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Dining at Chefs de France

Andrew Rossi

A Relaxing Yet Sophisticated Dining Experience at Chefs de France

When it comes to having a variety of dining options, the France pavilion in World Showcase offers a little something for everyone. Whether it is just grabbing a freshly made crepe from the stand on the Promenade or maybe a Napoleon, éclair, or one of the other delectable pastries from the Boulangerie Patisserie, France is one of my favorite spots to visit if I am looking for a quick snack. At the same time, if you are looking for a relaxing sit-down meal, France features two vastly different dining experiences.

The Bistro De Paris is one of the most refined dining locations not only in Epcot, but all of Walt Disney World. This Signature restaurant boasts a gourmet menu as well as an extensive wine list which, when combined with its quiet and elegant setting, make it a great location for those couples looking for a romantic night out. If you are looking for a dining option that is a little more family friendly , but without necessarily losing the French grace and sophistication, then Chefs de France is a must-do. Not only will this restaurant's atmosphere make you feel as though you have been transported to the heart of Paris, but its menu will give you a taste of some of the country's legendary cuisine.

Entrance

Overview:
Disney World features several restaurants by famous chefs, such as the Wolfgang Puck Café in Downtown Disney, Cat Cora's Kouzzina at the Boardwalk, and Todd English's Bluezoo at the Dolphin, but Chefs de France's pedigree is just as impressive even if it bears no one's name. The reason for the restaurant being named this way is due to the fact that it was actually founded by three well known French chefs: Paul Bocuse, Roger Verge, and Gaston Lenotre.

Outside by Night

Of the three Bocuse is probably the best known. It might be said that Bocuse was the first real celebrity chef. Nowadays we know many chefs by name, with icons such as Emeril and Paula Deen. If it had not been for Bocuse, none of these chefs may have achieved the status which they have today. Bocuse became a household name when, in 1965, he became the first chef to put his name on his restaurant. Prior to this point, as Bocuse himself noted, “Chefs spent their professional lives in basement kitchens, rarely seeing the sun and consoling themselves with the sherry bottle that brought them to the tomb at age 50.”

The other restaurant founders are just as impressive. Roger Verge's restaurant in France is a favorite of stars attending the Cannes Film Festival and the late Gaston Lenotre was famous in France and around the world for his pastries. Together, these three chefs give Chef de France a certain legacy that cannot be matched by any of the other restaurants in World Showcase.

Atmosphere:
Chefs de France is patterned after a French brasserie, a type of restaurant with a relaxed yet upscale setting. Indeed, the dining room at Chefs de France is very much about contrasting feels and styles. On one hand you have the light, open, airiness created by the high ceilings, massive mirrors, and large windows, but combining with this are the dark woods of the tables and chairs, the polished brass light fixtures, and crisp white tablecloths that add an air of sophistication and refinement to the dining experience.

Dining Room1

Because of the massive amounts of natural light the restaurant receives, the dining room takes on a different feel when dining for lunch as opposed to dinner. At lunch, sunlight helps create a mood is very bright and cheerful, a feel that is a little more relaxed and laid back. At night, the restaurant takes on more of an intimate, romantic feel, one that is more upscale and refined.

Dining Room by Day.jpg

Dining Room by Night

When it comes to the time of day, I actually prefer this restaurant by day. When I go for lunch I make sure to request a table by the window. Not only do they offer great views of the Promenade and the World Showcase Lagoon, but watching the hustle and bustle of guests walking by make you almost feel as if you are at a real Parisian bistro in the heart of the city.

If you do decide to dine here at night, these same windows do offer views of Illuminations, although a little more obstructed than those found at the Rose and Crown in the United Kingdom or La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico.

Chefs de France is certainly a restaurant which relies more on light and the views from its windows more than architectural style, color, or decorations to create its atmosphere. That being said, there are still some great details to be found around the dining room. Near the front entrance of the restaurant are a variety of black and white photographs featuring the restaurant's illustrious founders. This helps give the restaurant a sense of history and also lends to its authenticity.

Chef Photos1

Chef Photos2

Of course, no French restaurant would be complete without wine and Chefs de France utilizes wine bottles as a form of decoration that is featured prominently throughout the dining room.

