My wife and I had dinner at Wolfgang Puck located at Walt Disney World, Florida at the Downtown Disney location. We attended April 13, 2007 for dinner. We had prior experience with Wolfgang Puck restaurants, as there was one in Orange County California in the Block of Orange. Due to being in a bad location, a teenager hangout, it closed down. We had tried most of the signature dishes from previous visits to the Orange County facility. I must admit a propensity to favor this restaurant because Orange County lacks really good restaurants of gourmet quality. The Wolfgang Puck restaurants appeared to me to bring gourmet quality to the masses at affordable prices but the masses must be capable of appreciating really good food.
While at Disney World in Florida one day, Janice Edwards took our children to another restaurant so my wife and I could have a nice quiet meal together. One of those rare romantic interludes that married couples only dream of when they have children. We had reservations for 5:30, arrived early and were seated early by about 5:20. When being seated, I faced the restaurant and my wife faced the windows so she could have a view of the lake just outside the restaurant.
We knew that we wanted the butter nut soup and try out an appetizer. I suggested something new. Why not order one appetizer and the butternut soup for each of us? I asked our server, Nicole, and she said it was ok. Nicole was great as our server. I told her that after we started with those two items we would call her over and then decide what next if anything we wanted. We ordered the butternut soup and calamari. I went outside to take pictures of the front of the restaurant for this blog and noticed that restaurant employees were dragging out in front of the restaurant two separate podiums. I had noticed the two podiums inside and two separate people at each but nothing registered with me why two colored registration podiums were in front of me. I walked back into the restaurant to take some more pictures inside.
How to describe the restaurant decor on the main floor? Well my wife and I came up with the following: eclectic mish mash of bold spring colors and lots of geometric shapes.
Here are the component parts of the restaurant. The line, just to the left as one enters the front door, where a whole line of cooks are actually in the restaurant for you to view preparing meals and in some places one can sit to eat while watching these cooks.
In front of the line is a long slender table where the expediter looks over each dish for correctness and might garnish a dish and where about five food runners pick up each dish. This restaurant does not use heat lamps.
They try to get the food to you quickly. To the right of the main entrance is the sushi bar and an eating area for that dining. There is outside patio dining around the outside of the restaurant.
Beyond the line is the pantry where salads, and crab cakes are made. I noticed that a few people could sit at a bar and get a very close view of about three people doing the food preparation there. This would be a great place for a husband and wife to “loose” the children for a while. Just ask the people that seat you your intentions and make sure you also get a table that has a good view of your children if they sit at this bar.
The next part of the restaurant is the dessert island and coffee drink preparation, under the stairs leading up to the second floor and toward the center of the restaurant. A glass case on one side of this island showed off a selection of desserts.
I made my way back to our table to find that the bread had arrived along with the drinks. One of the bread items was olive bread. I found this to be utterly wonderful. My wife told me they use Kalmata olives. There was second bread but less distinctive but still quite good. The butternut soup arrived and was consistent with previous visits and wonderful.
My wife loves calamari. We had that for an appetizer. That plate was enough for four people. After the soup and calamari we quit, totally full. I was so glad that we had not ordered another dish. My wife made the comment that the people at the front, that make the seating arrangements, should, when they spot a middle-aged couple, not seat them close to noisy children. We had at least two families with young children next to us that were quite noisy.
Somehow I discovered that there was an upstairs dining area. I think my wife spotted that possibility. I made an inquirer and was told there was a separate restaurant on the second floor. I went up to take a look. It was quiet, less than half full of people. A lot of tables were empty.
I was offered a table; the person offering it to me had no idea that I had already been seated and finished my meal at the restaurant below.
At the time we dinned (5:45 PM) the main floor restaurant was practically full of people and thus very noisy. I had never experienced this much noise before. I became to realize that this restaurant was close to being a fast food establishment by the number of people attending and the resulting noise. I was beginning to feel that this place was not the experience I wanted for the two of us. We were eating really good food but the ambiance was all wrong. It seemed that every restaurant experience at this resort was noisy. We found out that the restaurant on the second floor was called Wolf Gang Puck Dinning. It opened up at 6PM. We had arrived too early for that restaurant to be offered to us. I wish someone had still offered us this possibility. My wife and I would have for sure ordered a drink and waited. I hate to wait for anything but for a better dining experience, I will sacrifice if I think the benefits outweigh the wait.
My wife and I requested the menu for the restaurant up stairs and found it enticing, different than the main floor offerings. I sensed that my wife would have wanted to attend the second floor establishment. My wife figured the prices were two to three dollars more for the same dishes found on the main floor.
Conclusion: Wolfgang Puck food is fantastic for me. It was my first experience in Orange County California of what I consider gourmet quality food. The food is always well-prepared, presented well and a taste so different than the normal fare and maintains goodness in my mind that I want to come back for more. This restaurant brings gourmet dining experience to the masses because the prices are every reasonable and the type dishes are memorable. The down side is to make this place profitable, they have to attract a lot of customers and provide food quickly. I really recommend this dining experience when the restaurant is not full of people.
Down side: I really felt bad that we had not tried out the restaurant up stairs, Wolfgang Puck Dining. I really do think the people at the hostess table need to understand more than just seating people but how to seat people. I cannot recommend that restaurant as I have yet to try it out. This review is only for the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant. I left this restaurant with less than a satisfactory feeling for not being offered a chance to attend a new dining experience.
Updated post December 18, 2021 by providing improved link to find Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill web site.