On our last visit down to Disney, Ben and I enjoyed our first dinner at Citricos, and it was magnificent! Since we visited the last week of November, everything was decked out for the holidays, so a trip these days would be a bit different, but I’ve got a feeling the quality would be just as exemplary…
Citricos is one of the numerous dining locations at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Since Ben and I were staying at the Polynesian, it was an easy monorail ride over to the Grand Floridian (after a pre-dinner Lapu Lapu with fellow blogger Jen Drennon! She’d always raved about how delectable it is, so I had to have my first one with her! It did not disappoint!). Citricos is located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian’s main building toward the back of the lobby, down the same hallway as Victoria and Albert’s (going there is still on the bucket list).
Citricos does qualify as “signature” dining, so make sure to keep that in mind if you’re using the dining plan (it will require the use of two table credits to have dinner at Citricos). Also, since this signature dining option is not located in one of the parks, it has a dress code, but nothing too bad. Men must wear khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. Sport coats are optional. Women must wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. Things like flip-flops, swimsuits, and tank tops are not permitted. I personally loved the opportunity to dress up a bit! It was definitely an upscale experience. They even swapped out my white napkin for a black one because my dress was black!
The dining room had soft, but not dark, lighting along with brightly colored and patterned cushioned chairs and carpeting. My favorite part of the dining room was the open line of sight right into the kitchen, so you could see the chefs preparing your food! Through the use of magic, apparently, this feature didn’t produce any sort of distracting noise. Because we visited during the holiday season, there were garlands and twinkle lights around to make sure guests stayed immersed in the holiday spirit (after all, we had to walk RIGHT past the Grand Floridian gingerbread house to get to Citricos!)
Oh! I also want to note that we were seated with Adrian, and she was fantastic, so ask for her if you go!
Keeping with the swanky mood, Ben stuck to wine for this dinner, enjoying a couple of glasses of pinot noir, from Citricos’s extensive (and impressive) wine list, with his meal. Since wine knocks me out and I was not about to end my first night at Disney early, I decided to try some of the fun signature cocktails offered!
The first one I sampled (read as “consumed entirely”) was the Citricos Holiday Martini. As its name implies, it was the epitome of Christmas in a glass. It was also STRONG. The ingredients were simple — Rumchata, Stoli Vanilla Vodka, and Baileys — but they were delicious together. Maybe I’m just a wuss, but it was a bit intense along with dinner. Tasty, but intense.
The second cocktail I had was the Salerno Prosecco Cocktail (Salerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Orange Juice, and Acinum Prosecco). This one was light and bubbly (duh), but if I’m being honest, kind of tasted like fizzy Hi-C (is that still around??). I’d give it a solid, scientific “meh” as a review.
You know, I’ve got to take at least a couple of sentences to chat about the bread. Citricos offers two types of bread baked fresh in-house every day: kalamata and multigrain. The bottomless (but don’t fill up!) bread basket comes with delicious salted butter. 10/10 on both of the bread options. Absolutely delicious.
Ben and I shared two appetizers to be able to taste a bit more of what the menu has to offer. First, we got the Arancini — Smoked Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Herb Aioli. When the dish came out, it wasn’t what I expected — the tomatoes and mozzarella were combined in a deep-fried ball — but it was delicious. Apparently I’m the only person who doesn’t know that “Arancini” is, by definition, a fried rice ball. Who knew? It also came with a small salad of mixed greens, tomato, and red onion on the side. I should note that I visited during the Romaine scare of 2018, so it’s possible that some (or all, or none) of our dishes may have been modified to exclude that pesky ingredient.
Second, we shared the Fall Heirloom Vegetable Salad, with Heirloom Carrots, Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Quinoa, and Butternut Squash. This one was another absolute hit. This was also on a bed of mixed greens. While not listed as an ingredient on the menu, it also included walnuts. This was a light, refreshing salad that made me feel healthier for eating it (which meant dessert later in the evening was totally earned). I loved the tart vinaigrette with the savory squash and carrots. It really worked well together. Since this is a “fall” salad, I can only assume that other seasons bring other salads. I guess I’ll have to go back!
I had a really hard time picking my entree. I feel the need to mention the dishes that were passed over (even though just reading their names makes my stomach grumble now — and I already ate dinner today!). In addition to what we ordered, Citricos also offered Red Wine-braised Beef Short Ribs, Oak-grilled Swordfish, Chicken Mediterranean, and Oak-grilled Beef Filet. Precisely everything sounded amazing.
In the past, Ben and I have gone for the heavy, hearty, incredible beef dinners, but noticed they they slowed us down not only for the day, but also for the next morning. Since this was the first night of our trip, we wanted to start smart. I chose the Scallop Risotto and Ben enjoyed the Quinoa & Provençale Ratatouille. The portions didn’t seem massive when they arrived, but they were definitely sufficiently filing.
My risotto was creamy and flavorful with 3 perfectly-charred scallops on top. The risotto included spices and corn and the whole dish was topped with what looked like bean sprouts. It was soul-warming comfort food, spectacular for every bite.
Ben’s ratatouille was unlike anything I’d ever seen before — and unlike any ratatouille I’d seen before. A small cake-like quinoa base sat on top of multiple sauces (great individually or mixed together). The base was topped with a layer of amazing veggies, wilted greens, and bean sprouts. Each layer had new, yummy surprises.
Ben and I knew we had a date with some chocolate cake at the Top of the World Lounge, so we smartly bypassed dessert at Citricos (which sounds like another reason to go back). Overall, the dinner was a fabulous experience and I can’t wait to head back for something new next time!