Les Chefs de France is the lower level restaurant in the France Pavilion. I call it The Peasants de France. Or if you really want to get fancy with it, Les Paysans de France, which sounds kind of sexy, actually. The ritzier Monsieur Paul sits on top – rather smugly I might add. I have yet to read a positive review of Paul, but Disney Food Blog ran a glowing review of Cap’n Jack’s a couple weeks ago. So anything is possible. I read the review and literally said out loud, “Now I’ve seen everything.” Cap’n Jack’s is a restaurant that has not quite figured out Diet Coke, let alone anything that has spent any amount of time in an ocean. I should be bringing you a Monsieur Paul review early next month. Hopefully it will be good(?)!
Anyway, assuming you dine when there are other people present, Les Chefs is loud, the tables are close together, and service is very French. Which is to say, kind of bad.
These photos were taken around 9:20pm, so most other people have finished dinner. Or took one look at me, threw some money on the table, and stumbled hastily toward the exit.
The restaurant according to Disney: “Be transported to the heart of Paris at this charming café. With its high ceilings, intricate mosaic flooring and expansive windows looking out onto the promenade, this bright and airy restaurant features innovative French cuisine.” I’m not so sure I would characterize the ceilings as high. But it is nice carpet.
If you’re dining during IllumiNations, you may see some fireworks outside, but the restaurant doesn’t make a big deal of it. The lights aren’t turned down and the music isn’t piped inside. Thank goodness.
Les Chefs has a less expensive lunch menu, which you can view here.
Including the tres French, Derberger.
Another bonus(???) at lunch is the possibility of an appearance by Remy. He should be wheeled around the restaurant in his stationary position at 12:30pm, 1:40pm, 2:50pm, and 5pm every day other than Sunday. We just missed him by three and a half hours. Bummer.
Lisa joins us for dinner again. You may remember her from the time she COMPLETELY RUINED DINNER AT RESTAURANT MARRAKESH. Although Mother informed me that I can’t hold it against her that she ordered the Lamb Couscous when that was what I was going to order. So it isn’t fair for me to say dinner was ruined. I disagree, but I’m willing to give anybody a second chance. This time, we were happy to receive pre-packaged Cheney Premier Farms butter to go along with our fresh, chewy baguette. So far, so good.
As most women do when dining with me, Lisa immediately ordered a drink upon sitting down. And a fancy one at that – a Kir Royale – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte & black currant liqueur. $16.50. Feuillatte is actually a very good French champagne that would run you about $35 a bottle. She commented that there was too much black currant liqueur.
Since this is a restaurant for peasants, I went with the peasant version of the drink, a $7.25 Kir au Cassis – White wine and black currant. It was probably Franzia with food coloring. It seemed to be just fine, but wasn’t anything special in my opinion.
Knowing that all women love cheese and bread, I suggested the Plateau de fromages de France – $14.50 . Protip gentlemen: if you want to win the girl – expensive cheese, a cutting board from Crate & Barrel, grapes, and a bottle (or two) of Chandon is the ticket. The Brut Classic is probably fine, but if she’s really out of your league, go for the Moet Imperial. It wouldn’t kill you to have a Brunello and a bottle of chardonnay with a fancy looking label in the fridge just in case.
We’re looking at brie, blue cheese, goat cheese, gruyere, and something along the lines of munster. Each packed a lot of flavor and seemed to be good quality. The bread, walnuts, and grapes contrasted well with the cheese. The plate otherwise provided a nice selection of bites while we waited for our entrees – recommended if you’re into cheese. And who isn’t into cheese?
I ordered the Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre vert, Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts – Grilled tenderloin of beef with green peppercorn sauce, original potato gratin of Savoy, and green beans – $34.99. I would characterize it as an above average steak for Walt Disney World. The beef was tender and cooked to a perfect medium as requested. The peppercorn sauce accompanied the flavor from the meat rather than overpowering it, as often is the case. It was just the right size.
Chances are your food has been sitting underneath a heat lamp for a while in the kitchen when you’re dining here. The potatoes were only warm and didn’t have a ton of flavor. The top had kind of hardened and the potatoes underneath were mushy. And not in a good way. The green beans were better – cooked perfectly and still a little crisp.
Overall, I was not disappointed. If you’ve got deep pockets, it might be worth looking at spending $8 or $10 to get a steak at a signature restaurant if that’s the direction you want to go. Yachtsman Steakhouse is convenient over at the Yacht Club. Captain’s Grille would also be less expensive and provide similar quality food. Of course, Les Chefs offers several other less expensive entrees as well.
Lisa opted for the Filet de Saumon, pommes de terre ecrasees au beurre et ciboulette, sur coulis de tomate et poivron rouge – Broiled salmon, smashed potatoes with butter and chives, served on a tomato and red pepper sauce – $29.99. She may have to interject her opinion again if she still reads this website. As I recall, she enjoyed the salmon. The bite I had was flaky and flavorful and the presentation is attractive, if not a bit orange.