Wine Bottles1

Also, if you look carefully, you will probably notice more than one model of one of France's most enduring landmarks.

Wine Bottles2

One of the nice touches that I found in the dining room might actually go unnoticed by most guests because you need to look up to see it. French art is probably just as well-known and respected as French cuisine and, towards the front of the restaurant, the ceiling features an array of paintings depicting various scenes of men and women dining. These paintings help to add a splash of color to a dining area that is otherwise dominated by whites and creams.

Ceiling Paintings1

Ceiling Paintings2

It might not have the same level of immersion as the San Angel Inn nor the decorations and details of the Rose and Crown, but the dining room at Chefs de France is still one of my favorites in World Showcase. Combining a relaxing, open feel with French sophistication, Chefs de France is a restaurant that everyone can feel comfortable in, whether looking for a nice sit-down meal to enjoy with the entire family or a more romantic night out for just the two of you.

The Menu:
Just as the feel and mood of the dining room change whether there for lunch or dinner, the menu likewise undergoes a transformation. I generally go to Chefs de France for lunch, but this time I decided to go for dinner to try some of the different menu items that are offered.

Whether dining at Chefs de France for lunch or dinner, the appetizer offerings are the same. Among the appetizer featured on the menu are Assiette Campagnarde ($13.99), an assortment of French pates and charcuteries, Cassolette d'Escargots de Bourgogne ($12.99), escargots baked in parsley and garlic butter, Plateau de Fromages de France ($14.50), an imported cheese plate, Bisque de Homard ($8.99), a lobster bisque, Salade de Chevre Chaud ($11.99) featuring baked goat cheese with walnuts, fresh grapes, tomatoes, endives and arugula salad, and Soupe Al Oignon Gratinee ($7.99), the classic onion soup topped with Gruyere cheese.

Where the lunch and dinner menus differ greatly, in terms of both selection and pricing, is with their entrees. The lunch menu features a generally lighter fare with a variety of sandwiches and other, more casual meals. The lunch offerings include Crepes Florentine ($14.79) filled with chicken, spinach, mushrooms and bechamel sauce, Croque Monsieur ($13.99), the classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich, Demi Poulet Fermier Roti ($18.99), half of an all-natural roasted chicken served with rissole potatoes and broccoli, Filet de Saumon ($23.99), broiled salmon with smashed potatoes served on a tomato and red pepper sauce, Gratin de Macaroni ($14.99), baked macaroni with cream and gruyere cheese, Lasagnes de Legumes du Soleil ($14.99), a vegetarian lasagna with zucchini, eggplant, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, Mahi Mahi Sandwich ($16.99) served on Mediterranean bread with braised peppers and onions, Plat de Cote de Boeuf ($22.99), beef short ribs braised in cabernet with pasta, pearl onions and mushrooms, Quiche Lorraine ($14.99), a ham and cheese quiche served with a mixed green salad, and Steak Hache Angus ($15.99) a half-pound angus hamburger with onions, mushroom, tomatoes and Béarnaise served on a brioche.

At dinner, the menu becomes a little more sophisticated and gourmet, but still has some carry-overs from the lunch menu such as the Filet de Saumon, Gratin de Macaroni, and Plat de Cote de Boeuf. Among the items available only for dinner are Canard aux Cerises ($31.99) featuring duck breast and leg with cherries and sweet potato puree, Filet de Boeuf Grille ($34.99), a grilled tenderloin of beef with black peppercorn sauce, potato gratin, and green beans, and the Trio de Fruits de Mer ($31.99) featuring seared scallops, mahi mahi, and black tiger shrimp served in a lobster broth with gnocchi.

You are definitely going to want to save room for dessert as there is an assortment of delectable options to choose from. Among the dessert offerings are Assiette de Sorbets ($7.25), a daily assortment of fresh sorbets served with an elephant ear pastry, Creme Brulee ($7.25) Crepe a la Pomme ($7.25) filled with cinnamon and apple, served with vanilla ice cream, and topped with apple caramel sauce, Profiterolles au Chocolat ($7.25), puff pastries filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, Salade de Fruits ($7.25) infused with Earl Grey tea syrup and served with mango sorbet, and Tarte au Chocolat, Banane et Noix de Coco ($7.25), a chocolate tart with banana and coconut topped with praline sauce and chocolate ice cream.

