Like many other DVC Fans, I have been anxiously waiting for Flying Fish to reopen.  It has been one of my favorite Disney restaurants for many years, so I was incredibly excited to hear that it would reopen on January 27–a date for which my family and I already planned to be at the BoardWalk Villas.  Time and again, the signature restaurant has delivered excellent food and service, but did Flying Fish still live up to my expectations this time?

The Ambiance

Interior of Flying Fish

The dark blue hues and glass fish and bubbles that hang in the dining room give a subtle and elegant nod to the sea theme as do the fin-like glass partitions–quite a contrast to the whimsical carnival theme that the restaurant originally had prior to its 2016 renovation.  In addition to the regular tables and booths, you’ll find a section of smaller tables by the open kitchen and a private room in the back of the restaurant. On opening night, there were quite a few available tables, so it never felt incredibly packed, nor was it ever so loud that you could not easily converse with the rest of your party.

The Food

As is the case with many other Disney restaurants that have reopened, the menu has changed up a bit.  For example, the filet mignon is no longer a Wagyu filet, the Maine lobster nero pasta appears to have been replaced by the seafood pearl pasta, and there’s a new tofu entree.  While I was sad to see that my favorite crab cake appetizer had still not returned, I was pleased to see that some of my favorite entrees, the potato-wrapped red snapper, and plancha-seared scallops, had returned.  

With four of us dining that evening, we got to try a variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. I started with the lobster bisque with Sambuca and chive oil. It was creamy and delicious with a good amount of lobster chunks. My husband got the Prince Edward Island mussels that had fresh herbs and a chardonnay broth. He absolutely loved this one. The broth was very flavorful, and he even asked for extra bread to sop up the remainder of it at the end. It was that good. It is worth noting that the portion was quite large for an appetizer. My brother had the slow-roasted pork belly with spiced apple and cherry gastrique. In the past, the menu specified that the appetizer was Kurabata pork belly, which has more marbled meat, but this version was still very good. He said that the texture and hint of sweetness somehow reminded him of char siu. Although not mentioned on the menu, the pork belly was also served with a fried potato that was akin to a knish but with Panko breading.

For my entree, I ordered the plancha-seared scallops with savory grits, sweet corn, and peppadew emulsion. This is essentially the same entree that I would typically order at Flying Fish, but I really enjoy it. The scallops were perfectly seared and sweet. Then you had the combination of savory grits and sweet corn. The peppadew seems similar in flavor to a red pepper and was a nice addition as well. Overall, I was just as pleased with this entree as I have been in the past. My husband and mom ordered the same dish: the seafood pearl pasta with shrimp, lobster, scallops, clams, and mussels. I think this dish was the winner. It had plenty of seafood in a rich almost bisque-like sauce. They would both order this dish again in a heartbeat. My brother went with the Verlasso salmon with bok choy, celery root, and golden saffron nage. This too was perfectly cooked and not dry at all. The saffron broth was quite rich, but the dish was served with additional broth on the side should you want more of it.

One of the benefits of having four guests at our table is that we were able to order one of each dessert on the menu. In the past, none of the desserts were particularly memorable to me, but the Key lime cake with coconut-lime mousse, guava, and tropical coulis caught my attention.  I found it interesting that this was a plant-based dessert.  It had that nice tartness that you would expect from a Key lime dessert, and it simply had the prettiest presentation that echoed the sea theme of the restaurant. My husband had the creamy goat cheesecake with honey glaze and cassis gel. It had goat cheese-based cheesecake atop a thin pistachio cake. He said that the tanginess of the goat cheese was noticeable, so it was a unique twist but very enjoyable. My mom was quite full but was intrigued by the 50th celebration midnight lemon that was created in honor of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. It had fresh berries, crispy meringue, and sweet lemon. This was a mousse-like dessert, and she found that the lemon was sweet and not sour, just as described. She thought it was a perfect light dessert to top off her meal. Lastly, my brother ordered the cocoa breach with vanilla custard, chocolate bavarois, and feuillentine crunch. This was the showstopper with the chocolate poured over it when served at the table. My brother is not normally a fan of desserts but finished this one. He said it was definitely something for chocolate lovers.

The Service

Our server, Ait, was wonderful. He let us know that it was actually his first day there, but you would never have known had he not mentioned it. He was prompt, courteous, well-informed, and just overall very friendly. When I looked at the drink menu and didn’t find any mocktails, Ait kindly asked the bartender what options there were, and my mom and I were able to get the Pacific Island Punch as a mocktail. It had guava, papaya, pineapple, and mango juice, and was reminiscent of POG juice. Ait was not the only new cast member there. It turned out a few others we met that night were just starting as well, but all the cast members, old and new, we encountered that night were so welcoming and happy to be there.

All in all, I would say that Flying Fish is still a solid choice with dishes that are as elegant as they are delicious and very attentive and personable service. If you have not been there yet, and you love seafood, do yourself a favor and book that dining reservation.