Citricos is one of Disney World’s fine dining flagships, located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Floridian Hotel. It’s a Michelin-recommended stop, so your expectation for this meal should be high. Appetizers range from $16-22 (plus some three-digit caviar options), entrees from $37-59, and desserts from $12-14. A full three-course meal will run you about $65-80, not including drinks and gratuities. As a Signature restaurant, you’ll need to spend 2 Disney Dining Plan credits once the DDP returns in January 2024.
The restaurant’s decor is inspired by Mary Poppins, and hints can be found as you look around the room. But they are the subtle, not too in-your-face hints that you would expect of Ms. Poppins, who wouldn’t be so gauche as to make her influence stand out. The space is open and feels airy, refined without being stuffy. The high-backed plush chairs are welcoming, with an unspoken invitation to relax and enjoy your meal. Although it wasn’t full when we visited, the carpet and upholstery should keep noise levels reasonably muted even if it’s stuffed to the gills.
Citricos is only open for dinner, and is currently closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Reservations are accepted, and if you can you should book at the start of your 60-day reservation window. But if you can’t, don’t fret – reservations are often available closer in or even in the same week. As a Signature restaurant, Citricos expects guests to be in clean, neat attire, and if you’re wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants you’ll probably feel underdressed as you’re being seated.
Bread and Beverages
The bread service was a basic white and an olive rye, and both were excellent. There was not anything particularly remarkable about them – just good, high-quality bread with enough flavor (especially the rye) to do more than serve as a vehicle for butter.
Old Fashioned Orange Soda Float -$9.50
Handcrafted orange syrup, House-made seltzer and Vanilla Bean Ice cream
Sparkling Grapefruit Soda – $8.50
Traditionally made Grapefruit Syrup Sweetened with Florida Honey and Topped with house-made Seltzer
Paradise Punch – $8.00
Melted Sugar, Caribbean Spices, Scraped Vanilla Bean, Orgeat (contains Tree-nuts) and Citrus
Purple Penguin – $7.50
Pineapple, Peach, Lemon, Lavender, Grenadine and topped with house made Seltzer
No pictures, but we tried all of the above from the zero-proof menu and they were uniformly excellent. The Grapefruit Soda was refreshing and not sweet, and the Orange Soda Float tasted just like the best version that you imagine it might. Don’t think Fanta orange, think instead of a not-quite-so-sweet and actually orange-flavored soda. One of my favorite notes was the melted sugar in the Paradise Punch, which could be clearly picked out and tasted kind of like homemade rock candy with that slight caramel tone. Don’t ask me how melted sugar tastes like solid sugar, I don’t know. I’m just calling it as I tasted it here.
Strawberry Salad – $17.00
Chamomile-infused Goat Cheese, Frisée, Spiced Sunflower Seeds, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Salt, sweet, acid, heat … not particularly spicy but this salad had everything else. More importantly, it had just the right balance of each and a nice mix of textures too. One member of our party felt the bacon dressing was too salty, but the rest were in love.
Sweet Corn Bisque – $16.00
Pickled Fennel, Popcorn and Fennel Oil
The popcorn seemed to add only texture, which was totally unnecessary in this delightful soup. I feel like there are three kinds of corn bisque. There are the unsophisticated ones that taste like someone put some corn through a blender and then thinned it a bit to a soup-like texture. There are the ones that are so light and delicate that they make you think of spring, even though corn is a summer food. And there are the ones that are more autumnal, with enough onion to really deepen the flavor and make you think about harvest time and Thanksgiving.
This one was the spring kind. It was light, with a flavor that made me think of really good creamed corn. The kind that’s made by scraping the cobs to get the pulpy “milk” instead of using heavy cream, which adds roundness to the flavor but makes the dish heavy at the same time. I would not be surprised to hear that some cobs were scraped to provide a starchy thickener in this recipe and it used milk or half-and-half instead of the usual heavy cream. The fennel provided a nice subtle contrast and rounded out the flavor.
Wild Mushrooms Arancini – $17.00
Truffle Aïoli, Watercress, and Champagne Vinaigrette
A beautiful, but not overwhelming, mushroom-umami aroma fills your mouth instantly on closing it around bites of these delicious rice balls, and the greens and other components stand well with the arancini as a complete bite and also on their own. We couldn’t stop eating this, and in a less refined venue we might have licked the plate.
Smoked Duck Breast – $21.00
Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Celeriac Purée and Duck Confit
The duck breast was surprisingly mild in flavor for a dark meat; almost too mild. We are used to a slightly gamier flavor from duck, and we also didn’t taste much in the way of smoke. It was fine, but the star on this plate was the pasta. The luscious, creamy texture of a great alfredo or carbonara, but with a much lighter feel that didn’t leave us too full to move on to dinner.
Berkshire Pork Belly – $19.00
Boniato and Plantain Croquette, Salsa Verde, and Jícama
The pork belly was lovely, although cooked a little harder than the best presentations. The croquette was clearly made with sweet (yellow) plantain instead of the unripe green ones that would have given it a starchier flavor. It was terrific, and didn’t last long. If you love plantain, you must get this. If you merely like plantain, or are neutral about plantain, you should also get it. If you actively dislike plantain then I suppose you should pass.
Domestic Golden Tilefish – $48.00
Jupiter Rice-Chorizo ‘Risotto’, Key West Pink Shrimp, and Confit Tomatoes
This might have been the best dish of the night. The “risotto” was the most impressive of the components, evoking shrimp ‘n’ grits even without the shrimp. The fish was perfectly cooked, with just a hint of crunch on the seasoned exterior. And a forkful with the complete bite was balanced, nuanced, and layered with flavor.
Butter-poached Mahi Mahi – $44.00
Mashed Fingerling Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Local Mushrooms, and Grapefruit Beurre Blanc
The mahi mahi was perfectly cooked, and the asparagus and mushrooms were delicious. The beurre blanc was a masterpiece of creamy, buttery goodness that remained liquid even as the dish cooled; no mean feat to achieve. Let me also say again: creamy buttery goodness. It was a perfect foil for the relatively unseasoned fish. I loved this, even if the mashed potatoes somehow felt like they didn’t quite belong on the plate.
House-made Rigatoni – $37.00
Bolognese, Seasonal Vegetables, Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, and Plant-based Egg Yolk (Plant-based)
A very tomato-forward bolognese, over pasta that was noticeably past al dente. Now, that may seem like an odd criticism, as house-made pasta isn’t dried and therefore al dente shouldn’t really be expected. But it also shouldn’t be close to mushy as this was. Not mushy, but … closer to mushy than we would have liked to see in a fine dining establishment. The carrots were still noticeably crunchy and the choice to serve them halved lengthwise didn’t make them feel like they were part of the dish, supposed to go on your fork at the same time as the pasta. And if they weren’t, then that’s OK, but why serve them arranged around the top instead of off to the side? It might seem like I’m making a lot of small complaints about this dish, but that’s exactly it. It just didn’t … go together, somehow. We didn’t take home the leftovers.
Oak-grilled 12-oz Prime New York Strip – $59.00
Potato Purée, Broccolini, Cipollini Jam, Bordelaise
Steak done right. I mean DONE RIGHT. Ours was perfectly cooked, crunchy sear on the outside, temperature medium rare just like we asked for, and it’s impossible to overlook the contribution of the bordelaise. It was just right, richly flavored and with that texture that clings to the meat. It’s been over a month since we ate that meal, and I can still taste it in my mouth while I’m sitting on my sofa. The broccolini was perfectly cooked with just a little bit of crunch still in evidence. And the potato puree (which we had served on the side due to an allergy) was not exceptional, but was well above what you’d call an “average mashed potato side”.
