Walt Disney World Dining

Tony's Town Square

Review by Kevin Klose - 3/08

I haven’t been to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in many years.  Our last experience was a disaster and the reviews from others have done nothing to lessen my memory.

With this in mind, we agreed, when asked by visiting friends, to join them for dinner at Tony’s Town Square.

Upon arrival, one of our party approached the podium.  As there was a very large crowd waiting to be seated…we stood back a bit.

While waiting and chatting, one of the hosts decided that we were standing in the wrong spot. He asked us to move out of the outer area and into the more crowded waiting area. We did as he asked.

In a few short minutes, he asked us to move to a different location. Again…we did as he asked.

This happened a third time and again….we did as he asked, but this time I asked him where he wanted us to stand and to show me the exact spot.

Upon his fourth attempt to make us move yet again, I told him we were done and not moving again.  He suggested that he would get a manager and I agreed that he should probably do that.

The manager approached our party of four and asked if there was a problem. We explained that we had no problem, but that his host seemed to be having an issue. He seemed genuinely surprised when I explained what happened and his response was that he gets “nervous when it gets busy.”

My feeling is that working in the world’s busiest theme park might be the wrong career path for someone who gets “nervous when it’s busy.”

Moving on to the actual review…

Tony’s Town Square is  named after the restaurant in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. You remember the spaghetti sharing scene? That takes place at Tony’s (in the movie).

The Walt Disney World version of this movie eatery has very little actual theming. There is a fountain featuring Lady and Tramp in the middle of the restaurant and Tony’s image on the menu, but little else.

I often hear folks say that the theming of a restaurant is almost as important as the food (think Whispering Canyon Café) when visiting Disney.  The folks from this camp will probably be disappointed as the theme seems to be “mediocre Italian restaurant.”

Our experience started with our server bringing us bread and a red sauce / tapenade / roasted red pepper topping. The topping was delicious. The bread was refrigerated and stale. I believe we had day old bread. This would have been wonderful with warm, fresh bread.

We ordered 5 of the 7 appetizers ordered. One of us had the Mussels ($10.99) I took a taste and that was enough. I thought they tasted really bad. The person eating them suggested that they weren’t bad after the first few. 

Two of our group tried the two available soups (both $5.49). One of the soups was the Minestrone with Orzo. I would describe it as oregano soup with no orzo. The waiter brought a ½ cup of orzo after we had mentioned the missing pasta.   The soup of the day was Portobello Mushroom Soup. It was truly dreadful and after a small taste, sat untouched until our server took it away with the comment “didn’t like it…huh?” That was the entire discussion regarding the full bowl of soup being returned.

I had the Tomato Mozzarella Salad ($8.69). It was a large portion with grape tomatoes and many small balls of mozzarella (are you listening Le Cellier….many) in a balsamic dressing with roasted garlic and shallots. It was a nice appetizer presented well. A bit pricey…but good.

The final appetizer was the Calamari ($9.49). It was a nice serving and well prepared. It came with a side of marinara sauce. Skip that and ask for more of the bread topping. It’s MUCH better.

On to the entrees….

Two of our party had the Chicken Parmigiana ($16.99). This consisted of a chicken breast with a small amount of cheese served over a bowl of overcooked spaghetti and a brick red sauce that tasted like pure tomato paste. It would best be described as Chef Boy Ar don’t.

One of us had the Caesar Salad with Chicken (12.99). There is just not a lot to say about this entrée. There was nothing wrong with it is about as descriptive as I can get. It  was an acceptable Caesar salad.

I had the Catch of the Day ($21.99) which on the day of our visit was salmon served over Orzo pasta with pancetta, roasted garlic and seasonal vegetables and topped with Balsamic Maple Glaze.  This is a very fancy description for what amounted to salmon and pasta.  Was it bad? No…it wasn’t bad…but it wasn’t good either and for $22 it should be good to excellent. I can best describe it as non-descript.

We finished our meal with one dessert: the Chef’s signature Cheesecake ($5.49).  On that particular day it was Amaretto Cheesecake. It was a very small portion, but what was there was tasty. Four of us tried it and a single bite each…it was gone.

This is one of those disappointing meals that Disney frequently dishes out. It’s not Disney dining….it’s Disney eating…and it can be done much better.

And finally….

I believe that this location should be one of the premier dining locations in all of Walt Disney World.

There is not another park at WDW with a dining location of this size and scope just inside the front gates and in place of such prominence.

In my opinion, this prime location deserves to be among Disney’s best and sadly, it isn’t even close.

Discrepancies or Corrections? Please let us know.