Disney Dining has many options to suit all wallets from counter meals all the way to fine dining. During my stay I really wanted to do one fine dining meal and based on reviews, friends recommendations and a seasonal menu I choose Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel. I arrived earlier than my reservation time, but that wasn't an issue and I was seated straight away. The dining room is moody and dimly lit and the ambiance is soft and exquisite. Hush tones surround me and I feel like I'm in for a real treat. I was seated just near the open kitchen, offering great views of the chef's hard at work over the hot stoves. There is also a chef's table and a bar/counter area where you can also be seated (which was full when I arrived).
The only way to go here for me was the Vintner's Table. Yes I was splashing out! A four course tasting menu paired with wines. This restaurant is definitely on the expensive side (it is Disney after all) but I think it's worth doing at least one fine dining Disney style while visiting.
A beautiful basket of various breads and crispbreads arrived at table side. I nibbled on the crispbread, not wanting to spoil my appetite. However, the crisp bread was crispy, garlic and Parmesan and very moreish.
breads and crispbreads...but I love the basket!
The first glass was served and it was bubbly, crisp Gramona, Gran Cuvee Brut 2008 from Spain (the only photo of wine I got). I sipped on this while people watching and gazing around the restaurant.
A perfect bite size (or maybe two) arancini of goats cheese and chorizo fritter with romenesco and chilli sauce. This was a flavour bomb as far as amouse bouche go and my taste buds were starting to party. A sign of great things to come........
It wasn't long before my first dish arrived.
Cedar plank roasted Canadian black sablefish with apple creme fraiche panna cotta, satsuma tangerine and almonds. I have never tasted black sablefish before and I was amazed at the soft, fleshy fish. The fish was cooked to perfection, flaky , moist and deep hints of satsuma and tangerine. The apple creme fraiche panna cotta was smooth and refreshingly tasty.
aerial view of a visually pleasing dish
The staff are very attentive but not intrusive. Everything is timed perfectly.
The second course was interesting. Rabbit & Dumplings -fricassee of Sonoma rabbit, pot roasted vegetables and rich rabbit stew with bacon and cheddar dumplings
Not a big rabbit eater, I was concerned this may have been a too heavy dish for a tasting menu. The tasting serve is rather on the large side, with three big dumplings. The rabbit is rich and meaty, the sauce is rich and deep in flavours and it's a hearty delicious dish, unfortunately the dumplings were dense and heavy. I love the presentation in a cute copper pot.
Rabbit stew with dumplings
I was looking forward to the third course - Grilled diver Sea scallop and braised angus beef cheeks with harvest squash puree and lobster essence. I love scallops and paired with beef cheeks can only be a good thing in my books.
Oh yes, this dish is a winner. The scallop is cooked and the caramelised char marks are great. The beef cheeks are again rich and meaty and so very tender. The lobster essence offers a hint of the sea.
scallops, lobster and beef
The fourth and final dish is of course dessert. Best hot chocolate ever - warm world class chocolate with orange and hazelnut homemade filled doughnuts (seriously that's what it's called) big call!
I was rather full by this stage and ended up getting this to take back to my room...but I did drink the best hot chocolate ever. Creamy, thick hot chocolate - this was awesome. There was only one donut filled with the orange and hazelnut filling, but they are rolled in cinnamon and sugar. They were good, but I have had a better cinnamon donut before.
donuts of goodness and best hot choccie
Overall, I am very pleased that Napa Rose was everything that I expected. It's a wonderful restaurant for celebrations and romantic dates ...or for me....someone who just wants a bit of a special dinner when travelling on their own. The staff will go out of their way to make your dining experience a fantastic one!