Garden Grill @ Epcot May 3, 2012

There were any number of reasons why we had put off eating at the Garden Grill for so many years.  The menu seemed pretty standard, we don’t have kids so we don’t typically do character meals, we tended to frequent “nicer” places to dine…  But over time, I really wanted to check it out, for a number of reasons – my growing love for Chip & Dale, the fact that I wondered about it every time I rode the Living with the Land ride (which I do a lot as it is one of my favorite attractions).  So for our most recent trip – we made reservations there for our first night at Walt Disney World.

When you see this rotating restaurant – you see semi-circular booths on two levels, all facing outward – and all enormous in size.  As a result, I had always worried that there wouldn’t be appropriate seating for a party of two – but they had a nice table that was just one section of one of the big semi-circles.

My other worry?  That the food would be way too much quantity and of mediocre quality.  The Garden Grill serves food family style – so I was envisioning huge heaping trays of food.  I was completely wrong.  All of the quantities were sized to our party – you could always get more of any option, but the initial serving was just that, a serving.

And the food was delicious – fresh, flavorful, and (in many cases) light.  Starting with the warm loaf of bread that they brought out – totally delish!  So good, that at one point I had to ask them to take it away as I was expending a lot of mental energy trying not to eat more of it!

The main course came with three tastes:  a sustainable fish (tilapia in our case), turkey with a bread pudding (most of us know this as stuffing!), and beef.  They brought out a serving platter with a very reasonable amount of each of the options for the two of us.  So we were very easily able to finish that first serving.  Which was wonderful – because I always worry about wasting food at family style restaurants.  We ordered more of the fish and turkey – the fish was light and delicious – and I’m not a huge tilapia fan!

Dessert was a berry cobbler – although it was much more like a berry compote in the middle of a corn type cake.  Tasty – but not that special.  Again – the portion size was manageable and we ate most of it.

Finally – how could I forget the characters?  The characters there that evening included Farmer Mickey, Chip, Dale, and Pluto.  They cycled around the tables pretty quickly – so we actually saw a few of them twice.  They would stay as long as you wanted them to – to take pictures, sign autographs.  We don’t have kids, so it’s entirely possible they spent more time with the tables with children.  But even with us two adults – the characters were happy to sign autographs, take pictures, and generally clown around.

Finally – the rotation.  The restaurant rotates slowly – about once an hour.  We stayed just over an hour, so we made it back to where we started.  There really isn’t that much to see – you can’t really see the Living with the Land ride – you can only see the top part of the backdrops for a few scenes.

Net-net – we enjoyed our meal and would go there again.  Not for the view or scenery – but for the food, which was delicious.  And of course – for Chip and Dale!

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