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When discussing our big anniversary trip, we both decided on a good splurge – an amazing, romantic dining experience. Since we’re both foodies, we decided to try one of the most popular, highly praised and difficult to get reservations at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Victoria & Albert’s Chefs Table in the Grand Floridian! Yes, this was a major expense – a restaurant with a 5 DIAMOND RATING isn’t going to come cheap – but we agreed it would be worth us cutting costs in other areas to make this work. We were very fortunate to get a reservation near the end of our trip, and couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Since I know your first question would probably be ‘well, how much DOES it cost?’ here’s the answer: $250 per person, and up to 10 people can dine at the Chef’s Table (but only in the same reservation – you can have just one or two if you want and nobody else can invade on your table). You can also add an optional wine pairing for $150. The main dining room Prix Fixe menu is $235, in case you’re unable to try Victoria & Albert’s Chefs Table. I know that’s a LOT of money – because then you add gratuity (these Chefs and staff definitely earn it – they’re amazing!), so for just two people it can be a hit to the wallet. Hubby and I both agreed that this was probably our FAVORITE experience from the whole trip, and the most amazing food thing we’ve ever done together, so we definitely believe it was worth it.
We checked in for our reservation at their location inside the Grand Floridian, but were early so had time to wander around a little bit. By the way, they do have a strict dress code, so be sure to check that out before you arrive so you’re prepared. Even though we were right next to the kitchen, at times I did feel a bit chilly so ladies, you may want to bring a wrap or elegant jacket, just in case.
Since the Chef’s Table is back through the kitchens, you must be escorted if you’re to leave that area. We had a sweet lady guide us back, and anyone we passed wished us a Happy Anniversary – if you’re there celebrating an occasion, be sure to let them know so they can celebrate with you! Our table was off to the side near the kitchen, so we could watch as they worked their culinary magic. One of our servers, Chris, greeted us quickly and double checked any food allergies or preferences (they also called about a week before to check on this). We had a sparkling cider (or champagne, if you drink alcohol) toast with the wonderful Chef de Cuisine, Aimee Rivera. She talked with us a bit first, explaining how the evening would go and let us know we were free to get up from the table, we just had to stay behind the little half-wall separating our area from the kitchen – due to safety reasons of course. She was very friendly, and though was running a major kitchen and plenty of staff, never made us feel rushed in our conversations.
We got to watch for a tiny bit after that, enjoying learning a bit about the kitchen. They told us we were free to ask questions to any of the staff there, and even though I was hesitant at first because you could tell they were busy and focused on their tasks, they were all very friendly and welcomed anything we asked, offering plenty of answers and conversation.
It was really nice getting to be a part of the kitchen experience, but also have our own private space to just be us discussing our meal, our trip and what we were watching from the super busy – yet smoothly-ran – kitchen.
If you’re like us and love taking photos of your food – or plan to share those photos like I am in this article – then I recommend taking a good DSLR camera, so you can adjust it for the lighting. Hubby kept taking pictures of ME while I was taking pictures of things during our whole trip, so of course he grabbed some during the meal 🙂
We had several different staff members come talk to us during the entire experience – which lasted about 4-5 hours – either to just chat with us for some pleasant conversation, or to explain our next course. It was really interesting as they went into detail for each part of our meal, and why certain things were paired the way they were. And don’t worry – you get a copy of the menu to bring home with you, so you don’t have to try to memorize every single course – there are 10-12, after all (and two of those are desserts – yummy)!
Here’s a bigger photo of our menu – keep in mind it does change periodically, so yours may be different than ours. This is the main menu, without any changes or substitutions.
Okay, let’s get to the FOOD!!! It was absolutely delicious – and even though I was worried since I don’t like any seafood, they were very accommodating and made changes as needed. For example, I had a chicken version of the John Dory and roasted quail in place of the wild turbot. If you have a preference, don’t hesitate to let them know. Also, they WANT you to have the most incredible experience possible – they made sure we loved everything we had, and if we didn’t, they were eager to make something different in place. This was probably the most friendly, amazing staff I’ve ever had the joy of meeting at any dining experience!
Bread, Salt & Black Truffle Butter
You get several bread servings throughout the meal, with a variety of salts to choose from. I personally loved the pink one. They also brought out some black truffle butter which was DELICIOUS!