Truffle Macaroni & Cheese – $23.00
House-made Gnocchetti, Summer Black Truffles, Sottocenere al Tartufo and Tarragon
Once you broke through the creamy covering on top, this was an unappetizing gray color that anyone who has ever cooked with truffles will recognize as easy to achieve. The flavor was therefore, unsurprisingly, very truffle. Truffle enough that a few bites were delicious – seriously delicious – but more than that was asking a lot as it quickly became overwhelming. We thought this was unique, interesting, and great to share, but nobody wanted to eat it on their own.
Grilled Marble Potatoes – $11.50
Roasted Tomato Aïoli, Shaved Serrano Ham and Manchego
The potatoes were well-cooked, the ham was delicious, and the manchego was also lovely. But none of us really felt that the flavors of this dish melded together. And it was heavy. We wanted to love it, but we didn’t.
Orange Blossom Flan – $14.00
Blood Orange Gelée, Orange-scented Shortbread and Orange Blossom Honey-drizzled Fruit
This was beautiful in color, and surprisingly insipid in flavor. The shortbread was in fact subtly scented with orange, but was a little on the dry side. And the flan was somehow missing the richness that I would ask of a flan. Flan is not the richest or most decadent of desserts that start their preparation as a variation on creme anglaise, but there is a difference between being light, and being flavor-free. This edged a little too close to the latter for us. It’s possible that the strongly flavored blood orange gelee simply overwhelmed the delicate flavor from the flan … but I don’t think so. I feel compelled to point out that Michelin specifically highlighted this dessert in their blurb on Citricos, so maybe we just had it on a bad night?
Apple Rose – $13.00
Served Warm with Seasonal Apples, Marzipan, Raspberry Jam and Frozen Coconut Milk
Yum, yum, yum. You could look at this and dismiss it as a “pretty” version of a classic apple tart, a classic dish with a gussied-up appearance for a fine dining restaurant. But that would be a mistake. It tasted as good as it looked, with a full, rounded flavor that was apple-forward without being apple-only. This was the only one of the desserts that had anyone squabbling over the last few bites.
Blackberry Tartelette – $12.00
Lemon Bavarian and Blackberry Mousse enrobed in Glaçage with Candied Violet
The crust was great. The lemon mousse that filled the square shell was lightly flavored; some of us would have preferred it more punchy and some of us thought it was nice that it was so light. Don’t be envisioning something like the flavor level of a key lime pie, because you’ll be way off base. The meringue was toasty and brought a nice balance to the lemon filling. And the blackberry mousse had little flavor and a relatively unpleasant texture. It’s right in line with any of the mediocre Disney World dome cakes. Now, I’m not slamming the dome cake, there are some good ones. But this wasn’t it. Sadly, we all felt the blackberry mousse kind of blew this dessert’s performance, even though it was only one act.
Chocolate Torte – $14.00
Chocolate Financier, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Morello Cherries, and Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
Everything about this dessert was rich and decadent and didn’t disappoint. If you get to the end of your meal and you’re thinking that a slice of flourless chocolate cake would just fit the bill, you should definitely order this – it has the same kind of take-no-prisoners flavor. And it follows that if you feel like a slice of flourless chocolate cake would be way too rich and overwhelming, you should get something else. I recommend the Apple Rose.
Bonus dessert: Kid’s Vanilla Sundae
OK, so … our group had several people who were way too old to eat off the kid’s menu (because at Disney World that ends at 9) but still well of the age to be not only young at heart, but just plain young. After watching this go back and forth to other tables, they pitifully inquired of our server if it was possible to get one. It was. It tasted exactly like you would expect from looking at that picture. Definitely a more satisfying experience (for us at least) than the flan or the tartelette.
Our service was excellent, and we also loved the ambience. It felt classy, without feeling overly formal. We can’t say that the meal was flawless, but there were definitely some standouts and some interesting dishes. We could see the creativity and technique that you’d expect of a Signature restaurant, and why these dishes helped it garner Michelin’s recommendation. We might not be back on every trip, but we’ll definitely be back again.
Have you eaten at Citricos? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!