I started my meal like I do every time I dine at Chefs de France with the Soupe Al Oignon Gratinee ($7.99). I have had French Onion Soup at many different locations both at Disney and elsewhere, but the soup at Chefs de France remains far and away my favorite. The first thing I have to say about the soup is that it is absolutely huge; this could literally be a meal unto itself and I am never able to finish the entire thing by myself. I usually end up ordering the soup to split with someone else and it is more than enough for two people. Even if splitting with someone else, this soup is extremely filling.

French Onion Soup

One of the things I like most about the soup are how the onions themselves are prepared. I have had French Onion Soup before where the onions are chopped up into very tiny pieces, others that there are hardly any onions in the soup, and still others where the onions are mushy. The soup at Chefs de France is not like any of that and with every spoonful you will get a generous portion of onions. Of everything about the soup, however, it is the Gruyere cheese that makes it what it is. While it can be a little messy to eat, it is extremely good.

For my entrée I decided on the Trio de Fruits de Mer ($31.99). Gnocchi is something that I associate more with Italy than France, but I was willing to try something different and all the seafood in the dish made it sound very tempting. If you order this expecting it to be a pasta dish you will be disappointed. This is, first and foremost, a seafood dish. Rather than the gnocchi being the highlight of the meal, it is merely there to serve as an accompaniment for the seafood.

Trio de Fruits de Mer

The seafood and gnocchi come in a very light, yet flavorful, lobster broth. This dish is definitely a nice change of pace from the heavier, filling French Onion Soup. I was impressed with the generous amount of seafood that came with this dish, featuring two large pieces of mahi mahi, along with several shrimp, and two good-sized scallops. The gnocchi themselves were a little firmer in texture than other gnocchi I have had in the past and they provided a very nice contrast, in both flavor and texture, to the light broth and seafood.

For dessert I was very undecided about what to get because of so many delectable choices, but I finally went with the Crepe a la Pomme ($7.25). I have to warn you that this dessert is extremely sweet and is literally smothered in caramel sauce. The crepe itself was light and soft in texture and the filling was more of an apple puree rather than sliced or chopped apples. What I really enjoyed about this dessert was all the different flavors that blended together perfectly, with the apples, cinnamon, and caramel complimenting each other extremely well with no one flavor really dominating the others. The vanilla ice cream proved to be the perfect complement, providing a light and refreshing contrast to the sweetness of the apple and caramel.

Crepe

Service:
Just as with the rest of World Showcase, all the servers at Chefs de France come from France and this helps to give an added degree of authenticity and sense of immersion to the restaurant. However, this sometimes means that it can be difficult to understand your server due to them having a very strong accent. This was not the case for me on this occasion. My server demonstrated a good grasp of the English language and I had no problem in understanding her at all.

I have dined at Chefs de France many times and have always found the service to be extremely attentive, with servers continually checking in on you during the course of your meal to make sure everything is to your liking. I have also always found the service here to be very courteous and respectful. You can tell that the servers genuinely care about making sure that your dining experience is the best it can possibly be. My meal progressed at a very nice pace and, even though the restaurant was crowded, I did not feel rushed during my meal nor did I see my server running around from table to table; she appeared very calm and poised throughout the entire course of the meal even though serving several tables.

Dining of a Budget:
If you are looking to save some money, then I would definitely recommend dining at Chefs de France for lunch. This restaurant offers one of the best deals on Disney property with its Pre Fixe lunch menu featuring your choice of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert all for just $23.99. With this you get your choice of either Lobster Bisque or French Onion Soup for an appetizer, Croque Monsieur, Crepes Florentine, Quiche Lorraine, or Gratin De Macaroni for an entrée, and Creme Brulee or Profiterolles au Chocolat for dessert. This is a great way to sample a variety of different French cuisine for a very reasonable price and can save you some money as well. For example, if you were to order the French Onion Soup for $8, the Gratin de Macaroni for $15, and the Crème Brulee for $7.25 all separately your total would come to about $30. Ordering the Prix Fixe lunch is like the equivalent of getting your dessert for free.

