Biergarten Restaurant, Germany in Epoct

Biergarten Restaurant
Biergarten Restaurant

Our first table service reservation at DisneyWorld was at the Biergarten Restaurant in Germany (World Showcase at Epcot).  This would be the first of many table service meals in which I would actually be able to eat with my husband, and we were eagerly anticipating the experience.  We’d been to the German restaurant back home, and the chef was always able to bring out a couple menu items that were gluten-free.  I’m not the biggest fan of German food, but I knew there were going to be items on the menu that I would enjoy.

The Biergarten Restaurant is a buffet-style restaurant. Inside, it’s decorated as if you’re in a German village.  We had made reservations 90 days in advance and I somehow expected a table for two.  Instead, we were seated at a table with 6 other guests.  I was surprised and hoped that it wouldn’t be that way at the other table service restaurants that we had reservations for during our vacation (it wasn’t).  Rick & I aren’t the type that look to meet new friends when we’re on vacation; we’re on vacation to enjoy one another’s company.  Still, it was entertaining to sit with them – they provided some very funny and interesting stories about their lives in New Jersey.

Biergarten Gluten-Free Salmon, Carrots & Broccoli
Biergarten Gluten-Free Salmon, Carrots & Broccoli

Chef Charles walked me through the gluten-free choices in the vast buffet.  I had many choices!  Most of the meats and sausages are gluten-free, and even though I am not much of a fan of German sausages (gasp!), I did want to try the gluten-free German sausage meatloaf.  Typically, meat loaf is made with bread crumbs and off-limits for a celiac, so the idea of any kind of meatloaf, even a sausage one, was very intriguing to me.  They had bone-in rotisserie chicken, and it was the best chicken I’ve ever tasted in my life!

Chef Charles prepared the salmon for me as the version on the buffet had a lemon dill cream sauce (Bremerhaven style).  The sauce sounded awfully good to me, but the way Charles prepared the salmon was excellent and very tasty!  He also prepared the cauliflower and carrots without the glaze.  They were plain, but okay.

Biergarten Gluten-Free Meat & Potatoes
Biergarten Gluten-Free Meat & Potatoes

I am a meat-and-potatoes kind of gal, and the roasted potatoes and carved meats were right up my alley!  But that rotisserie chicken remained as my favorite.  Expertly seasoned and prepared.

There are three levels of seating in the restaurant, in a semi-circle around the stage where performers dressed in traditional German-style clothing play music for the diners.  The tables were placed very close together, though, which made it difficult for those sitting on the inside of the table to get in and out to go up to the buffet.  Fortunately, we were sitting at the end of the table, so we had room for the camera equipment and tripod.

Biergarten Entertainment
Biergarten Entertainment

The entertainment really added to the atmosphere of the restaurant!  While we ate, the entertainers started a new set that lasted for about 20-30 minutes.

Biergarten in Germany, World Showcase at Epcot
Biergarten in Germany, World Showcase at Epcot

All in all, the meal at Biergarten was satisfactory.  For a celiac, there were many choices, but nothing out of the ordinary that I would receive in any other restaurant.  There were no gluten-free bread or rolls offered as was done at the restaurants that we would visit later in the week.  The quality of food was excellent, though.  I can’t stop thinking about that rotisserie chicken!  Perhaps if I were more of a German sausage fan, I would have enjoyed the meal even more.  Plus, we had both eaten a rather large late lunch, so we weren’t as hungry as we could have been by the time we arrived at the restaurant for our 7:00 p.m. reservation.

Riverside Mill Food Court – Lunch for 2

After we checked in at Port Orleans Riverside (the smoothest check-in we’ve ever experienced!), we dropped our bags in the room and headed back to the resort’s food court for a quick lunch.  The Riverside Mill Food Court is large and able to accommodate the guests in the 2000+ room resort.  There is plenty of seating available and several different food counters as well as a sizable beverage cooler.

Riverside Mill Food Court
Riverside Mill Food Court

We easily found a manager and explained that I am the celiac in the family and needed to speak to the chef about food accommodations for both lunches and breakfasts.  She introduced us to Ernesto.

