Thinking of dining at Remy, Disney Cruise Line’s luxury adults-only restaurant? Here’s what you need to know…
Remy on The Disney Dream (A Fine Dining Experience)
On our recent Disney cruise, we were honored to experience the pinnacle of fine cruise dining and Disney’s culinary crown jewel of the seven seas. Remy is an “adult-exclusive” restaurant on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy serving fine French cuisine. Drawing obvious inspiration from its eponymous chef in Pixar’s Ratatouille, Remy masterfully utilizes fresh, seasonal, and often unexpected ingredients to execute menus that excite (and often surprise!) the palate with a panache of flavors and textures. With an ever-changing menu overseen by some of the best chefs in the business, Remy is much more than a meal, but an experience all in itself.
Upon entering the restaurant, the contrast from much of the rest of the ship is immediately apparent. Gone are the shorts and flip flops. Gone are the mickey t-shirts, baseball caps and tourists laden with soft-serve ice cream cones and slices of pepperoni pizza. Once you pass through the gatekeeper/guard (er.. the greeter) and enter into Remy’s hallowed culinary halls, you are whisked away into a world of elegance and refinement – a world of suits, cocktail dresses and black tuxedo uniforms.
Per Disney’s website, the restaurant is appointed in an “art nouveau” style with accents of green, red and gold throughout the decor. Mix in just the right amount of whimsy, with subtle aesthetic nods to Ratatouille (such as the wooden carvings of Remy on the backs of the chairs and the crystal Remy figure you can find upon entering– see below), and you’ve got an idea of the place you will spend the next three magically delicious hours of your life.
Nearly all of the servers we encountered (including the Maître d and our personal server at the table) were natives of France or Spain, and their spectacular service, knowledge and accommodation only added to the feeling that we were not on a cruise ship, but sitting in an elegant Parisian restaurant on the Avenue des Champs-Élysés.
We were seated at a later dining time in a booth facing the large oceanview windows, so between the dim mood lighting and the inky blackness of the ocean out the windows, it made for an intimate atmosphere where one’s focus is naturally drawn to the food and conversation around the table.
What to Wear
It comes as no surprise that being a fine French dining establishment, Remy enforces a strict dress code. This includes pantsuits, cocktail dresses or evening dresses for the ladies and dress pants, dress shirts a jacket and nice shoes for the gentlemen. Ties are optional. Leave the shorts, jeans, t-shirts and flip flops back at your stateroom, for tomorrow’s breakfast buffet at Cabana’s.
To dine at Remy, there is an additional cost. Much like paying a little extra to have an experience at the spa, you are paying to have a true, luxury culinary experience. It is $125 per plate plus additional if you do the wine pairings– trust us, it is worth the cost. A similar meal at a restaurant on land would run you at least $300-$400 per plate. I don’t think we will ever be able to cruise on the Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy without booking this experience. Be sure to book it in advance because dining times fill up fast!
The menus at Remy are overseen and crafted by Chef Scott Hunnel, from the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort and advising Chef Arnaud Lallement, who is a 3-Michelin-starred chef who runs the l’Assiette Champenoise restaurant just outside Reims, France. Just the sound of this pedigree alone sparks anticipation of the special meal you are about the encounter. Our chef for the evening was Chef Raphael. He prepared each course to perfection. He came to our table and told us his story of becoming a chef and how he grew up in the kitchen, following his mother’s footsteps. He has had a fascinating journey leading up to becoming the head chef at Remy. It was a true honor meeting him.
For our dinner we ordered from the French Menu. (When in France, eat like the French, right!?) Here is how the menu was presented to us:
- Tomate (Krus Grande Cuvee)
- Poireau (Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile)
- Homard (Domaine Laroche Charlis Les Blanchots)
- Boeuf de Wagyu (Chateau Giscours Francois Vuitton)
- Chocolat (Chateau sudiraut)
Our Dining Experience at Remy on the Disney Dream
Disclaimer: We don’t drink alcohol, so we did not experience the carefully curated and selected alcoholic beverages that accompanied the meal, which many consider a compelling (if not essential) element of the overall meal experience. With that said, our wait staff graciously accommodated us by mixing up various non-alcoholic cocktails, that, to our estimation, perfectly complemented the individual courses and the meal as a whole. For instance, to start off the evening, instead of the customary chilled champagne toast, we toasted to a deliciously floral tasting beverage – think rose water mixed with pomegranate juice. Now onto the courses!
Allow me to break the entire experience down, course-by-course, one-by-one, til you shout, “enough, I’m done!”
1. Foie gras and cauliflower foam (palate cleanser)
Right out the gate, each course was a feast for the eyes and a gastronomic spectacle for the tastebuds. A true symphony of sight, smell, tastes and textures that aroused the senses. This first course, a humble palate cleanser (that seemed to also toe the line of molecular gastronomy), was no exception, as we nibbled on foie gras and cauliflower foam on a delicate wafer – whetting the appetite and triggering our curiosity for what was to come next.
2. Baguette (served with fresh butter and salt)
As our culinary voyage officially began, we were presented with a variety of fresh-baked breads. We opted for the traditional French baguette as our vessel of choice to tender us on the journey ahead. Warm, delicately crusty on the outside with a soft, velvety interior, its textures and flavor were fully realized with a smear of fresh cream butter and a sprinkling of course salt.
3. Parsnip purée (served with green curry ginger, lime zest sauce and tomato cracker)
This dish can best be described as a tightrope walk of contrasting flavors – an elegant waltz of the delicate and the bold on the flavor spectrum. A situation where seemingly disparate ingredients blend together in a surprisingly effective and esculent way. Now that our palettes were properly opened, we were eager to let the flavor games begin!
