We’re sharing our review of Citricos, a table service restaurant located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
When the doors part and you are first met with the expansively magnificent lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, your dining experience at Citricos has officially begun. The elegant Victorian-era design queues of the lobby alert you that you are no longer a simple theme park or resort guest but a guest about to go on a journey during their meal seating. After you make your way up the sprawling, fairytale-esque grand staircase off the lobby, you will catch your first glimpse of Citricos. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, you will be granted a taste of the breathtaking resort view that all seats in the restaurant grant. After setting the scene beautifully, you leave the Grand Floridian’s familiar design behind for something unknown, yet very familiar…
Our Review of Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Mary Poppins Takes Center Stage…If You Know Where to Look!
Citircos is themed to one of Disney’s most beloved classic films, Mary Poppins. Some of the decor nods (like murals of Cherry Tree Lane and the London street lamp replicas) will help keen-eyed fans identify the theming, but most of the touches you really have to look for! Our server was a wealth of knowledge not only about the menu but also about Citricos’ very deliberate yet almost hidden theming.
He pointed out that the gold mesh chandeliers (strategically hung to appear as though they are upside-down) were inspired by Mary Poppins’ magical umbrella! The upholstery on the chairs is adorned with the purple cherry blossoms that give Cherry Tree Lane its name. My favorite Mary Poppins touch was located right at my table, more specifically in the booth I was seated in! The soft, velvet upholstery I was seated on is the same design you’ll find lining Mary’s iconic bag!
We were also seated below Citricos’ own personal ‘hidden Mickey.’ Keeping with the idea of subtle theming, the main chandelier serves as this location’s hidden Mickey.
Drinks with a View of Magic Kingdom
I was celebrating an anniversary when I dined at Citricos and had almost forgotten that I had noted the occasion when I made the reservation. The wait staff at Citricos didn’t forget, though, as we were immediately greeted with lovely (and complimentary) ‘welcome’ champagne to toast our anniversary when we were seated!
I also ordered the 212 Manhattan (notice the little Mary Poppins penguins on the cocktail menu!), which is prepared with Angels Envy Bourbon, Antica Vermouth, and Chocolate Bitters. I could tell the drink was made by an experienced bartender, as each and every flavor listed was present on the palette for a moment before swallowing. Not even the heavy-handed pour of bourbon overpowered the other flavors!
While we enjoyed our drinks course, I was continually awed by the view out of the floor-to-ceiling windows that encircle the entire restaurant space. The white buildings of the Grand Floridian rise beautifully around the restaurant, and the vantage point from the second floor paints the Resort in an entirely different, much more quiet light. Speaking of light, we were treated to a sunset that lit up the Grand Floridian’s white buildings in a fiery orange that truly punctuated the experience!
Elevated Entrees in Open Concept Kitchen
No matter where you’re seated in Citricos, you’ll be walked past the open-concept kitchen on your way to your table. When I see an open-concept kitchen, I always become even more excited for the meal I’m about to enjoy because I know that everything about the food will be prepared honestly and in plain view of the guests. The prep cooks become part of the ‘show’ here as you can watch them work on preparing your food right before your eyes!
Beginning with Bread
Each dining experience begins with fresh bread made and baked on-site in the Grand Floridian bakery, accompanied by salted butter.
Next, we moved to the appetizer course where I ordered the Wild Mushrooms Arancini, which was presented as an order of three well-fried arancini bites sitting atop a bed of fresh, dressed greens.
For my entree, I opted for the House Made Rigatoni that not only was loaded with fresh ingredients like seasonal veggies, sweet tomatoes, and a fried ‘egg’ (made from yellow peppers!), but also provided a convincing ‘bolognese’-style sauce…without any of the meat!
The Real Surprise…Mac and Cheese!
The real surprise came in the form of the truffle mac and cheese. Our server warned us that it was untraditional and that ‘you really have to like truffles’ in order to enjoy the dish…but nothing could have prepared me for what was set down in front of me. A bowl that almost looked like soup was full of foamed cheese, tiny house made gnocchis, and more mushrooms than I was expecting. It turned out that the chef at Citricos actually created the method to foam the cheese in-house and that you can only find this type of cooking method right here at Citricos!
The dish was very, very rich and was not at all like a mac and cheese, but if you are a fan of truffles, cheese whipped into a foam that I can guarantee you’ve never tasted before, and gnochetti, this is truly a mac and cheese unlike any other you’ll find on property…and probably anywhere else on earth!
Overall Experience at Citricos
Overall, the food at Citricos is not the run-of-the-mill ‘theme park’ dinner experience many guests have come to expect from the Monorail Resort’s dining locations. For example, I ordered the rigatoni ‘bolognese’ that, although completely vegan, prides itself on providing plant-based eaters the option to enjoy a meat-flavored sauce in their meal without compromising their dining requirements.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World and are in the market for a dinner experience that includes phenomenal views, a great cocktail list, an open-concept kitchen design, and some subtly-placed Disney design queues that you can enjoy- or choose to easily overlook for guests wanting a non-themed experience- Citricos is the place for your family! From service to the elegant and subtle design of the space, Citricos is truly an elevated dining experience from what you might expect to find at Walt Disney World.