There is no shortage of phenomenal food options to be savored within the Walt Disney World Resort restaurant lineup range. While the main entrée selections at a particular dining establishment tend to garner most of the palatable praise in many cases, several appealing appetizers have also become immense hits with dining crowds. Some, it can even be argued, stand out as worthy contenders for mealtime acclaim. Here is a look at some of the best appetizers you can enjoy at Walt Disney World right now.
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San Juan Style Beef Empanadas
If you want to experience an authentic cultural flavor flight celebrating the profuse foods of the American continents then Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas is the place to head to. Based in Disney Springs, there are plenty of stellar standout selections to delight in, as far as the main menu offerings go. But some of their appetizers are actually in fact the more raved-about picks here. Their presentation of San Juan Style Empanadas is a particular fan favorite. They come as handmade artisan pastries filled with beef and accompanied by aji amarillo. Sour cream is served on the side.
Another crowd-pleasing example is their South American Crazy Corn. For this presentation, you get a baked-up compilation of fire-roasted corn on the cob, aji amarillo, and house specialty P37 Cheese.
Duo of Appetizers
As the sole signature restaurant gracing Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Tiffins features a broad bounty of refined and flavorful callouts. As for their delightful appetizers, they have two highlighted hits that are so equally popular that you can order them as a combo selection known as their Duo of Appetizers. One of the options is their Charred Octopus, which consists of grilled corn salsa, tequila, mole negro, pickles, and cilantro. The second selection is their Chickpea Falafel, comprised of mint-pistachio pesto, cumin-scented garlic raita, and pickled vegetables. When ordered alone, the Charred Octopus is $18, and the Chickpea Falafel is $10. When ordered as the Duo of Appetizers feature it’s just $15.
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Spicy Cauliflower Wings
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ has become a pretty popular place at Disney Springs, and they have so many renowned callouts in southern cuisine classics with a twist. In fact, it can be a nearly impossible task trying to rank all the highlighted hits the menu has to boast about. And the same goes for the appetizers in particular. After all, you have so many long-time favored features to choose from, like Chef Art’s signature Thigh High Chicken Biscuits, Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes, and Church Lady Deviled Eggs, which remain some of the most popular picks.
However, a more recent addition to the menu has already proven to be an instant success. I am, of course, referring to those sizzling new Spicy Cauliflower Wings. The perfect alternative to chicken wings, here you have cauliflower that’s been coated in Chef Art’s famous fried chicken batter and then “flash-fried” and tossed in hot honey sauce.
You’ve probably heard by now that EPCOT is home to the new signature space-themed restaurant, Space 220. And the dining experience to be had here is nothing short of being “out of this world” to say the least. The menu offers many well-known classics that aren’t too alien, which is good. However, some otherwise familiar favorites still get a custom novelty twist and a fun-themed renaming, arguably adding to the overall appeal.
The appetizers, for the most part, all appear to be hits with varying diners. And their Neptuna Nicoise tends to be an especially favored hit for tuna lovers in particular. It is an impressive presentation of diced yellowfin tuna, haricot verts, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and a balsamic reduction. Other praise-garnering greats among folks include the Starry Calamari, Big Bang Burrata, and their Blue Moon Cauliflower. For those who loved the aforementioned Spicy Cauliflower at Chef Art’s Homecomin’, the third option is likely to have you hooked as well.
RELATED: Space 220 Expands its Menu
Eating snails isn’t for everyone, but there’s much to be said about the newer Escargot Casino appetizer featured at the Hollywood Brown Derby. For many years this Hollywood Studios establishment has featured several unique ranging renditions in entrée presentations and appealing appetizers. And the aforementioned is certainly a palate-pleaser for those with refined-enough tastes and a bold-enough demeanor to try it out. Don’t think of the main ingredient as being mollusks. Instead, focus on the roasted garlic béchamel (French white wine sauce), crispy prosciutto, and piquillo pepper crumb comprising of the presentation, and you’ll be fine.
But again, meaty mollusks aren’t for everyone. And for vegans specifically, there’s a wonderful plant-based alternative appetizer soup you won’t want to pass on. It is their delightful Roasted Squash and Apple Soup, with Thai curry, farro granola, and maple gastrique.
Sea Salt-Dusted Potato Brioche
It would be a vast understate to say that Steakhouse 71, on location at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, stands head and shoulders above other steakhouses, even those making up the scene on Disney property. But their versatile menu fixings are testament enough, including all those delicious appetizers and one in particular. It is their house specialty Sea Salt-Dusted Potato Brioche. Presented as a light, airy, and seemingly weightless potato brioche bread, the added butter and roasted garlic-tomato spread provide an undeniable enhancement to an already mouthwatering meal starter.
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For many, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante in Disney Springs epitomizes what it means to dive into hearty Italian cuisine classics. And the same goes for their stellar appetizers, all of which stand out in their own right. One highlight hit in particular is their Burrata Caprese. Burrata is a fan-favored hit at many Italian establishments, but here it’s just somehow altogether better. You have mouthwatering melted mozzarella bringing together the flavors, accented by juicy tomatoes, enticing basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and fresh-out-of-the-oven house-made focaccia.
Yachtsman Steakhouse is a signature American classic at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. And they are of course known primarily for their namesake steak offerings. But their Beef Carpaccio appetizer is enough to rival any steak feature. Done up with truffle aioli, parmesan cheese, fried capers, and grilled artichoke, topping off the pleasing presentation is a smattering of smoked sea salt and adorning halved radishes on each side.
Wild Mushroom Bisque
You may have had some form of mushroom soup before, either as a base or as a stand-alone bowl or cup accompaniment. But nothing can compete with the Wild Mushroom Bisque starter featured as part of the Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White dinner engagement. Here you have a rich, creamy bisque base balanced by a novelty crispy mushroom component. Alternately, two of the restaurant’s other appetizers of great appeal are the Hunter’s Pie—a potpie mix of turkey and chicken with black truffle, cranberry sauce, and crispy sauerkraut, and the Wicked Shrimp Cocktail with Bloody Mary vinaigrette, seaweed salad, and spiced house-made seasoning.
RELATED: Enjoy an Enchanted Meal at Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
Calling all contested crab lovers! You probably know about that standout signature seafood restaurant housed within that permanently docked paddleboat at Disney Springs—Paddlefish. And while the myriad menu offerings offer plenty to set your taste buds sailing, there are also some acclaimed appetizers not to be missed. One selection that crab lovers in particular can’t pass on is their bountiful Crab-Topped Fries starter. It comes as an impressive pile of skin-on French fries, crowned with blue crab meat, and garnished with Louie dressing.
RELATED: The Best Crab Dishes at Walt Disney World
Indian-Style Bread Service
Many stellar bread services are being offered throughout Walt Disney World Resort. However, the Indian-Style Bread Service featured at Sanaa, onsite at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, definitely takes the cake (or bread). Even if you aren’t a fan of Indian food, anyone who enjoys bread would undoubtedly agree that this appetizer option is one for the books.
Here you get to gorge on five different bread options: Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Paneer Paratha. Nine unique accompaniments are also provided: Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, and Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle. Just be sure not to fill up on this appetizing opportunity, because it truly is good enough to outshine the rest of the meal.
The vast range of absolutely amazing appetizers doesn’t end with this list. There are many, many more in addition to this pleasing presentation. And because the dining scene at Disney World is forever changing, enticing new options are forever emerging, adding to even more profuse, palatable possibilities that any fan foodie of Disney dining can look avidly look toward with eager anticipation.