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California Grill, Orlando

by Krista

California grill inside

California Grill
Disney's Contemporary Hotel
4600 N World Dr 15th Fl
Lake Buena Vista, Florida  

Date of Last Visit: Thursday, December 17th, 2009

The Victim: My cousin George

The Damage: A LOT. Like $225 for the two of us. (Not each.)

The Background: I'm not much of a creature of habit. I don't like to go to the same restaurants over and over again. I can't see bands multiple nights in concert. I get bored easily.

But after many Christmases around Orlando, the California Grill in Disney's Contemporary Hotel is about the only place I'll eat. So I will gladly go back there, year after year.

But here's the thing…the place books up AGES in advance around Christmas. Because everyone wants to see the fireworks above the Magic Kingdom. (Great views from The Contemporary.) So although we tried and tried and tried to get a booking, we had to try our luck with just showing up and getting a seat at the bar.

Which you can see from the photo above was not a problem.

California grill sushi 

Ah portion size in America. My "Snake in the Grass" starter–Barbecued Eel with Shrimp Tempura, Avocado, and Cucumber–was huge. I was expecting six, maybe eight pieces in the roll. There were 12. TWELVE. I tried to give this away to the drunk guys that sat down next to us at the bar but they told me, "We don't eat sushi in West Virginia."

California grill grouper 

When I'm in Florida, I like to eat grouper and dolphin (the fish, not the mammal) because both are native to Florida. (You might also know dolphin fish as mahi-mahi. Seriously, no relation to Flipper.) California Grill did not disappoint in that respect, and I ordered the Pan-roasted Florida Black Grouper Fillet with "Stir-fry" Vegetables, Sticky Rice, Ginger-Soy-Hijiki Broth. (Talk about unnecessary quotation marks.) 

Seriously though…this was huge. I started getting this buzzing between my ears as I tried to finish it. I sat there thinking, "This is when it would be really nice to have a boyfriend." Did it taste good? Yes. But I was so distracted by its sheer size that it was hard to focus on the taste.

All of this was washed down with some lovely Californian wines. California Grill is good like that.

The Verdict: After dinner, a woman at the bar (also from West Virginia) invited us back to her campsite. As long as we brought our own Bud Light Lime. So we totally ended the evening on a high note. I can't wait to go back in 2010!

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4 comments

Notfromaroundhere.wordpress.com January 27, 2010 - 8:40 pm

That’s funny, this Britain-based American girl was having dinner at the Portobello in Downtown Disney, Orlando, that same night. Damage for 2 was also in the same price range, and it’s the place I go back to each time I’m in Florida.

Krista January 28, 2010 - 10:43 am


Yes, but did you get invited back to Fort Wilderness for some Bud Light Lime???

Rahul January 29, 2010 - 1:11 pm

How did the bill end up at $225? One entree and one main course each? Dessert? Wine?

Krista February 2, 2010 - 8:54 pm

Um, that would be the wine. Plus my cousin might have had dessert. Plus the mains were somewhat pricey.

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