He took me from one food station to another, explaining what foods I could eat and what was off-limits.  For breakfast, he could prepare eggs, gluten-free waffles or pancakes, bacon, sausage, blueberry muffins.

For lunch, he said that he had gluten-free hamburger buns on hand and french fries in a dedicated fryer.  All but the obvious types of salads could be ordered; stay away from the Ranch and Cesaer dressings, though.  Italian dressings are gluten-free.  He could do corn pasta, but he asked that I call ahead 1-2 hours if I decided that I wanted that.  At the meat carving station, the beef and chicken are gluten-free.

Cheeseburger Basket Gluten-Free
Cheeseburger Basket Gluten-Free

I decided to order the cheeseburger and fries.  It was delicious!  The burger was cooked to perfection (well-done) and the fries were just like homemade!  They were a thick cut and tasted better than any fries I’d had in a long time.  The only fries I’d eaten in a restaurant prior to this was at McDonalds and they just didn’t compare to the fries at the Riverside Mill Food Court.  Plus, a  burger with an actual bun and not wrapped in lettuce!  Pure heaven.  I ate every bite.

We were on the standard dining plan, and counter service meals include the entre, dessert and a beverage.

Brownie Gluten-Free
Brownie Gluten-Free

For dessert, I selected the gluten-free pre-packaged brownie.  I didn’t eat this right away as the burger & fries really filled me up.  When I did eat the brownie, I found it to be very tasty – a bit heavy, but more moist than other gluten-free brownies that I’d had in the past.  Rich and tasty!

We had purchased the souvenir mugs, so instead of getting a separate beverage, we opted to fill our mugs at the beverage station.  We would go back time and time again to the beverage station for free refills.

Cheeseburger Gluten-Free Meal
Cheeseburger Gluten-Free Meal

All in all, it was a fabulous first meal at Disney.  Thank you, Ernesto!

Deberlee’s Gluten-Free Dining Review – DisneyWorld 2009

Port Orleans Riverside DSC03461Welcome to the first post in the long-anticipated “Gluten-Free Dining Review” by yours truly!  We were so excited to be able to stay onsite and to eat only Disney food for the length of our 9-night stay.  I could say good-bye to carrying my gluten-free food around in a bag on my back like a pack mule.  I had been told that all of the table service restaurants would accommodate the gluten-free meal, as would many of the counter service restaurants.

The biggest thing that I missed about going on vacation was the ability to try new foods and new restaurants.  For the past 13 years that I’ve been a diagnosed celiac, I always had to bring my own food whenever we went on vacation, whether it was a day trip or an extended trip.  Even at home, it’s a risk to eat in a restaurant, even if they boast a gluten-free menu.  Typically, I only eat in a restaurant if I don’t have to be anywhere the next day.  A gluten reaction can occur within 6-24 hours of consuming gluten and the amount of gluten ingested dictates the severity of the reaction.

I received a lot of terrific information from the Dietary Department at Disney that included lists of counter service and food carts that carried gluten-free foods.  Each food place had a list of the types of foods that they offered.  But what did the food taste like?  Did other celiacs like the food that they were served?

I was able to locate a couple dining reviews from other celiacs who had visited DisneyWorld.  These helped me to know what types of gluten-free meals were offered at various restaurants at the World and this helped me in making my dining reservations.  Still, there weren’t enough reviews for all of the table service restaurants that we had to choose from, so I started choosing restaurants based on the type of food that they served, and what I’d like to try.  I chose restaurants that I’d never be able to choose in the outside world.  Places like Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge….their speciality is African food.  I also chose Mama Melrose’s at Hollywood Studios, a world-class Italian restaurant.

So, please join me as I take you through my dining adventure at DisneyWorld.  I’ve written reviews for every place that I’ve eaten, ranging from resort food courts to fine dining table service restaurants.  The food at every place was absolutely fabulous and the service was excellent.  They really took good care of us at Disney.  It made our vacation even more magical!  No one does it like Disney!