For as many Walt Disney World Resort visits we have done (many of which staying at the Boardwalk-area resorts), we have never dined at the Flying Fish. A few years ago this restaurant underwent renovation, and with the guidance of a new head chef, rumor had it that Flying Fish was a must-do for foodies. With a menu that changes several times a month (sometimes weekly) to reflect what is fresh in the market (sustainable and seasonal), we were excited to dine here.
Arriving for our 9 PM reservation a few minutes early, we were escorted to our table immediately. We were surprised to see most of the dining room empty (end of August is supposedly slow season) and so we enjoyed a semi-private dining experience.
The interior is beautiful, with the centerpiece of the dining area featuring a series of glass fish hanging from the ceiling. There is an open kitchen so it allows for guests to watch the preparation process. The back corner showcases an elaborate bar with hundreds of wine bottles lighting the area. Overall, we really loved the decor and the space.
The wine menu had representation from the popular grape varietals. Since seafood was the specialty, we opted for a Chablis, reasonably priced for a high end restaurant.
As we scanned the food menu, it became obvious the decision was going to be tough. Several of the items on the appetizer and entrees looked enticing so we decided to go a creative route to try what we wanted.
The bread service is worth noting — local Orlando semolina bread with pieces of nori seaweed throughout accompanied by butter sprinkled with black cyprus sea salt.
The combination of all these flavors was salty goodness. It was difficult to restrain ourselves from filling up on the bread as we knew we had a big meal ahead.
Our strategy included getting several appetizers and an entree so we could both try many items on the menu. Since I am not a huge fish fan, this allowed me to have options that did not include a whole fish. Of note, there are several options on the menu for those that do not prefer seafood or a fish dish.
The first item that came to the table was the Tasting of Artisan Cheeses Board with accompaniments like honeycomb, chocolate dust, espelette pepper, and others.
Holy cheese plate! When the board arrived, we were impressed with the number of cheeses and generous portions of each cheese — very happy with the selection.
Our next appetizer was the Grilled Baby Romaine served with buttermilk crème fraîche dressing and pecorino shavings.
The heart of romaine was grilled whole and laid over a bed of fresh grilled vegetables for a colorful presentation and delicious dish. Sometimes it is difficult on vacation to find the willpower to choose the healthier option, but this creative twist certainly got our attention.
Another appetizer we ordered was the Dungeness Crab Croquettes.
I love croquettes in all of their many forms so this was an easy choice to try. These four mini crab cake balls serviced with a lemon-thyme coulis and microgreens were crispy on the outside and stuffed with snow crab meat on the inside. While there was definitely crab meat inside, I think the deep frying overpowered the crab flavor, as it was hard to find.
The final appetizer was the Kurobuta Pork Belly served with gala apple and cherry gastrique.
This, my friends, was our OMG dish. I think this may be one of the best pork belly preparations we have ever had. The pork belly was bursting with flavor not just from the meat but the glaze as well — sweetness that balanced out the fat. I could have ate only this and been completely content. I certainly did not expect to find pork belly coming into a seafood restaurant, but this is a dish I hope never leaves the menu! I'm still daydreaming about this deliciousness.
Kevin chose the entree and he definitely had a hard time picking out one. From the sea bass, to the mahi-mahi, to the Wagyu beef and the short rib, it all sounded delicious. After speaking with our knowledgeable server, the sea bass won out. When this dish arrived, it was one of the largest pieces of fish I have seen. The sea bass was placed on top of a leek fondue and a Cassis-red wine reduction.
As I mentioned, I do not like fish but when I tried this sea bass, I wanted more. Lacking a fishy taste, the sea bass had a buttery consistency and was perfectly cooked. The accompaniments on the plate really elevated the dish. The leek fondue was so creamy and since it was not overpowering, it balanced the entire presentation. Well done!
We really enjoyed dining in this way as it allowed us to try many of the appetizers that sounded amazing on paper, and that sentiment was replicated in taste. Perhaps we could have had one less plate for the sake of our stomach size, but overall no regrets here!
Since we were both incredibly full, we decided to split a dessert of my choosing. When our server asked if we liked chocolate, I did not even look at the menu — whatever she was pitching, I was in. Moments later, the dessert Cocoa Beach arrived at our table. Cocoa Beach is a chocolate hazelnut cake filled with creme brulee and mascarpone with cookie crumble on the side. The dish is topped with warm ganache at table side which allows the cake to open up to access all the goodness inside. This was most definitely my chocolate dream come true.
This meal proved to be an excellent representation of the many reasons why we continue to travel to Disney World. These dining experiences continue to elevate our vacation experience and keep us coming back for more. We are excited to add Flying Fish to our Disney dining rotation in upcoming trips and look forward to the changing, diverse, and creative menu.
*The Flying Fish is a signature restaurant credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
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