REVIEW: I Left the Parks for This Disney World MODERATE Hotel Restaurant – and I’d Do It Again

We eat in Disney World parks a lot, but we have to admit that some of the BEST dining in Disney World is happening at Disney World hotels.

Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside Resort

We’ve already told you so much about Disney World hotel restaurants you should NOT sleep on, including Jiko  — The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (yes, we know, Sanaa and Boma there are amazing, too). We’ve also reviewed the extremely underrated Maya Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. We’ll also keep singing the praises of Geyser Point Bar and Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. We’ve got another super underrated restaurant to tell you about Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside.

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Atmosphere

There are two ways to enter the restaurant: through the hotel lobby or from outside if you’re walking around the Sassagoula River. Because this restaurant is still a hidden gem, it’s usually not too difficult to get a reservation here — if all else fails, it’s usually fairly easy to get on the Walk-up Waitlist.

Boatwright’s Dining Hall

Like all great Disney World restaurants, Boatwright’s has a backstory. The idea is that the dining hall is a restored boat-construction warehouse. The decor inside the restaurant is on theme. You’ll even find the skeleton of a fishing boat hanging from the ceiling.

The skeleton of a boat

After you check in, you’ll be led into one of three different dining areas: there’s a main room right as you enter, a room up the stairs, and a quieter room in the back. Seating is standard tables and chairs.

Inside

Each table is set with silverware and cloth napkins.

Table

The boat-building vibe is even reflected in the restaurant’s colors: lots of wood and brick accents with warm lighting. Overall, it feels pretty cozy in here, especially with the fireplace. A word we might use to describe it is “rustic.”

Boat-building vibe

But that’s enough about the restaurant’s vibe. Let’s talk about why we’re here: the food!

Menu

The menu here is exactly what you’d expect, given the restaurant’s location. It’s all about comfort food, particularly Southern Louisiana favorites. So you can expect classics like Shrimp and Grits, Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice.

Food menu

There are also a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks available, including a variety of bourbon, cocktails…

Cocktails menu

…and beer and wine.

Beer and wine menu

We decided on keeping things simple and just had water with our meal because we are HERE FOR THE FOOD. You’ll get Cornbread with Honey Butter to start your meal, and it’s hard not to fill up on this alone.

Cornbread with honey butter

We started with the French Onion Soup Au Gratin for $10, made with Gruyère Cheese, Onions, and a Toasted Crouton in a rich Beef Broth. We LOVED this soup. It was so warm and comforting. Is this the fanciest French Onion Soup we’ve had? Well no, but this had a flavorful broth and great cheese (which, as you know, is ALWAYS important). Our only complaint is that we wish there were more onions in it.

French Onion Soup

We were certainly not going to have a meal here with our favorite appetizer, the Pimento Cheese Fritters, for $12. These are house-made fritters, and we’re in the habit of ordering them EVERY time we eat here. They’re nice and crunchy on the outside, with a LOT of pimento cheese inside. PERFECTION.

Pimento Cheese Fritters

They’re topped with Pepper Jelly, and y’all — that literally takes them to the NEXT level. It’s so creamy with a slightly sweet and slightly spicy flavor, and we might have just eaten the jelly by itself if it had been served that way. So basically, we wanted WAY more of it. It paired so well with the fritters.

The pepper jelly!!!

Okay, on to the Entrees: We got the Boatwright’s Jambalaya for $26, which is a classic New Orleans meal. This one is made with Slow-cooked Spicy Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, and Chicken served with rice. After it was described as the HOTTEST item on the menu, we were a little disappointed (it had heat, but not as much as it was hyped up to have). However, the rice had a great flavor, and the size of the shrimp was massive.

Boatwright’s Jambalaya

The Andouille Sausage did bring a bit of heat, but the main flavor we got was tomato, which was bright. However, that with the undercooked green onion almost gave us salsa vibes. We would say this is good, but it’s not something we’d always order here.

The sausage

We also ordered the Shrimp and Grits for $26. It’s Sustainable Shrimp and Andouille Sausage served with Spicy Cream Sauce over our Creamy Charleston-style Grits. In case you were wondering, Charleston-style grits are boiled in milk (traditional grits are boiled in water). That makes for grits that are creamier (and we are here for it!). It’s heavy — in a good way — and SO thick. They do tend to clump up as we ate them, but we didn’t mind.