Course 1: Amuse-Bouche, Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Imperial Caviar
The mix of creamy with the crunch of the chips really blended well and the flavor was super smooth. While I don’t like seafood, I did like the caviar with this dish.
Optional Up-Purchase: Galilee Osetra Caviar with Traditional Garnishes ($105 for 1/2 oz. or $210 for 1 oz.) – we opted not to do this
Course 2: Seared Duck Breast with Farro & Asian Pears
Course 3: John Dory with Poppy Seed & Lemon Ravioli (Mine was a substitute of Green Circle Chicken)
This might have been my favorite non-beef dish of the whole evening because oh-my-goodness the lemon sauce was unforgettable. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Course 4: Wild Turbot with Toasted Capers & Preserved Lemon (I had Roasted Quail with House made Sauerkraut)
I was surprised at the great texture of this, and that the capers didn’t have that overly-strong taste that they can often have. Super tasty!
I think they gave us an extra course (because I counted 11 with this, and this wasn’t on my menu at all): New Zealand Langoustine with Nage Crema
This was hubby’s – and he totally loved it! He said it was mild in ‘seafood’ taste, so that I’d probably enjoy it as well, but I didn’t give it a try. Wish I had, though!
Course 5: Marcho Farms Veal with Black Truffles
Guys, they even shaved some black truffle onto our meal – that stuff is VERY expensive, so I felt really special. I don’t typically like veal, but this was tender and the flavor of the the whole dish complimented itself so well that I really enjoyed it.
Course 6: Lamb Loin with Barley Porridge & Compressed Plums
I definitely want to try making lamb at home with some plums because WOW they went together so deliciously.
Course 7: Australian Kobe-Style Beef with Roasted Garlic Potatoes – can also add up-charge of Miyazaki Japanese Beef for $55 (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!)
THIS is the absolute highlight of the meal – and please please please give the Miyazaki beef a try because it was INCREDIBLE! It’s from special cows in Japan that are fed saki, massaged, kept away from most people to keep their stress down, listen to classical music, etc. Crazy, right? When you taste this melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter meat, though, you’ll agree that they’re doing it right. Only about one cows-worth of this beef comes into the USA each year, and Victoria & Albert’s is one of maybe 15 places in the country that get it. Hubby was practically moaning because it tasted so good – you should’ve seen his face, absolute foodie bliss! This beef is the one on the right – the left is the Australian Kobe-style that was still some of the best beef I’ve ever had, until trying the other one, that is 🙂
Course 8: Selection of Cheese from the Market
This is where I learned how eager the team at Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table are to please – there was ONE of the cheeses on this plate that I really didn’t like (a few I loved, some were fine, but one was really too much for me), and within like 20 seconds of trying it – and probably making a weird face – one of our serves, who I didn’t see anywhere nearby, came up asking if they can make me something else to replace it. He asked very earnestly, and though I politely declined (I was already feeling so full – but very happily so) I was really grateful for the attention and offer. So if you don’t like something and DO want something different, I know they’d be glad to oblige!
Course 9: Cranberry Sweet Potato Gateau
I’m a huge chocolate-lover, as you all well know, but this dessert was so creamy and smooth, with an amazing-yet-mild cranberry taste to it that was complemented by the other sauces on the plate that it was probably my favorite dessert of the night.
Course 10: Peruvian Chocolate Crunch
This chocolate dessert definitely didn’t disappoint either – it was rich and dark, but creamy and not overwhelming at all, like some darker chocolates can be. And yes, that’s edible gold foil on there!
Yes, the courses appear really small – but don’t worry, you will leave VERY full and satisfied! We weren’t sure we’d ever be hungry again!
If you happen to notice a box on one of the shelves nearby your table…..it’s full of CHOCOLATES that you get to choose some from at the completion of your evening. If you’re too full (I can almost guarantee you will be) don’t worry, just ask them to box some up for you to take for later.
All the ladies also get a fresh ROSE which was a beautiful touch and really added more romance and thoughtfulness to the whole experience. The staff gave us a delicious orange-bread that we loved having for breakfast the next morning, as their way of thanking us for coming. I felt like laughing because we couldn’t thank THEM enough for how truly unforgettable, delicious and downright enjoyable the whole night was. From the friendly, helpful and generous staff to the food I can’t wait to eat here again sometime – it was our favorite part of our whole trip.
I highly recommend trying Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table the next time you’re celebrating something special – we plan to come back for our 15th or 20th (or both!) wedding anniversary!