Summer House on the Lake is the newest restaurant to open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World. This dining location is still in its early opening phase, but the DIS Unlimited team went and checked it out for lunch a few days after it opened.
After being seated, there was no sign of a server, and after a little over ten minutes, Craig got up to ask someone if they knew what was going on. It turned out there was some sort of a mixup with the server assignments, and once a manager came over, the issue was resolved quickly. Craig mentioned that the “guest recovery” included a complimentary order of the Signature Guacamole ($16.95), which the team had already planned on ordering. In addition to the guacamole, Cheesy Dream Puffs ($10.95) and Potato Salad Deviled Eggs ($9.95) appetizers were ordered.
As for the guacamole, Craig stated that it needed more salt as it was kind of bland, while Ryno felt that more of a citric acid element, such as lime, was needed. Hannah said that if this was her signature guacamole, she’d be embarrassed as she felt that it had no flavor. Ryno did mention that the portion size was good and there were plenty of house-made chips. Everyone said the avocado in the guacamole was very fresh; however, if you need more salt or lime, you can always ask your server for lime wedges, and there is salt on the table. We should add that three additional dips are served with the guac – a pico de gallo, charred-tomato salsa, and habanero verde.
Hannah said that the Deviled Eggs were solid but felt that $9.95 for three was a bit steep, and she’d pass on those next time. Craig and Ryno agreed and mentioned other Deviled Eggs are served at Disney Springs that are amazing such as those at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.
The Cheesy Dream Puffs didn’t come to the table piping hot as the team would have liked, but… Hannah said they reminded her of Brazilian Cheese Bread found at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, but felt that they should be served with a bit of pepper jelly or something similar. Craig really enjoyed this starter and feels that they should be the standard bread service for this type of restaurant rather than a separately priced item.
Ryno ordered an Endless Summer Old Fashioned cocktail for $15 and said it lacked the expected bright citric flavor and the presentation was subpar. He said that it wasn’t a very well-made Old Fashioned, but it did have a lot of alcohol in it. Hannah ordered the Espressotini for $16 and said it had a fairly standard presentation and tasted decent but lacked excitement. Craig had the Jalapeño Business ($16) and said it was delicious. He said there was a strong jalapeño flavor, but the drink wasn’t spicy at all, which made it very enjoyable.
Next up was the Shaved Mushroom Pizza ($22.95) that was ordered for the table to share. The consensus on this dish was that it had great flavor but suffered from a wet, limp center, but the outer part of it was cooked well.
Ryno chose the Costa Mesa Salad ($18.95) for his entree and added crispy chicken for an additional $7.95. He said the salad was fresh and delicious but that it was in no way worth the nearly $27 price tag as it didn’t have as much queso fresco or avocado as he would prefer.
Hannah’s chosen entree was the Crispy Fish Tacos at $22.95. The dish featured grouper, which she found surprising as she is a big fan of grouper but said it didn’t taste like grouper. The menu didn’t state what type of fish was in the tacos, but the dish didn’t live up to her expectations, resembling more of a fish and chips style, and she wouldn’t order this again.
Craig picked the “Our Famous Herbed Chicken Breast Paillard” for $21.95 – a thinly pounded and moist chicken breast reminiscent of a fine piece of chicken parm without the breading. The dish was served with a side of arugula salad which he happens to really enjoy. He said he would order this dish again in a heartbeat but would’ve liked an additional side served along with it at this price point.
Moving on to the dessert menu, there are plenty of choices for everyone, especially with the restaurant’s signature Cookie Bar.
The Gooey Lemon Cake ($13.95) is highly praised by everyone at the table for its perfect texture and incredible lemon flavor, resembling a cross between a lemon bar and cake.
The Chocolate Peppermint Pie ($14.95) was criticized for its high price and perceived low value, with the opinion that it might cost considerably less to prepare. The group agreed that while the pie tasted fine, Ryno would’ve preferred a stronger peppermint flavor. Hannah thought the dessert was going to be more rich than it was and almost felt like it was watery. She said crushed candy cane bits in the crust and/or the filling would have added a lot to the pie.
Among the cookies, the Oatmeal Scotchie ($4.95) is highly recommended for its texture and butterscotch flavor, while other cookies are deemed average. The sea salt chocolate chip was good, and the Pink Lady was described as incredibly sweet, both priced at $4.95.
Hannah compared the cookies to CRUMBL Cookies in size and price but mentioned that she was glad to see that cookies ordered as part of your meal were warmed up compared to simply picking them up at the Cookie Bar cold, which she also did.
Craig says that he wouldn’t go out of his way for any of the cookies they tried, but he had the same feelings about the Oatmeal Scotchie, saying that it was amazing. He said the chocolate pie was absurdly priced as the slice was approximately 1/6 of a whole pie, and it would never be worth $90. He recommends that if you do get dessert, stick with the cookies or the lemon cake.
The restaurant’s ambiance is appreciated, described as a vibe similar to an Earl’s Kitchen, with a rating from Ryno of 7.5. However, the cost of certain items is criticized as being on the higher side with a score of 5. Food and presentation gets a solid 7, and quality of taste is also a 7. He rated 7.5 on service. Ryno’s overall dining experience receives a rating of 3.4 out of 5, with a willingness to return despite some criticisms of service and pricing.
Hannah agrees with Ryno’s rankings and feels that pricing versus size on what was ordered was fair as Disney’s pricing tends to be higher than your typical neighborhood restaurant. She gives the ambiance an eight as she loves the look and feel of the space. Food preparation and presentation gets a seven, saying it was just okay even though the food temperatures should’ve been hotter. Quality and taste receives a six as most of what she ordered, she won’t order again on future visits. Service got a seven even though the restaurant is so new. Cost gets a six – but some of the items were more worth the price than others. Her total ranking is 3.4 out of 5 overall.
Craig gives ambiance a seven as he likes the style and color pattern of the restaurant’s interior but hates the music playing, saying it is too loud. Food prep and presentation gets an eight as everything looks great, but he gives the quality and taste a seven. Service gets an eight as the mishap at the beginning of the meal was promptly and reasonably addressed. He says he can tell that the restaurant has good leadership and that it might just take a bit for them to get on their feet. The cost gets a six because although you might already expect higher Disney prices, it didn’t live up to it as a whole and was too expensive for what they got. Craig says the restaurant is not bottom of the barrel for him, but it’s not super high on his list either, with an overall score of 3.6 out of 5.
If you’d like to watch this review as it was filmed live during the experience, enjoy the video below!
Have you tried Summer House on the Lake yet? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº