Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort is one of my family’s newest restaurant discoveries in the Walt Disney World area.
Having visited Key West via cruise ship, we were excited to check out the Florida Keys inspired lunch menu at Olivia’s Cafe – just opposite the Downtown Disney ferry dock.
This is the resort’s only full service restaurant and guests can choose to dine either inside or on the patio.
Olivia’s is a nautical themed restaurant with seaside and ocean inspired decorations scattered throughout the dining space. One of the most interesting features of this restaurant are pictures of Old Key West’s Disney Vacation Club (Disney’s timeshare program) members adorning the walls – you’ll be greeted by a large collage of family photos as you enter the restaurant.
The vibe here is casual and laid-back. The dining room is open and airy and the staff are welcoming, chatty and knowledgeable about the dishes served at Olivia’s Cafe.
Lunch at Olivia’s Cafe
We visited mid-week around 11:30AM and at that time, only a handful of tables were occupied. We were seated immediately and Moe (our friendly waitress) recommended a few dishes she thought our family would like – conch fritters being one of them. If you’re in a Key West inspired restaurant then why not, right?
She also made sure to inform the chefs of our son’s nut allergy and suggested options for him from the Kids Menu.
Enough jibber-jabbering, let’s talk about the food!
My husband and I decided to order the crab cakes and conch fritters to start. Both arrived at the table piping hot and we had to wait a few minutes before digging in.
The crab cakes were pretty standard and nothing to write home about – we ate it so quickly (because we were starving), I forgot to take a picture of them.
Moe’s recommendation of the conch fritters did not disappoint!
They were delicious – crispy (not greasy) on the outside and chewy on the inside. If you’ve had fried calamari before, it’s a similar texture. What took the dish from great to out-of-this-world were the two dips that accompanied the fritters – a key lime mustard (my fave) and remoulade (my husband’s fave). Tangy with a bit of kick, we just couldn’t get enough.
The two of us inhaled all 12 of them within minutes and there wasn’t a drop of dip left in either of the cups. I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to drown conch fritters in sauce like that, but it was THAT good we couldn’t resist!
Both kids chose the grilled chicken for lunch. Their lunch was pretty standard – the same dishes are served at other resort restaurants and the only thing they didn’t finish was the steamed vegetables – there was a bit of black pepper on them and they found it too spicy. Just be aware of this if you’re ordering for your little ones.
For our entrees, we ordered Seven Mile Sea Scallops (scallops, marscapone polenta, asparagus, proscuitto and tomato vinaigrette) and Shrimp and Grits (sauteed shrimp, herbs, vegetables, and ham served with Olivia’s Famous Grits).
Despite all the unused space on my plate, the sea scallops were extremely filling. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the marscapone made the polenta extra rich and creamy – something that I haven’t had elsewhere. The tang of the vinaigrette balanced the creaminess of the polenta. I liked this dish and wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.
Shrimp and Grits – this is a go to dish for my husband if we’re eating out. We don’t cook this type of food at home and if he sees anything with grits on the menu, he will definitely order it.
It’s not the best looking plate (my photo taking skills seemed to be off during lunch!) – everything looks like it’s swimming in sauce – but my husband enjoyed it. Like the scallops, the shrimp were cooked perfectly (not overdone and tough like they sometimes can be if you don’t keep your eyes on the pan) and the grits were quite heavy – buttery, cheesy and creamy. This was an extremely filling dish and he wasn’t sure if he could handle dessert after that. Looks like Shrimp and Grits isn’t on the current menu at Olivia’s but hopefully it will return soon.
The kids got an ice cream sundae with their lunches while my husband and I tried to split a Key Lime Tart and a Banana Bread Pudding Sundae (another Moe suggestion) – tried being the key word, here. You’ll see why below.
Let’s talk about the Key Lime Tart first. I am a huge key lime dessert person. Sweet and sour together on a dish – I’m game!
The tart is made with a thick graham cracker crust, about 1/2 cup of slightly sweet yet very tart key lime filling and topped with a light and fluffy meringue. Below it are a few dollops of mango and raspberry sauce. This was, in my opinion, the best part of the meal.
I understand now why people rave about the Key Lime Tart at Olivia’s – it is the perfect balance of sweet and sour with a lot of graham crackers thrown into the mix. Truthfully speaking, this dessert along with the conch fritters, is what made me click the Make a Dining Reservation button on Disney World’s website prior to our vacation. I would come back to Olivia’s just for those two dishes!
Onto the Banana Bread Pudding Sundae…
This dessert is HUGE! You can’t tell from the photo but it is double the size of the tart. My husband and I shared it and we barely made a dent in the thing.
I don’t want to know how much sugar is in this but this would appeal to anyone with a sweet tooth. From my online research, the Banana Bread Pudding Sundae gets a lot of great reviews as well (just not as much as the Key Lime Tart) and had we not been so stuffed from appetizers, entrees and the tart, my husband and I would probably have enjoyed it more. We just couldn’t finish it – two bites and we were done.
If you’re looking for a quiet and casual meal with the family, head over to Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Portion sizes are large and you’ll get full quickly if you don’t pace yourself.
This restaurant is not on the monorail line or walking distance from the parks, so if you’re relying on Disney transportation, the only way to get there is via Disney bus. Depending on the time of year you visit Disney World, this could take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to get to Old Key West.
Olivia’s is a hidden gem. Many vacationers don’t want to make the trek out to OKW but the food is worth it. Olivia’s Cafe counts as one table service meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan – you’ll get a lot of food for it.
And after a filling breakfast (I hear the key lime hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict kicks butt here!), lunch or dinner, head to Downtown Disney via the Disney boat opposite the restaurant to walk off all the calories. 🙂
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