I ate at The Boathouse on May 26th, and thought I would provide some observations. For those who don’t know me, I’m somewhat of a “foodie”; I look forward to dining experiences at WDW as much as I do the rides. As a point of reference I have eaten at California Grill, Flying Fish, Citrico’s, Narcoossee’s, Artists Point, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul, Hollywood Brown Derby, Morimoto’s, and Victoria and Albert’s - both in the “regular” dining room and at the Chef’s Table. I have also eaten at most of the TS restaurants in the parks, as well as a selection of those located in the resorts. This is not to “brag”, but to show that I have a broad base of Disney Dining under my belt.
The Boathouse is one of the larger dining establishments in WDW, with a large bar area (with dinner seating), 3 dining rooms (one with its own smaller bar), an outside dining deck, and a stand-alone bar at the end of a pier. There is also a good-sized gift shop selling all things nautical. All of the rooms are very well themed, and are filled to overflowing with assorted nautical items. Here are a few pictures.
The Bar Area
Dining Room Number 1 - the seating area of the boat has a booth in it
Dining Room Number 2
Dining Room Number 3 - also known as The Regatta Room (by far the prettiest, IMHO)
The Dockside Bar
The Outdoor Dining Deck - especially nice after dark
This is not the place for a quiet, relaxing, romantic dinner. There is constant hustle-bustle all around you, and between the piped-in or live music and a lot of people in a space that has virtually no sound-absorbing elements, it is loud inside (not T-Rex loud, but much louder than I would like for a “fine dining” experience). I was sitting in the bar area, near the entrance and had the additional aural assault of live music on a nearby outdoor stage. If there is a positive to this, if you have small children and want an upscale dining experience but are afraid of how they might behave, this is the spot for you. There is lots of visual stimulus to keep them interested, and I don’t believe that even a full melt-down would be very noticeable over the ambient sound level.
I guess that this is what you’re really interested in hearing about. You have to understand that this is based on a single meal on a single night, so this is not necessarily representative of all the restaurant has to offer.
First off, I have to commend the service. From check-in, to seating, to wait staff, it was excellent. My water glass never got past half empty, bread was replenished, the waiter was informative and friendly and checked back several times to make sure everything was OK, etc. I could not have asked for better.
Everything is ala carte. If all you order is a steak, all you get is a piece of meat on a plate; salads and sides all have to be ordered separately. This is not unusual in high-end dining, but at the Disney signatures, the entree typically includes a starch and a vegetable.
I started with the Garden Salad ($8.00). Everything in it was fresh and it was served with a very nice vinaigrette. Very tasty, but rather small for the price. For my entree I ordered the filet ($35.00) with a side of oven-roasted new potatoes ($8.00).
Whenever I try a new steakhouse, I always order a filet as my “test” meal. This one was somewhat disappointing. I ordered it rare, and it was well cooked, but it had almost no “juice” to it, it was not “melt in your mouth” tender, it had an unusual amount of tendon running through it, it had been rubbed with a spice mixture that was so salty as to be almost offensive, and it was lukewarm, at best. The flavor also seemed to have gotten lost somewhere. It was served with a side of “house” steak sauce. I typically do not like sauce on my steak, but I gave it a try. It is a very complex flavor with strong overtones of chili powder and Worcestershire sauce; a little bit would go a long way.
(Sadly, perhaps) the star of the show was the side of roasted new potatoes. They were perfectly cooked and were served with an excellent, slightly spicy, remmoulade dipping sauce. And as you can see from the picture, the portion is crazy-big; I counted 15 potatoes. I don’t know about any of the other sides, but this was definitely enough for 2-3 people.
Because I tried (unsuccessfully) to finish all of the delicious potatoes, I had no room for dessert.
When all was said and done, when you add in a domestic draft beer, tax, and (well deserved) tip, the bill came in at right around $80.00 - about the same as a dinner at one of the Disney signatures (with dessert).
Great location and theming, excellent service, but food and prices that won’t put The Boathouse anywhere near the top of my “go back to” list.