The Saturday night before last, just before we started our No Spend August challenge, Tadd and I were hankering to do something different. We had tentative plans to go to Kissimmee to check out their weekly antique car show, but it was just too hot to enjoy it. So we decided to go to Downtown Disney to try their brand new AMC Dine-In Theater Fork & Screen experience. But when we got there, the movie showing we intended on seeing was sold out. We couldn’t agree on a backup movie or time, so we gave up on that idea.
But we were already in Downtown Disney, so we decided to make the most of it. Our favorite restaurant, Raglan Road, just happens to be in Downtown Disney, so we decided to see what their wait was like. The hostess said 25 minutes, which was agreeable to us, so we took a pager and entered the giftshop to wait for it to buzz.
If you live in Orlando, or are planning on visiting on vacation, I really can’t recommend this place enough. It gets high marks from us almost every single time on food, atmosphere, entertainment, and service. The place is cavernous, but the authentic 130+ year old bars (there are 4 of them, and they were shipped from real pubs in Ireland) ooze with authentic old Irish pub charm, and give an intimate feel to the space. In the dead center of the dining room is a table with a tiny staircase leading up to it, which is opposite a small stage. In the evenings, they host Irish dancers and traditional Irish bands. Occasionally the dancer(s) will climb the stairs up to the tabletop and dance right in the middle of the restaurant. It’s quite a sight to see and highly entertaining.
The food is hearty, filling Irish pub/bistro fare with a twist. It’s heavy stuff, definitely not something meant to enjoy everyday, but just lovely as a once-in-awhile treat. My personal favorite is the Pie In The Sky: chunks of chicken, potatoes, wild mushrooms, and leeks topped with a flaky pastry crust, served with a very light rocket lettuce salad on the side. Soooo good, I have trouble branching out and ordering anything different each time we go. Tadd really likes the Bangers & Booz, which is their take on bangers & mash. The menu changes often, but these two dishes have been offered for years.
The food is so heavy that we don’t usually order appetizers, but there really is no need anyways, because each meal always starts with complimentary Irish soda bread and their signature Guinness reduction dipping sauce. If you don’t like Guinness, don’t worry, the dipping sauce does not taste like beer. The reduction process gives it a sweet, honey-like flavor. It’s delicious.
Sorry the pics are so bad but the lights are dim and these were taken with my phone.
I always make it a habit of enjoying a pint of Guinness with my meal at Raglan Road. The atmosphere just begs me to order one. However this last time, Tadd ordered a pint of Kilkenny, which is also made by Guinness, and it was really good! I might order one of those next time.
We didn’t order dessert this time, and rarely have room for it anyways. But the couple times we have splurged for it in the past, we have always gotten Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding, which is their most well-known and well-loved dessert item. This bread pudding tastes like the richest pancake you have ever eaten, and comes with a side of warm butterscotch sauce and vanilla cream sauce, which you can add at your discretion. People rave and rave about this dessert, and for good reason.
As I mentioned previously, this is a LARGE restaurant. It’s really more like a complex. In addition to the main dining room, there is an outdoor patio area with a bar. Patrons sitting in this area get full service and access to the regular Raglan Road menu. For those who just want a drink and nothing more, there is a smaller outdoor patio on the opposite side with tables and chairs and a small bar. This area is called the Hole In The Wall. Adjacent to the Hole In The Wall bar, is an attached quick-service eatery called Cookes of Dublin where you can get fish & chips and other fast-food renditions of Raglan Road dishes. One of their most popular items is the deep fried Snicker’s bar. It’s a great option if you are craving Raglan Road food, but want a smaller, quicker, cheaper meal. The lobby area of the main dining room also has a giftshop where you can buy all kinds of Irish novelties and tchotchkes.
So I know I’m no fancy restaurant critic, but have I convinced you to give Ragland Road a try next time you are in the neighborhood? If you go, let me know what you think! If you have already tried it, what is your favorite dish?