03 February 2010

Gatebuster Dining: Le Cellier

Gatebuster Dining: Le Cellier
Tony Caggiano

A few weeks ago I began taking a look at dining options that have just as strong a following with Walt Disney World fans as many of the rides do. These “Gatebuster Dining” establishments often require reservations, or ADRs as Disney insiders know them, months in advance, often times within the first day or two of the 180 day reservation window. While I figured starting this series off in Cinderella’s Royal Table seems appropriate, I had a tough time choosing between it and this week’s venue…Le Cellier.Le Cellier, for those who may not know, is a table service restaurant that can be found in the Canada Pavilion of World Showcase in Epcot. The fare is traditional steakhouse cuisine with a Canadian flair. The atmosphere is comfortable yet classy, especially when you take into consideration the fact that you are dining in a theme park.

To find Le Cellier, venture down to the right of the main Canada Pavilion, where you will notice a wrought iron archway with the signage for the restaurant. Once you pass under this archway, you are led down winding pathways through beautifully landscaped gardens, reminiscent of the Victoria Gardens of British Columbia, and straight to the restaurant’s front door.

Upon entering the restaurant the aura goes from one of brightly lit, sunny flower gardens to a warm cozy feel, with stone walls, dark wood paneling, and soft lighting. Each section of the restaurant represents a different province of Canada. And be sure to speak with your server, as they are very enthusiastic about sharing information from their native country.Le Cellier offers both lunch and dinner menus, and no matter which meal you are interested in booking, there are a few things you can expect each and every time you go…a great meal, a full house and difficulty booking your first choice of meal time. There are a several factors that add to the difficulty of getting a seat at Le Cellier, especially during prime dining hours. The first is, quite simply, the size of the restaurant. Considering its immense popularity, Le Cellier is really quite small, seating fewer than 200 people at any given time. The second factor is the FOOD!

The menu offerings include several fantastic starters, which includes one of my favorites, Duck Three Ways, a selection of confit, rillets and flieschnick with an orange gastrique, a very fancy word for a very tasty sauce. On the list of entrees you will find Le Cellier’s take on a few steakhouse staples, a delicious Coffee-rubbed Kansas City Strip Steak, a wonderfully prepared Salt-crusted Prime Rib and, my own personal favorite, Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon with wild mushroom risotto, white truffle and herb butter sauce.

On the dessert menu, there are two items that should be noted. The first is the Maple Crème Brulee, one of my all time favorite desserts in all of Epcot. Light, creamy, the perfect finish to a hearty steak dinner. The other is the Canadian Chocolate Moose, and NO, that is not a typo. As you can see by the photograph, this is not your everyday chocolate mousse.

I am sure by this time, many of the hardcore fans of Le Cellier are wondering how I could have overlooked two particular menu items. I have not overlooked a thing, I have merely saved the best for last!

If you have never been to this restaurant, and are on the fence about whether or not you would enjoy a meal here, you should know that, if I had to shell out the daily entrance fee to Epcot, just for a meal at Le Cellier, I would be more than happy to, and not even order an entrée. I could, and have, simply made a meal out of the pretzel bread and the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.

The pretzel bread is brought to each and every table and is complimentary with your meal. It is warm, chewy and salty…just the way a pretzel was meant to be. This, along with what many herald as the star attraction on the menu, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, is just about as good as it gets. These two items are among the many, many reasons why guests return time and time again to Le Cellier.

I highly recommend this restaurant, and you can be sure that at some point during each and every one of my Walt Disney World vacations, you can find me there enjoying meal…or two. This is “Gatebuster Dining” at it’s best…bon appetite!!!


Scott said...

This is probably my favorite restaurant at any of the theme parks, and possibly in the entire resort. (California Grill is pretty darned good...)

Beth @ TheAngelForever said...

We love Le Cellier. When we were on our honeymoon at Disney (almost 9 years ago) we went there twice. this was back in the days when walking up to restaurants, including Le Cellier was possible. Went back there this past May. When we called for ADRs, the only opening for dinner was our last day and we took it. Sad to say this time we are not able to make it to Le Cellier. By the time we jumped in for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration it was booked up. May see if anything pops up while there though - you never know.

The Artwork of Christi Bunn said...

Oh, yeah!!! This is my kind of post. Le Cellier is one of our must-do's each time we go. I love the 'cellar' atmosphere. The pretzel bread is wonderful, and I am all about the mushroom filet. And you are spot-on with the maple creme brulee... definitely a favorite dessert in the World. I make sure I call when the phones open on my 180-day mark to make sure I get this ADR! Great article.