onions) and the Spicy Garlic Chicken Pizza (with
sweet peppers, leeks and tomatoes).
Other pizza choices are:
- Pepperoni Pizza with roasted garlic, roma tomatoes and sautéed
- Mushroom Mushroom Pizza with wild mushrooms, goat cheese, caramelized
onions and rosemary $11.95
- Four Cheese Pizza with pesto sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella, fontina,
parmesan and creamy goat cheese $11.95
- Margherita Pizza with roma tomatoes and basil $10.95
- House Made Fennel Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza with roma tomatoes, roasted
peppers, sautéed mushrooms and red onion $12.95
- House Smoked Salmon Pizza with red onions and dill crŹme fraiche
Entrees include several pastas and a selection of meat, poultry and fish.
There are three signature entrees in addition to several others. Pan-seared
Salmon ($17.95) is served with garlic-mashed potatoes, sautéed
spinach and an artichoke broth. Florida Grouper ($20.95) is served with
cous cous vegetable salad, sundries tomatoes, garlic and caper sauce.
For non-seafood lovers there is a Herb Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
($16.95), which comes with steamed asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes and
wild mushroom ragout. A less-commonly seen entrée is Wiener Schnitzel
Kartoffelsalat ($23.95), which is a crispy veal cutlet served with warm
Austrian potato salad. Although I have not tried this dish, I imagine
Puck's version is excellent! .
Other entrees are:
- Wolfgang Puck's “Adventures in the Kitchen” Meatloaf, which is bacon
wrapped veal, pork and lamb, garlic mashed potatoes, port wine sauce
and crispy onion rings $16.95
- Roasted Whole Chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and lemon rosemary
- Zwivelrostbraten “Wolf's Steak” is a 12-ounce rib eye with herb butter,
french fries and crispy onion straws $24.95
- Asian Hoisin BBQ Ribs with crisp Asian slaw and spicy honey mustard
- Grilled Angus Filet Mignon with green peppercorn sauce, steamed asparagus
and garlic mashed potatoes $31.95
- Puck Burger (1/2 lb) with Vermont cheddar, smoked bacon, house made
pickles and french fries $11.95.
Pasta dishes are quite popular here, particularly the Wolf-fredo Fettuccini
($17.95) with chicken and pancetta in a parmesan cream sauce and the Pumpkin
Ravioli “Mezzaluna” ($14.95) with brown butter, port wine glaze, pine
nuts, parmesan and crispy sage. Pumpkin ravioli might sound strange, but
it is actually very good! The portions of most pasta are large, and can
easily be shared by two people (particularly if paired with an appetizer,
pizza or salad). Other pastas include:
- Wolfgang's Meatball with bucatini, tomato basil garlic sauce and parmesan
- Grandma Puck's “Bolognese” is fettuccine and classic meat sauce with
veal, pork and beef $14.95
- Spicy Chicken Penne with chili flakes, spinach, fresh tomatoes and
sun dried tomatoes $16.95
- Bucatini Pasta with tomato basil garlic sauce $12.95
- Shrimp and Black Mussel Fettuccine with fresh tomato and garlic herb
white wine broth $18.95.
Desserts are on display. Photo by Sue Holland.
If there is any room left for dessert, there are several delicious options
to choose fromany of which can satisfy a number of people. The host
generally points them out when leading people to their table. CrŹme brulee
lovers will enjoy the CrŹme Brulee Sampler ($7.50) with vanilla bean,
chocolate and butterscotch. The Warm Dark Chocolate Cake ($7.95) comes
with double chocolate ice cream and rich chocolate sauce and rivals a
warm chocolate lava cake found elsewhere. Chocolate lovers will be quite
happy with this choice! For a more unusual choice there is the Chocolate
Fondue ($7.50), served with assorted fruits and pastries for dipping.
There are also Sugar Free Low Carb Assorted Chocolate Truffles and Berries
($7.95). To round out the offerings there is also Key Lime Pie, New York-Style
White Chocolate Cheesecake and Chef Marian's Carrot Cake, ranging from
There is also a fairly wide selection of wines available, with many available
by the glass as well as the bottle. Children can choose from the usual
selectionspizza, chicken tenders, burger and macaroni and cheese.
The kids' meals are approximately $7 each and do not include beverage
or dessert. Service tends to be pretty prompt here, most likely because
they are trying to accommodate as many of the people waiting as possible.
During the evening this is a very busy place, but during the afternoon
it is generally very easy to get into without a wait.
One of the two outdoor dining areas. Photo by Sue Holland.
When the weather is nice (which is most of the year in Florida) eating
at an outdoor table can be especially pleasant. At Wolfgang Puck Café
there is a large outdoor seating area along the side of the building,
but the views are better from the tables outside the back of the restaurant.
From there, diners have a view of the lake and nearby Saratoga Springs
Resort. The outdoor seating areas are shaded, and heaters are sometimes
used when the temperature is a bit chilly.
Wolfgang Puck Café remains one of my top choices for a good meal
at a reasonable price. The service has always been excellent, the atmosphere
is casual yet upscale and I've yet to find a dining companion disappointed
in anything that was ordered. The quality of the ingredients, preparation
techniques and presentation all combine to make a meal here a very safe
bet, and an enjoyable part of any WDW trip.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Sue here.
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since
her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning
more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in
1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at
the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but
she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly,
and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head
for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children
and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers.
Read her trip report archive here.
You can contact Sue here.
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