There is also a Prix Fixe option on the dinner menu, but the cost of this is $39.99. Here you still get a choice of the Lobster Bisque or French Onion Soup for an appetizer, the Beef Short Ribs, Half Roasted Chicken, Broiled Salmon, or Gratin de Macaroni for an entrée, and Crème Brulee or Profiterolles au Chocolat for dessert. While you still end up saving money with the Pre Fixe menu at dinner, the lunch option is definitely the better value.

It should also be noted that some of the items found on both the lunch and dinner menus are cheaper at lunch. For example, Filet de Saumon is $23.99 but increases to $29.99 at dinner. Likewise, the Gratin de Macaroni, which is $14.99 at lunch, goes up to $18.99 at dinner.

Chefs de France does participate on the Disney Dining Plan and is worth one table service credit for both lunch and dinner. If you are using the Dining Plan, then I would definitely recommend coming for dinner because that is going to give you better value for you money. While the restaurant does not offer a discount for Annual Passholders, it does participate in Tables in Wonderland and thus offers the 20% for members. There is also a 20% discount for Disney Vacation Club members for lunch and a 10% discount at dinner.

The Overall Experience:
When it comes to dining in World Showcase it is always a difficult decision about in which country to eat. Yet, even with all the choices and different restaurants that I enjoy, I keep returning to Chefs de France again and again. With its simple and relaxing yet sophisticated atmosphere, its reasonably priced yet great-tasting food, and its attentive service, Chefs de France has become one of my favorite restaurants in Disney World. Every part of the meal, from appetizer to entrée to dessert, is of the highest quality and the portion sizes are very generous. This is one restaurant that you will certainly never leave feeling hungry. Another alluring aspect of Chefs de France is that it is a dining location comfortable enough for families with children and yet can still be appreciated by adults looking for a quiet, more intimate dining experience. It is truly a restaurant that offers something for everyone. It may not be the most immersive restaurants in World Showcase, but in terms of overall dining experience it is certainly one of the best.

See past reviews by Guest Blogger Andrew Rossi.

Check out Reader Reviews of Chefs de France and post your own too!

The previous post in this blog was HGTV’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' host says new things are in store for show’s new season.

The next post in this blog is Kids Will Fall Under Spell of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

Comments (17)

Mike Venere:

"Not only will this restaurant’s atmosphere make you feel as though you have been transported to the heart of Paris, but its menu will give you a taste of some of the country’s legendary cuisine."

I fully respect your opinion on the restaurant but I have easily had the 2 worst dining experiences in all of my Disney history both here. So if transporting me to Paris and the legendary cuisine is like what I experienced on those 2 occasions, guess I won't be visiting the city of light anytime soon.

Ash from Brisbane:

Andrew, thank you for this fantastic detailed review. Being from Australia, my trips are few and far between, and when I do go, I know I will need to choose my restaurants carefully. Your reviews give a perfect amount and level of detail, to help me make those choices. Ash

Amanda:

Just thought you might want to know about the artwork in the cafe. The paintings on the ceiling are taken from French painter Toulouse Lautrec and the scenes are actually set in the "Moulin Rogue" in Paris.

Heidi :

One of the best parts of dinning with my children at this restaurant is the visit by Remi and his "handler" There is nothing else like this in Disney and seeing Remi upclose and the kids chatting with the little chef is priceless. This is a major reason that we visit this restaurant.

Cilla:

Chef de France is one of my favorite WDW restaurants. It took several visits for me to try it, but now is one of my two favorites. Food was excellent as was the service. Pricey?? Absolutely. Worth it?? You bet!! Went in December and will go again in May. Will save my comments for WORST WDW dining experiences to Italy. Rude, miserable, horrible wait staff both times we were there. NEVER again.

