California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort. Floor to ceiling windows allow you to enjoy an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Sunsets are pretty incredible, too.
The re-imagination was inspired by mid-century modern California design. The lights were one of my favorite touches, they have a great sculptural feel.
The kitchen is open to the restaurant. If you sit at the sushi bar, you can see the fresh fish, and watch the chefs as they prepare your meal.
California Grill is beautiful, and the view is amazing (more about that later), but I know what your real question is: How was the food?
The sushi looked so colorful and fun. Even though it is way outside of my comfort zone, I wanted to try it. I reminded myself that Disney is the perfect place to be adventurous, and went for it. I was not disappointed.
I ate sushi, y'all. I ate sushi, and I liked it.
Don't worry if sushi isn't your thing, and you aren't ready to make that adventurous eating leap. The California Grill also has dishes with pork, chicken, fish, beef, and duck. There is something for everyone. If you do want to eat the sushi (trust me, you do), they have a 12-course omakase menu that will allow you to try a variety of fresh creations from the chef.
Roasted Squash Ravioli with root spinach, parsnips, petite herb salad, sage brown butter, and 12 year balsamic.
Oak-Fired Filet of Beef served with heirloom tomato risotto, marinated baby vine tomatoes, basil, and tomato butter. Eating food with tomatoes - yet another step in adventurous eating for me.
A slightly blurry picture (mostly because I was so excited to pick up my fork), but I had to include it because the Oak-Fired Filet of Beef was my favorite entrée. I would be happy eating it every day.
There were other great looking dishes like a 24-Hour Short Rib Filet, Bell & Evans Chicken with a teriyaki barbecue glaze, Wild Columbia River Salmon, but I had to save room for dessert. I definitely want to try the Bell & Evans Chicken the next time I visit. It is served with truffle macaroni and cheese, glazed vegetables, and chicken sausage.
The most important part of the meal: Dessert
One of the cutest desserts was the Sundae Sampler. Created by California Grill Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes, it includes a Coke float, a strawberry sundae, and a caramel corn sundae.
The tiny containers and mini spoon were a great touch. How can you not love them instantly? The Caramel Corn Sundae was the winner of the trio. The caramel sauce was delicious, and it is a perfect dessert for fall.
Chocolate Pudding Cake with Nutella Filling, meringue kisses, and mint Chantilly cream. It is very dark chocolate and very rich. I loved every yummy bite of it.
The Banana Bread Fritters were amazing as well. They were warm, and sweet, and had the right level of banana. The toasted caramel marshmallow wasn't bad, either.
California Grill is a dessert paradise.
You remember the great view? It extends outside to two observation platforms. At the end of the night we stepped out to watch the Wishes firework display at Magic Kingdom. You can see Cinderella's Castle and Space Mountain from the observation deck, and before the sun went down, I was even able to spot Belle's Castle and Fantasyland in the distance.
The music from the show can be heard from the speakers on the observation deck, so you are able to get the whole Wishes experience.
The perfect finale to an amazing meal.
*I was provided with a free meal, but I was not required to write about it, say nice things, or stuff myself with dessert. Those choices were all mine, as are the opinions in this post.