Disney landed its first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant. Walt Disney World’s most luxurious and exclusive destination for dining is Victoria & Albert’s, which sits on the second floor of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. There is no other venue at the celebrated attraction, and very few in the city of Orlando, that can compare for service, setting and food.
Reservations fill up the moment they open six months in advance, and there’s just one seating per night, whether you’re enjoying your meal in the main dining room, the eight-seat Queen Victoria’s Room or the super-exclusive chef’s table.
There are a lot of things to love about dining at this lavish venue, but here are a few of our favorites.
As soon as the doors swing open, the frenzy of the Grand Floridian disappears and, in a typical magical Disney fashion, you’re transported into a fantasy world. In this case, you’ll find yourself in a luxurious dining room, where a harpist is playing and tables are outfitted with Frette linens, Riedel crystal and Christofle silver.
Your fellow patrons will be dressed to the nines (no shorts or Minnie Mouse ears here), and children under 10 are not allowed. If a dinner jacket is needed, the restaurant has a range of options for men as well as cashmere shawls for women who get chilly. And with one server per four guests, no need goes unmet.
Each of the three aforementioned dining venues inside Victoria & Albert’s is quite unique. But please note that if you book the chef’s table, it’s yours and yours alone — no matter if you’re a party of two or 10 (the maximum allowed). It’s a coveted reservation.
The Food and Wine
Executive chef Scott Hunnel and maître d’hotel Israel Pérez have worked together here for the last 14 years, and they run a tight ship, making sure every dish and sip are as perfectly suited to each other as possible. Hunnel’s team sources ingredients from around the world, as well as uses fresh local seafood and produce. Likewise, Pérez puts his servers through their paces and almost all have sommelier-level knowledge of wines.
The excellent wine list includes more than 600 selections with more than 4,200 bottles in the cellar. Rare vintages include a 1961 Château Margaux and an impressive collection of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
While the menus change regularly, and can be modified for any dietary restrictions, you can always count on good, old-fashioned personalized service. Both Hunnel and Pérez love traditional tableside preparations, from the classic cheese cart to the unusual butter carving service.
Each night, choose from a seven- or 10-course menu — there are no à la carte selections here. You might nosh on citrus-cured black cod with Imperial caviar; New Zealand langoustine with pickled daikon and avocado; Dover sole with Spanish chorizo bouillabaisse; and a charred-leek-dusted wild boar. An optional (and highly recommended) wine pairing can be ordered, too.
Certainly, desserts from master pastry chef Erich Herbitschek (who also creates the amazingly savory breads for the restaurant) are no afterthought. After an array of cheeses is brought to the table, you’ll peruse a sweets selection that may include a whimsical green “apple” mousse with sour cream ice cream, Peruvian chocolate with orange milk chocolate gelato and a chocolate bar with coffee panna cotta.
And don’t forget about the coffee course, a show-stopping affair that is worth ordering even if you aren’t an aficionado. An exclusive blend of single-origin beans from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is brewed tableside using a centuries-old siphon method through a Cona Vacuum press — it may spoil you for your usual morning drip. Like everything else at Victoria & Albert’s, it’s first class or nothing.