DiningWalt Disney World (FL)

REVIEW: Outdoor Dining at Paddlefish

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Paddlefish is one of the very few Walt Disney World restaurants I had not yet tried, always falling off my radar in favor of tried and true options like Homecomin’ or Raglan Road when looking for something in the Disney Springs area. When those were not available for a last minute walk-up for an outdoor table, we landed at the seafood venue, located on the waterfront of the Landing section.

Determined to avoid indoor dining during the pandemic, my husband and I were thrilled when our request to be seated outside meant that we were placed on the restaurant’s rooftop, with sweeping views of Disney Springs and Saratoga Springs.

The tables were appropriately socially distant, and in a lovely touch, the hostess gave us paper envelopes to place our masks in while dining, so that we didn’t have to rest them directly on the table.

Mask protector

I started with a “Captain Handsome” cocktail of Cathead vodka, fresh raspberries, framboise, and thyme, which was light and refreshing on a muggy evening. My husband, Jeff, drinks Diet Coke at all times. Our server did a great job of making sure his glass was never empty.

Captain Handsome cocktail

I started with a Caesar salad, which was standard for a Caesar salad, and exactly what I was in the mood for.

Jeff ordered the more substantial Ahi Poke appetizer, billed as “sweet black soy, avocado, cucumber pickle, tortilla chips. The light dressing on the fish nicely enhanced the natural flavor. The chips were dusted with a sweet chili spice (we asked for more of those).

For entrees, Jeff opted for the Stuffed Cod (shrimp and scallop corn bread stuffing, asparagus, and red potatoes with a mustard cream sauce). The neutral fish was a willing canvas for the mustard and corn bread acid/sweet combo.

I decided on the Shrimp Pasta (linguine, Florida rock shrimp, asparagus, tomato, and crab broth). This was liberally scented with garlic and contained a generous portion of succulent rock shrimp.

Both of our entrees were on the lighter side, which was exactly what we wanted given the outdoor Florida location. (Though we did split an Ghirardelli ice cream on the way out of Disney Springs because we’re on vacation dammit.)

The food was lovely, but the view from the Paddlefish roof deck made the meal extra special. Watching the lights come on over Disney Springs felt particularly special given the COVID-era absence of evening light displays at Disney World.

Disney Springs from the Paddlefish roof, early evening.
Paddlefish view, dusk
Paddlefish view, dark

Remember, if you’re having trouble finding a reservation at Paddlefish, or any WDW restaurant, the TouringPlans Reservation Finder can help you find the slot you need.

Have you dined at Paddlefish? What are your thoughts about this lesser-mentioned restaurant?

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

3 thoughts on “REVIEW: Outdoor Dining at Paddlefish

  • Early Easter dining on paddlefish left a lot to be desired. With one guest on a scooter, a host escorted us to a huge empty room. Table for 6, No other diners in room, no ambiance or view. We had eaten there before it was Paddlefish and at least felt like we were dining on a boat, with ambiance. We were then escorted outside on a side of the top deck in a shady spot on a not so lovely cool day. We passed lots of empty indoor window side table for 6 on route to elevator. Why we were not offered this seating, I do not know. Also there was nicer available seating in the front top deck on the boat in sunshine. We sat chilled alone always from other diners. We told staff, person on scooter could walk a distance and we could leave it elsewhere, If it was a problem. Either it was we (dressed nicely) or the scooter that was an issue. The food was just ok..with a name paddlefish, I would have assumed delicious fresh fish. Ordering the shrimp dinner , I received flatten out, like a pancake, frozen quality shrimp. Similar to what BJ’s sell. A fresh butterflied , battered and fried schrimp , would have been golden in color, curled and plump. Also ,lobster corn dog app tasty because of dipping sauce. plain no flavor of lobster. Would bet, another frozen item to deep fry . With so many place to eat at Disney springs, skip this one.. we took this reservation, because it was the only place with Easter reservations available when we booked last minute.

  • One of my all-time favorite Disney memories is having a drink on the Paddlefish deck just after sunset, with Disney Springs lit up below and the Rainforest Cafe volcano periodically “erupting”. Even the view of the non-Disney hotel scene from there is a treat!

    We don’t eat much seafood – we had lunch there once indoors, and it was, you know, fine – but for a drink and a view you can’t beat the top deck at Paddlefish.

  • This has been a real hit or miss place to dine at. The food is generally good, but I have had to send food back on several occasions as overcooked. I also have had times where the food comes out BEFORE the drinks which I can never figure out. On balance it is worth a shot because they handle problems quickly.


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