4. Heirloom tomatoes (with tomato compote and pineapple glaze)
For us, this dish was (perhaps unexpectedly) the star of the show, as it provided the most intense, robust, and outright delicious tomato flavors we have EVER experienced. There are grocery store tomatoes, and then there are home-grown tomatoes, and then there are REMY tomatoes. Perhaps it was the fact that these particular tomatoes were grown from a private chef’s garden only available to top chefs in the world. Or maybe due to the tomatoes being grown from a rare reserve of heirloom tomato seeds from the 1970s, free from any trace of genetic engineering or pesticides, which are depressingly found in nearly every tomato and tomato seed on the market today. Maybe it was the fact that the ENTIRE dish was constituted from parts of the SAME tomatoes, down to the stunningly clear yet potent tomato water served with the course, – which was filtered through the tomatoes using a special process we don’t even understand. Whatever the case, this dish was pure tomato nirvana. There’s simply no other way to describe it.
5. Baby leeks and crispy ravioli (served with champagne vinegar sauce)
Luxuriously creamy, slightly (and predictably) acidic, yet still comforting in a “comfort food” sort of a way, the champagne vinegar sauce stole the show for this course, as it provided a delectable bed on which the baby leeks and crispy ravioli were delicately nestled. We couldn’t help scraping our plates clean with our spoons to ensure no drop of the sauce was left behind.
6. Fresh lobster (served with artichokes, roasted tomato, and a lobster crisp in a butter vermouth sauce)
This was a truly sumptuous dish, with the sauce deftly blending the sea and earthly elements into a harmonious whole. The lobster crisp reminded us of a potato chip, but made (somehow) from the essence of lobster. A unique flavor moment unlike anything we’ve tried.
Below is a picture the preparation of the gluten-free version of this delectable course:
7. Wagyu beef (served with radish cones and pistachios)
Wagyu beef comes from a breed of Japanese beef cattle, known for its high marbling and incredible tenderness, making for an unrivaled and luxurious taste. This stuff makes your average fillet mignon seem so pedestrian – like a cheap skirt steak in comparison. Perfectly medium rare, the beef literally melted like butter in our mouths, paring perfectly with the accoutrement of radishes and pistachios flanking both sides of the steak.
Did you know that not just any restaurant can even serve Wagyu beef? To even be able to serve Wagyu beef in your restaurant, you must go through an entire application process. As you enter the restaurant you can see from the large Japanese emblem that Remy is genuinely certified to prepare and serve this rare delicacy.
8. Cheese plate with dried fruit, honeycomb and cherry bread
With our food journey nearly completed and dessert on the horizon, the waiter rolled out the cheese cart, and took us on a little detour, a voyage de fromage, if you will. Arranging six different types of cheeses on our plates, we were instructed to start at “12 o clock” and work our way clockwise around the plate.
Starting with a mild semi-hard cheese, we traversed through various hard and soft cheeses, with different acidities, some cow and some goat. Some cheeses we ate alone, and others were paired with fresh honeycomb or dried fruits. We ended with the bold, punchy Roquefort (Papillon brand) cheese – the “king of cheeses” by many’s opinion. This was an incredibly intense and delicious variety of blue (pardon – “bleu”) cheese that you really feel in the sinuses. It was everything a blue cheese should be – sharp, tangy, veiny, crumbly, perfect.
9. Chocolate scrolls with cherry sauce
Delectably exhausted but completely satisfied from this singular and epic food experience, we finished the meal with what we can best describe as paper-thin chocolate “ribbons” or “scrolls,” served with a bright and piquant cherry sauce. Like all the previous courses, the elements of this dish both contrasted and balanced perfectly; in this instance there was a satisfying interplay of bitter, tart and a finishing note of sweet.
For those in our party opt-ing for a gluten-free dessert, the chef specially prepared a banana cream dessert including fresh raspberries, white chocolate, and edible flowers.
10. Chocolates, tarts, truffles, and candies
As if dessert wasn’t enough, before our experience was over, the waiters decorated our table with an assortment of petits fours – decadent tarts, chocolates, candies, and lollipops. Each little candy was a piece of artwork in and of itself! At the completion of the meal they also gave each of us ladies a single rose. Their attention to service and detail was second to none.
Overall Remy Review
To reiterate, Remy is not just a restaurant or a meal, but an experience. It is an expedition into a (Disney) [d]ream world (pun definitely intended) of gourmet cuisine where one experiences, if but only for a moment – food at its most triumphant moment. It is a comestible daydream that evokes the full potential of a meal, where one can fantasize over the way food should and could be. From the atmosphere to the food itself, the Remy experience ignites all of the senses. On a culinary level, it is a virtuosic exploration of tastes, textures, sights and smells. It is an ambrosial celebration of the earth and the sea, using the finest and freshest of ingredients to delight and fully engage the palate. The menus are well-rounded and progressive. Each course builds upon the last, and guides the recipient through a formulaic, yet completely intriguing journey through French cuisine, full of twists and turns and beautiful vistas along the way. Add the ambience of the lighting, the well-appointed and coordinated decor, the quiet music, the polished wait staff, the soft din of pleasant conversation, and the fact that you are in the middle of the ocean on a Disney cruise ship – Remy, in our opinion, is truly special and unparallelled. It demonstrates, in spectacular fashion, that food shouldn’t merely be eaten, but should be savored and enjoyed. Food should be experienced.
This experience might not be for everyone. But for those who consider themselves “foodies,” for those who enjoy fine ingredients or fancy food, for those willing to step out of their food comfort zone and be a bit adventurous, for those with a serious case of culinary wanderlust, or for those, like us, who just enjoy eating good food – – we can’t recommend it enough. Bon appetit!
Disclosure: Though this experience was generously provided to us by Disney, all opinions are our own. We have shared our true and honest opinions about this dining experience and we are excited to share them with you!