This is a review for California Grill at The Contemporary Resort, we dined here on September 2017.
This was our first time visiting California Grill. We had heard people talk about it in the past and decided to check it our for ourselves. To begin we enjoyed a few drinks at the Outer Rim bar next to Chef Mickey's. The selection was great, and they were all delicious.
We then had the fun at trying to find where the check-in desk for California Grill was. If you don't know where it is, the easiest way to get to it is leave the monorail, head towards Chef Mickey's and go down the stairs, it will be on your right around the corner.
When we checked in, we were escorted into the elevator with a cast member and another party. When we reached the top, another cast member was ready waiting to seat us. As we walked to our seat we took in the atmosphere. It was a beautiful restaurant.
We were seated right next to the open kitchen (which wasn't very noisy as you'd expect). And could see clearly out the big beautiful windows.
As it was our first time, we decided to go out all and get a delicious bottle of bubbly.
After ordering our drinks, our server brought over some delightful bread and "European Butter".
For our entrees we ordered the Oak-fired Choice Angus Filet of Beef and the Pork Tenderloin. The downside for us is we're not fish eaters, so like many other Disney restaurants, a good portion of the menu's we have no interest in. The beef was well presented and cooked really well. The flavour of the beef surprising worked really well with the Tomato Risotto underneath. Was the beef worth $49? Probably just. The pork dish included 3 pieces of pork tenderloin and a piece of belly. This was also cooked really well and was delicious. It wasn't overly cheesy - which I was afraid of. Was the pork worth the $42? Yes!
For dessert we ordered the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake and the Creamsicle Crème Brûlée. The chocolate cake was hands down the best dessert I have ever had at Disney World. As you can see the image below, it is rather chocolatey. But, it wasn't sickly whatsoever. There was so many different chocolate flavours going on, it was a taste sensation in my mouth. The Crème Brûlée was equally as delicious. Normally you get a tiny portion of Crème Brûlée, but this was huge. Every bite was, to put it lightly, perfect. The little biscuits you get with it just melted in your mouth.
When it's time to view the fireworks, they give you a bit of a warning so you can go outside. Depending on where you are in your meal your server will let you know your options if you desire to watch the fireworks. She assured us we can go and watch the fireworks and continue our meal when we return.
We went out onto the balcony, and luckily it was very quiet. Only a couple other parties were with us. There was another balcony, so perhaps most people on the other side of the restaurant went to that one.
The view from the top is amazing, and although the speaker next to us was a little distorted, it didn't hinder the experience. No photos or videos do justice to the view you get of Magic Kingdom from that high up at night. As you're seeing it from high up and from a slight angle, you get to see the locations where fireworks are shot from. It's quite amazing how far back behind the park the fireworks are actually fired from. The only downside is the new 'Happily Ever After' show has a lot of projections, none of which you can see from the balcony.
In summary it was a fantastic experience. The food was amazing, the benefit of watching the fireworks is a plus, and one of the few places where you have to dress up a little smarter and enjoy a little more luxury. It has sure become one of our staple restaurants, even though it uses 2 credits.
Our Score 4.5/5
Is it worth the money? Yes, absolutely.
Is it worth 2 dining credits? Yes, absolutely.
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