by Brittany DiCologero
Chefs de France, located in Epcot’s France pavilion offers a mixture of American and authentic French cuisine in an upscale Parisian atmosphere. Located in the front section of the pavilion, certain dining rooms offer window views of World Showcase Lagoon, while other rooms feature beautiful mosaic tiles, and wine-inspired decor.
We most recently dined at Chefs de France for lunch, and made reservations in advance as one of the table service restaurants we’d be eating at during this trip. Chaz and I were both pleased to be seating in the front room near the large windows, as the last time we dined here we were seated on the opposite side. Both ends of the restaurant are very nice, although for a more date-like dining experience rather than a family one, we would prefer the front section by the window.
With our drink order we received bread and butter, which was served warm and is still one of our favorite pre-meal breads at Walt Disney World.
While this restaurant does boast an expansive wine list, we skipped alcohol during our lunch as we were already drinking around the world on another visit to Epcot that trip– which means we have an excuse to order wine during our next visit to Chefs de France. For appetizers, I ordered the Soupe à l’oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup) and Chaz chose Salade aux lardons et croutons, ” Selected greens with house vinaigrette dressing, diced smoked bacon, tomatoes, and housemade croutons.”
In terms of the French Onion Soups I’ve tried at Walt Disney World, Chefs de France is my favorite so far. To me, the best part of French Onion Soup is the cheese melted over the top of the bread, and the Gruyère cheese used in France is simply the best. The cheese is flavorful, and just stringy enough that the texture feels right without being difficult to eat in a restaurant. The rest of the soup is flavorful without needed any added seasoning, and can be enjoyable even on a hot day in the park (once you’re inside with the air conditioning that is).
We thought the salad was on the more average side– not that it wasn’t delicious, it just has not stood out to us among other Walt Disney World salads. If you’re not a soup person, and the other appetizers at Chefs de France do not particularly interest you, I would still suggest this salad. It was comparable to other salads in Disney table service restaurants, but we think a salad is always a refreshing choice while dining in the parks.
For an entree, I chose the Gratin de Macaroni, which was essentially a macaroni and cheese, or alfredo-esque dish featuring the same cheese I had fallen in love with in the French Onion Soup. I don’t even normally order pasta dishes unless I’m in an Italian restaurant, and even then I almost never order a mac and cheese for adults sort of dish, but for whatever reason the Gratin de Macaroni in Chefs de France is one of my favorite entrees in Epcot. The sauce mixed in the pasta itself is creamy and delicious, and the cheese baked over the top of the macaroni completes the dish alternating flavors and textures.
Poulet fermier à la Layonnaise, pomme puree was Chaz’s entree during our most recent lunch. This dish is currently described on the offical menu as “Lyon style roasted chicken served with tomatoes and vinegar sauce, mashed potatoes,” which I assume is a current seasonal update, as Chaz’s meal was without tomatoes but included broccoli as an extra side. The vinegar sauce on the chicken mixed well with the rest of the dish, and added a nice, unique flavor to the potatoes. While Chaz is not usually interested in chicken on the bone, the meat in this meal fell right off leaving him without the usual struggle of picking it out around the bones.
We were given a complimentary dessert while we dined here for Chaz’s birthday, which I cannot find a description of on the restaurant’s online menu. As far as we can tell, it was essentially a strawberry shortcake decorated with raspberry sauce and sorbet. While not usually a dessert person, this cake was a hit with Chaz who says he would order it again the next time we go there. Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts, so this was a pleasant surprise, and the sorbet was a nice change from the usual vanilla ice cream that tends to come with American desserts.
In terms of value, we think Chefs de France is a great option. Our meal featured about came to about $65 (pre-tip), which we think was a very fair price for two soft drinks, appetizers, and entrees. While the portion sizes are decent, this is not a restaurant where I would suggest splitting a meal with another adult, or ordering a salad or appetizers as a meal, with the exception of the entree sized salad. It should also be noted that wine seems like a popular drink option among the 21+ crowd here, and our meal was slightly cheaper than average then since we stuck with coke and iced tea.
We give Chefs de France a rating of 90%. The food we’ve had here has been delicious, there are no complaints about service, atmosphere, or anything else. We’ve only decided to deduct ten points for it not being one on of our top choices for a restaurant in World Showcase. We love Chefs de France, but unless we particularly feel like going there, we would likely choose other World Showcase options.