Interested in dining at Disney World’s newest restaurant? Check out our Steakhouse 71 review below to see what’s good (HINT: It’s everything!).
From new character costumes to new live entertainment to new merchandise to new rides to new food, WDW brought so much, well, new stuff to its 50th anniversary. As part of this ongoing celebration, Disney has reimagined the Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort into the brand-new Steakhouse 71.
After just one bite, this new sit-down restaurant rocketed to the top of my must-eat list.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
As you enter this brightly lit and chic restaurant, you’ll pass a small gallery of classic black-and-white Disney photos. Take a moment to enjoy these historic shots, which document important milestones in the development and opening of Walt Disney World in 1971.
The restaurant subtly transports guests back to the ’70s through the decor and menu offerings. It’s not dated or old-fashioned though; it feels fun, fresh, and vibrant.
I loved all the different textures and patterns in the ceiling and wallpaper, plus the lounge area has an incredible mid-century modern aesthetic.
The food itself is a bit vintage. Starters like Wedge Salad and Shrimp Cocktail pair perfectly with the decor and excellent signature cocktails, and entrees like the Prime Rib Hash for breakfast or the Bone-In Rib Chop for lunch and dinner are inspired by Walt himself, who had a penchant for many of the dishes on the menu.
The restaurant sets the scene for a vintage experience with a dining room from a time not too far out of recent memory that draws inspiration from Walt and the enthusiasm and excitement of WDW’s opening year.
I love the pops of color in the giant murals along the back wall (look out for a hidden Mickey in the more red-colored artwork, a sort of abstract Magic Kingdom). The funky lighting and cool textured glass in the bar area give the restaurant a vintage but modern feel that is perfectly in keeping with the style of the Contemporary resort.
While the decor really jives with my personal aesthetic, it’s the food that made me fall in love with this modern classic and want to sit down to write a full Steakhouse 71 review.
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Steakhouse 71 Menu
Steakhouse 71 is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a separate menu for all three meals.
There is also a lounge in the restaurant with its own menu so you have quite a lot to choose from.
In general, the dishes are what I would describe as American, casual cuisine. There are lots of approachable and familiar favorites, including:
- French Onion Soup
- Crab Cake Sliders
- Fork & Knife Caesar Salad
- 12-oz Roasted Prime Rib & Classic Yorkshire Pudding
- 14-oz Dry-aged Pork Bone-In Rib Chop
The two protein-forward entrees come with your choice of classic sides like Au Gratin Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, or Garlic-Mashed Potatoes.
The servers are quick to offer up recommendations and love to tell you about the items on the menu that are inspired by Walt’s personal favorites.
While attending a media event to learn more about the 50th anniversary celebrations, we were invited to a hosted lunch at Steakhouse 71.
During our meal, we were continually impressed with each new dish: The composition was lovely, the flavors were great, and paired with the drinks and casual ambiance the meal was a real highlight of the trip.
Steakhouse 71 Review
I started my meal with Shrimp Cocktail. I was pleased to see a more modern presentation of this appetizer and even more pleased with the excellent execution.
The shrimp were plump and just slightly sweet; the cocktail sauce had a little bit of a horseradish bite, and the chive oil was bright and herbaceous.
I also sampled the Bacon & Eggs, which was absolute amazing. This is the must-order appetizer on the menu.
The pork belly is expertly cooked with a crispy top layer, luscious pork fat, and fork-tender meat. The sauce (poured tableside) had a deep and layered flavor, and the “perfect egg” was, well, perfect. A creamy yolk and perfectly set egg white added a luxurious finish to this already outstanding dish.
Our entrées included the Fish Sandwich and Steak “Frites.”
The Fish Sandwich was very fresh and had lots of great texture. The crispy breading, the soft bun, the crunchy pickle: It all worked beautifully.
If this dish has a fault, it’s that the piece of fish was too large and, once you add in all the toppings, it was a struggle to actually pick up this handheld entree. We ended up eating it with a knife and fork but it was no less delicious.
The Steak “Frites” won the entrée round with its presentation, excellent chimichurri sauce, and top-notch waffle fries (hence the quotes around “frites”).
The steak is perfectly grilled. A good char on the outside gives way to tender meat. The waffle fries stood out for being exceptionally crispy and crunchy; the addition of garlic and parmesan really elevated them. A basket of these fries and a signature cocktail while relaxing in the lounge sounds like an ideal lazy afternoon to me.
The cocktails at Steakhouse 71 are from a different era where cocktails were mostly just blends of different liquors with more subtle flavors and few additions. If you aren’t used to really tasting the alcohol in your cocktails, these drinks may seem strong at first sip.
The Citrus Grove Cocktail (Campari, Green Chartreuse, Citrus Juices, Simple Syrup, Orange Bitters) is beautifully presented with a tiny, sugared orange garnish. It pays homage to the mny citrus groves of Florida and California.
The Fig Manhattan (Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Cointreau Noir, Fig Simple Syrup, Orange Bitters) is a nice nod to Walt’s love of scotch whiskey but also, as our server told us, to Lillian Disney, who wanted everything to be nice, refined, and elegant.
We finished the meal with two excellent desserts. The Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake is 15(!!!) layers of alternating milk and dark chocolate to represent the 15 storeys of the Contemporary Resort. Easily shared by two guests but good enough to want to keep all to yourself.
The Ambrosia is a delightful reimagining of Ambrosia Salad, a vintage recipe that is … divisive … to put it politely. This modern take on the classic dessert is a lovely, light finish to your meal. The chiffon cake is light as air and the mandarin curd and compressed pineapple are juicy and vibrant.
Love at First Bite
Steakhouse 71 delivers on vintage charm with great portions, better flavors, and a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere.
Having so thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, I can’t wait to experience the restaurant again for breakfast and dinner. I just may have to bring you a part 2 and 3 to my Steakhouse 71 review to see if they measure up to the bar set by lunch.
I’m also really looking forward to a peaceful afternoon in a comfy couch at the lounge with a cocktail in one hand and that basket of waffle fries in the other.
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Thanks to Disney for hosting us on a 2-night Media Preview of the Most Magical Celebration on Earth where we got to tour and experience many of the exciting updates made for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. #disneyworld50