Artist Point: A True Diamond Among Hidden Gems
Tucked away inside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge behind the ever-so-popular Whispering Canyon Café is one of Disney’s best kept secrets; a longtime signature dining restaurant called Artist Point. Presenting a menu of Pacific-Northwest cuisine, Artist Point is the place to go for sampling everything the West coast can give. From filet Mignon to bison, salmon to scallops. There is something for everyone.
I’ve wanted to try this restaurant for well over a year and we finally had that chance last week. Like all signature dining restaurants, Artist Point is only open for dinner. It opens nightly at 5:30pm and closes at 9:30pm. Our reservation was for 8, but I arrived early to walk around the resort and relax in Territory Lounge. There, I ordered a few cocktails and relaxed, enjoying the atmosphere and theming of the old west explorations. This is a great place to go if you’re a bit too early for your reservation or if you just want a nice appetizer. After you walk up the ramp to the restaurant, you are greeted by two empty wine barrels and some excellent, rustic theming for the restaurant.
The dining room is elegant and have an gorgeous view of the garden area behind the Wilderness Lodge resort provided by the many windows. Unfortunately, you do not have the ability to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks like a few other signature dining restaurants. But this is perfectly fine. There are a few exceptional dining areas located in the dining room. Some give you perfect viewing of the waterfall, a highly requested table. When observing the paintings in the restaurant, keep an eye out for the hidden Mickey’s. There’s even a hidden Winnie the Pooh!
As you can see, the menu isn’t very large. It’s one page, as usual in a signature dining restaurant. They also have an award winning wine list and a few select craft beers available as well. Plus your standard WDW cocktail menu.
If you’re having trouble deciding what to order, you may want to consider the Taste of the Pacific 3 course meal option, located at the bottom of the menu. It costs $66 (with a wine pairing for $22). For this, you’ll get an appetizer, entree, and dessert. When we went, it featured their cedar plank salmon for the entree and créme brûlée for dessert. However, since it is not listed on their main menu, but a special mini menu, this could change.
Our server, who is a close friend of mine, spoiled us big time since it was our first time ever dining at Artist Point. He served us this Big Fire bottle of wine, which can’t be found on the drink menu. It was incredibly delicious. Then he brought us each an amuse, pictured above. This is a special treat prepared by the chef himself. It is a lingon berry with seared plum and aged cheddar sprinkled on top. While I enjoy nice food, I’ll fully admit I’d never heard of a lingon berry, so I had no idea what to expect. But wow! This little treat was packed with flavor.
Next, we moved onto the appetizers.
She ordered the Pacific Ahi Tuna Tatake. It is served with avocado, Thai chili Aïoli, rice crisps, soy, nori, and benne seeds. I am not much of a fish person, let alone a raw fish/sushi person. Jessica loved this dish. I sampled it and was surprised at the lack of fishy flavor. Everything combines well on the plate. We were both very surprised by the portion size.
For my appetizer, I ordered the artisanal cheeses which comes with five cheeses, handcrafted breads and seasonal accoutrements for $17. I’ve ordered cheese plates before, but again was surprised by how much was on the plate. I like almost all cheeses, but hate bleu cheese, so I was given two goat cheeses. The entire plate was incredible. Especialy the sauce you see sitting in the middle. It was said to work from left to right, but to also mix and match the cheeses with the accoutrements. I wouldn’t hesitate ordering this again.
Goat – Laura Chenel Tome, Cow – Red Hawk, Sheep – San Andreas, Blue – Point Reyes Blue, Cow – Flagship Reserve Truckle
Next, we were treated to samples of each of the soups. First was the Roasted Fall Squash soup which comes with hazelnuts, ras el hanout, and petit herbs for $11. This was like autumn in a bowl. So incredibly delicious. Then we were brought one of Artist Point’s signature menu items, their Smoked Mushroom Bisque. It comes with crispy foraged oyster mushrooms, nasturtium oil, and fines herbes for $12. This was so tasteful, I almost licked the bowl. Needless to say, it would be difficult to choose one soup over the other in the future.
After a generous champagne toast celebrating our recent wedding, it was time for our entrees.
I ordered the Seared Diver Sea Scallop Paella, which is served with little neck clams, mussels, Carolina gold rice in a tomato broth, and petit fennel for $39.00. Now, I was sure I didn’t like clams or mussels, but I know I love scallops so I wanted to try this dish. The scallops were cooked beautifully. Tender and moist with a crisp outside. The paella had an interesting Mexican tomato spice flavor to it. That doesn’t mean it was spicy. And yes, I was correct, I do not like clams or mussels. But if you like everything listed, you’ll love this dish.
Jessica ordered the Columbia River Cedar Plank Salmon, served with baby sweet potato, chicory greens, forelli pears, masala yogurt, lemon vinaigrette, and tendrils for $48. Up to last week, the salmon was brought out on a cedar plank which would be smoking and then placed on the plate in front of you. This has been changed so the chef and improve the plating. However, it is still cooked on the cedar plank. One of the entrees Artist Point is known for is their salmon. It is one of their most commonly ordered dishes and it is obvious why. This salmon is light and fluffy. It was full of flavor and definitely worth the price. If you enjoy salmon, definitely come here to try their offering. (As a side note, in June, they offer Copper River Salmon for only a short period. This salmon can be some of the best salmon you’ve ever had in your life. So mark your calendars.)
Finally, dessert! Another thing Artist Point is known for and will probably never come off of their menu is their cobbler. It is served with seasonal berries and black raspberry ice cream for $12.00. The dish is served warm and isn’t too sweet. There is a great balance between the filling, dough, and ice cream. A perfect dessert in my opinion.
Jessica ordered the Almond Butter Cookies which comes with a seasonal milkshake. In this case, it is a seminole pumpkin shake. It costs $10. I really enjoyed the cobbler, but holy crap are these cookies amazing. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Almost like a macaroon texture. The almond flavor pairs perfectly with the milkshake which is a nice way to top off a full meal. The pumpkin milkshake was moderately thick, as it should be. Drinkable through the straw and full of that vanilla and pumpkin flavor that you hope to find.
I haven’t had the chance to dine at many signature dining restaurants at Walt Disney World. In fact, I’ve only ever eaten at Le Cellier in Canada at EPCOT. I’ve reviewed menus of various restaurants; some jump out at me, and others not so much. After getting to sample much of the menu of Artist Point, I can safely say I will be returning to try even more of the menu. The service was exquisite. The atmosphere is romantic and calm. Unlike Le Cellier where it felt we were in and out pretty quickly for a signature dining restaurant, at Artist Point, we were welcome to take our time and enjoy our experience. Our entire dinner took 3 hours. And average dinner takes 90-150 minutes at this restaurant.
Artist Point is so well hidden off the map of Disney restaurants, it is very easy to get a reservation day off most of the time out of the year. Many of the diners are repeat locals who actually know and request the servers by name. And the staff knows those diners so well, they’re almost like family. I’ve witnessed this personally. This is the type of restaurant where you feel welcome. So come out for a romantic date and make a night of it. Come and enjoy a few cocktails at the Territory Lounge located right next to the entrance of Artist Point. Explore the Wilderness Lodge and see their Old Faithful geyser shoot off on the hour of every hour. You won’t regret it because Artist Point is truly a Walt Disney World hidden gem restaurant!
Posted on September 28, 2016, in Walt Disney World and tagged Artist Point, Dining Reviews, Disney Dining, Disney Resort Dining, Walt Disney World, Wilderness Lodge. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.