On one of our prior Disney trips, we had dinner at The California Grill in The Contemporary Resort. It is one of our most memorable vacation meals. Not only was the food amazing, but we got the added bonus of seeing two fireworks shows (they were testing a new display after the park had closed) during our dinner. It was a romantically marvelous evening.
We wanted to do something just as marvelous for Shannon's birthday dinner, but didn't want to go somewhere we had already been. After reading and listening to many glowing reviews I decided to make a reservation for Narcoossee's. A fancy seafood menu with the added bonus of great fireworks viewing seemed like a recipe for a wonderful evening.
Narcoossee's is located on the property of the Grand Floridian Hotel. I read a lot of warnings and no one was exaggerating, the walk from the parking lot to the restaurant is substantial. The hike is due to the fact that the restaurant sits on the lake at the end of the hotel's property.
When I made the reservation using the app there wasn't a specific place to add if you were going for a special occasion so I wrote a comment in the section where you would write if someone has a food allergy or other specific instruction. I wasn't too concerned because usually when you show up for your reservation they ask if you are there for a special occasion.
The restaurant was crowded and chaotic when we arrived. The hostess whisked us off to our table never making eye contact let alone asking us if we were there for a special occasion.
Shannon still had his very noticeable birthday button on so I hoped that our server would see it and would perhaps inquire about the special day.
The restaurant appeared off the evening we were there.
Our server seemed distracted and was more or less just going through the motions. I had a feeling she was counting down the hours and hoping everyone would skedaddle out sooner rather than later so she could go home. She was acceptable and would have been adequate if we were dining at a restaurant at home, but she was not exceptional. We realized we had been spoiled by the exceptional service we received at Raglan Road and The Brown Derby Lounge earlier in the week. This server just couldn't compare.
The food wasn't bad.
We started with a cheese plate
and enjoyed the view of the electrical parade as it moved across the lake.
I had the scallops as my entree and Shannon had the tuna.
My scallops were perfectly cooked but I wasn't too keen on the side dish in the middle.
We ordered pistachio gelato for dessert and then headed out to the deck that surrounds the restaurant to watch the fireworks. We wanted to get out there because the deck started filling up with non-restaurant people and we wanted to make sure we got a good spot before the deck got too crowded.
Everything that I read ahead of time said that the restaurant pipes the fireworks music over the restaurant's speakers during the show, but maybe the speakers were not working that night because there was no fireworks music. It wasn't a huge deal, we enjoyed the fireworks even without the music (sometimes we prefer them sans music anyway), but it was just one more thing that was off. The view of the show from the deck was nice. It was the best part of the evening.
When dessert arrived it was confirmed that Shannon wasn't going to get any special birthday surprises.
We probably could have mentioned something earlier, but when you're a grown-up it feels a little silly to wave your arms in the air with announcement and make a fuss over it being your birthday.
I have no doubt that on a good night Narcoossee's is a wonderful restaurant. I still feel like there was something going on behind the scenes on the night we were there that prevented it from being exceptional. No worries though because our dinner the following night would erase any and all Narcoossee's disappointment.