Dining With Victoria & Albert's: A Special Experience
Do you ever have those experiences in life that you know you will probably never have again? I think people commonly refer to them as “Once In a Lifetime.” For some, that is a Disney trip... for others, it is a trip to the space. For me personally, it was the chance to visit Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian.
For those who do not know what Victoria & Albert’s is, it is a 5-diamond rated signature dining experience located at the Grand Floridian Resort. For most, this is a unique opportunity that comes with a heavy price tag. The restaurant itself is very intimate and only seats a handful of parties each evening. There are three rooms that you can make a reservation for. The Main Dining room is your most probable location, Queen Victoria’s room is slightly smaller with a more unique menu and the Chef’s Table, available to one party a night with a fully customizable dining experience.
Rather than writing a “review”, I just wanted to share some information about this incredibly unique experience I had. The reason a review isn’t needed is because this place is spectacular, no question about it.
When I first made the reservation, it was something I thought long and hard about. I knew the price tag was high, but as I didn’t have to pay for a flight to Orlando (thank you SkyMiles), I figured I might as well take this opportunity. So I took the plunge and made the reservation!
About a week before my dining time, I received a call from Victoria & Albert’s to confirm and get some additional information. Being an extremely picky eater.. I was already nervous about the menu and items I would be paying so much for, that I probably wouldn't eat. On this call, they asked if I had any allergies or aversions to foods. As I don’t eat anything that comes from water, I let them know I have an aversion to fish and shellfish. They kindly created a menu for me that excluded all seafood. This is just a small showing of the splendid service they provide.
Upon arrival, I headed into the Grand Floridian to locate the restaurant on the second floor, in the back corner. If you drive, valet parking is included in your meal price. I entered the door and was already amazed by the beauty and ambiance of the restaurant. I was directed to my table where they sat me, provided a stool to hold my purse and another stool to hold my camera. I knew I was in for a treat that night.
The entire experience was nothing short of amazing. I had two servers, James and Danny, who catered to my every whim and desire. They were wonderful at explaining all dishes, talking about the inspiration and creation and answered all of my questions.
The main dining room was quaint and had live music to set the mood. It is low lighting, but not low enough that it makes it difficult to see your food. The Queen Victoria room reminded me of a small office with a fireplace where Victoria would have conducted her business.
The entire evening took about 3 and a half hours from start to finish. Some of my favorite details included the personalized menu with my name I was given and allowed to take as a souvenir, the beautiful flower arrangements in the restaurant and the rose I was given as a farewell present.
Obviously the main reason for my attendance was to try the amazing menu they have. I selected the regular 7-course dinner menu and did one upgrade. They also have a wine pairing menu you can upgrade to as well.
They are great about pacing the food and making sure it isn’t coming too quickly or too slowly. Between several of the items you are also given a bread service, on 3 separate occasions. Some of the plates I tasted that evening included:
A Bison Dish: this was a first for me and it did not disappoint. It was tender and had a great flavor.
Red Cabbage: probably my favorite part of the meal. It had a tangy vinegar taste, but the cabbage had a great crunch to it.
A Chicken Dish: which literally melted in your mouth because of how tender and juicy it was. It had a light and sweet flavor with kidney beans on the side that added a great texture to the dish.
Kobe and Wagyu Beef: with the main course I upgraded to include wagyu beef ($55) since I felt like this was the place to try it. The kobe beef was tender with a strong but good salting to it. The wagyu was very marbled, so be sure you like your meat a little more chewy than melt in your mouth before ordering. But the flavor was incredible. There was also a short rib portion included that was sweet and salty, but very tender meat.
Tea and Coffee Service: I don’t know what was more fun, watching the tea brew or drinking it. This was a unique touch to the meal.
Chocolate Soufflé: Who doesn’t love a good chocolate soufflé? This one did not disappoint and I was a big fan.
Chocolates: You are given the chance to box up some chocolates and take home as a gift. When you do... just ask for one of each, you won’t regret it.
I couldn’t believe how full and satisfied I was after all the food I indulged on. There wasn’t a single dish I was disappointed with.
Walking away, I had absolutely no regrets for taking this chance. The price is steep–looking at my total was just around $300 for myself. Do not go into this restaurant without the money set aside to simply enjoy yourself. This isn’t something you take on lightly, but it is nothing you will ever regret doing.
Ideally, I would love to eat here again and experience the other two rooms. Perhaps one day I will have the chance to go back, but for now I can look back and fondly remember the spectacular night that I had at Victoria & Albert’s.