Service was attentive and personable, if not overly so. We had 7:50pm reservations and checked in just after 8pm. The restaurant was at most half full at that time. There was originally a family dining six inches to my right, but they finished up and left shortly after we sat down. Had there been others sitting that close, the meal would have been much less intimate. Or should I say, that much more authentic. Our server was always right there to take care of whatever need we had, real or imaginary. I’m generally a proponent of lunch at the restaurants that offer a separate, less expensive menu. And Les Chefs is no exception. But if you’re looking for an above average dinner, I think Les Chefs is a good choice.
World Showcase is mighty pleasant after IllumiNations concludes and the hordes march towards the exit. We exited Les Chefs around 9:20pm and ran into just a handful of people between Morocco and Mexico.
One of these days I’ll haul the tripod around.
People will be finishing up meals until at least 10:30pm.
So there’s no rush to the exit. The Epcot Monorail has been running through 11pm just about every night recently. You may remember they were shutting it down at 10pm and guests had to take buses to the Transportation/Ticket Center and Monorail Deluxe resorts.
I may be alone here, but I think it would be neat to have a Hunger-Games-style fight to the death shot in the style of the movie “300” between the various Disney bloggers in the Germany Pavilion.
But it might just be me.
Changing gears, here is Grand Flo DVC construction circa Monday the 15th.
Magic Kingdom bus loop construction is moving quickly.
When it’s done, you should be able to take a bus directly from Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom. It looked like they were expanding the bus stop area at Animal Kingdom, but I haven’t confirmed that.
California Grill’s refurbishment at the Contemporary Resort continues. The open has been pushed back to “late fall,” which sounds conspicuously like November or December to me. You may remember Test Track was slated for a “Fall 2012” open and it opened at the beginning of December, which is still officially fall. Also in the area, you can now check in directly at Bay Lake Tower, rather than having to head over to the Contemporary.
Fountain View Cafe is closed during its transformation into a Starbucks location.
The walls continue all the way around Character Spot, blocking the original entrance. It would not surprise me if Character Spot in its original spot does not reopen until Fountain View’s transformation is complete.
Character Spot is still open in a temporary location, as it was before, with the entrance near the back entrance/exit to Club Cool. Right through the sliding doors.
Having enjoyed the Watermelon Fruit Cocktail earlier, I ordered another.
The original I ordered is on the right, which was served in a taller cup and had a more “frozen consistency” for lack of a better phrase. The new version was cold, but was much more sippable than before. I’m not sure what you’ll be served.
It’s 3:40pm on Monday April 15th. Crowds had cleared out considerably compared to the week before.
A rare appearance by The Mad Hatter with Alice in the UK. It’s a shame he isn’t out more often, though I’m not sure how he survives in a coat, pants, gloves, and a hat in 90 degree heat.
RFID Mickey Readers are finally being installed at the International Gateway.
The Flower and Garden Festival Marketplaces remain as popular as ever. Which is to say, they are no longer bothering with cashiers.
There is at least a man within 30 or 40 feet of the Japan Marketplace.
Italy looks to have a 100 or so foot buffer.
While there are zero people interested in the booths, the Italy kiosk across the street that sells gelato, wine, and other drinks has a line 20 deep.
This website has a review of nearly every item at the Flower and Garden Festival Marketplaces here. Links to Part 1 and Part 2 are at the top. This is a better look at the $7.50 Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and Triple Sec with Mango and Orange Juice. The Chinese continue loading you up on the booze. This and the South Sea Storm are two of the best, booziest drinks you’ll find at the Festival.
The $8.50 Rosita Margarita on the Rocks – Tequila, Triple Sec, and Rose Infusions. The best part of the margarita is the hibiscus salt rim, which is the same delicious salt they use inside at La Cava. The margarita is otherwise premade and simply dispensed out of a larger container. It was decent. You could tell there was a favorable tequila pour, but it was masked nicely with the triple sec and whatever a rose infusion is. I would still head inside for a La Cava Margarita for about $6 more, but these are here if you’re in a hurry. Not bad at all.
There’s at least one person waiting for food at what I think is the best booth at the Festival, Florida Fresh.
It’s 4:38pm. Remember two weeks ago when there was a 45 minute wait with both sides of the queue completely full? Feels crowded.
The August Crowd Calendar was updated with some minor changes to the operating schedule. No recommendations changed. I’d be happy to send you an email changing all of the crowd levels and recommendations for your trip dates if you want though. Just send me a check for $11.95.
I have a large Animal Kingdom update, lunch at Kona, and lunch and bowling at Splitsville to report on. On Friday I have a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique ressie and the Wishes Dessert Party. The November daily analysis will also come your way in the next few days.