For most people, it is rather difficult to pick a restaurant to dine at in Epcot, since there are so many to choose from. With a variety of nations represented, the food that Epcot has to offer is extremely diverse and, most importantly, delicious. Chefs de France, located in the France pavilion, is a favorite among guests.
This restaurant is considered to be a more formal dining option, but it is still a wonderful choice for families with children of any age. Within this article, I will be addressing practically everything about the restaurant, from the service quality to the interior décor, and also my personal experience, in order to help you determine if this dining option would be of interest to you.
Reservations: Is it beneficial?
Disney World dinner reservations are beneficial if the restaurant is notably popular. Chefs de France is considered to be an ethnic restaurant, as its main focus is on French cuisine. Since it is one of the only restaurants that is a fancier choice, more people are interested in going here. That being said, there are certainly times of the day where you would most likely not need a reservation.
Since more people attend dinner at Chefs de France, it would be a smart idea to make a reservation if you are planning on eating there anytime between 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Lunch is offered from 12:00 pm until 3:00 pm and has significantly fewer guests than dinner, so reservations for lunch is not a necessity. Of course, you can still get into the restaurant without a reservation, but if the dining room is busy, you might have to wait a while to be seated.
If you are interested in eating dinner here and are unsure how busy the restaurant will be by the time you want to go, why not make a reservation? It will reserve you a definite spot in the dining room, rather than waiting for a spot to clear up. So, my advice to you would be yes, a reservation would be in your best interest for dinner hours, but if you would rather dine here during lunch, then reservations are not as important.
If you would like to see the restaurant’s availability for a specific date and time, simply fill out the “Check Availability” section on Disney’s Chefs de France dining page.
Comparison to other notable restaurants at Epcot
At Epcot, there are a variety of restaurant styles that range from cafeteria/buffet style, casual restaurants, and ethnic restaurants. With restaurants located in countries around the World Showcase and also in the futuristic aspect of the park, you will never run out of dining options. Chefs de France is known for its elegance and choice of food, making it one of the more popular restaurants at Epcot.
Other notable restaurants are as follows:
Le Cellier Steakhouse (located in the Canadian pavilion): Le Cellier is notorious for their steak dishes and hearty meals. It is rather expensive however, so if you have a large party and want to dine on a reasonable budget, Chefs de France is your go-to. Both are considered to have higher quality dishes than other places at Epcot, hence why more people are attracted to these places.
Garden Grill Restaurant (located in the Future World): Located above the attraction Living with The Land, this character dining restaurant spins slowly so you can get a view of the rainforest scene in the ride. This option is also quite expensive, but it has good food and is a nice restaurant to take your kids to. Chefs de France is a quieter and more relaxed setting that provides ethnic dishes. Even though Chefs de France is not a character dining restaurant, a special guest may pay your table a visit during the course of your meal.
Biergarten Restaurant (located in the Germanic pavilion): Biergarten Restaurant presents food in an all-you-can-eat buffet-style manner, offering a variety of classic German dishes offered during Oktoberfest. Live entertainment every 25 minutes consists of a band that performs traditional German songs. The atmosphere is quite noisy, but it is still a fun experience. Communal-style seating is offered, so if you do not have a large party, you might dine next to another family. If this does not sound like something you would be interested in, Chefs de France offers a much quieter and intimate dining experience. Both offer similar pricing, except at Biergarten Restaurant, you pay per person, whereas at Chefs de France, you pay per meal.
Via Napoli Restorante e Pizzeria (located in the Italian pavilion): Via Napoli Restorante e Pizzeria is one of the best pizza restaurants in Disney World. The restaurant does not offer many other options, so if you are not the biggest fan of pizza, you might want to go elsewhere. Pizzas are a little pricy here, but they are about the same cost as an entrée dish at Chefs de France.
Yorkshire County Fish Shop (located in the English pavilion): Unlike the restaurants listed above, Yorkshire County Fish Shop is a food stand that serves delicious fish and chips. There is not much variety offered on the menu, but it is still a popular spot. Chefs de France has a few fish dinner options which are delicious as well, but the fish is prepared differently. There are a few tables and chairs next to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, whereas the dining at Chefs de France is solely located indoors.
While you cannot go wrong with any of these restaurants, I believe that Chefs de France offers the most ethnic cuisine experience, which is what sets it apart from its fellow contenders. In order to view a completed list of the best restaurants at Epcot for further comparison, Everything Mouse blog outlines them in one of their posts.
Service and cast members: Dining experience
The service quality offered at Chefs de France is a very positive one. The dining room is usually quite busy, but waiters and waitresses make sure they visit your table often enough to provide refills, clear away any unwanted dishes, and to make sure you are satisfied with the food. The enthusiastic demeanor of the cast adds to the positive experience that your family will experience while dining here.
