It’s difficult to miss this gem of a restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase. Simply follow the promenade around the lagoon, and you’ll encounter this café at the entrance to the France Pavilion. Chefs de France has been serving French cuisine since the opening of Epcot in 1982, but even with several menu changes through the years, it still holds the charm of the Parisian brasseries that inspired it. The following eight reasons explain why we love Chefs de France and keep dining there year after year.
8 – The Architecture
Your experience at Chefs de France begins when you stand in front of the building and take in the incredible details designed by Disney Imagineers. The architecture is distinctly Parisian, featuring large, arched windows that provide a view of the bustling wait staff and diners inside. The rounded Parisian rooftop, wrought iron embellishments, dormer windows, and elegant style places you in the middle of the “city of love.” It just might inspire you to reignite a romance with your significant other.
7 – The Ambience
From the time you pass by the windows adorn with French advertisements to the time you’re seated, you can sense the culture around you. The interior lighting, the arches, the photographs of founding chefs, and even the table settings conjure images of cafés along Parisian streets like Rue Montorgueil. The aroma of fresh bread and cheese, the chatter at the tables, and the sunlight dancing off the wine bottles create an atmosphere of expectation. In addition, the French cast members help to immerse you in an authentic experience, even while providing the comforts of English conversation.
6 – The View
The most coveted tables are situated close to the expansive windows, because they afford diners a remarkable view of the promenade. Of course, they not only provide a splendid view of the bustling crowds for diners who enjoy people-watching, but also of the beautiful waterfront scenery of World Showcase Lagoon. While Chefs de France doesn’t deliver the kind of view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth that you find on the Rose & Crown patio, you can still enjoy an evening meal with a stunning backdrop of fireworks, if you make reservations close to 9:00 p.m.
5 – The Service
Refrain from stereotyping the wait staff here as self-inflated or rude simply because they’re French, because they offer warm, friendly service. French waiter stereotypes are the stuff of entertainment, not at all like the staff of Chefs de France. The speed of service is about the same as comparable restaurants in Epcot, but you’ll find the dining experience so pleasant that you won’t mind waiting longer during peak times. The servers always stand ready to answer questions about the menu and willing to provide useful tips for the novice diner.
4 – The Cuisine
Nearly every meal served at Chefs de France transforms into a flavorful masterpiece; both the presentation and taste are top-shelf. Popular appetizers include the cheese board with raisin and walnut bread and lobster bisque, though adventurous diners will find the escargot delicious, despite its origins. All entrées are prepared with fresh ingredients and don’t disappoint, though many prefer the grilled tenderloin, the seafood platter, and the duck breast with cherries. You’ll also love the accompanying baguettes, which are crispy on the outside, but warm and soft on the inside. For dessert, you can never go wrong with crème brûlée, though the swan cream puff also delights the taste buds.
3 – The Prix-Fixe Meals
Yes, prix-fixe meals limit your selections at Chefs de France, but they also allow you to experience a complete, three-course meal without busting your dining budget by purchasing everything à la carte. Besides, if you haven’t dined here before, or you aren’t familiar with French cuisine, you can be certain that the prix-fixe meals will satisfy. The chefs created the prix-fixe menu with the popular dishes enjoyed by a wide variety of dinner guests.
2 – The Wine
Of course, no good French meal remains unpaired with a complementing wine. The wine list at Chefs de France is pretty extensive, featuring many grape varieties from the various regions of France. If you need recommendations, then take a look at the menu for the official pairing or ask your server for clarification or alternatives. If you subscribe to the philosophy that any wine is good wine, then feel free to ignore all advice and choose your favorite; the servers won’t complain. Also, non-drinkers won’t run the risk of offending French servers by ordering soft drinks or water, as the restaurant continues to maintain the family-friendly Disney atmosphere we all love.
1 – The Je Ne Sais Quoi
Finally, we’ll add the popular phrase, “Je ne sais quois,” to describe the overall attraction that Chefs de France holds for us. The saying simply means that there is a certain something (literally, “I don’t know what”) about this restaurant that’s indescribable. Fans of this popular restaurant return year after year despite the many other high quality eateries around Epcot’s World Showcase. When you ask them why they adhere to this annual tradition, these regulars may tell you that they like the food, they enjoy the mood of the restaurant, or some other vague answer, but probably the “Je ne sais quoi” factor stands as the most compelling reason.
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