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Raglan Road at Downtown Disney: A Walt Disney World Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 05-08-2014
From the day the Irish restaurant Raglan Road opened its doors at Downtown Disney, I've heard nothing but good reports about it.
I'd always wanted to Raglan Road, and finally on our most recent vacation, we got the opportunity to do just that.
We headed to Raglan Road for lunch on our final day at Disney. I will be honest and say it was a bit of miserable day -- our vacation was coming to an end, and the weather was overcast and threatening rain. That all evaporated the minute we stepped through the doors of Raglan Road. I had no idea that it would be such a huge place. And as it was still early on for serving, the place was pretty deserted, which made it seem even more cavernous. Essentially, Raglan Road was really only seating people in the middle part of the restaurant, with the various bar areas left almost deserted. I can imagine it's a very different story at dinner.
I liked the fact that we were seated in the center area of the restaurant, with a high ceiling and light pouring in from the windows above us. My only slight issue was that the tables did feel a bit crammed together, and whenever any of us got up, it was a bit of a squeeze to get in and out. Again, I can imagine a lot of this is down to this place's popularity, particularly at night.
One of the great joys here at Raglan Road is the menu. Every single item on it has its own headline name, all of them inventive, and some of them very entertaining, with a description underneath of what the dish is actually about. Something else that was pleasingly different about this menu was the amount of choice on it. In recent years, I've noticed a trend for fewer items to appear on menus at Disney restaurants, and thankfully Raglan Road bucks this trend. Take the appetizers for example. There were six for one person, six to share, with another seven salad items. Admittedly, the salad items could be entrees, which is what chose to do, but it gives you an idea of what's being offered. Be prepared to spend some serious time debating what you want when you first arrive here!
I opted out of an appetizer on our Raglan Road visit, as I wasn't that hungry, but my husband went for the "Kiss Before Shrimp" (I told you the names were creative!), which was pan seared shrimp in a garlic and chili lemon sauce with sliced baguette. The dish got its name from the idea that you should "get your kissing done before the dish arrives," and when it arrived, I tasted it and I could see why it came with that warning. It certainly had a real kick to it, and it's not for anyone who, like me, isn';t keen on spicy food.
Some of the other Raglan Road appetizers available when we visited included Mighty Mussels, half a pound of fresh Blue Hill Bay mussels in a coconut infused curry broth; Tart Art, an asparagus and goat's cheese tart with garden peas, leeks and lemon oil dressed arugula; and Salmon Swoon, choice Irish smoked salmon served with capers, shallots, and crème fraiche. The sharing items included Scallop Forest, Georges Bank scallops in a golden batter served with citrus lime dipping sauce and sweet chili jam; Nom Nom Wings, sweet 'n' spicy wings tossed in a honey, chili flake, soy and ginger sauce; and Smokie City, creamy battered haddock and Dubliner cheese dip with potatoes, tomatoes and grilled crostini.
For my entrée, I had the Go(at) Fig(ure), an Irish goat’s cheese terrine, made with sautéed garlic, shallots, shitake mushrooms in a herb breadcrumb crust, served with a fig jam, roasted beets, and toasted walnuts, with mixed greens. I took the option to add shrimp to this dish, and there was certainly plenty for the dish to be a light entrée.
My husband had the keen eye for a shepherd's pie, which was described as giving the traditional shepherd's pie a little makeover with "our contemporary twist to this favourite dish," and when it turned up, we could see what they meant. It had obviously been cooked in a little terrine dish, which gave it a unique appearance.
Other options you could indulge in included a wonderful selection of "sangers" or sandwiches, with varied flavors such as lobster and avocado with pancetta, steak, roast ribeye of beef, and Portobello mushrooms and Dubliner cheese. Traditional entrees included fish and chips, the Raglan Risotto, a butternut squash risotto with shitake mushrooms; Cluck Curry (chicken breast in a curry broth), Kevin’s Heavenly Ham (Irish Mist-glazed loin of bacon), Gnocchi See Gnocchi Do (with seared scallops and pork belly), Sod the Stew (beef stew infused with Guinness), a freshly baked pie of the day, and Banger and Booz (Guinness and onion banger on mash with beef stew). As you can see, there are certainly lots of hearty choices on the menu here.
One thing immediately stood out when I turned my attention to the Raglan Road dessert menu, the Dunbroody Kiss, Chef Dundon's gift to America. It intrigued me, as all the description said was "chocolate, add more chocolate, then add some more." Although, at first glance, it didn't look overly impressive, it was exceptionally rich, and I enjoyed every mouthful of mine.
Other Raglan Road dessert options included the unusual sounding strawberry and apple crumble, lemon curd topped with meringue, raspberry Pavlova, Bakewell pear tart, and bread and butter pudding. Again, it was all hearty fare, so you do really need to come here hungry.
All in all, I really enjoyed our lunch here at Raglan Road. The menu was full of variety, a pleasant surprise at Disney these days, and the options available are innovative, and fun. If you want a quiet meal, lunch is the time to come, as I can imagine that the evenings would be a lot louder and more riotous, but I can certainly see why Raglan Road's had so many great reviews over the years since it opened.
About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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