>Bistro de Paris at Epcot: Fine French Dining at Disney

>Last night I went to France, without leaving Disney.

I’m in Orlando for the weekend for a media weekend event entitled: from Five Stars to Mickey Bars at Walt Disney World Resort. We kicked off the weekend with a cocktail party with Mickey and Minnie, and then split off into small groups to three different restaurant.

My destination was France, and I was thrilled to finally be able to fully experience the French food of Epcot beyond the crepes. During our family trip a few weeks ago, I stood on line for a good twenty minutes to order some crepes for the kids that I was sure would be bland and thick. On a whim I ordered a third one for myself, and was amazed to discover that it was delicious, better than many I’ve had on the streets of France. My loyal daughter declared, “These crepes are so good! Almost as good as yours Mom.” Compliments are rarer and rarer nowadays out of my 8 year old’s mouth, so this was high praise.

I was surprised to learn that Bistro de Paris was actually more formal than Les Chefs de France, the other French restaurant at Epcot. Both menus were designed by Paul Bocuse, Roger Verger and Gaston Lenotre. Bistro de France is above Les Chefs de France, and with each step up the gilded wrap around staircase, the hussle and bussle of Epcot faded. When we reached the top landing, we truly felt as though we were in a temple to French gastronomy, with white tablecloths, attentive waiters, and a wine list filled with a nice selection of French wines. When the waiter offered me a Kir Royal cocktail to begin our meal, I knew I was home.

The presentation was simply gorgeous; sauces were painted on the plate like a work of art, and ornamental garnishes flourished. We snapped away, as food bloggers will, reluctant to disrupt such beauty with our forks. Prices were surprisingly reasonable for such elaborate dishes, especially considering we were within a Disney park. The three-course prix fixe menu was $54 without wine or $89 with a different wine for each course.

As I was a guest of the Disney PR department for this lovely meal, I opted to go a la carte on the menu, just to have more choice. I started my meal with the duck pate a la croute, a warm duck pate encased in a buttery puff pastry. I then had the venison with the grand veneur sauce, a complex blend of stock and berries that complimented the tender but flavorful morsels of meat very well. For dessert, I enjoyed a new twist on the ever popular molten chocolate cake: an almond chocolate molten cake topped with a praline creme anglaise. The two nuts really brought the dessert to a whole new level, almost giving it a Nutella dimension. I can’t wait to replicate it at home.

I didn’t taste what the other members of my party ate, but the tuna tartare appetizer, the cheese plate appetizer both looked wonderful. And when the waiter came to carve the lamb chops tableside, they looked so tender and perfectly cooked that I almost reached over to steal them.

The food was so good that I forgot, for a few minutes, that I was in a theme park. I was brought back to reality when I tore my eyes away from my plate and peeked out the window to see people in shorts and tank tops. I would hesitate before bringing children under the age of 7 to the restaurant, but I did see some older kids enjoying meals with their parents. Although the restaurant had many tall windows looking out onto the lake, the view is definitely not the main attraction. This is a place to come and eat, and celebrate French gastronomy. Only at Disney could you step off of a ride like Soaring and then have a meal that will stimulate your senses as thrillingly.

I’m a tough critic when it comes to French food, but I can’t wait to come back to Bistro de France. It seems like so many other things

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