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5 Favorite & 5 Least Favorite Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World

Our absolute favorite thing about talking with Disney fans is hearing what their favorites and least favorites are at Walt Disney World. From one person to the next, the favorite attractions, characters, resorts, experiences, and restaurants vary drastically. THAT is what makes Disney so incredibly vibrant and exciting! So, as you read through our 5 favorite and 5 least favorite table service restaurants, just know we are two Disney fans with favorites like the rest. And hopefully, you don’t have one of Rapunzel’s frying pans if your favorite made our least favorite list!



5 – Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

It may sound odd, but have you ever tasted food that seems to wrap you in a warm hug? We aren’t talking the Olaf kind, but more like that squeeze, your Mom gives you when she hasn’t seen you in a while. Well, that is how we describe Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’! A true homecomin’ vibe exudes all the way out to the hostess stand at this table service restaurant in The Landing portion of Disney Springs. The food here is incredible with hearty choices or choices friendlier on the waist. We dare you to dive into some Church Lady Deviled Eggs or Fried Chicken & Doughnuts without saying “Mmmm…”. Just don’t forget to try one of their moonshine specialty cocktails. Welcome home!


The BOATHOUSE is another one of our favorites in The Landing area of Disney Springs. We aren’t yelling at you when we say “BOATHOUSE” – as that is actually how you’ll find it listed. If you’re walking through Disney Springs, you can’t miss it with its lighthouse stature and primo water-front location. If you’re a seafood fan, look no further than The Boathouse. If you’re a dry land kind of food fan, again… look no further! The Boathouse is known for their Surf and Turf dishes on their extensive menu. Let’s not forget to mention that while you’re admiring your water-front view, you may just see an Amphicar drive or boat by! The BOATHOUSE is the perfect restaurant to sit back and relax with the family on your Disney vacation.

3 – Sanaa

Africa is right here in Florida, folks! You may have been on the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but have you ever eaten with views of beautiful exotic animals right outside your window? Head on over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you’ll find Sanaa, a quiet and stunningly beautiful table service restaurant. The African/India cuisine partners well with the surrounding décor inside and outside. We especially enjoy the unique menu items that you don’t find on an everyday menu in Disney World. Take the family to the breakfast here then plan for a romantic dinner as a couple!

Toledo – Tapas, Steaks & Seafood

2 – Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood

Never in a million years did we think we would rank a Coronado Springs Resort restaurant as the top two in our favorites! And now, here we are! With the opening of the majestic Gran Destino Tower, we can’t help but list its’ rooftop table service restaurant called Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. Known as a “Spanish haven,” Toledo is located on the rooftop, which means it offers just as much of an experience as it does food. Dine on the “tapas, steak and seafood,” as noted in the name while having views of ALL four theme parks in the distance! Unobstructed views during the day and spectacular surrounding fireworks at night.

 1 – California Grill

What would a favorites list be without the timeless California Grill? California Grill is located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which is a stone’s throw away from Magic Kingdom. It’s no wonder reservations are hard to get here with the sheer elegance and signature dishes that look like masterpieces. The coveted dining time is during the Magic Kingdom fireworks, where guests can see the nighttime spectacular right from their chairs or walk out to a special viewing area. There is something thrilling about seeing the Cinderella Castle shimmer in the distance while you dine. California Grill radiates magical moments!


Least Favorites:

5 – Kona Café

We’re sorry… super sorry for putting Kona Café on this list! Several people love this table service restaurant, so if you’re not in the same boat as us, we totally understand. Kona Café is located in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, which is home to the ever so popular ‘Ohana restaurant and neighbor of Kona Café. Unfortunately, our personal experiences (and we’ve tried several times) have been rough, to say the least. From not having any clean forks, as well as undercooked food, and unusually un-Disney like service… we’ve finally thrown in the towel on Kona. We will say the Tonga Toast is yummy, but you can get that downstairs in Capt. Cook’s quick-service restaurant.

4 – Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

For some Disney fans, Mama Melrose is a favorite! For others, they don’t even have a clue it exists. Mama Melrose is situated in the back portion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, at the exit area of Muppet Vision 3D. Unfortunately, the location doesn’t help Mama Melrose get much traffic. As far as Italian food, it’s nothing spectacular compared to the other Italian cuisine restaurants located throughout Disney World. We must say the service is excellent here, and they typically aren’t booked up with reservations. Our taste buds just aren’t impressed.

Mama Melrose Ristorante. Photo Credit: Disney

3 – Big River Grille & Brewing Works

Big River, located on Disney’s beloved Boardwalk, has some decent selections for an ok meal. The food at Big River is like that which you’d find at your local grill or brewery restaurant. We guess our reason for Big River being on our least favorite list is just the mediocrity. There is nothing here to bring us back for more. The beer is good – but we feel like the food and beer down the Boardwalk at the ESPN Club trumps Big River.

2 – Boatwright’s Dining Hall

This is another one we’ve tried really hard to like! Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a table service restaurant located in Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort. It’s a super convenient option when staying at Port Orleans but lacks a unique touch in food and environment that would have us seeking out any reason to dine there. Oh, Disney, we feel like you could kick this old girl up a notch and give it a real New Orleans (maybe a Princess and the Frog theme) taste and vibe!

1 – Maya Grill

While one of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort restaurants sits in our #2 slot of favorites, another hits our #1 least favorite. With the new dining options located on Coronado Springs property, we aren’t sure how Maya Grill will survive the competition. Maya Grill offers a Mexican, Southwestern cuisine. Unfortunately, the food is extremely overpriced for the flavor. We would suggest for Disney to do a major menu and price overhaul for this long-time resort restaurant.

What’s your favorite and least favorite Disney World table service restaurant? We’d love to hear from you!

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About Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.