Narcoossee's, a Special Restaurant Tucked Away at the Grand Floridian Resortby Donna Fesel, contributing writer
I have a short list of restaurants on Walt Disney World property that never disappoint. For a WDW restaurant to make it onto this list I have to have eaten there multiple times, usually with different people, and our collective dining experience has to have been a stand-out each time. Some of the places I love to eat at WDW are table service, some are quick service, and some are truly walk-and-go treats.
Whatever format, restaurants come and go from this list, but a few stick around. In the table service category and very near the top of my must-do dining list at WDW is Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I've had wonderful dining experiences at Narcoossee's on five or six different occasions. The food is consistently top-notch, the service lovely. And the setting? Well… read on.
The first thing to know about Narcoossee's is that it is in its own pavillion and not in the main building at the Grand Floridian like Citrico's, Grand Floridian Café, Victoria and Albert's, or other Grand Floridian dining spots—so allot yourself a few extra minutes to walk there. To get to Narcoossee's, exit out the back of the main building or veer right out of the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. You will pass several resort lodging buildings on your right (Big Pine Key and Boca Chica) and on your left (Sugarloaf and Conch Key), and also pass the Courtyard Pool on your right. Narcoossee's is adjacent to the boat transport dock to the WDW's Magic Kingdom park.
The next thing you should know about Narcoossee's is, I think, its most unique and exciting feature: This beautiful dining space has enormous windows and boasts a panoramic view of the Seven Seas Lagoon. The front of Narcoossee's features a small wraparound deck where you can enjoy a drink and gaze out at the Magic Kingdom while you await your dinner seating. Narcoossee's prime lagoon-front location also means that you can watch both the Electrical Water Pageant and Magic Kingdom's Wishes Nighttime Spectacular from several spots in and around the restaurant.
If you have a prime table facing Magic Kingdom, you can watch Wishes from your seat; the music from Wishes is piped inside and outside the restaurant. Typically though, even if I have a table with a Wishes view, I watch the show from outside the restaurant because non-Narcoossee's guests often appear to watch Wishes from the deck and can block the view. I usually journey onto the outside deck (and make sure I'm not blocking anyone's view inside the restaurant), or I watch from the dock.
If you have a course of food on the way during Wishes, the kitchen courteously holds your food for you. To take advantage of this amazing Narcoossee's perk, make your Advanced Diving Reservations (ADR) for dinner as soon as you are able for times around the Wishes showtime for the day. Do verify the showtime to avoid disappointment; it shifts around during different times of the year.
Narcoossee's is open for dinner, beginning at 5:30 p.m., and has begun serving Sunday brunch as well. It is also typically open during holiday celebrations—this year for Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
Narcoossee's is considered to be one of WDW's Fine/Signature Dining restaurants, and as such, the expected dress is business casual. While business casual may mean different things to different folks, at WDW, it means no tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing, and shirts with offensive language or graphic language. Suggested attire is collared shirts for men, jackets optional, and sweaters and blouses for women.
Now, onto the food and beverages. The menu at Narcoossee's focuses on fresh, seasonal and local offerings, so the offerings very throughout the year. The cuisine tends to be focused on local seafood, but there are other delicious options for the non-seafood eaters in your party.
On my last visit, my family and I were on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan (Narcoossee's is 2 Table Service or TS credits), we also still had our Tables in Wonderland discount card (a discount program available to Florida residents, annual passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members). Tables in Wonderland cards offer free valet parking with presentation of a participating WDW restaurant receipt, and 20 percent off all food and alcohol, for any purchases not covered by the dining plan.
On our most recent visit to WDW, we drove from upstate New York. We had last stopped outside Raleigh, North Carolina, and had driven straight through to WDW from there. We were staying at the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for the first time, and decided to mark our first night with a meal at Narcoossee's. I booked our reservation to allow my husband, son and myself to watch Wishes together.
That evening, there were Extra Magic Hours in the evening at Magic Kingdom, so my son and I planned to head by boat to Magic Kingdom after dinner to enjoy a few Fastpass+ selections we made for later in the evening (our tradition is to ride Space Mountain first; we always wait for the first car).
Our server was terrific. She was knowledgeable about all the food and wine choices, warm, friendly, and skilled to boot. We started our Narcoossee's meal with barbecue grilled shrimp and grits (with pickled chow-chow, a yummy regional relish) for me. I have eaten plenty of shrimp and grits in my time, and these are wonderful; the shrimp being grilled is unique, as are the layers of satisfying flavors.
My husband had Aunt Debby's Lovely Romaine Salad (yummy focaccia croutons), and my son, a certified cheese-loving fool, enjoyed an amazing artisanal cheese plate (really tasty assortment of cheeses and wonderful accompaniments paired with each cheese). I also enjoyed a deliciously made martini, straight up with olives—just the anecdote after our very long car trip.
Next, I had a steamed lobster that came with citrus gremolata (kind of a dry, lemony salsa) and an insanely good fallen corn soufflé. My husband had a seared ahi tuna with a really tasty ginger-kaffir lime broth. My husband really loves ahi, and said this was one of the best preparations he has had. My son, a steak fan, enjoyed a medium-rare grilled filet mignon with a delicious reduction.
Dessert is included with the Deluxe Dining Plan, but I was getting so full. I enjoyed a nice light homemade sugar-free mango sorbet with fruit, and my husband and son split the almond-crusted cheesecake with cherry sauce.
Just as we were finishing, the lights dimmed a bit, and Wishes was beginning. We all went outside to the deck area. A rainy August day gave way to a still, much cooler night, and we three stood, watching the magic of Wishes. I teared up, just as I do every time I watch Wishes.
We finished eating, and my son and I changed into more comfortable park attire. My husband took a walk around the grounds of the Grand Floridian and enjoyed a little peace and quiet. My son and I boarded a boat to Magic Kingdom, where we spent a few fun hours before monorailing home as well.
Narcoossee's was again a memorable part of our WDW family trip. Do you love Narcoossee's, too? I'd love to hear from you.