Our Steakhouse 71 Dining Experience
On our recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the opportunity to dine at one of Disney’s newest restaurants, Steakhouse 71, at the Contemporary Resort. If you haven’t had the chance to eat here yet, you’ll definitely want to add this to your must-do list! Not only is the food spectacular (more on that in a moment!), but the decor of the restaurant picks up on the updated theming of the Contemporary, giving you a nostalgic trip back in time to the Magic Kingdom’s earliest days. So join us as we explore one of the best (in our opinion) new restaurants to arrive at the Walt Disney World resorts!
But first, some background. When we first heard the announcement that a new steakhouse would be arriving at the Contemporary, we were overjoyed. One of our favorite restaurants from our earliest trips was the Concourse Steakhouse which once occupied the space now home to the Contempo Café on the fourth floor. In addition to the wonderful food, there was something special and magical about dining underneath Mary Blair’s beautiful southwest mural and watching the monorail glide majestically overhead. Fast forward several years to the announcement that Steakhouse 71 would be opening in the former home of the Wave restaurant on the Contemporary’s first floor. While we wouldn’t get to see the monorail passing through the grand atrium as we did at the Concourse Steakhouse, the new restaurant would be bringing the steakhouse experience back to the Contemporary. It would also serve as a nostalgic tribute to the history of Walt Disney World.
Our Steakhouse 71 experience began as we entered the corridor leading to the greeting area. Here we found a gallery of amazing photos detailing the planning and construction of the Magic Kingdom. Pictures of Walt Disney, his brother Roy, and other Disney Legends are interspersed with fascinating construction photos and images of attractions being brought to life. This gallery continues the updated theme of the Contemporary’s lobby, which features photos and artwork that hearken back to the resort’s early years. The influence of Mary Blair can be seen throughout, particularly on a column near the resort’s entrance that is covered with recreations of many of the figures seen in the stunning mural on the fourth floor, including the legendary 5- legged goat (and a not-so-Hidden Mickey)!
Inside the restaurant, the sleek contemporary decor is complemented by more photos hanging throughout the dining area that take you back to the Magic Kingdom’s beginnings. We had the good fortune of sitting underneath a photo depicting Hanns and Monika Scharff as they worked on the breathtaking murals that can be seen in the Cinderella Castle breezeway.
But Steakhouse 71 is much more than a nostalgic look back in time. It also brings back the upscale dining experience you could once have at the Concourse Steakhouse, with a few new surprises! We started our dinner with a pair of appetizers, the Shrimp Cocktail and the Lump Crab Cakes. We later learned that the crab cakes were a signature recipe of the chef, and we’re not exaggerating when we say there were some of the best crab cakes we have ever had!
My go-to meal at the old Concourse Steakhouse was the Filet Mignon with Creamed Spinach, so naturally, I had to have them here. We also selected the Au Gratin Potatoes as an additional side, and this is where the fun truly began! It turns out that this was one of those rare meals where everything you eat is even better than the dish you just had. The filet was incredibly tender and flavorful, and the Au Gratin Potatoes were bursting with creamy, cheesy flavor. However, if I had to pick a favorite from this trio, it would have to be the Creamed Spinach. I’ve always said that the Creamed Spinach at the Concourse Steakhouse was the best I had ever had, but now I feel compelled to update that assessment! What struck me the most was how the fresh flavor of spinach came through loud and clear, pairing magnificently with the sharp tang of parmesan. For dessert, we indulged in the decadent Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake, which featured layer after layer of whiskey-infused chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and raspberries.
Later in our trip, we visited Steakhouse 71 for breakfast. Because we were staying at the Contemporary, we actually ordered our meal to go and enjoyed it in the luxury of our room as we looked out over Bay Lake! Since we were so enamored with the crab cakes, we ordered the Floridian Eggs Benedict, which featured two-poached Eggs, crab cakes, and Hollandaise sauce atop toasted English muffins accompanied by breakfast potatoes. Yes, the crab cakes were just as good as the ones we had for dinner! Even though we didn’t order it, I did want to mention the restaurant’s signature breakfast item, Walt’s Prime Rib Hash. This was a favorite dish of Walt Disney’s, and the Steakhouse 71 version features seared prime rib, fried potatoes, and caramelized onions & peppers, all topped with a fried egg. (We’ll definitely try that on our next visit!) Steakhouse 71 also offers up a wide variety of omelets for breakfast. If you’re especially hungry, you can get the Steakhouse 71 Feast, which includes Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, bacon-cheddar grits, potatoes, fresh fruit, and of course, a Mickey-shaped Waffle!
Finally, If you’re in the mood for a quick bite or don’t happen to have a dinner reservation, Steakhouse 71 offers a wonderful lounge where you can sit and relax and enjoy items from their lounge menu. We did that on one of the last nights of our trip, and we shared the Stack Burger, a signature blend of beef topped with American cheese, lemon aïoli, red onion, and house-made pickles on a melt-in-your-mouth Brioche bun. Of course, we had to order another Crab Cake appetizer…yes, they’re that good! Like the other meals we had so far enjoyed at steakhouse 71, the burger was unlike anything we had before – hearty, flavorful, and overflowing with cheesy goodness.
Even though we visited the restaurant three times on our trip, we only got to sample a small portion of their menu. Other specialties of the house include the Steakhouse 71 Onion Rings, the Bacon and Eggs appetizer, the Vegetable Wellington, and for dessert, the Ambrosia (coconut chiffon cake, mandarin curd, and pineapple). Yes, we’ll be visiting quite a lot.
To paraphrase Anton Ego, we will be returning to Steakhouse 71 soon, hungry for more!