Shrimp and Grits

Again, we got HUGE shrimp with a sausage that packed a little bit of heat. This was good, but if we had a choice, we’d probably still go for the Shrimp and Grits at Homecomin’ in Disney Springs first.

HUGE shrimp

Okay, we’re about to make all you meat lovers seriously jealous. We also got the Taste of the Bayou All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Platter for $36. You get Hickory-smoked Pork Ribs, Crispy Cajun Chicken, Smoked Sausage, Barbecued Beef Brisket, Mashed Potatoes, Mac & Cheese, Roasted Corn with Cajun Butter, and Seasonal Vegetables. SO MUCH FOOD, but, y’all, WORTH IT.

Taste of the Bayou

It’s so rare to find an all-you-can-eat platter like this, so that alone gets it a gold star. We’re going to start by telling you that this Mac and Cheese is some of the best we’ve had in Disney World. It reminds us of the Mac and Cheese we get from Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, but this has garnishes and bread crumbs on top, so it’s better. The green beans were also fresh, but nothing as special as that Mac and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese

The brisket has a delicious sauce and the pieces of meat were inconsistent: some were perfectly tender and juicy, while other pieces were dry.

Brisket

The chicken, though, surprised us! The breading on it had some wonderful herbs, giving it a great flavor. It was also nice and crispy.

Crispy and flavorful

We also found ourselves ADDICTED to the mashed potatoes — we couldn’t stop eating them. They had chunks of potatoes in them but were still smooth. There was also a nice garlic flavor througout.

Mashed potatoes

The ribs? Well, they were fine, and they were very similar to the brisket. Yep, just fine. Not great. But not bad either. Again, we really liked the sauce on them.

Ribs

We can’t have all that food and NOT order dessert, and what’s more traditional than bread pudding? Here, it’s Praline-Bourbon Bread Pudding for $9, made with Pecan Praline Sauce, Bourbon-soaked Raisins, and Vanilla Ice Cream. We’ll admit, we love almost ALL bread pudding, so we’re biased going in, so yes, we LOVED this.

Praline-Bourbon Bread Pudding

The breading was so soft, but also dense — so basically, it was perfect. Is it the BEST bread pudding we’ve had in Disney World? Maybe not, but it was so tasty and gave us the comfort food feels. If anything, though, we think it needed more breading.

SO comforting

The desserts at Boatwright’s are usually solid, and we’ve also liked the Banana Cream Pie Cheesecake from here, which is something a lot of Cast Members here recommend.

Nosh or Not?

Dine at Boatwright’s if…

  • You’re craving good old-fashioned Southern comfort food Louisiana-style. That’s exactly what you’ll be getting. The menu features a lot of Southern favorites, and you can’t go wrong with most of them.
  • You’re staying at Port Orleans Resort. This is a no-brainer. If you’re staying at the resort, you have no excuse not to dine here. If you’re staying in the French Quarter section of the resort, you can either walk or take a boat or bus to get to the restaurant.
  • You love meat. If you are a bonafide carnivore, the Taste of the Bayou platter is all you can eat of some pretty tasty  meats. And they’re served with a heavenly Mac and Cheese and Mashed Potatoes.

Skip Boatwright’s if…

  • You have picky eaters in your party. Okay, so this isn’t your standard hamburger and chicken nuggets kind of joint. These flavors may not appeal to kids or those who are a little spice-averse. You’d be better off eating somewhere else if you’ve got picky eaters in your group.
  • You don’t want to travel far for meals. If you’re not staying at Port Orleans and don’t want to travel for a meal, you probably won’t want to make the trip to Boatwright’s, which could involve buses and/or boats.
  • You’re on a budget. The prices at Boatwright’s are fairly reasonable, but this is still a table service restaurant, which means you’ll be paying a bit more for food than you would if you dined at a quick-service spot. If you have a larger party, this could be expensive.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside

That’s it for this visit to Boatwright’s Dining Hall, but we’re sure we’ll be back again real soon. So stay tuned to DFB for more reviews!

REVIEW: This Deluxe Hotel Restaurant Left Me Speechless 😶 in Disney World

WE KNOW DISNEY.

YOU CAN, TOO.


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Have you ever dined at Boatwright’s? Let us know about your favorite items there in the comments!

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