After years of watching our friends enjoy California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we finally got to do the same. This last May Corey and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary so we decided to get dressed up and head to this Signature Dining restaurant.
California Grill is located on top of Disney’s Contemporary and has incredible views of Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake, and you can see as far as the Icon Orlando 360 on International Drive. Many people choose to dine here because of the view of Happily Ever After from there. If you dine earlier in the evening, you can actually show your receipt to come back up for the show and watch from the outdoor viewing deck.
We didn’t care as much about the firework view, we were just excited to try the vegan menu here! That’s right, they have a whole Vegetarian/Vegan Unplugged menu. The Vegan Unplugged allows you to choose four items to create one entree.
Since there was six vegan items, we decided to get them all between the two of us. Along with the Vegan Unplugged you get complimentary bread and oil. The sourdough loaf was nice and warm and the oil was literally the best oil we’ve ever had for dipping. In the oil was some dried tomatoes that we kept putting on the bread. We probably would have been content just eating that and having our drinks.
Our food came out and it all looked great. The Vegan Pizza was awesome, Corey even joked that it “sounded weird but was probably incredible” and he was right. The pizza had pear, an onion jam, and arugula. It was more so on a little pita but it was still very good.
The Pasta was pretty good, but I was expecting something else I think. I have seen so many photos of this pasta and it always looked so creamy and delicious, and mine wasn’t that. Mine was pretty dry and really completely lacked any creaminess, I would have assumed it was an oil based pasta salad. That all being said, it was still very good, but not what I had seen from others. But we’ll dive deeper into that later on.
The Vegan Roll was really good. It had silken tofu, avocado, jicama, quinoa and a truffle emulsion (what I assume should have been on the pasta). It was topped with a little chip as well. It was generally all mushy, and I usually like something crunchy in my sushi rolls, but I would definitely get this again. Corey really loved his roll too.
The Vegan Fried Rice was okay. The menu just describes it with “tiny vegetables, crispy mushrooms.” Our fried rice was basically just onion and crispy mushroom. I wouldn’t order it again. We also had other friends on Instagram go the night before us, the next day and even the next weekend and everyones fried rice had different “tiny vegetables.”
Corey really loved the tofu steak. It came with brown rice, edamame, quinoa, and an olive oil. He said it was super flavorful and he would absolutely get that one again.
Corey didn’t love the Vegan Pho. He said it was mostly broth with few noodles. The menu describes it as “Chef’s selection of vegetables” and he noticed that the pho in pictures of our friends meals had completely different vegetables and seemed to be loaded with noodles. Regardless, he said he wouldn’t get that one again.
We didn’t get any dessert here, but Matt and Bridget did the weekend after we did. We couldn’t (well really I couldn’t) have it because the dessert contains hazelnut, which our son has had allergic reactions to. That being said, Bridget really enjoyed the vegan dessert. It is essentially a cashew cheesecake. She said it wasn’t very sweet, but that it was very good. It is definitely a dessert to share.
As a whole we enjoyed our meal here. The views were incredible, the service was great, and the restaurant itself was beautiful. As for the the food, we had some things we really enjoyed and things we didn’t. Nothing was bad, just some things were obviously better. I think the biggest issue we found was that they seem to be incredibly inconsistent here, which is frustrating given that they have a full vegan menu to go off of and it seemed to change multiple times over a weekend.
I absolutely would eat here again. Maybe next time we’ll stay for the fireworks instead of getting rained on in Magic Kingdom.
This review is from May 2018.