In keeping with my Disney theme, I've decided to blog about restaurants found at the resorts. The thing about Disney dining is this: when they get it right, it's out of the park good. When they get it wrong...well...it can be kind of bad.
Restaurant name: Raglan Road
Fare: Irish restaurant that is also a pub (versus a pub that serves food).
Prices: $-$$ (entrees from $14)
So, there's something wonderful occurring in the world of Irish food. First of all, it's making a comeback which is pretty exciting. Chefs are handling traditional Irish ingredients (potatoes, sausages, leeks, etc.) in new, innovative ways. I'm a carb-lover, so I'm all for anything involving potatoes. Secondly, what was once referred to as "famine food" is now utterly chic (and inexpensive to recreate at home).
Our first visit to Raglan Road was on our honeymoon (June 2010). It was hot and sticky and Raglan Road was the first restaurant we stumbled upon at Downtown Disney. My husband takes his Irish culture very seriously (by using a bogus...I mean, authentic accent) so we were both game to try the eatery. It was really crowded but the hostess was able to seat us at a highboy table near the bar with minimal wait.
The interior of this restaurant is cool and kind of dim which I like. It's divided into several sections and the centerpiece is this gigantic bar they imported from Ireland. Decor consists of over-sized paintings (i.e. Whistler's Mother, Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc.) but all of the subjects in said paintings are holding a pint of Guinness. So that's kind of fun.
The food at Raglan Road was good. My husband might even argue that it was great (in his authentic Irish accent). We're normally appetizer people. I adore appetizers. I could make a meal of them (and often do). But it was so hot and we were tired, so we skipped starters and went straight for the entrees. On the subject of appetizers (or appies, as Josh calls them), Raglan Road had loads of them. They had two separate menus for starters. You could order from the singles menu or the doubles menu (singles meaning enough for one person, doubles meaning enough to share).
As a courtesy, your waiter or waitress will serve you traditional Irish Soda Bread with a Guinness reduction. I guess this is the Irish answer to Italy's bread and olive oil. The chef reduces several pints of Guinness down until it's got this honey-like consistency. It's heavenly. I clearly remember almost stabbing Josh with my fork when he tried to take the last swipe.
For entrees, I tried something called "It's Not Bleeding Chowder!" It was a mix of whatever fresh seafood the chef had on hand in a white wine sauce with plenty of butter and cream. I distinctly remember prawns, mussels, hunks of crab meat, and lots of salmon swimming in my not-chowder. It was really good and I was pleased with my selection. It was a big portion for $24.
Josh ordered "Bangers and Booze," a Guinness (are you sensing the common theme here?) and caramelized onion banger (read: sausage) topped with more onions and beef stew. I asked him if he liked it, but he couldn't reply because he was too busy stuffing food into his mouth. Suffice to say, it was tasty. It was a very large portion for $18.
Just like Josh's banger, we were stuffed. We declined dessert in favor for a visit to the Ghirardelli Soda Shop (also located at Downtown Disney). The damage to our wallet wasn't too bad. Personally, I'd recommend this restaurant to anybody, especially those who enjoy starches, rich sauces, and lots of variety. The service was excellent and even though it was a tad bit noisy, it is a pub.
**Side note: I think Raglan Road typically has some type of band playing later in the evening. There is also a gift shop a la Disney connected to the store.