Diane Cole:

I echo Mike Venere's comment - we had the worst possible experience dining here last year. Poor quality food, that was very poorly presented, looked like it had been standing about for ages and not the friendliest of staff. I would not choose to eat dinner here again I regret to say.

Jo:

Andrew, I love reading AllEars, and especially reviews like these, but I am afraid I have to agree with Mike Venere in that my worst dining experience ever at the World was at Chefs de France.
It is such a shame to think that dining there can be so hit or miss, because the restaurant is beautiful and the menu tempting, but your readers should know dining there can be the opposite of the experience you had.

Laura:

Chefs de France is one of my favorite restaurants at World Showcase. I only made reservaations there because of the "Remy" experience which my kids loved. Now we go there on each trip. The food and service are always terrific. The bread is amazing. And meeting "Little Chef" is a highlight for the kids. Since Remy comes to your table it is a relaxing meet and greet. They don't rush and my kids enjoyed talking to him and hearing him squeak back at them. If you haven't been yet give it a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Everything I've had on the menu (lunch) has been great.

Sheamus Hunt:

Andrew,

My wife and I also have had a bad dining experience here. The food was average american french cuisine at best and we felt rushed even though we arrived around 4 pm for an early dinner.

We will not go back.

You should check out Rose and Crown. Big improvements!

Abby:

I agree with the posters that said Chefs was an awful experience. I thought the food seemed like it came from a frozen boxed dinner. I lived in France for a year and I hate to think the dreck they serve at Chefs passes as an acceptable representation of French food, because it's not.

J:

While I have enjoyed Chefs De France, and will dine there again, you really waxed rhapsodic. The restaurant is beautiful, and your pictures of both the restaurant and the food are beautiful too.

Jeffrey Beauchamp:

My family loves Chefs de France and always makes a point of dining there - usually for lunch - at least once during every visit. The onion soup and the escargots are excellent and the Profiterolles au Chocolat are to die for.

Matt:

I'm sorry, Andrew, but I also have to respectfully disagree. I've had many a wonderful meal at WDW, but I would pass on this place based on nothing else but your photos. You eat with your eyes before your lips ever touch the food, and the presentation of this food tells me volumes about this place. The soup looks thrown together and wholly unappetizing, the Fruit de Mers plate has sauce staining the rim (how much time does it take to clean the sides of a plate and neaten a presentation?), and the ice cream on the dessert plate is half-melted and mingling with the strawberry sauce that's been use to drown the crepe.

If this is all the attention they can give the presentation, it doesn't take much to make the logical assumption that they won't take much care with flavor and texture either.

Alyson:

I appreciate your well written review, but must disagree with it. I dined at Chefs de France on 2/25/12, and it was not a great meal.

I opted for the price fixe menu and went with the onion soup, short ribs & creme brulee. The onion soup was the worst I've ever had. It was like eating onions thrown in chicken broth. The short ribs were just ok and the more I ate, the less I liked the meal. My creme brulee was not good. I did not think it was possible to mess up this dessert but it is. I will not be going back to Chefs de France again.

Allison:

I've gone to Disney twice a year for the past 15 years and I always have to go to Chefs de France at least once, if not twice. The quiche lobster bisque and quiche are amazing. I've never been disappointed. Andrew, thank you for such a great article on my long-time favorite.

Wendy Bell:

I have had wonderful meals here. One horrible one. However, like with all things Disney, you can have mind blowing experiences and dreadful ones at the same restaurants, etc. even in the same trip. I never know what I'm going to get.
It's the nature of Disney. They are not consistent. In years past I think it WAS consistent, but not in probably the last 10 years.

Brittany:

I completely agree with the review. This is my absolute fav place in Disney! I find it very strange to see bad reviews on here as I have been going to Disney twice a year for almost ten years now and eat there once or twice during my stay each time. The food and service are always the same wonderful experience!! I think what people don't realize is the French have a different way of service than Americans do, that they don't come check on you or hover around the table every few minutes. They stay off watching from a distance to see if you need anything. I highly recommend this amazing place! It's the perfect Epcot experience!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 21, 2012 8:23 AM.

The previous post in this blog was HGTV’s 'My Yard Goes Disney' host says new things are in store for show’s new season.

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