Location

Disney Magic, Deck 3 Aft

Summary

We're glad to see the menu improve, and we'd be happy to dine at Carioca's twice on longer sailings.

Setting and Atmosphere

The Magic’s newest restaurant, Carioca’s is named for Jose Carioca, one of the three birds in Disney’s animated 1944 film The Three Caballeros. The word carioca is slang for a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and so Carioca’s theme is “Brazilian festival.” The restaurant uses lighting effects to transform the restaurant’s setting. When the lighting effects are off at lunch, Carioca’s interior has a cool white and grey floor, white walls, and white tablecloths. Round, white lanterns hang from the ceiling, accented by a handful of colorful red, orange and yellow lights. For dinner, rich yellow and brown lighting transforms the restaurant into a cinnamon and gold nightspot. It's a little darker than you'd expect at night, but still nicer than before.

House Specialties

The menu also got an overhaul, and it is much improved. The signature dish is the Jose Carioca's, three grilled skewers of Brazilian sausage, chili-crusted lamb, and tenderloin beef, with a side of tomato-flavored rice and a delicious Chimichurri sauce. The tenderloin and lamb can get a bit dry, but the Chimichurri sauce balances it out. At least one person at your table should try this.

The other entree we really liked - in small bites - was the Slow-roasted Pork Belly, with sides of mashed sweet potatoes, grits, and collard greens. The pork belly's skin was incredibly crispy, almost to the point where you'd think it was fried, yet the meat underneath was white and juicy. Combined with the grits and sweet potatoes, it's almost too rich, which is why we suggest ordering this as an entree for the table, with each person also ordering another entree.

Vegetarian options include Corn Tortillas with Veracruzan refried bean dip, green tomatillo chile, and a white-cabbage-and-carrot relish. It's not as spicy as the black bean soup appetizer, which has a touch of habanero pepper, but the tortillas are a filling dish.

Beyond the vegetarian black bean soup, the other appetizers we like are salads: the Tiger Shrimp Ceviche, with cucumber, cilantro, and tomato-citrus dressing; and the Cuban Salad, with avocado, pineapple, toasted Cuban bread, and a tangy cider vinegar dressing. We'd avoid the Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower, since the tuna at Palo is much better.

Other Recommendations

If you subscribe to the "Everything tastes better on a stick" philosophy and are also in the mood for seafood, try the Lobster, Shrimp and Mahi Mahi Skewers. These are served on a salad of quinoa (the grain of the moment, judging from how many recipes in which Disney use it), dried mango, pineapple and toasted coconut salsa.

Photos