A couple of weeks ago, I wrapped up my review of the Walt Disney World (WDW) parks with a glimpse at everything I did and ate at Hollywood Studios. Since we were in WDW for two weeks, we spent some time outside of the parks and at some of Disney’s resort hotels. While Disneyland has its own, like the Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian, it does not compare to some of the resorts in WDW. One of the most high-end and fanciest is the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
The Grand Floridian is host to one of the best restaurants in the country, Victoria & Albert’s. I know that might sound surprising since it’s in a Disney resort, but it’s true. Victoria & Albert’s is ranked as the #2 fine-dining restaurant in the U.S. on TripAdvisor, has received AAA’s Five Diamond award every year since 2000, and in February of this year it won Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star Award. It is the only restaurant in Florida to have received both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. And for those of you who are wondering, no, it doesn’t have a Michelin star, but that’s because Michelin inspectors only visit restaurants in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco/Napa, and Washington, D.C. We had the immense privilege of dining here.
There is zero chance you will eat here without advance dining reservations; we made ours six months in advance — yes, MONTHS. A couple of weeks before our vacation, they called Zach to confirm our reservation, go over the dress code, and verify what we would like to be referred to as.
The restaurant neighbors another more family-friendly restaurant, Narcoossee's. We walked up feeling a bit lost in the resort, not sure if this was the restaurant or not, but after seeing several patrons in Mickey ears and Goofy T-shirts, we were pretty sure it wasn’t. Seeing our fancy outfits and confused expressions, a waitress and the restaurant manager of Victoria & Albert’s stepped out of the actual restaurant (behind two beautiful wooden doors) to greet us and guide us in.
The ambiance of Victoria & Albert’s is very intimate. It’s a small dining room with soft lighting, warm tones, and a harp player. Yes, a harpist is there to play you live music while you dine. What’s even more amazing is that the harpist played nothing but Disney, pop, or famous songs from television and movies. We heard several classic Disney songs as well as Rainbow Connection (à la Kermit the Frog), and the Game of Thrones theme song, among many others. It was utterly amazing, and she was so talented.
There is a dress code, and all men are required to wear a jacket (blazer, sport coat, etc). Zach didn’t have one, but they have a few on-hand that may be borrowed. The manager instructed Zach that he may take it off at the table, but it must be worn whenever walking through the dining room. They also gave me a small ottoman for my purse so it didn’t have to sit on the ground.
Now, let me tell you about our wait staff. We were given two waiters (and they were there to JUST serve our table), and it was the most incredible service I have ever received in a restaurant. They knew the menu and food like they had created it themselves and were able to describe everything perfectly. No matter what choice you made, they made you feel like you selected the best option.
Once seated, our waiter laid our napkins on our laps for us. If you stood up to use the restroom and set your napkin on the table, they would come take it and replace it with a new one. They also brought out a new set of silverware for every course and also had a special comb to brush crumbs (called a table crumber) off the table. During the entire meal the table was immaculate.
Our menus were custom printed and said “Zachary and Shannon Edwin / Congratulations on Your Marriage” at the top. After they sat us, our waitress even made sure that the names were spelled correctly since they gave them to you to take home after the meal as a souvenir. All evening, our wait staff referred to us as “Mr. Edwin” and “Mrs. Edwin.” It was the first time I really had been referred to as this name, so it felt very sweet and special.
We were first asked what type of water we would like ㅡ still, sparkling, or we could be brought a list of their water service which features water from different countries. Trying to keep our composure because that was probably the most amazing thing we had ever been asked before, we politely requested sparkling because how on earth would we have known if water was better from Italy or France? We didn’t want to look like fools.
We were able to select from a few prix-fixe menus. There was the Chef’s 10 Course Tasting Menu or the Prix Fixe 7 Course Menu. The Chef’s 10 Course was $235 per person and the 7 Course was $185 per person. Optional wine pairings could also be added for $150 with the 10 Course Menu and $105 with the 7 Course Menu. We opted for the 7 Course Menu with no wine pairing since, you know, we are so budget-friendly.
Our first course was an amuse-bouche, which is essentially a small hors d'oeuvre. From what I’ve read, they differ from appetizers because patrons do not select what it is, but rather it is decided by the chef. It is supposed to prepare you for the meal and give you a glimpse of the chef’s art and style. Our amuse-bouche was a crab dish and it was phenomenal. Such a delicious start. We geared up for a life-changing experience.
When the food was served, even at tables of four or five, the plate would be set on the table at the exact same time. Instead of bringing out out a tray with multiple plates, the wait staff would walk out with a plate for it to be served, and in unison they would set it on the table. It was like a beautiful food dance.
There is no way I will do justice describing everything we ate and what it included, so I shared an image of the menu (below). Each course was just immaculate. I honestly loved everything and never once thought something was just “okay.” Every single bite was like trying the best thing I’ve ever eaten. From seared duck to halibut to chicken, everything was perfect. At some point, they came out with a variety of fresh-baked breads with different types of butter for each one. Yes, each bread had its own designated butter. And, of course, they were perfect ― in presentation, flavor, and overall performance as bread.
There were two main entrees you could choose from: Lamb Loin or Kobe-Style Beef. We got one of each, and I don’t know how many times I can say this, but it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The meat for both entrees just melted in your mouth. The flavors were complex but blended perfectly for an incredible bite.
After our main course, we were given a selection of cheeses as well as a serving of chai tea ice cream ― WHICH WASN’T DESSERT, just another course before dessert. After the chair ice cream, we were then able to select from three dessert options. I chose the Grand Marnier Souffle, and Zach got the Chocolate Bar with Coffee Panna Cotta. I wanted to be wrapped in the Grand Marnier Souffle while being spoon-fed the chocolate bar and coffee panna cotta. Both dishes were a dream.
After dessert, we were served coffee that was brewed in front of us in a crazy coffee contraption (pictured). The coffee was so delicious. I honestly think this is what heaven will be like. After, I repeat, AFTER, dessert, while sipping our coffee, our waiters bring over a chocolate tray filled with different and incredibly beautiful chocolates to choose from. We were also given two little jelly candies and were able to pick two each out of the chocolate tray. I almost got on one knee and proposed to my waiters (sorry, Zach). All the chocolates and candies just melted in your mouth, and I wanted to cry as I ate the best candy of my life, sipping the best coffee of my life, while listening to incredible harp music and being with my favorite person ever.
Before we left, since it was our anniversary, our waitress gave me a long-stemmed rose already packed in a plastic box for safe-keeping, along with a fresh loaf of cranberry nut bread for us to have in the morning for breakfast. We were very close to asking her if she just wanted to come home with us because we were in deep love with her after this night. We spent a total of three hours eating and receiving the best and most magical service of our lives - we didn’t want to leave!
It was literally the best meal of my life and one of the best experiences of my life. Truly. I say literally about a lot, but this is 100% fact that this was LITERALLY the best meal of my life. Dining at Victoria & Albert’s was like a dream. Zach and I honestly aren’t even sure it even happened because it was such a surreal and euphoric experience. We felt like imposters, as if at any moment they would realize we didn’t belong there and kick us out. When I think about our trip, I almost forget we even did this because it was just that bizarrely incredible.
Victoria & Albert’s is a lot of money, but because we value food so much, it was 100% worth it and I would pay for it again in a second. I don’t know if this is something we will be able to do again anytime soon, but I am beyond grateful we had the means to do it on our honeymoon. We were just blown away, and it was so special to share together. Especially after packed days at Disney World, being able to just enjoy a peaceful evening eating incredible food and receiving impeccable service was such a gift.
Thank you, V & A, for giving us such a magical experience in the most magical place on earth.