In September 2009 we had dinner at Chefs de France in the France pavilion in Epcot. This restaurant is located on the main level (Bistro de Paris is more upscale and located on the second floor). The restaurant is a cheery yellow with windows all around. As with all Disney restaurants it is crowded and can get quite loud at times, so this is not a good place for what I would consider a romantic dinner, but it is a fun place to eat with good food. In attendance for dinner were my mother-in-law, father-in-law, my husband, his brother, our sister-in-law and their 3 children (19, 17 and 14). We did not get to see Ratatouille as he presently comes out in the afternoon (subject to change of course). Our server, Lidio, has worked at Walt Disney world for 20 years. He is from Monaco and spoke fluent French, Italian and English. Amazingly, he always carried on conversations with people in the correct language and we were using all three at our table! He started us off with warm crusty rolls and butter, and quickly brought our drinks. We were all on the Basic Disney Dining Plan, which includes a main course, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. One nice surprise here is that the Dining Plan can also include selections from their fixed price menu which includes a 3 course meal offering with several appetizers, main courses and desserts to choose from. Four members of our party chose to do this. The French onion soup got two thumbs way up and is easily hearty enough for a light meal. The salad on the fixed price menu was romaine hearts with blue cheese dressing, bacon, walnuts and croutons. Even people who don't normally like blue cheese found this salad to be a tasty combination. Incidentally, while we did not order them this trip, just a word of caution: Their "tarts" are not what I would think of as a tart, a small 3-4 inch pastry, rather they are more the size of a dinner plate. We have tried several in the past, which were all delicious, just be warned, they are an appetizer meant for sharing or consider having one as your main course.
For the main courses, we had three roasted half chickens, four peppercorn tenderloin steaks, one (adult) macaroni and cheese and one roasted duck (that's me, the odd duck!). A half a chicken is a relatively ridiculous amount of food, especially when you started with a large salad or crock of French onion soup, and plan to eat dessert, so come hungry! No "French plate" style meals here, there is a lot of food. The chicken was moist and tasty although it did not stand out as something special, one steak was slightly overdone, but the other three were perfect and everyone thought they were delicious. The macaroni and cheese was made with penne noodles, had almost a light cream sauce on it and was covered with melted gruyere cheese. It was surprisingly good and I would order it on a future trip. I had the roasted duck, which is a nice change of pace that you don't often find on menus. It did not disappoint and was also tender and delicious. I did make one change and requested the potato gratin of Savoy instead of the sweet potato, as I don't care for sweet potato, which is the usual side dish. I was so glad I did, for me, the potato gratin might have been the highlight of the meal! It was just delicious.
We had three birthday celebrations in our party this trip and Chefs de France did not disappoint. Their desserts were delivered with candles and a song from what seemed like half of the dining room staff. For dessert we had profiteroles, crepes, creme brulee, sorbet and chocolate cake. For me, this is the one place where Chefs de France does not excel. The desserts are good, just not exceptional. The profiteroles might be better known as cream puffs but with ice cream in the middle. The creme brulee is not as rich as I have had elsewhere and there was not enough burnt sugar on top to make it crispy. The crepes were deemed to be very good and I think I will consider them next trip. Sorbet is always nice when it is 95 degrees outside with 95% humidity, as it was the day we ate there. It is also light so not as filling. The large slice of chocolate cake didn't get finished even with nine of us at the table. However, considering how much food we had consumed by this point, it could just be that none of us were hungry!
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. No doubt our great server Lidio was a big part of our enjoyment. The food here is plentiful, tasty and along the lines of "comfort food" in that it is not exotic or particularly adventurous. The overall rating of this restaurant was mixed with the 19 year old (who had chicken and chocolate cake) giving it 2 out of 5 stars, while the 17 year old (who had French onion soup, macaroni and cheese and creme brulee) said it was "The Bomb" and one of her favorite meals of the trip. As for my rating, I'd probably come in between the two teens with about a 3.5. Definitely worth going back, but not every trip to Walt Disney World.
To find out when you can call to make your Advanced Dining Reservations for the Chefs de France restaurant, go to the PS Report.
Editor's Note: I would like to thank Bethany for volunteering to do this PS Spotlight. Bethany also has reviewed Tutto Italia, Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Bongo's Cuban Cafe.
Meet Remy at Chefs de France
While Bethany did not have the pleasure of meeting Remy on her visit to Chefs de France, Traci Curth of the Travel with Kids blog kindly let me use her photo and shared the following from her encounter with the star from Pixar's Ratatouille.
"It was so fun when Remy came to our table.
We knew that he was 'visiting' diners at certain times, but a lot of other diners seemed really surprised when they lifted the lid and Remy was there! They spent about 20 minutes going through the restaurant with him - and we were there for about 90 minutes and he only made that one appearance.
He really interacted with us too -- he flirted with my daughter and niece (as much as a rat can flirt) and asked if he could come live with us -- he was all for it until he heard we had a cat! It was a really fun character experience - one of my favorites. His 'handler' acted as his translator too - Remy would speak in 'rat' speak and Armand would 'translate'. So cute!"
Thank you, Traci! Remy was only supposed to be at Chefs de France for the summer of 2009 but he has been held over indefinity as of this writing -- Scottwdw