If you are dining with younger children, the staff pays particular attention to them and offers some forms of entertainment. If the inevitable happens and you or anyone in your party happens to not like their chosen meal or finds a flaw in the preparation, servers are very understanding and apologetic, and will offer to have the kitchen remake the dish or for you to choose a completely different meal that you may like instead.
When this does occur, the manager and your server make sure that you are satisfied with your second dish and your overall experience, so often times, they do not include the price of the second dish in the bill or, if there was a flaw in the cooking, sometimes both meals will not be charged. The cast really does care about their customers, which is an essential part to running a successful restaurant.
Menu options: How is the food and drink quality?
Chefs de France is famous for their exquisite soup options, especially the French Onion Soup. Indulge in a heat-warming mix of flavors that are sure to satisfy you. This Disney World Restaurant Menu offers a multitude of food and drink options. With meals categorized into appetizers, entrées, desserts, and prix fixe options for all three, there is so much variety that you will not even know what to choose! For lunch and dinner dining, the restaurant offers the same meals on both menus. In order to give you a sense of what their menu consists of, I will list a handful of dishes and drinks from each category:
1. Appetizers: French Onion Soup, Escargot, Smoked Salmon, Lobster Bisque
2. Entrées: Vegetable Lasagna, Salmon Filet, Grilled Tenderloin of Beef, Duck Breast with Cherries
3. Desserts: Chocolate Cake, Apple Tart, Crème Brûlée, Fruit Meringues
4. Kids’ Appetizers: Cheese Puff Pastry, Mixed Salad
5. Kids’ Entrées: Grilled Chicken Tenderloin, Seared Salmon, Pasta with Ham, Ground Beef Steak
6. Kids’ Desserts: Ice Cream or Sorbet, Lowfat Yogurt, Chocolate Chip Cookie
7. Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Coffee, Tea, Milk, Shirley Temple, Soft Drinks
For a more complete list of dishes, Disney provides the meals and non-alcoholic beverages that are included in the menu on their website.
Pricing: Is it affordable?
For a specialty restaurant, Chefs de France has relatively standard prices. Yes, there are less expensive restaurants at Epcot, but this one is definitely affordable. If you have a larger party, I recommend choosing the prix fixe menu options. Even though this menu has less choices, it would ultimately save you money, since you would be paying a fixed amount of $39.99 per person. If you decide that you prefer the options listed on the regular menu, the prices vary, but I will list the lowest and highest prices dish in each category for a reference:
1. Appetizers: French Onion Soup ($8.99), Smoked Salmon ($16.99)
2. Entrées: Baked Macaroni ($18.99), Grilled Tenderloin of Beef ($35.99)
3. Desserts: (everything is prices at $9.75)
I have seen many specialty restaurants that charge much more than what Chefs de France charges, so for the level of dining you are receiving, I believe that the price is acceptable.
Décor: What is the atmosphere like?
Once you step into Chefs de France, you are immediately teleported into a fancy Parisian bistro. The atmosphere compliments this well. The restaurant is spacious and very open, so no one feels like they are excluded from the dining experience.
The only negative aspect about this is that it can become a bit noisy if there are many groups with children. Windows align the majority of the walls, further adding to the spacious design. Where there are no windows, the bright wallpaper and paint choice that is displayed brightens up the restaurant.
Parisian-style music can be heard playing throughout the restaurant, which also adds an element of relaxation and ethnicity. I have nothing to complain about in terms of the décor at Chefs de France, as it is truly beautiful. Every time I visit the France pavilion and dine at this restaurant, I immediately want to book a trip to France!
My advice: What I liked and disliked
Chefs de France is a great place to eat if you find yourself at Epcot. Even though the lunch and dinner menu are the same, I would recommend eating dinner here. If you book a reservation close enough to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, you will see spectacular fireworks while you dine.
Now that would be a pleasant experience! When I eat at this restaurant, I really enjoy that the service is very personalized, which I mentioned in the dining experience section of this article. I cannot stress this enough, but service quality is usually the factor that determines if you come back to the restaurant. Meals are prepared as quickly as possible and drinks are refilled as often as you would like. The busy nature of Chefs de France only pushes the employees more to do their job in a timely manner. A comment that I have about the food is that sometimes, the dishes come across as very heavy.
For instance, the Beef Bourguignon with Linguine has a small amount of baby carrots that serve as the only vegetable/light element to the dish. The meat and pasta could be two separate dishes, but by combining them, you will become full quickly. Other than this, Chefs de France captures the true spirit of its pavilion. If I were to give this restaurant a rating from 1 (meaning terrible) to 5 (meaning excellent) stars, I would assigned Chefs de France a 4 out of 5 stars. If the plate options were reconfigured and offered a variety of elements to the plate, some light and some hearty, this rating would go up to a 5 out of 5. Overall, this restaurant is always a go-to for me when I am at Epcot and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys French cuisine and a restaurant that truly showcases its ethnicity.
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