Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Entertainment District exudes a sophisticated and stylish vibe. Deep blue hues abound on the walls, fabric ceilings, and drapery, and, suspended from the enameled ceiling, is an eye-popping school of fish and sea bubble glass chandeliers. It’s as if you are below the ocean looking up to the water’s surface, quite reminiscent of the nearby Todd English’s Bluezoo.
The menu is heavily concentrated on seafood, all of it sustainable, and the open onstage kitchen is central to the dining room. The lively kitchen area bar is quite gorgeous with it’s bronzed fish-scale tile façade.
The question is: where to sit? If you like the bustling action of the kitchen, then ask for the more casual front area of the restaurant, but if a subdued atmosphere is your style, then the back section of the restaurant is much more conducive to quiet conversation. Here you’ll find, along with standard tables, elegant seating in a continuous row of bronze high-back, S-curved banquettes interspersed with frosted glass screens. Regardless, most tables are laid with white linens and all with creative fish scale flatware and slate blue napkins.
Go ahead and ruin your appetite with a few slices of the tasty semolina and nori bread and slather on some of the sea salt butter. A popular starter is a bisque made with jumbo lump blue crab, beautifully finished with a tarragon crème fraîche. I like that the sweetness and the heavy cream commonly found in bisque is missing, that the Flying Fish version is less rich and cloying. Instead, it’s tart and earthy, and a tableside splash of sherry is optional.
My salad was a bit of an enigma. Sitting on a tad of arugula tossed in vinaigrette are prosciutto and lightly grilled peaches and just a bit of Sonoma Chèvre with ground pistachio “dust” scattered around the plate. If ripe, soft, sweet peaches are what you had in mind, then move on to another choice. Maybe the al dente consistency of the peaches was intentional, but it wasn’t exactly to my expectation or my taste.
The best presentation of the evening was the seared tilefish. However, it felt just a bit lacking in freshness, served over a medley of gorgeous vegetables (sliced baby potatoes, tiny florets of purple cauliflower, broccoflower, golden beets) sitting on a pool of delish potato beurre blanc.
A Chilean sea bass dish is perfectly cooked with a golden pan sear. Served alongside it was a paella-like bomba arroz, made with short-grain Spanish rice, festooned with savory Key West shrimp, fresh peas, sweet little tomatoes, and chorizo, a winner except for a sweetness that was a bit overwhelming. But the Carabineros giant-size prawn that topped the dish had a slightly mushy consistency.
A wine list a mile long with close to 300 labels and around 80 by the glass is quite redolent of another of my favorite dining spots, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You may want to arrive early at the adjoining Abracada Bar where “magic” is the theme in the variety of hocus pocus craft cocktails.
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Cara Goldsbury is the author of The Luxury Guide to Disney Vacations and The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort. She is Chief Executive Concierge at Glass Slipper Concierge®, a travel agency specializing in selling Disney vacations, and has appeared as a leading Disney expert on two Travel Channel specials, Disney Splurge! and Disney Royalty. She has also been cited numerous times in national news articles, in such notable publications as the New York Times and Forbes Traveler, as an expert on the Walt Disney World® Resort. Visit her Luxury Travel & Life blog at CaraGoldsbury.com.