Review: Disney Fantasy Royal Court offers rotational dining redemption with flavorful French food

in Disney, Disney Cruise Line, Food, Reviews

Dining aboard the new Disney Fantasy cruise ship can range from delightful to disastrous. The ship’s Royal Court restaurant offers a meal that’s somewhere in the middle, providing good food in an enjoyable atmosphere.

The decor of Royal Court is subtler in theme than the Fantasy’s other two rotational dining restaurants, Animator’s Palate and Enchanted Garden. Featuring artwork and elaborate mosaics of Disney Princesses, along with a few familiar regal touches, Royal Court offers elegance for the masses.

Video: Tour of the Royal Court restaurant on the Disney Fantasy

Royal Court restaurant - Disney Fantasy

Royal Court restaurant - Disney Fantasy

Royal Court restaurant - Disney Fantasy

Royal Court restaurant - Disney Fantasy

After our poor experience with the seafood-heavy Pacific Rim menu at Animator’s Palate two nights prior, we were happy to wind up with a French dinner menu (simply called “French Dinner”) at Royal Court on the last night of the Disney Fantasy’s Inaugural cruise. My wife and I don’t eat seafood and it seemed that many of the menus on board the ship were focused on just that. Dinner at Palo the night before Royal Court provided us with many seafood-free options to choose from and ended up being the best meal we had throughout the voyage. But Royal Court came in a solid second place, dishing out several courses of enjoyable food, each with its own rich French twist.

Warm, soft bread was on the table as we sat down, paired with an strong olive spread that I seemed to be the only one at the table enjoying. I’m a fan of strong olives, but it seemed no one else was, leaving more for me to enjoy.

Bread - Royal Court

Olive Spread - Royal Court

Still recovering from the mistakes made during dinner on our first night at sea, my wife Michelle and I ordered multiple options for several of the courses to ensure we weren’t stuck with a poor meal. That turned out to be a wise move, as the Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast appetizer I received was rather dull, needing far more seasoning and a bit less cooking time.

Duck Breast - Royal Court

Fortunately, the Escargots Gratinés we also ordered was wonderfully garlicky, too much so for a couple of the other diners at our table, though I found it to be just right.

Escargot - Royal Court

But the star of the appetizer course was the Double Baked Spinach and Cheese Soufflé (with a Three-Cheese Cream) that Michelle ordered. Every bite was packed with luxurious and hearty flavor, so much so that she couldn’t finish more than a couple tastes. I gladly wolfed down the rest, particularly loving the rich cream.

Spinach and Cheese Souffle - Royal Court

For the soup and salad course, I made the mistake of special ordering the Comtesse Du Barry’s Soup (Cauliflower Cream) without the Salmon Caviar Crouton topping. I didn’t want salmon or caviar (again, I don’t eat seafood), but it seems the soup really needed that extra kick on top to make it interesting. All I was left with was what seemed like a boring bowl of cauliflower puree.

Cauliflower Cream Soup - Royal Court

Michelle’s dish won this course too, as her French Onion Soup with Gruyère Cheese Crouton was delicious, arriving piping hot with the cheese topping stretching high with every lift of the spoon.

French Onion Soup - Royal Court

Much to my delight, my entree surpassed my expectations after an ordinary soup course. The Double Cut Rack of Lamb was slightly overcooked, but still juicy and tender enough to enjoy, with the best bites found on the outside courtesy of its dijon crust. The lamb was accompanied by Gratin Potatoes that were deliciously creamy and had just the right ratio of cheese to tender potato.

Lamb - Royal Court

Michelle seemed less satisfied with her Baked Farm-Raised Chicken Breast, stuffed with Escarole, Raisins, and Pine Nuts over Wild rice. But she said she enjoyed it nonetheless.

Stuffed Chicken - Royal Court

It was souffle time once again for dessert, with just about everyone at our table ordering the Grand Marnier Soufflé, a welcome vanilla change from the chocolate souffle at Palo the night before. It was completely enjoyable, though perhaps a bit too sweet and rich for my tastes. I certainly couldn’t finish it.

Vanilla Souffle - Royal Court

With the hopes of duplicating the fantastic chocolate ganache/pudding I previously had at Palo, I also ordered the Chocolate Ganache from the “No Sugar Added” dessert menu. Don’t let that name fool you. The dish was plenty sweet, but definitely not as good as dessert the night before.

Chocolate dessert - Royal Court

Though the dinner entertainment was spectacular at Animator’s Palate, the food suffered for it. Fortunately, the reverse was true at Royal Court, providing a more subtly Disney-fied atmosphere with a far better meal. Rotational dining at any of the restaurants serves hundreds of people simultaneously, all ordering from a handful of selections. As such, the mass-prepared food will never be as good as that prepared at a more formal experience like at Palo, but Royal Court impressed with the quality of the cuisine that was prepared on such a large scale. And after informing our service staff that we weren’t happy with our meals on the first night, they went out of their way to ensure we were satisfied when we returned to the rotation on the third and final evening.

The smiling faces and personal service combined with an above-average meal made the dining experience at Royal Court the most enjoyable of our two rotational dinners on the Disney Fantasy.

Though we didn’t have a chance to eat at Enchanted Garden on this trip, we did walk around the restaurant during a separate dinner service, to at least bring you a peek inside in the video below, followed by more photos of both that restaurant and Royal Court.

Video: Tour of the Enchanted Garden restaurant on the Disney Fantasy

More photos from the Royal Garden restaurant on the Disney Fantasy:

Slideshow: Enchanted Garden restaurant on the Disney Fantasy

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